We are fast approaching our seventh and final Christmas and New Years here on "the Rock," and we decided to share a few of our favorite memories from 2014.
Chris Hill, former United States Ambassador to Macedonia, Poland, Korea, and Iraq, with wife Julie at the MacArthur statue at Bottomside, Corregidor
Our Ex-Pat friend Lee Bumgarner and his friend, Andrew Barber, who was visiting from Kuala Lumpur, with us at Battery Way
United States Chief of Navel Operations, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert and wife Darleen, Cine Corregidor in background
One of the hundreds of pictures Marcia took of "our" white-bellied sea eagles, who nested and reared two babies on the island earlier this year
The April "Valor Tours Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Tour" group at the traditional starting point of the Death March, Mariveles, Bataan
Fred, Carol, Marion, and Liz with Assistant Superintendent Bert Caloud at the American Cemetery in Manila. Using DNA from the closest relatives, the family is currently in the process of determining whether or not this is the final resting place of Marion's brother, Karl Loesche, who died at the Cabanatuan POW camp and had been buried in a mass grave before being moved to Manila and put into a "Known but to God" grave. Liz and Carol are nieces of Karl and Marion.
Having lunch with United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg at the Corregidor Inn swimming pool deck
Ruel Cubid (the big guy) and family in front of Malinta Tunnel. We met Ruel on an overseas flight and encouraged him then to visit us and see Corregidor. As you can see, and much to our delight, he did!
We asked our readers whom Jose, seen here at MacArthur Cafe, resembles. Several correctly guessed Andy Kaufman.
An American veteran who fought during the liberation of the Philippines in 1945 (but not Corregidor itself), Leon Cooper, visited with a film crew documenting his experiences and impressions as he revisited the islands.
This young boy has a t-shirt proclaiming him "World's Best Mom"
One of our most entertaining visitors ever, "Lady Violet" has worn her hair shaded purple, and worn only purple clothing, since the Cory Aquino days. (She used to be "Lady Yellow" but she changed when Mrs. Aquino cornered the trademark on yellow.)
Ambassador Goldberg talking to Sally Moege (father killed during fighting on Leyte), Leyte Landing veterans Bub Simmons and Dwain Bell, and Steve, following the 70th Anniversary
Ceremony commemorating MacArthur's Return to the Philippines, the highlight event of our October excursion with Valor Tours.
This picture was not taken on Corregidor; it was sent to us from the United States. On the left is Walter Straka, the last Bataan Death March survivor of Brainerd, Minnesota's 194th Tank Battalion, A Company. Wearing the Corregidor t-shirt is our friend Wally McKay, whose sister Hortense served as a U.S. Army nurse on Bataan and Corregidor. Wally is also a WW II U.S. Navy veteran, as well as being a veteran of Valor Tours.
Okay, this picture isn't from Corregidor, either, but we just had to include this handsome couple, Marlene and "Geezer" Jack Duncan. They were with us and Valor Tours in 2009 for the 65th anniversary of the Leyte Landing and have kept in touch ever since. Jack served in the Navy Seals for about 500 years (including WWII, of course) and the couple are retired in Arizona. As you can see, they are lots of fun!
God Bless all of our American and Filipino veterans, living and dead, and all who love them.
A Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2015!
Steve and Marcia on the Rock