May 1941
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Month May 1941

May 31, 1941

Due to the fact that OSP top leadership are all USNA graduates ranging from Capt Jose V Andrada ’31 to Lt C J Albert ’39, the Os consider themselves the elite in the PA.   When Capt E L Jurado USNA ’34 reported from Aberdeen Prov Grds, he replaced Capt A Pecson ’33, to become Ex-O, OSP.   This pride syndrome is fortified when we learned that the Phil is among the few countries having Torpedo Boats in their arsenal, the others being England, USA and Italy.   England and Italy had their Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB) after WW I.

USN started theirs only two years ago called Patrol Torpedo (PT) Boats.   We call ours Q-Boats to honor Quezon.

Torpedo boat assignment seems attractive and glamorous as your naval officers in the Italian, British and US Navies register their preference. Perhaps, the best known among them is a certain Lt (jg) John F Kennedy, CO  PT 109. To give you an idea, here is part of what Life reporter Carl Mydans wrote after he had a ride aboard Q-113 last March: “If you stood atop a car racing down a flooded highway at 65 miles per hour, you would experience the sensation of being aboard one of the smallest, fastest, roughest and most exciting fighting ships of the Commonwealth of the Phil, if not the world.”

“Pound for pound, this ‘mosquito suicide boat’ is by far the deadliest then afloat, for as a vest-pocket sea raider, it could be used for daring David-and-Goliath attacks on superior forces.   Its torpedoes can sink the proudest dreadnought.   It could glide silently on its cruising engine to make stabbing thrust.   Its 4-ft draft could skim over minefields and maraud enemy harbors.   Speed, surprise and three 50 Cal cannons are its main protection . . . . . . .”

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May 30, 1941

All hands at OSP are jubilant hearing the approval of a request by C,OSP to begin construction of the hull for eight (8) new  Q-Boats by Engineer Island Shipyard under Engr Bernardo Abrera who successfully passed his experimental model last March that was christened by Mrs. Quezon as Q-113.  The keel for the new 8 Q-Boats are now being laid.  By the time we get our independence in 1946, we expect to have a Fleet of 50 Q-Boats.

Meantime extensive training are underway ashore and afloat.  OSP School have under training PMA Class ’41 namely Lts Pastor, Viado, Manuel A Gomez, Hector Moya and Filipino Flojo plus several newly recruited reserve Os from UP and Naut School, amomg them, Remo Lavadia, Hilario Ruiz, Dioscoro Papa, etc in the Officers Course.  Fifty enlisted men (EMs) are also taking the EM’s Course.

May 29, 1941

The OSP Navy idea as a branch of the PA is the brainchild of MacArthur and Eisenhower who immediately asked the USN if they can help.  The USN have no motor torpedo boat program but the British and Italian Navies have.  A deal was made with Thornycroft Inc. of England that sold us two Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB) we identified as Q-111 and Q-112.  Why it was called Q-Boats was never explained but I think, MacArthur  who is a good friend and compadre of Quezon did it to titillate the ego of his compadre.  MacArthur’s only son, Arthur, is the godson of Quezon.

Q-111 is 65 ft. long 15 ft. wide with 3-12 cylinder  3,000 hp engines while Q-112 is 55 ft. long  11 ft. wide with 2-12 cyl. 3,000 hp engines.  Both has cruising engines with mufflers that run like a car;  2 torpedoes, 2 depth charge throwers, and 3  .50 Cal AA Guns.  Both makes, over 55 knots.

USN promise to develop their own at Quonset Point, R.I. which they called Patrol Torpedo (PT) Boats.

May 28, 1941

Today, I got engaged to my American girl friend, Lucy  Johnson of LA.  She and sister Helen are students at American School in Taft Ave. and their Dad, Mr. Richard Johnson is the civilian Head of the USA QM Depot, Port Area, Manila.  Among Lucy’s classmates was Ming Martinez (later became Mrs. FVRamos).  Through the Johnson family, I was gradually introduced to the Manila American Community where I met the daughters of Manila Supe School, Pearl and Ann McCall.  I knew Ann while at PMA and was my drag a couple of times.  I also met Justice and Mrs. Malcolm and the Dir. of Education, Luther Bewley and daughter, Virginia.

