was in Company B of
The 37th Division
They landed 9 January 1945
in Lingayen Gulf
The map at right displays where the 262,000 Japanese were entrenched to protect their holdings. The U. S. priority was Manila, to rescue the prisoners, military and civilian. This 1st drive did not involve mountains, just jungle and crop fields covered with water. By the 17th they had driven about 25 miles south.
Sam no more remembers getting off the ship. They were moved just like a bunch of cattle. They landed and dug in. Sam's partner was killed right beside him the very 1st day, by a sniper.
Sam also does not remember fighting in the city of Manila, maybe he didn't. Many times his company was kept in reserve.
His memories, filled with anguish, moving north to Baguio where he had many, many patrols for many months, even after the war was over. ..He was so far in the field that food was not getting to them. If there were good rations, the guys back at the main camp would consume it first.
Sam has repeatedly said, all he wanted was to go home and
now he will never leave main land U.S. of A. again.
He now supports all our troops, the American Legion, and the VFW.
LST-614 (far left). LST-667 (center), and LST-555 (far right), unload at Lingayen Gulf,
It was about 150 miles from the beaches at Lingayen Gulf to the outskirts of our principal target, Manila. The Japanese were retreating as fast as they could, and the 37th was running after them, as fast as their legs, jeeps and trucks could keep up. There were isolated incidents where, more by accident than design, the Japanese flight got caught between irregularly advancing American troops. These sporadic clashes slowed us down for a day, now and then, but the results were the same.
4 Feb. 45 37th Infantry Division's units had entered the cityFollowing the Manila campaign, the regiment reorganized and re- equipped in Manila and, on 7 April 1945 received orders to move to Naguilian to join in the attack on Baguio, the Philippine summer capital and one of the remaining Japanese strong points on Luzon. The Regimental Command Post opened at the base camp at Naguilian Air Strip on 9 April 1945. See: http://www.frankel-y.com/tape016.htm
Read about Cold Beer: http://www.frankel-y.com/tape012.htm
The final race for Baguio was staged by the 37th and 33rd Divisions. The 37th Division, supporting the 33rd on the left flank, reached the cemetery at the edge of Baguio's city limits and a bitter struggle took place. Baguio was heavily bombed before 'the troops moved in. The Regiment approached from the vicinity of Monastery Hill and Observatory Hill and the once beautiful city was a mass of rubble. The remaining Japs, including their commander General Yamoshita, had fled northward to the vicinity of Bontoc. In Baguio, the Regiment set up camp and some of the units moved farther to the North.
Two Navy Veterans toured the Baguio area in 1957
Joe Cantrell and Russell Deroos
The Luzon Campaign was a tribute to the men of the Regiment. At one time the front extended for 64 miles and the entire campaign was fought over the most difficult terrain that troops anywhere ever fought over. The record of low casualties suffered by the Regiment is also a tribute to the leadership and the training of the men.
Heroes during this campaign were too numerous to cite individually. A great many men were awarded medals and many commendations were received. The supporting troops, including medical units, engineers and artillery all effectively combined into a smooth working organization which utilized its every weapon to achieve a brilliant campaign record. Sam was awarded the BRONZE STAR.
In a telephone conversation with Sam on July 25, 2012, (1 of many) this history author [Vern] asked Sam if he remembered the helicopters being used to evacuate the wounded away from the front lines in June of 45. His answer was "Oh yes, several times!". Sam's memories, as always, revert to that of the paragraph below. To visualize seeing the helicopters, think of the copters landing in the TV show "MASH".
With the end of the Luzon Campaign, quotas for return to the states were increasing and with the cessation of hostilities the Regiment rapidly began to lose its veterans. This was especially true for Sam Morehead. He had joined the Army much later and was required to stay in Luzon until August of 1946. Because he could type, he was able to serve in the office at San Fernando for several months. At the same time he was chosen, he met Roy Kee of Fennville. Roy and Sam became good friends and to choose where they would meet up again back in the U.S.; they flipped a coin and Fennville became the meeting place. Sam loved the community which became his families home for the rest of his life.
It wasn't typing that Sam taught at Fennville High; It was Math and Coaching sports. It was the Algebra, Trigonometry and Baseball that Vern was taught by Sam, that led him to a life success as a Telecommunications Design Engineer.