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The following data was collected from:
The Historical Report of the Corregidor Island Operation, Headquarters, 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, APO 73, 6 Mar 1945;
The daily log of the S-3 Section of the 503d Parachute RCT for the Corregidor Operation;
Statements of members of the 503d Parachute RCT;
General Order No. 112, Headquarters United States Army Forces in the Far East, APO 501, 8 May 1945; and
Flanagan, LGen. E.M., Corregidor The Rock Force Assault (Novato, Gal: Presidio Press,

On February 6, 1945, the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, including the 462d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and C Company of 161st Parachute Engineer Battalion, had completed its part in the invasion of the island of Mindoro in the Northern Philippines. It was then alerted and given the mission to seize and secure the enemy-held island fortress of Corregidor, key to the important seaport of Manila. Medium bombers and A-20s started daily attacks on the target. Designated as the Rock Force, the 503d had attached to it a reinforced battalion of the 34th Infantry Regiment, a platoon of the 603d Tank Company, the 18th reinforced Surgical Hospital and several other small Army units listed in ASAFFE GO #112 (enclosed with General jones' letter). Supporting the land forces were elements of the Navy's Task Force 78.3 and the Filth Air Force, to include the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. Colonel George M. jones, commanding officer of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, was designated commander of the Rock Force.

There were only two possible paratrooper landing areas on the island, both so small as to allow only eight-man sticks, which meant that our early forces would be vastly outnumbered. A map of the island (enclosed) skews the drop zones and the plane flight paths. It was anticipated that the element of surprise, together with the enemy's expectation that D-day was merely another day of bombing, would allow the heavilp-armed veteran paratroopers to consolidate into a strong enough force to withstand enemy attack even though vulnerable to the chronic weaknesses of all airborne landings--the initial scattering of forces and jump casualties, particularly of key personnel. II was later learned from a prisoner that the enemy commander had been so certain that no airborne landing could reasonably be undertaken that he took no steps to counter such an attempt.

The long-prepared enemy was strongly entrenched in the numerous reinforced tunnels, heavy gun batteries and concrete obsrrvation posts that American forces had constructed after having gained the Philippines following the Spanish American War. Although the topside had been intensely bombed, most of the heavily-manned defensive positions were on the sides of the island. As in many similar operations during the Pacific War, aerial bombing resulted in only superficial damage to the extensive fortifications and enemy personnel losses were also found to have been minimal.

Intelligence on the defending forces was scarce, old and evaluated as of unknown reliability. The latest estimate available to tile Rock Force was that of of a garrison of 850 service troops, Japanese Language and Intelligence Specialist Harry M. Akune had been attached to the 503d Parachute KCT for the seaborne landing on Mindoro Island and the information he was able to obtain had proven of value to the staff of the 503d in the conduct of that campaign. He was preparing to return to his Allied Translator and Interpreter Service unit when Colonel Jones personally asked Akune if he would join the 503d in our assault on Corregidor. The Colonel pointed out that this act would have to be completely voluntary on Akune's part since paratroop duty was restricted to volunteers only. Akune agreed to remain with the 503d, stating that he already felt as though he was a member of our unit and was honored to have been asked. Colonel Jones arranged for Akune to continue to be attached to our unit for the duration of the Corregidor campaign.

After a 0700 takeoff from Mindoro the parachute landings on Corregidor started at about 0835 on 16 February 1945. Since current intelligence about the enemy garrison was needed, the 503d staff determined that Specialist Akunr's skill in obtaining timely information was crucial; therefore, he was assigned as a member of the third stick to jump from his plane. There was some confusion in the staging area at Mindoro as the paratroopers were loading onto C-47s. The vehicle carrying Akune's helmet, weapon, canteen and other personal equipment failed to meet him at his assigned plane. So, equipped with only a parachute, Akune boarded his C-47. One of the paratroopers on the spot has stated, and many other veteran paratroopers agree, that very lew men would have gone ahead at that point. To the amazement of his fellows, Akune took his assigned place in the jump sequence on the plane. Immediately, in the paratrooper tradition, he was the recipient of a weapon and ammunition "borrowed" from the crew of the plane. The first weapon was a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun with an unwieldy 50-round drum but Akune was unfamiliar with that weapon. So the troopers found a carbine with one 15-round magazine which they secured to Akune's parachute harness.

The column of C-47s flew two abreast over the two small drop zones, each dropping equipment bundles and eight men per pass. Heavy casualties were suffered through injuries from impalement on splintered stubs of trees resulting from earlier bombings and by falling onto fragments of concrete, steel reinforcing bars, rocks and other hazardous rubble. Casualties were also suffered as the defenders emerged from their shelters to fire at the descending paratroops, helpless in their parachute harnesses, and at the low-flying, unarmed planes. Other paratroopers were lost when blown out of the landing zones and over the sides of the cliffs by the many air currents; some were fortunate enough to be saved from drowning by Navy small craft.

Akune jumped onto the rubble and debris of the heavily-bombed topside and into the fire of the enemy without a helmet or other equipment and with only 15 rounds of ammunition to defend himself. Akune landed part way down the side of a cliff but uninjured. As he made his way upward, he found himself covered by the weapon of a paratrooper who later said that even though he had seen Akune's japanese features, he recognized the coveralls and the carbine as being U.S. Army issue, adding that the main reason he probably did not fire was that he had never seen anyone wearing such thick glasses.

