Colonel Mucci and his Army Rangers had made their way through the perilous Philippine country side. They were now mustered only two miles
Getting to this point had been dangerous enough. Could you trust the native Filipinos? Were the Japanese leading them into a trap?...and if not…and the assault was completely successful…how in the hell were they going to transport American Soldiers who for the past three years have wallowed in misery and whose conditions were just this side of the fine line of the walking dead….and actually being dead. Prince was uneasy. He had actually ZERO intelligence of the Cabanatuan P.O.W. compound….ZERO….and any military commander knows that the key to a successful mission is knowing what kind of crap is about to come down the pipe. The Filipino guerrillas once again answered the heroic call. Appearing as natives, able to get close to the compound, to note the guard change over, the compound lay out…the details. Additionally there were the U.S. Army Alamo Scouts, that were able to hold up at advantageous viewing point for a 24 hour period. The information obtained was incredibly detailed and left Captain Prince in awe of the amount of detail. The plan was refined…and it was go time. Captain Prince reviewed the mission details with the Hard Charging Army Rangers….ripping and rearing to arrange the meeting with a Japanese Soldier and the Grim Reaper. There would be no dress rehearsal. This caused a certain amount of consternation among Colonel Mucci and his assault commanders, but hell, they were in uncharted waters as it was in covert ops….completely in their infancy. On that late January afternoon, they were on the eve of being the salvation to U.S. POW’s that had been held in captivity for 3 years. God Help Them!
For three years, the Americans had endured more than what could be imagined. After the diseases had somewhat subsided, malnutrition began to be take it’s toll on the Americans. The doctors in the infirmary began to observe what organs would fail first and to what vitamin deficiency was the culprit. Starvation coupled with the lack of will begin to put the American POW’s in the grave. Catching vermin, mainly stray dogs and rats became not fun thing to do, but paramount for survival. The skinning and prepping a dog or a rat for culinary purposes was as standard knowledge as field dressing an M1. Because of the savage condition of starvation, nothing was sacred, at least on the animal front….all except one dog. There was a small contingent of U.S. Marines with the Army Soldiers in the compound. Through a circuitous route prior to
The training for the Bataan Memorial Marathon continues. This week, I realized how the Cross Timbers ½
This past week, David Hanenberg asked if he could feature me on his blog/website called ENDURANCE BUZZ for my “running with a purpose” and raising money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. I was humbled and honored. Here is the interview/article. Thank for those that support me in these efforts.
NEXT TIME: "A Cabaret Owner Turned Covert Operative"