For the second straight year, we were honored to help host the Richard (Dick) Adams Family here on Corregidor. You may recall that Dick was a member of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team, which began the liberation of Corregidor on February 16, 1945. As of now Dick is the last WW II veteran and last liberator associated with Corregidor to return here. The last defenders (1941-1942) were Everett Reamer and Chuck Towne, who returned in January 2006. The oldest returning veteran so far has been Oscar Leonard, who served on the island before the war. He also holds the record for the oldest veteran (and possibly oldest, period) to climb Malinta Hill, at the age of 91 years, 11 months, and 12 days. Dick is a mere 89 and a half.
Last year Dick and Nancy’s daughter, Kim, was not able to come with them, but this year she joined them and her younger sister, Alyson, currently on leave from the U.S. Air Force. Corregidor Foundation Inc. Executive Director, Colonel Artemio Matibag, arranged for a wreath-laying ceremony on their first day here. This was held at Topside at the 503rd Marker, which is adjacent to Topside Parade Grounds. Alyson donned her USAF uniform, and Dick, who until arrival did not know that the family had secretly brought it for the occasion, donned his U.S. Army uniform that shows his rank – six stripes – after years of continued service.
Although Dick does not see himself as a hero or even anyone special but as just another soldier who did his duty, he looked great in uniform, and later said he appreciated the special attention that the island visitors bestowed upon him. Dick took the time to talk to some of the interested guests, as well as go into the museum, which features a photo of MacArthur riding in a jeep with Dick amidst a group of men in the background.
Joining us for part or all of the Adams’ stay were friends John Moffitt, Paul Whitman, Karl Welteke, and Peter Parsons. At any given time, we were all available to assist them in seeing the island. We also joined them for lunches and dinners at MacArthur’s Café, and extend sincere thanks to Edit and Orly for their help with providing vegetarian meals for Kim – and all of us – to enjoy. Overnight and breakfast accommodations for Dick and family were at the Corregidor Inn, with many thanks to staff and management.
One of the highlights was a trip up Malinta Hill, where Dick was positioned on sentry duty with about six other soldiers when thousands of Japanese died in the tunnel beneath the hill in a massive suicide explosion. At the top is an observation post/gun position, which interestingly has camouflage under the roof but not on top, indicating that when the installations on Corregidor were designed and installed, aerial warfare was not considered as a risk, only attacks from the water below. We include a photo of John and Peter taken there.
On their last full day on Corregidor, Steve drove the family to Topside where they spent several hours by themselves, looking at places that Dick remembers from his time on the Rock. Later in the day, we took them for a drive, since Kim had still not been to some of the important sites. We drove around Tailside, taking in the vistas at the beach resort and Kindley Field. We finished up with Topside, overlooking the hillside where Dick landed, short of his golf course landing zone, on February 16, 1945. Finally, we watched a beautiful sunset from Battery Grubbs.
On Monday, after four days here, we bid adieu to the Adams family at the North Dock. They were planning to spend another three days touring historic spots and staying at beach resorts in Bagac and Subic Bay before flying back home to Michigan. For the past few months, Sun Cruises has been offering its guests ferry service to Mariveles, Bataan, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It departs soon after the delivering the Day Tour guests on Corregidor at approximately 9:30. Dick, Nancy, Kim and Alyson took advantage of this new feature. The boat returns from Mariveles to Corregidor at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, boards the day-tourists, and heads back to Manila. So, we want you to know that if it is more convenient for you to come to the island from Bataan, and you plan to spend at least one night on Corregidor – highly recommended – we encourage you to check out this new option from Sun Cruises.
Because the Adams family members – except for Kim – were here last January, much of what we could have written regarding this visit would have been repetitious, so we encourage you to visit our website, steveandmarciaontherock.blogspot.com and read the relevant newsletter from January 2011.
For the past week or so, crews for “The Bourne Legacy” have been filming in Manila. We heard that certain streets are closed to traffic to facilitate the filming, and that the normally heavy traffic in these areas is even worse as a result. Later, other locales in the Philippines will be used for film locations. We will find it very interesting to watch the completed movie and look for spots we recognize. We certainly hope that the Philippines gets repaid in positive publicity for the hassles that it is undergoing in order to comply with the filmmaker’s wishes.
The basketball tournament will resume soon. We had to postpone games over Christmas and New Years. Vacations for key individuals delayed it further. We are hoping to wrap it up this month.
Steve and Marcia on the Rock