December 29, 1941

Command Post

Ft. McKinley

 

Our division has been ordered by Corps headquarters to retreat and form a new line with a view to defending the Southern entrance of Manila. The general has chosen McKinley as the site of his new command post.

The troops are perplexed. “Why should we retreat when the Japs have not even dented our lines?” The general explained that the enemy was fast gaining ground in Tayabas exposing our rear to a possible flank maneuver.

Am writing this in old office of Maj. Gen. Parker which is partially destroyed. The books of Parker are still here including a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Other officers have left their files, typewriters, radios, hats and shoes. Fred just popped up, looked over my shoulder to see what I am writing and said “There are a lot of canned goods left in the Post Exchange.” From the window, I can see two huge craters, big enough for ten carabaos. The Japs have evidently subjected this fort to heavy aerial bombardment. The barracks are partially demolished. Some of the cottages for officers have also been destroyed. All the houses here are deserted. Fans, refrigerators, wardrobes, kitchen utensils have been left in disorder. Names of officers are still on sign posts outside their respective houses. I told my sergeant to get all the canned goods he could lay his hands on and to put them in the general’s command car.

Must stop writing. Air-raid alarm. I wonder where the shelter here is.

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