THE ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS: •Sunday Morning, October 22,"1944
Mac Arthur Keeps His Promise, I Will Return
Here, only a little delayed, is the story of how General Douglas Mac Arthur kept, m person, his promise to return to the Philippines. Representing for this one occasion every American and Australian newspaper, Bill Dickinson gives the story in simple language, without theatrics or purple passages. It is one of the great stories of the war told calmly and without color—a fine example of good reporting at its best.
By WILLIAM B. DICKINSON
United Press War Correspondent
Representing Combined American and Australian Press WITH GEN. DOUGLAS MacARTHUR IN THE PHILIPPINES, Oct. 20.—(UP)—
Fulfilling the pledge he made two and one half years ago. Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines today, coming ashore in brilliant sunshine on the island of Leyte only a few hours behind the assault waves of American forces—the avengers of Bataan and Corregidor.
With him in the barge that carried him ashore from his cruiser, in which he traveled from his New Guinea headquarters., were Filipino President Sergio Osmena and Brig. Gen. Carlos Romulo, resident commissioner of the Philippines.
They were returning to lead their countrymen as soon as the enemy invaders have been driven from the islands.
Lt. Gen. Richard Sutherland, able American chief of 'staff who left the Philippines in the black days of 1942 with MacArthur, and Lt. Gen. George Kenney, the tough, competent commander of the Far East Air Forces, also accompanied the' 64-year old general in the fulfillment of' his solemn vow to return.
Kenney, boss of the Fifth Air Force, directed-the blows which MacArthur himself has said made possible the push to the Philippines.
MacArthur left Corregidor aboard a tiny P-T boat which, scurried from the islands. He returned as the leader of a vast- armada which defied challenge.
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RETURN OF THE WARRIOR
He escaped the Philippines to Australia in a lone Flying Fortress
BATAAN MURDERERS C O R N E R E D ~ ~ "
Talking- informally with me over a chocolate soda—his first since an earlier trip aboard this ship—MacArthur expressed complete confidence
in the success of the Leyte operations.
The Japanese have little more than one division on Leyte the general said and American naval and air power will make it impossible
for them to reinforce the island.
He returned under skies swarming with American planes.
He left the Philippines- with • hardly a dozen men—forced to leave-behind him for death or imprisonment the thousands trapped on Bataan. He returned as-commander of a .force of nearly. 100,000, which will be followed by as many more thousands--as it takes to" rescue the Pearl of the Pacific from her captors;
As a representative of the combined American press, I accompanied Gen. Douglas MacArthur aboard the cruiser Nashville and landed with him. • • •
The voyage from the South Pacific might almost have been a peacetime cruise although two unsuccessful attacks were made on another cruiser. No enemy planes or ships interfered at any time
As we entered Leyte Gulf this morning a destroyer detected a submarine and later dropped several depth charges far off on the horizon. Floating mines were reported at. various times but none anywhere near our ship. At 8:20 a. m. today, the navigator was able to report that no enemy planes: had been sighted.
Soon after dawn, American planes were overhead and from that time on several were almost always within sight.
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SHIPS GET TOGETHER
At the beginning of our voyage; the cruiser and its destroyer escort zigzagged along in- the bright sunlight. At mid-afternoon scores of transport and warship masts rose above the horizon and we rendezvoused several hundred miles from Leyte.
Soon there were, ships on. every side. Miles beyond them was an unbroken stream of aircraft carriers and other warships.
Aboard ship MacArthur was completely relaxed. His plans had been made. There was no further decisions to be taken until his troops were ashore. With him was a skeleton staff and his offices were set up in a cabin.
Incoming reports were tabulated and assembled so that the general was constantly in touch with developments and progress. Even as the hour of landing drew near he was unruffled. He. slept well, ate a hearty breakfast, then went briefly on deck smoking his familiar corn-cob pipe.
After talking with several officers he. returned: to his cabin and lay down. He promptly fell asleep and napped for about an hour. About 15 minutes before the scheduled landing at 10 a. m. the cruiser moved in towards the beach where MacArthur was to land.
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GENERAL ON BRIDGE
Then the general went to the bridge where he stood beside Charles Honey as the ship moved slowly in towards its anchorage.
The roar of the preliminary bombardment -filled the air. We could see shells from the battleships exploding in the hills beyond the prospective beachheads. Thick columns of smoke rose, in the sky. At 9:58 .the bombardment moderated and the first .waves of 'landing craft hit the shore one minute ahead of schedule. The warships lifted their fire and shelled behind the advancing troops. . . . . .
Reports from the landing forces were received almost momentarily. By 10:08 a. m. The report arrived that we were 500 yards inland and advancing, through open country without opposition.
Our ship anchored at about'11:10 and about the same time the first reports of opposition were received. The beaches were hit by some heavy mortar fire.
Our ships got the range on Japanese positions and the bombardment continued at intervals.
Satisfied that everything was going according to schedule, MacArthur went to his cabin for an early luncheon preparatory to going ashore