GENERAL MacARTHUR RESCUED FROM THE
BY PT BOATS
MacArthur decides to escape Corregidor by PT boat to Mindanao and fly to Australia from Del Monte on a B-17 Flying Fortress. MacArthur arranges for himself and his family and military entourage of 13 officers, two naval officers and a technical sergeant to travel on four decrepit PT boats of Lt. John Duncan Bulkeley's Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 (MTB Ron 3), based at Bataan. He also ordered three B-17's to fly from Australia to Del Monte airfield on Mindanao.
At dusk on 11 March 1942 General MacArthur on PT 41, and Admiral Rockwell on PT 34, were lead through US minefield and the Japanese defences by PT 41 bound for Mindanao. These PT boats were armed with four .50 calibre machineguns and four torpedo tubes. They finally cleared the minefield by 9.15pm.
|Boat and Captain||Crew Members||Passengers|
Lt. John Duncan Bulkeley
|Ensign George Emerson Cox, Jr.
Chief Torpedoman James Dawson Light (NSN: 3820056)
Chief Pharmacist's Mate John Xavier Balog (NSN: 2070748)
Chief Machinist's Mate Morris W. Hancock (NSN: 2912571)
Machinist's Mate First Class John Lincoln Tuggle (NSN: 2657429)
Chief Quartermaster DeWitt Leslie Glover (NSN: 3758436)
Chief Torpedoman James Dawson Light (NSN: 3820056)
Machinist's Mate First Class John Lawless
Boatswain's Mate First Class John Shambora (NSN: 2432196)
Radioman Second Class Stewart Willever (NSN: 2235302)
Radioman Third Class Harry Preston Tripp (NSN: 2017664)
Chief Machinist's Mate Carl Clay Richardson (NSN: 3559110)
General Tojo" - The cook's pet monkey
|General Douglas MacArthur
Mrs Jean MacArthur
Arthur MacArthur IV
Ah Cheu (Arthur's nurse)
General Richard D. Sutherland (ASN: 0-4623), Chief of Staff
Captain Herbert James Ray (NSN: 0-8639), Chief of Staff for Admiral Rockwell
Lieutenant Colonel Sidney L. Huff, Aide (ASN: 0-8900004)
Major C. H. Morehouse, Medical Officer
Lt. Robert Bolling Kelly (NSN: 0-74949)
|Pharmacist's Mate Third Class
Charles C. Beckner (NSN: 2798920)
Machinist's Mate First Class Paul Earl Eichelberger (NSN: 2432316),
Radioman Second Cass David Goodman (NSN: 2234320)
Boatswain's Mate First Class Jesse Nielson Clark (NSN: 3682626)
Lieutenant, Junior Grade Henry Joseph Brantingham
Chief Torpedoman John Martino (NSN: 2071352)
Quartermaster First Class Albert Parker Ross (NSN: 2015960)
Torpedoman Second Class David Woodson Harris (NSN: 2657299)
Chief Machinist's Mate Velt Franklin Hunter (NSN: 3597561)
Machinist's Mate First Class George Walter Shepard, Jr. (NSN: 3369828)
Frances Warren Rockwell, Commandant, Sixteenth Naval District
General Richard J. Marshall, Deputy Chief of Staff
Colonel Charles P. Stivers, G-1
Captain Joseph McMicking (PA), Assistant G-2
Ensign Anthony B. Akers (NSN: 95640)
Murray (NSN: 0-95808) Executive Officer
Torpedoman First Class John L. Houlihan (NSN: 2124691)
Ship's Cook First Class Francis J. Napolillo, Jr. (NSN: 2580667)
Chief Machinist's Mate Elwood H. Offret (NSN: 3681644)
Officer's Steward Benjamin Licodo (NSN: 4979815)
Quartermaster First Class Otis F. Noel (NSN: 2419049)
Seaman First Class William Harry Johnson (NSN: 2832703)
Baker Second Class Floyd Rego Giaccani (NSN: 3756896)
Chief Machinist's Mate Richard Arthur Regan (NSN: 197572)
|Colonel Charles A. Willoughby, G-2
Lieutenant Colonel Le Grande A. Diller, Aide, (PRO)
Lieutenant Colonel Francis H. Wilson, Aide to General Sutherland
Master Sergeant Paul P. Rogers, Secretary
Lt. (jg) Vincent Edward Schumacher (NSN: 0-81341)
|Ensign Cone H.
