Mt. Pleasant News

Mt. Pleasant, IA

06 Aug 1945




Miles Describes Savagery of Japs

By Frank Miles
(Iowa Daily Press War Corespondent)

Manila, P.I., August 6 -- (IDPA) -- How a Japanese officer ruthlessly slashed a severely wounded and helpless American to death before he was slain by a Yank sergeant was described to me by a GI on the spot where the murder occurred.

About 30 Americans were moving in a Luzon jungle when they suddenly were attacked by a larger Nipponese force. An American lieutenant fought bravely until he was hit in both legs by an enemy grenade burst. He then started to drag himself back to an aid station. As he halted to rest a Jap assassin with a shout leaped from a clump of brush and attacked him with a knife. The youth was too weak to defend himself and sunk down to die just as the sergeant rushed up and fired a stream of steel into the Nip's body.

"I could tell you of many other things like that those devils have done to us but that will give you the idea of the kind of beasts we are fighting" said the GI. "The Japs are tough and so is the climate out here for us."

While we were talking a pair of interesting figures approached. They were short, coal black, kinky-haired Negrite men clad in loin covering birch bark belts. They carried bows longer than they were tall and arrows with sharp, notched, twisted tips. Had they not been grinning my insides would have been full of feathers.

"Want to buy him?" one said extending his two-part weapon toward us.

""How much?" asked the GI.

The Negrite held up his left hand and opened and closed it six times.

"Thirty pesos -- fifteen dollars?" said the GI.

The Negrite nodded.

"Too much and I don't want it anyhow," he said. "Do you?" turning to me.

I shook my head.

"Okay fellah," from the Negrite. He and his partner grinned as cheerfully as they had made the sale.

"I'm glad they didn't get mad," I said.

"They wouldn't," replied the soldier. "These guys are our friends. They shoot those arrows at the Japs and sometimes they put poison on the points that really is poison. They're little but they sure are powerful. Why, that bow they use would be too stiff for either one of us to draw without long practice."

I came to this historic, picturesque city from China. Manila was battered badly by the Japanese bombs and suffered from shelling and street fighting when American troops retook it in February.

The day I left China I was introduced to Lt. Col. Donald MacKay, Cedar Rapids, an assistant staff officer of the 14th air force. He had been on active duty in the the army four and a half years of which 22 months was overseas as a combat observer.

On my trip I ran across Lt. John Owen, Fort Dodge; Sgt. Conrad Johnson, Aurelia; Cpl. Marwood N. Spencer, Mason City and Lt. Frank Duggan, Sioux City. Spencer said a buddy, Staff Sgt. Francis Atkins, Cedar Rapids, had gone home on points.

One morning at the airport I saw wounded and sick men being moved on stretchers from ambulances to a C-54 on which they were to be taken to a general hospital.

"Hope I enjoy my first plane ride," a youngster, who despite a leg and arm in casts, smiled easily and had a huge native straw hat lying on his stomach.

Later in an L-5 I was flown over jungles close enough for me although in India I had walked with a guide some distance into one.

"Every once in a while one of our planes goes down in these trees and vines and is never found," my pilot informed.

There is no parachute aboard and one would have been a little or no use anyhow. War in many respects is the same wherever it's fought but there's vast difference between the forms of fighting here and as it was in the European theater.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, August 6, 1945

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