Bataan Speaking Introduction Aug '43-Mar '44 April '44 May '44 June '44 July '44 Aug'44-Sept '44 Bridge Reminiscence Oct '44-Mar '45 Apr '45 May '45 June '45 July '45 Aug '45 Arthur Bode & Bernard MacDonald Sept '45 Oct '45 Recall & Reminisce

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Arthur Bode & Bernard MacDonald

 

THE FOLLOWING IS THE RECOLLECTIONS OF ARTHUR BODE ABOUT THE LANDING PARTY:

THE GROUP, COMMANDED BY LT. R. HERMAN, WAS INTENDED TO TAKE OVER A JAPANESE PATROL BOAT AND THEN PATROL TOKYO BAY. THE GROUP CONSISTED OF VARIOUS RATINGS WHICH INCLUDED CHIEF STEVENS, CHIEF STUCKRATH, W. T. WUNCH, AND ART BODE, TO MENTION A FEW. WE WERE TRANSFERRED TO A DESTROYER TRANSPORT AND LANDED IN YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE THE MORNING OF 20TH AUGUST 1945. ALL THE PATROL BOATS WERE DAMAGED AND THAT CAUSED US TO TAKE OVER A BARRACKS AT THE ENGINEERING SCHOOL ON THE BASE. MY DUTIES AS THE QUARTERMASTER OF THE GROUP WAS TO KEEP A ROUGH LOG OF THE ACTIVITIES. I REMEMBER HELPING CHIEF STUCKRATH GET A JAPANESE MOTORCYCLE RUNNING AND RIDING IN THE SIDE CAR WITH HIM AS WE SURVEYED THE AREA FOR FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT. A LARGE CAVE NEAR OUR BARRACKS WAS FILLED WITH STORES OF RICE AND ROTTING FISH HEADS. WE ALSO EXPLORED A CAVE FILLED WITH MUNITIONS.

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BERNARD MAC DONALD THAT APPEARED IN SEA CLASSICS MAGAZINE:

FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICAN GIs, THE FALL OF JAPAN SPELLED THE END OF FOUR GRUELING YEARS OF WAR. BUT FOR THOSE SHIPS AND MEN SELECTED TO BE THE FIRST TO ENTER THE DEFEATED ENEMY'S HOME PORTS, THE SPECTER OF UNCERTAINTY AND DANGER STILL HUNG LIKE A PALL OVER THEIR HEADS. SO IT WAS WITH A HANDFUL OF AMERICAN SAILORS FROM THE USS BATAAN (CVL-29) WHO WERE AMONG THE FIRST YANKS TO ENTER AND OCCUPY THE JAPANESE CITY OF YOKOSUKA ON AUGUST 30, 1945.

(AUGUST 15, 1945, A MESSAGE WAS RECEIVED TO RECALL ALL STRIKES. JAPAN HAS SURRENDERED. THIS WAS THE FIRST REAL SIGN OF PEACE THAT WAS RECEIVED BY OUR SHIP.) THE NEXT FEW DAYS WE SPENT GETTING READY FOR THE OCCUPATION OF JAPAN. IN ORDER TO GET A PRESENCE ASHORE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, LANDING FORCES WERE ASSEMBLED FROM THE FLEET. OUR MARINE DETACHMENT WOULD GO ASHORE, OF COURSE, BUT ANOTHER CONTINGENT WAS FORMED FROM THE BLUEJACKET SHIP'S COMPANY.

THE BATAAN'S LANDING FORCE PREPARATION CONSISTED OF MARCHING UP AND DOWN THE FLIGHT DECK.

WHEN WE LANDED AT YOKOSUKA, THE PLACE WAS SO TORN UP THAT THERE WASN'T A LEVEL PLACE FOR US.

THE ONLY BENEFIT OF OUR MARCHING WAS THAT SOME INVENTIVE PERSON HAD US ISSUED MARINE BOONDOCKS IN PLACE OF OUR LOW CUT NAVY SHOES. THE OTHER BLUEJACKET LANDING FORCES WERE SCRAMBLING OVER PILES OF DIRT AND DISCARDED BOMBS IN THEIR ONCE-SHINED NAVY OXFORDS; WE AT LEAST, HAD REAL SHOES FOR THE LANDING.

ONE DAY A FRIEND AND I FOUND A DINGHY, PRECARIOUSLY AFLOAT, AND ROWED OVER TO ANOTHER SECTION OF YOKOSUKA. WE WERE CLIMBING IN AND OUT OF SCUTTLED SHIPS UNTIL OUR DINGHY SANK ON US. WE FOUND OURSELVES OUTSIDE THE WALL OF THE NAVY YARD ON THE STREETS OF YOKOSUKA. WE FOLLOWED THE NAVY YARD WALLS, LOOKING FOR AN ENTRANCE TO WHAT WE THOUGHT OF AS SANCTUARY. WE WERE NOT HAPPY WALKING THE STREETS OF JAPAN.

THE JAPANESE WE ENCOUNTERED WERE NOT HAPPY EITHER. AT THE SIGHT OF TWO LARGE ARMED BARBARIANS, ANY JAPANESE WE MET ON THE SIDEWALK IMMEDIATELY CROSSED TO THE OTHER SIDE.

WE FINALLY CAME TO A GATE IN THE WALL, MANNED BY US MARINES WHO LOOKED AT US IN ASTONISHMENT. "CAN WE COME IN?" WE ASKED. "YOU CAN, BUT YOU CAN'T GO OUT AGAIN!" WAS THE REPLY. BUT WE DIDN'T WANT TO GO OUT AGAIN BEING ALONE ON THE STREETS OF JAPAN IN THE FIRST DAYS OF SEPTEMBER 1945 WAS UNNERVING ENOUGH NOT TO CALL FOR REPETITION.

OUR CAMP YOKOSUKA EXPERIENCE FINALLY CAME TO AN END. WE WERE DISCOVERED, DENOUNCED FOR LOOKING LIKE A BUNCH OF GYPSIES, LOADED INTO TRUCKS, AND FINALLY SHIPPED OFF TO TOKYO WHERE WE BOARDED A TROOP TRANSPORT. AFTER A FEW HOURS, WE WERE CALLED TO BE FERRIED TO THE BATAAN.

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