Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

14 Aug 1945




MacNider is Like Volcano in Luzon War

By Frank Miles
Iowa Daily Herald War Correspondent

With the 158th Regimental Combat Team in Luzon (IDPA) -- There are two active volcanoes in south Luzon. Mt. Mayou is one. Brig. Gen. Hanford MacNider, Mason City, commander of the 158th regimental combat team, is the other. The general is eager to see Iowa but determined to go to Tokyo first.

The general is with his troops every day. In battle his orderly, other GIs and his officers, say that the general is like an infuriated lion. He goes night and day, hour upon hour without sleep. He often exposes himself to everyone's concern. Once when a Formosan prisoner, who was working with him, was hit, he carried the boy to a foxhole then calmly walked through a barrage to the officers, who were under cover.

General MacNider is military Governor of the Philippine provinces of Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. He appoints province governors, judges and executive councilmen and city mayors and chiefs of police.

American troops are billeted outside the communities so that inhabitants can live as normally as possible. Every effort is made to keep their economy from being disturbed.

General MacNider organized a brigade of infantry of the Filipino army, which was equipped with Americans. The Filipino soldiers first names their camp "MacNider." Told it was against our army regulations to use the name of an individual on active duty in war time, they renamed the camp "Cerra Gorda" for the general's home county in Iowa. He promptly had the proper spelling "Cerro Gordo" painted on the signs.

"Filipinos are fine, decent folks," MacNider said. "They are amazingly clean considering the conditions under which they live and the work they do. They are industrious; most of them of them are honest and they are very appreciative of kindness."

There are many schools in the Philippines. I saw scores, some in wrecks of buildings Japs had destroyed.

"The people are eager for education," MacNider declared. "If a full force of American teachers could be sent here to instruct the children for a generation the result would be a new, strong race."

Filipino guerrillas give Americans troops much help. They kill Japs and furnish our officers with valuable information on enemy movements.

MacNider trust Formosans, who were captured fighting for the Japs, because he feels they were forced to. He had 2 doing mess duties for himself and staff and many others working around the headquarters area. He does not trust Jap captives enough to let them go anywhere without heavy guard.

The general is a stickler for "good housekeeping" by his men when they are not in action. Most of the quarters are rough mahogany or bamboo with nepa palm roofs and are comfortable. The general takes interest in the morale and future careers of his soldiers. He personally sees that the army information and education section provides every educational facility available for GIs and that as many are interested in studying as can be reached.

He insists on having good books to be read, up-to-date movies and lots of kitten ball and other sports. The policy on passes is liberal but firm with anyone who abuses his privileges or gets out of bounds. The general writes the next of kin of very many whom he recommends for decoration and quickly contacts loved ones of wounded men.

The Legaspi Port cemetery, where there are 128 graves of his boys, is beautifully kept and the hospital affords treatment on par with those in the United States.

"If there is one thing I want more than anything else it is the hospital," MacNider said. "When a man's hurt or sick too much cannot be done for him."

The 158th team public relations officer publishes a daily mimeographed newspaper with a Sunday supplement that is full of news and drawings. MacNider's 3 sons in service are all in uniform "on their own" by paternal orders. Tom, 19, is in the air forces; Jack, 18, is a marine veteran of Iwo Jima; Angus, 17, is in the navy.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, August 14, 1945

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