February 22, 1942

HQ, Bataan

 

Busy checking reports from outposts all day.

 

(later)

 

Aglaloma Battle our greatest victory.

Japs landed in rear under cover of darkness. By stealth and surprise, they succeeded in getting a foothold in Aglaloma pt.

But our troops gave them stiff opposition. Even air corps men in rear shouldered guns and attacked Jap landing parties till a “pocket” was formed.

Many hand-to-hand combats. Here were no trenches, no lines, no positions. This was a sort of free-for-all. Japs mixed in our rear lines and men turned around and gave them hell.

Japs received supplies from planes. Some fell in our lines. Boys ate up supplies. Battle lasted for a week.

Then P.C. and scouts came and riddle forest with withering infantry line. Not a tree, bush, twig, remained in face of thickness of fire. A lizard would not have been able to live in midst of such deadly firing.

Our boys could hear Jap officers shouting commands. Distance between our boys and Japs were only a few meters in some sections.

Many received citations in this battle. Americans literally ran over the top leading troops, dying in a blaze of glory.

Col. Castañeda received a distinguished service cross.

He led troops in attack against Japs that hid inside a cave, about 500 of them.

Paulino of Ateneo died. His friends say that night before attack, Paulino was fingering a grenade and saying: “This will get a Jap.” Paulino’s head was blasted by a grenade, in an attack following day.

Johnnie Setzer of Ateneo also died. He was shot by an mg bullet as he was manning an air corps mg. His father who is also in the army buried the son. Many of Johnnie’s friends stood around grave and said a prayer for him. Somebody made a wreath, out of leaves. No flowers.

Cirus Pansalcola of Ateneo died in hospital. He was buried in cemetery near HPA. I still remember Cirus in his last speech at our Oratory class in Ateneo saying: “Very few of those who say ’tis sweet to die for one’s country have every done it.” And I kidded him with remark: “You haven’t done it yourself.”

Heard Manoling Ojeda also died but there are no details.

Samson Solis of Ateneo A.B. also believed dead.

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