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Corregidor   photos .. 1956
Images and narrative from   Dick Carlson

Please scroll-down for full collection of photos and narrative.

One of the greatest and proudest moments in my 20 years in the SecGru was going TAD out of Kami Seya on
aircraft carriers. I begged, pleaded, cajoled, & bribed anyone in authority to let me go. After weeks of this,
orders arrived. I left Kami Seya in early December 1955 in wet and dreary weather, to board a Navy flight out
of Atsugi NAS for Naha, Okinawa. We were treated to a grand view from the air of snow capped Mt. Fuji. Our
flight arrived in just a few hours to somewhat warm and humid weather. I loved it!! The island is some 67
miles in length and 3-12 miles in width. My knowledge of the history of the island was somewhat limited, but I
did know, from high school history, that the island’s expansion by the Chinese occurred somewhere around
605 and 606 AD, and that Commodore Matthew C. Perry visited and landed at Naha Port in 1853, purchasing
land for a coal station. I had hoped for a few days to do some exploring and photographing the area before
my carrier arrived. Alas there it was, anchored out on a sea of blue water. It looked great! A navy boat ferried
me out to my ship, and on December 2nd, I reported aboard the USS Bennington CVA20. I was now going to
be a sea-going sailor, and I for one, was looking forward to this grand experience. It would give me a greater
appreciation for those who sail our ships in foreign waters. I was to make a host of new friendships with men
from around the USA. If nothing else, it would certainly fill up volumes of pages to the folks back home and
triple the slide library I was building. At some point in time, I’ll write more of this experience.

Working for ComCarDivOne (Rear Admiral T. B. Williamson) was an amazing experience for me. He was a fair
and generous officer to support. He did have his quirks however. His station was right above our operating
spaces in the superstructure. He let it be known that he did NOT like the smell of popcorn! (grin). He knew
many of us by our first names, and often, would hail and greet us that way. We of course, out of respect,
would respond with a greeting using his rank and last name. Sailors standing near by would gaze at us in
awe and wonderment. What a hoot!

Rear Admiral Williams very often took his staff, of which the detachment was a part of, to various places of
recreation, while we were in Subic Bay in the Philippines. Two that come to mind are Baguio, and
Corregidor. And so, sometime in very early 1956, we boarded the drinks and food filled yacht USS Margaret
C-7304, to visit the island shaped like a tadpole with the head facing the South China Sea and the tail curling
back into Manila Bay. The island of Corregidor. The USS Margaret was fully equipped with all of the amenities
of a sea-going yacht, to include a canopied shelter aft, which protected us from the mid-day sun on the open

Waiting for us at the dock, were tarpaulin-covered trucks into which we would ride to the
top of the island. The only building I saw at the docks was the Corregidor Chapel.

A fast game of volleyball ensued. I cannot identify these folks. I wish I had taken more
time to note down names, and take more pictures of the buildings.

This is BATTERY WAY. The entrance to the tunnels was blocked off with wire fencing. There were no tunnels
that I could get into on this visit. We were fairly well restricted to certain areas. Richard Gordon of Burnt Hill,
NY who was a defender of Bataan, a survivor of the Death march, Camps O’Donnell and Cabanatuan writes
"on Corregidor, there were 15,000 American and Filipino troops, consisting of anti-aircraft and coastal
defense, along with the Fourth Marine Regiment, recently arrived from China (December 1941) less a
detachment station on Bataan, as part of Naval Battalion." Set in a picturesque grove and surrounded by trees
on three sides, Battery Way comprises four 12-inch [305mm] Mortars. Named after Lt. Henry N. Way of the 4th
US Artillery, who was, in 1900 a casualty of the 1899 US-Philippine war, these 12-inch mortars are of the
M1890 type and are mounted on M1896 Mortar Carriages. They could lob a 1,000 lb deck piercing shell or a
700 lb high explosive shell 8.3 miles (13.35 km) in any direction. The battery's construction was
commenced in 1904 and completed 1914 at a cost of $112,969. It was not utilized until the latter part of the
siege, at which time it took a critical part in the invasion. Maximum rate of fire was one round each 45
seconds, though this was for crews at the peak of physical perfection, and a one round per minute rate was
generally seen as normal. The normal tactic was to load and lay two mortars at a time, and then to fire them
as a salvo, giving them a 'shotgun' effect. Each mortar required a fourteen-man crew. When fired pre-war,
the Mortars shattered medical glassware in the hospital nearby, so the Battery was not practiced-fired during
peacetime. To read more about BATTERY WAY, go here to: http://corregidor.org/chs_rowbotm/way.htm

The island is 1,735 acres in total, lies two miles from the southern tip of Bataan peninsula
and seven miles from Cavite Province, dividing the mouth of the Manila Bay into what was
called the North Channel and the South Channel. The island is shaped like a tadpole with
the head facing the South China Sea and the tail curling back into Manila Bay. I ‘think’ this
is a picture, taken from ‘topside’ looking toward the ‘tail’.

The following information is from the booklet "INTERCEPT STATION "C" from Olongapo through the evacuation of
Corregidor, 1929-1942" Copyright by the NCVA. It was later reprinted in a special issue of CRYPTOLOG, the quarterly
newspaper of NCVA.

"The island is divided into five parts. The high, round head of the island rising to 628 feet in elevation forms an area
about a mile in diameter which was nicknamed, "Topside" and was the sit of all the heavy batteries, the post
headquarters, a nine-hole golf course, a huge enlisted barracks, a parade ground and most of the living quarters.
Moving eastward toward the tail of the island, the ground slopes downward about 100 feet to a plateau nicknamed
"Middleside" where the hospital, post stockade, service buildings, warehouses, more barracks and quarters were

From the many photographs I’ve seen, it appears that this photograph is of the mile-long barracks, with the Bataan
Peninsula in the background. Like a virtual museum, Topside and Middleside include remains of soldiers' and
officers' barracks like the Mile-Long Barracks. Once used as quarters by American officers, this three-deck,
hurricane-proof concrete building is reputedly the world's longest military barracks. Because of its great length of
1,520 feet, it is commonly known as the Mile Long Barracks. The headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur was also
located in this building.

To see what it looks like now in 2002, go to: http://www.warofourfathers.com/war/philippines_index.html and click on MILE-LONG BARRACKS.

A very sunburned, and tired CTR3 Dick Carlson, 1/56 on the USS Margaret returning
to Manila and the USS Bennington CVA 20 after a day on Corregidor, and swimming
in some of the secluded bays around the island. The young man in the lower left is
CTR3 Wallace Morgan. I was to later meet up with him again at Karamursel, Turkey
in 1961.

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