Machinist Mate 2/c Herbert Wayne Grizzard (NSN: 2952423)
Radioman Second Class Watson S. Sims (Radioman)
Coxswain Clem Lee Langston (NSN: 2721928)
Torpedoman Second Class Robert B. Burnett (NSN: 3112905)
Carpenter's Mate First Class Joseph Louis Boudolf (NSN: 2618578)
Chief Machinist's Mate Dale Guyot (NSN: 3250021)
Fireman First Class George Francis Bartlett
Chief Commissary Steward Densil C. Stroud (NSN: 2869757)
Seaman First Class Ned M. Cobb (NSN: 3599628)
Machinist's Mate Second Class James Arthur McEvoy, Jr. (NSN: 2015878)
Chief Yeoman John White Clift, Jr. (NSN: 2580230)
Ship's Cook Second Class Harry Grant Keath (NSN: 2434752)
|Brigadier General Spencer B. Akin, Signals
Brigadier General Hugh J. Casey, Engineering Officer
Brigadier General William F. Marquat, AA O
Brigadier General Harold H. George, Air O
Lieutenant Colonel Joe R. Sherr, Assistant Signals Officer
OTHER CREW MEMBERS - Which PT Boat unknown
I believe the following personnel took part in the rescue mission. They each received the Silver Star under General Order No. 43. The records for their Silver Star however did not nominate which PT Boat they were on at the time of the mission.
Chief Machinist's Mate Paul
Boatswain's Mate Second Class Ernest E. Pierson (NSN: 2998215)
Ship's Cook First Class William Henry Posey (NSN: 2622622)
Torpedoman First Class Marvin Henry DeVries
Ensign Iliff David Richardson (possibly PT 34)
Machinist's Mate Second Class Joseph Charles Chalker (possibly PT 35)
Chief Commissary Steward Willard Jay Reynolds (possibly cook on PT 34)
Machinist's Mate First Class John Henry Lewis
Machinist's Mate Second Class George W. Winget
Radioman Third Class William Francis Konko
Machinist's Mate Second Class LeRoy G. Conn (NSN: 2233695)
OTHER POSSIBLE CREW MEMBERS
I could not find a record of the following personnel receiving a Silver Star.
Ensign Chandler (possibly PT 34)
Francis Leo Marion (possibly PT 41)
Arthur Graves (possibly PT 41)
George Moore (possibly PT 41)
MacArthur boarded PT 41 at Corregidor, while PT 32 boarded its passengers at Marivales. Radioman Watson S. Sims told me that the officers who boarded PT 32 did not have an excessive amount of luggage.
The four PT Boats assembled at the turning buoy just outside the mine field at 8:00pm on 11 March 1942. Lt. John Bulkeley lead the the other three boats in single file with PT 34 commanded by Lt. Robert Kelly second in the line of boats. It was not long before they spotted the blockade of Japanese ships in the darkness. Lt. Bulkeley changed course taking the formation of PT Boats to the west and north of the Japanese blockade. The low profile of the PT Boats and the cover of darkness ensured the PT Boats were not seen by the Japanese. The weather worsened and the waves started to tower over the small boats.
By 3:30 a.m. on 12 March 1942, John Bulkeley's four PT boats were separated by the heavy seas. PT 32, commanded by Lt. (j.g.) Vincent Schumacher, was having trouble keeping up with the other three boats. It saw what it thought was an enemy destroyer, and jettisoned the 600 gallon gasoline drums to escape and readied its torpedo tubes. The enemy destroyer turned out to be PT 41. As a result of jettisoning its extra fuel, PT 32 would not now reach Mindanao.
The war weary PT boats staggered into the Cuyo Island hideout. PT 34 commanded by Lt. Robert Kelly arrived first at 9:30 am on 12 March 1942. PT 41 commanded by Lt. Bulkeley arrived at approximately 4:00 pm on 12 March 1942.
