With the Japanese closing in General Douglas MacArthur, his family and staff are evacuated from Corregidor
and make their way to Del Monte airfield on Mindanao Island some 600 miles away. The escape was not made
on a glorious battleship or even a cruiser, it was up to four little PT boats of MTB Squadron 3 under the command
John D. Bulkeley. The boats, PT-41 with MacArthur and his family, PT-34, PT-35 and PT-32 under the
command of Lt. (jg) Schumacher. On his boat he had four Brigadier Generals, Spencer Akin, Hugh Casey, William Marquat and Harold George, also on board was Lt. Col. Joe Sherr.
Without escort of heavier units the four PT boats set out on March 11, 1942 to remove the top brass from the
Philippines. In open water, passing through Japanese controlled waters with the ever present threat of air or
underwater attack. Passing through waters that had been mined by the Japanese days earlier the four small
boats made their way to Cuyo Island. The PT-32 was just about worn out, her engines could barley keep pace
with the other boats and once it had made Cuyo it was decided she had had enough.
The passengers were transferred to other boats and the PT-32 and her crew sailed to meet the USS Permit
SS-178. On March 13, 1942 the crew boarded the Permit and the PT-32 was sent to the bottom.
MacArthur and his staff arrived at Mindanao early on Mar. 13, much to his relief as he was terribly seasick for
the entire journey. MacArthur and those with him were safe but those left behind on Bataan would suffer one
of the most horrible fates imaginable.
On Apr. 9, 1942 Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese along with 79,000 troops, about 12,000 Americans, 66,000 Philippino and about 1,000 Chinese. What the Japanese had in store for them is a forced march over
60 miles north to a makeshift POW camp called Camp O'Donnell. The Bataan Death March was a brutal
exercise in inhumanity in which the Philippino's paid the highest price. Between 5,000 and 10,000 died or were
murdered in the callous fashion which the Japanese would become infamous for in the coming years of the war.
Almost 700 Americans also died on the march and many more in the POW camps and in the Hell Ships while
being transported to slave labor camps in other areas under Japanese control. A little over 500 remained at the
camp until January 30, 1945 when they were rescued
by Allied Special Forces in what became known as
The Great Raid.
The man in charge of the prisoners was Lt. Gen.
Masaharu Homma, he was executed for war crimes on
April 3, 1946, thousands suffered and died under his "care", but sadly he could only be executed once.