Daily Event for February 26, 2013

During a daylight patrol in Manila Bay on February 26, 1945 USS PT-358 and USS PT-361 located a small whale boat in a cove near Restinga Point. The boat was destroyed and the two PTs moved on. It was later thought that the boat belonged to locals as there were no Japanese troops in the area. Continuing to patrol they decided to check out El Fraile.

El Fraile, also known as Fort Drum or the concrete battleship, is a small island at the entrance to Manila Bay. The fort was built by the U.S. Navy in the 1910s and armed with four 14" guns in twin turrets giving the island the appearance of a battleship. Additional 6" guns in casemates and 3" mobile anti-aircraft guns were also mounted.

Fort Drum surrendered to the Japanese on May 6, 1942 and the emplacement was occupied until 1945 when the Japanese were burned out of the fortress, the fire killed all the Japanese and destroyed the fort, which was not rebuilt.

The two PT boats pulled alongside the northeast side and seven men were put ashore. They moved through a passageway and into the center of the fortress searching for signs of the enemy. At 1640 hours the hidden enemy opened fire of the men.

Executive Officer of PT-358 and an Intelligence officer of Task Group 70.1 were hit in the fire fight. The "boarding party" immediately withdrew toward PT-361 taking the wounded men with them. Suppressing fire was directed toward toward the passageway to keep the Japanese from approaching and the boat withdrew.

Both wounded men were transferred to USS LST-667, which was in use as a hospital ship, but the Exec's wounds were too great and he passed away at 2100 hours.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of
Lieutenant (j.g.) J. Franklin Lane, Jr., U.S.N.R.
who lost his life in USS PT-358
"As long as we embrace him in our memory, his spirit will always be with us"
USS New Jersey BB-62 passing Fort Drum, Corregidor is seen in the background.

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