PT 32 was low on gasoline and it engines were unserviceable. Another boat, PT 35 was also unserviceable with fouled gasoline strainers. The passengers were divided between two PT boats, PT 34 and PT 41.
After the General MacArthur's staff were transferred from PT 32, Lt. (jg) V.E. Schumacher and his crew were picked up by the submarine USS Permit, which eventually took them to Fremantle. They intentionally destroyed PT 32 during the rendezvous, to prevent the Japanese from capturing it.
The Submarine Patrol Report for USS Permit has the following entry:-
TWENTIETH DAY - March 13, 1942
Enroute rendezvous in accordance with orders of COM-16. 0200 Commenced circling TAGAUAYAN ISLAND looking for expected signals. 0450 Sighted motor torpedo boat; closed and identified as PT-32. Received message from Commanding Officer, PT-32 to "remain in vicinity TAGAUAYAN ISLAND for 48 hours". Commanding Officer PT-32 reported he was obliged to abandon his ship due to lack of fuel and poor engines. 0500 Received entire complement of USS PT-32 on board; 2 officers and 13 men, food and navigational equipment. 0505 Destroyed PT-32 by gunfire, using 11 rounds 3"/50. 0520 Dived. 1815 Set clocks ahead one-half hour to Zone Minus Eight time. 1905 Surfaced. Received instructions from COM-16 to proceed to rendezvous off CORREGIDOR.
By the time the PT Boats reached Cuyo Island MacArthur and his son were both soaked and very seasick. Jean MacArthur put on a brave face.
The escape plan was behind schedule. They were originally meant to move on from Cuyo Island in the dark. MacArthur ordered Bulkeley to depart Cuyo Island at 2:30 p.m. They risked a possible daylight encounter with the Japanese Navy. PT 35 commanded by Ensign Akers arrived at Cuyo Island two hours after the other boats departed.
The PT boats were in the open sea by 3:30pm. Within 15 minutes they spotted the Japanese heavy cruiser Ashigara. It carried eight-inch guns and Long Lance torpedoes and could travel at 35 knots. By then, PT 41 was only capable of 18 knots.
Photo:- US Navy via Robert Hurst
PT 32 at speed on her initial trials
They took evasive action and were never seen by the Japanese. As they approached Negros Island that evening, Japanese artillerymen hear the PT boats engine noises, and thought they could hear American aircraft. They fire their artillery and light up the sky with flak tracer shells. The PT boats have another lucky escape.
By now General MacArthur is extremely sea sick in the lower cockpit of PT 41. His wife Jean comforts him by rubbing his hands.
At 6:30 am on 13 March 1942, PT 34 sights Cagayan Point on Mindanao Island. They had spent 35 hours travelling through 560 miles of Japanese waters. John D. Bulkeley, who had commanded his boat continuously for those 35 hours, arrived at Del Monte precisely on time.
General Douglas MacArthur stood on the prow of his PT Boat shaking the salt water from his braided cap. He flipped it back on at a jaunty angle, and helped his wife ashore at approximately 7:00 am on Friday 13 March 1942. MacArthur was most appreciative of the crews of the PT Boats and he told their commander:-
"Bulkeley, I'm giving every officer and man here the Silver Star for gallantry. You've taken me out of the jaws of death, and I won't forget it."
He then apparently proceeded to ask Col. William Morse where he could relieve himself!
Brigadier General William F. Sharp, the commander of the Visayan Mindanao Force greeted General Douglas MacArthur and his weary party when they arrived.
A book and a movie called "They Were Expendable" was made about their amazing escape. Bulkeley became quite famous after this. After commanding some PT Boats in the Mediterranean, he eventually rose to the rank of Admiral. He died in 1996 and was buried at Arlington with full military honors.
On 15 March 1942, while they waited for the B-17's to rescue them, MacArthur's aide, Sid Huff, takes Jean MacArthur's mattress off PT 41. This event lead to a wild story that the mattress was supposedly full of gold bars. It was only full of feathers.