Then, there are the Stagner sisters, one of them Rose, became a popular local actress named Rosa del Rosario.  What I consider a most beneficial of my American socialization is my friendship with Lt .Sidney L. Huff, USN, a bachelor serving on the staff of Gen. MacArthur as naval advisor.  Sid and I, both Lts. (I was 3rd Lt. while he was Lt. SG) and bachelors have the same sense of humor. We clicked.

May 27, 1941

Briefly, the situation in the Philippines, a US territory with a Commonwealth Gov’t. led by Pres. Quezon, whose legislature passed CA #1, Defense Act, is progressing well towards the 1946 Independence.  Defense law framed by Advisors MacArthur & Eisenhower anchors on Phil. Army (PA) with sea  going sv (OSP) and air (PAAC) as mere branches like Inf., Arty., CAC etc.  PC as  nucleus, PMA replaced PCA to produce Reg O’s for regular army. Defense patterned after Swiss citizen army conscript concept. Phil. divided to 10 Mil. areas with various Training Cadres, each area to produce 4,000 trained men per year.

By 1946, we will have 400,000 citizen army, 250 planes and 50 Torpedo boats.  Reserve O’s will come from ROTC or other O’s Schools.  PA C/S is Maj. Gen. Basilio Valdes; C,PC B/Gen G. Francisco.

Peace and order, civil service excellent. Every young man is eager to join the military, trainees enthusiastic and many high school grads want to go to PMA.  Our Class ’40 graduated last year and ’41 two months ago.  I  selected the OSP for we are a maritime country. We graduated from OSP School last March and are now busy undergoing  extensive sea duty training aboard three Q-Boats.  When we graduated from PMA  in 1940, the 79 members of the class went:  29 to Inf; 17 PAAC; 10 OSP; CAC & CE 7 each; SigC 2; Cav 1.  Nobody chose PC.  MacArthur still Mil. Advisor;  Eisenhower left in 1939 for CONUS replaced by Sutherland; Lt. Sidney L. Huff, Navy Advisor.

Our 3-Q Boat Training Cruise arrived noon at Muelle del Codo, Port Area Manila, where the Off-Shore Patrol HQ and facilities are located. It was a most enlightening training as student Os were rotated  in asgmts as Navigator, Gunnery, Engineering, Mess & Fin, ExO and CO posts.  We were 15 student Os namely Lts. Nestor Reinoso ’34; Simeon Castro and A. Navarrete both ’35; J. Magluyan ’37; M. Castillo ’38; A. Palencia & S. Nuval ’38; C. J. Albert ’39; and R. Alcaraz, H. Alano, F. Apolinario, A. C. Campo, Q. Evangelista, C. Montemayor, L. Picar all ’40. Lt. R. Olbes, our PMA Baron requested transfer to CE as he was always sea sick.

We visited Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Luisan, Malampaya and western Palawan.  Was fascinated with overwhelming amount of fish in Malampaya Sound, the Tabon bird whose eggs seem to be bigger than the bird itself  and the tiny Mouse Deer we saw in Balabac.  Our Training was under the eagle eye of C, OSP Capt. Jose V. Andrada USNA ’31.

Let me comment briefly on my branch of service, Off-Shore Patrol (OSP), the youngest, born  Feb. 9, 1939 pioneered by Capt. Andrada ’31, Lt. A. Pecson ’33 and Lt. M. Castillo ’38 all USNA grads. Our facilities are located at Muelle del Codo adjacent to Engineer Island, Port Area, Manila.  Andrada handpicked his Os as when he interviewed us personally before grad at PMA. We have three British made motor tropedo boats we called Q-Boats. This is the Commonwealth’s entire navy in the making envisioned by MacArthur.

The first two Q-Boats were imported from England but the third was made in Engineer Island with engines imported from England. Eight Q-Boats are under construction and it is projected that by 1946, we will have a total of 50 Q-Boats. Assisting us in this program are Lt. Sidney Huff, USN and Chief Torpedo man Wm. Mooney USN.  British technicians from Thornycroft are Sam Howard and John Herndon.  Lt. Huff is also in the staff of Gen. MacArthur.