V-E Day in the Philippines
5/8/15 (V-E Day). The world was celebrating Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) on May 8, 1945, but the troops of the 43rd Infantry Division had just begun an attack on Ipo Dam in the Philippines, still held by the Japanese. It was a critical water supply for Manila. On May 13, the rains began and on May 17 the Dam was captured. It was the final major campaign for the division.
A month later, my father Wilber, an artillery battalion commander, wrote about keeping the artillery functioning during the heavy rains; getting ammunition to the guns and maintaining communications were both critical and difficult:
“At one time (3 days) I had 25% of my men repairing and relaying wire. One of my men came up to me with tears in his eyes and his voice so broken he could hardly speak. He was about to drop with fatigue. (I didn’t feel too peppy either.) It was pouring rain. He said, “Col[onel]. I’ve repaired the lines here seven times this morning and that dozer driver tore it out seven times. I asked him and told him to stop and he just said, ‘To Hell with your wire, I have to build a road.’ and went ahead thru my wire again.” I know he expected me to go right over and shoot the dozer driver but all I could do was explain that he too was having trouble and had an important job too. I tried to let him see I knew just how hard he was trying to keep his lines in and how I thought he was doing a grand job, patted him on the back and went sloshing up the next hill. One feels pretty humble about commanding the American G.I.”