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Thread: Battling Bastards of Bataan

  1. #1
    Military Professional vaughn's Avatar
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    06 Jan 06

    Battling Bastards of Bataan

    Another tale by a Japanese POW Otto Whittington from the Prodigy Vets BB -
    31st U.S. Infantry Regiment
    America's Foreign Legion
    "Battling Bastards of Bataan"
    (The name Battling Bastards of Bataan was given the 31st U.S. Infantry by Life magazine in 1942. At which time they, together with American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers" in China, were the only American units engaged in combat with the Japanese.)
    In the history of the U.S. military no group before has ever had to fight such a large force with no hope or expectation of reinforcements or supplies. At the beginning the professional soldiers knew we were to hold the enemy regardless of his size and strength without any hope of receiving help. In history many times troops have been cut off or surrounded but they always had the mental support that help and reinforcements were coming, although sometimes it did not arrive in time. In the old days when surrounded by hostiles the troops took encouragement from listening for the bugle in the distance announcing the cavalry was coming. The morale and strength of knowing enforcements, replacements, arms, and air support were on the way supported the courageous men in the battles of Europe and the Pacific. Also, knowing that naval support would stop the reinforcement of the enemy. The men of Bataan did not have this morale support but instead knew they fought completely alone and when arms were burned out and ammo gone would have to fight Japanese guns with nothing but bayonets and bolos. The 3rd Battalion of the 31st Infantry was so decimated on Mount Samat that in regrouping there were not sufficient men left in the four companies M, I ,L ,& K (the Milk Battalion) to form one single company. Colonial Brady our CO said we would be designated the 3rd Battalion Company. M Company, heavy weapons company, had all machine guns burned up from firing or destroyed by mortars and shells. Many of the men had no rifles; we were supplying ourselves with guns and ammo from the dead. There were no ammunition carriers to supply us. Most of the men on the last line were hospital cases with dysentery, malaria, and starvation, too weak to raise a rifle. We knew there would be no bugle blowing in the distance or air and navy to hold back additional Japanese troops pouring into the Philippines. There was no help even planning on coming to our aid. WE stood completely alone in the world.
    I'm a hungry man from old Bataan,
    with nothing in the pot.
    Just a lonely soldier,
    my nation has forgot.
    We fought our fight,
    and made our stand,
    without a helping hand,
    This bunch of hungry, ragged soldiers
    The Bastards of Bataan.
    Otto Whittington
    K Company 31st U S Infantry
    USS LCI (L) & (G) 450
    WW ll Gator Navy

  2. #2
    Staff Emeritus
    Join Date
    03 Aug 03
    I met a lot of those old fellas back in the 80s when the Old man flew them out to our unit.

    4/31 Infantry, GO POLAR BEARS!

  3. #3
    Global Moderator
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    TopHatter's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Sep 03
    Quote Originally Posted by vaughn
    The Bastards of Bataan.
    Otto Whittington
    K Company 31st U S Infantry
    I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I first read those words:

    "We're the battlin' bastards of Bataan..."
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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