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5-048 To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, March 1, 1945

1945
   
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 1, 1945

Subject: World War II


To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

March 1, 1945 Radio No. WAR-45662. Washington, D.C.

Secret

Personal for MacArthur from Marshall.

With the reoccupation of Corregidor and the opening of Manila Bay I tender my congratulations on the virtual culmination of a flawless campaign. From this distance it appears that the air, ground and naval forces joined in perfectly concerted and devastatingly powerful action to redeem our pledge to the loyal and long suffering people of the Philippines.1

To the forces who liberated the U.S. prisoners and internees, to the troops who rushed and reoccupied Manila and to the gallant and skilful band who reconquered Corregidor I send my heartfelt thanks, and the same to Krueger, Kenney and Kinkaid and all the leaders who have pushed this initial campaign through to its victorious conclusion.2

I hope the heavy fighting on the Antipolo-Montalban line and in the mountains to the north can be carried out with a maximum of Japanese casualties and a minimum of ours. I was distressed to learn that Mudge had been wounded. I hope not seriously.3

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-45662, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Allied planes began preinvasion bombardment of Corregidor on January 22, 1945. After heavy air and naval bombardment, on February 16 the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team staged at Mindoro landed on Corregidor, followed soon after by beach landings of the reinforced Third Battalion, Thirty-fourth Infantry Regiment, Twenty-fourth Division, from Mariveles, Bataan. The assault troops established a beachhead without serious difficulty, and after ten days of heavy fighting, Rock Force concluded operations on February 26, except for mopping up. On March 2 General MacArthur returned to Corregidor, nearly three years after his departure, for a flag-raising ceremony. (Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, pp. 335-50.)

2. On January 30, 1945, a rescue force composed of Rangers and Alamo Scouts successfully liberated 512 American prisoners of war from a stockade at Pangatian, near Cabanatuan. (Walter Krueger, From Down Under to Nippon: The Story of Sixth Army in World War II [Washington: Zenger Publishing Company, 1953], pp. 237-39.) In early February the First Cavalry Division liberated about 3,700 Allied internees held at Santo Tomas University campus in Manila.

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger was commanding general of Sixth Army; he was promoted to general on March 5, 1945. For Krueger’s account of opening the entrance to Manila Bay, see From Down Under to Nippon, pp. 262-70. Lieutenant General George C. Kenney had commanded the Southwest Pacific Allied Air Forces since June 1944; he was promoted to general on March 9, 1945, and served as commander of Allied Air Forces Pacific until the end of the war. For General Kenney’s account of the battle on Luzon from Lingayen to Manila during the first two months of 1945, see George C. Kenney, General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949), pp. 507-25. Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid had commanded Allied naval forces in the Southwest Pacific Area since November 1943. General Marshall had praised Kinkaid to General MacArthur as “energetic, loyal and filled with desires to get ahead with your operations. I think he is the best Naval bet for your purpose.” (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-147 [4: 169].)

For information regarding the recapture of Manila, see Memorandum for the President, February 5, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-033 [5: 47-48].

3. The First Cavalry Division and Sixth Division launched an attack against the Antipolo-Montalban line the last week of February. Major General Verne D. Mudge (U.S.M.A., 1920), commander of the First Cavalry Division, was seriously wounded on February 28, 1945, and Brigadier General Hugh F. T. Hoffman (U.S.M.A., 1919) assumed command of the division. For further information regarding the southern sector of the enemy’s Shimbu Line, extending from Antipolo to Montalban, see Krueger, From Down Under to Nippon, pp. 253, 273-78.

“Deepest thanks from all ranks for your generous message,” General MacArthur replied on March 3. “Nothing pleases us so much as your praise.” General Mudge was badly wounded from a hand grenade burst that injured his kidney and liver. (MacArthur to Marshall, March 3, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 65-66.

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