NOTE:- 1. USS Permit - With the crew of PT 32 on board, USS Permit was severely overloaded with passengers. After picking up the crew of PT-32, USS Permit headed to Corregidor. It moored alongside USMT Ranger off Mariveles at 2335 hrs on 15 March 1942 where it received three torpedoes and other ammunition. They took on board 8 officer and 32 men, a group of code breakers who were capable of translating intercepted Japanese military communications. These code breakers apparently knew beforehand, the position of the Japanese destroyers that depth-charged the USS Permit a few days later, but did not tell the captain of USS Permit for fear that his taking another route to avoid them would reveal that the US had broken the Japanese code. 8 out of the 15 men from PT 32 left USS Permit for Corregidor. This may have been to make more room for the code breakers. USS Permit departed at 0345 hrs on 16 March 1942.
2. Bill Glenn of Ingalls Shipbuilding Public Relations, advised me on 28 April 2000 that Ingalls Shipbuilding was christening an Aegis guided missile destroyer named Bulkeley, after John Duncan Bulkeley in June 2000.
3. Vice Admiral John Duncan Bulkeley passed away in his sleep from Cardiac Arrest on 8 April 1996. He was buried with full honours in Arlington National Cemetery.
4. Watson order told me that he received his Silver Star and Bronze Star decorations aboard USS Holland in Albany, WA, in April 1942. After arriving in Fremantle/Perth in April 1942, Watson Sims was sent to Albany for Rest and Recreation. Watson told me that he hired a horse and went riding in nearby woods, and then spent two memorable months on shore patrol (Military Police) in Albany, which he found wonderfully welcoming and fondly remembered. In August 1942, Watson Sims was shipped out on the Submarine USS Sailfish. Watson Sims on 6 July 2012 in Asheville, NC, USA.
Silver Star Citation for Watson Sims
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star (Army Award) to Radioman Second Class Watson S. Sims, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving with Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron THREE (MTB-3), from 11 to 13 March 1942, in the Philippine Islands during a extraordinary action in a retrograde maneuver involving General Douglas MacArthur. With marked skill and coolness, Radioman Second Class Sims performed this mission of major strategic importance and of a most hazardous nature in the face of greatly superior enemy forces. His conduct throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Military Forces of the United States.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, General Order No. 43 (March 15, 1942) & Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 306 (September 1942)
5. Lt John Bulkeley's Silver Star Citation shows him as Commanding Officer of PT 34 rather than PT 41. The Silver Start Citation for Lt Robert Kelly also shows him as the Commanding Officer of PT 34.
6. I was contacted by John Floyd, the son-in-law of Charles C. Beckner, who was the starboard twin-50 gunner on PT 34 of MTB RON 3. He was previously a corpsman assigned to VP 10, a PBY wing. After the wing was largely destroyed, he found himself with no unit, helping in the hospital on Corregidor. He managed to talk his way onto boat PT 34, more because of his qualifications on the twin 50s than his medic skills. He later island hopped with the 3rd/1st Marines and went on with them to the repatriation of China. The evacuation of MacArthur earned him the first of two silver stars.
John Floyd is writing a book about Charles, mainly from his arrival at the Canacao USN hospital on Nov 5 1940 through his escape from the Philippines in April 1942 when Edgar Neil field reassigned him to VP 10 as the last Philippine evacuation flight of 2 PBYs, Operation Gridiron, came through Lake Lanao on Mindanao.
I'd like to thank the late Bill Bentson for his assistance with this home page.
I'd also like to thank John Schumacher, son of Lt. (jg) V.E. Schumacher (PT 32), for his assistance.
I'd like to thank Michael Hallinan, Watson Sims and Pat Rogers (Ron 9, Ron 4, AGP3) for his assistance with this web page.
I'd also like to thank C.D. "Don" Akers, nephew of Ensign Anthony B. Akers the commanding officer of PT 35.
I'd like to thank Eugene Eisenberg for his assistance with this web page. He contacted me on 4 August 2012 to advise that David Goodman the youngest crew member on PT 34 was still alive in Florida.
I'd like to thank Ed Boudolf for his assistance with this web page. Ed is the nephew of the late Joe Boudolf who served on PT-32. Joe became a prisoner of war. Joe passed away in about 2008.
Were you amongst the crew of
the four PT Boats
that rescued MacArthur and his party?
Or are you related to one of the crew members?
If you are, I'd love to hear from you.
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 01 August 1999
This page last updated 07 May 2016