Akune joined fellow paratroopers as they formed ad hoc units attacking enemy forces that were coming out of their shelters in increasing numbers and firing on the scattered Americans. He was able to arm himself with equipment from dead troopers. The Rock Force S-3 diary for that time shows "...sniper and machine gun lire pouring all about us from the east...heavy fire from enemy HMG...," "Can't locate medical bundles...dispensary swamped... heavy casualties," and "Requesting supporting fire from Navy." Akune fought as an infantryman here as well as later when he went on a number of patrols.

By nightfall the paratroopers had formed defense lines around the ruins of buildings left on the topside. The record also states that examination of enemy bodies indicated that they had been in excellent physical condition. As Akune translated captured documents, he found that the make-up of the enemy forces included a large number of japanese Imperial Marines, not just service troops, as previously reported. Another document translated by Akune revealed that the enemy force was 5,000 strong, not 850 as previously reported, with 3,000 on the main part of the island and the other 2,000 on or in Malinta Hill and the eastern portion (see enclosed map). This was later borne out by enemy body count and estimates of enemy buried in tunnels. Based on this information, Colonel Jones and his staff then revised their strategy to provide for a more secure defensive posture during nighttime and an increase in the amount of naval and air support that would be required since the Rock Force was outnumbered at that stage.

Akune also found out that the enemy commander had been killed by one of the last bombs dropped just prior to the parachute landing, thus causing confusion on the part of the enemy command. Additional intelligence uncovered by Akune was that the main portion of the enemy communication system had been destroyed. From this data, the paratroop staff concluded, among other factors, that one coordinated attack by the enemy was not as likely as separate attacks by smaller units and so deployed defenses accordingly. Akune also elicited information from a POW that a Lieutenant Endo had led a 600-man Imperial Marine force to reinforce the Corregidor garrison the previous October. Endo had the reputation of being imbued with the bushido principles of the ancient samurai, and his men were expected to adhere to the highest standards of that philosophy with no hesitation to sacrifice their own lives in destroying the Americans. This was demonstrated time after time in the number of suicidal banzai attacks by the enemy soldiers, and efforts to take American lives with them as they destroyed themselves in the caves and tunnels during our attacks on these sites. Alerted by Akune's findings of the fanatical nature of the enemy, we attempted to stay away from the tops of fortifications as much as possible, and implemented other defensive measures to reduce our casualties.

Fresh water was extremely scarce so we had to bring our own supply to the island. Initially, the very few fresh water sources were in enemy territory. Through interrogation of our POWs, Akune established the location of springs that were still working, and we took them under intermittant, indirect fire resulting in enemy casualties, placing indubitable hardship on the thirsty defenders.

The structures of the island defenses led us to destroy the enemy in many caves and tunnels by means of flamethrower and/or white phosphorus grenades, direct fire from our 75MM pack howitzers, or pouring gasoline into then dropping explosives down vents. If surviving enemy came out of the entrances, they were immediately cut down. These tactics - despite attempts to capture the enemy alive whenever possible and their determination not to be taken prisoner - made POWs scarce. Akune volunteered for a number of patrols in attempts to obtain more prisoners. Out of the 5,000 enemy we took only 22 prisoners, indicating the savagery of tke battle and the desperate nature of the enemy. It also showed Akune's skills in being able to extract that amount of valuable data from such a small population of enemy captured. One prisoner attacked Akune with such force and tenacity that had had to be shot to save Akune.

In addition to that intelligence used to great benefit by Colonel Jones and his immediate command, the Navy was saved possible serious damage through information that Akune extracted from one of five Imperial Japanese sailors who were taken together. They were initially resistant to questioning so Akune "worked" one, a Korean, against the rest. Akune out from home that there were some 100 motor "Q-boats" concealed around the island. These were on wheeled carriages that allowed them to be kept in deep cover and, when ordered into action, to be launched at the waterline. Each had a large explosive device in the bow to be delonated against Allied ships. In response to this warning, supporting Navy vessels were able to take appropriate defensive measures against these boats and suffered no losses

In summary then, as a direct result of his actions, Specialist Akune provided Colonel Jones' Rock Force with:

  • An accurate and timely estimate of the strength of the enemy garrison;
  • The identification of an important part of the enemy force as Imperial Japanese Marines;
  • The information that the enemy was highly motivated and imbued with the spirit of fanatical resistance to the level of self destruction
  • Knowledge that the enemy command had been deprived of its leader by our bombing at the crucial time of our parachute landing;
  • Information that the enemy communication system had suffered severe damage; and
  • Location of probable worthwhile targets around the few sources of fresh water available to the enemy

In addition, Akune discovered information that alerted the Allied navy to the presence of approximately 100 explosive-laden motor boats that posed a serious threat to our vessels.

By having these essential elements of information about the enemy, the Rock Force commander and his staff were enabled to develop and conduct an operation so effective that it was noted by our corps commander, Major General C. P. Hall, commanding the XI Corps, who wrote in a letter dated 9 March 1945 (enclosed), "Throughout this [Corregidor] operation there was a a most careful and fine execution of the methodical attack he [Colonel Jones] made to clear the island of Nips."

In conclusion, it is these facts upon which General Jones recommends Specialist Akune's induction into the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame for having greatly assisted our forces in shortening the Corregidor campaign and reducing American casualties.

It should also be noted that the rapid neutralization of the enemy garrison on Corregidor opened immediate access for Allied naval ships to Manila, the port essential to the support of our Forces on Luzon.