Serving Marines Visit Historic WWII Battlefield In The Philippines For 75th Anniversary

Surrender of American troops at Corregidor.
Surrender of American troops at Corregidor.

Current members of the 4th Marine Regiment, which fought at Corregidor, Philippines in World War II, visited the island on the 75th anniversary of the famous battle.

On May 6, 1942, the island was overtaken by the Japanese after a fierce fight. It marked the surrender of the entire Philippines to the Japanese. It would not be recaptured by the Allies until 1945.

Under continual bombardment and low on food and water, 800 Marines from the 4th Marine Regiment, along with thousands of US soldiers, sailors, and Filipino scouts, fought to defend the island. The Japanese were able to overcome the US defenses and landed naval landing craft and tanks on the beaches near the Malinta Tunnel which was being used as a command post and medical center to treat thousands of injured troops. The commander of the US and Filipino forces, Lt. General Jonathan Wainwright, made the decision to surrender the Philippines to the Japanese.

Col. Kevin A. Norton, the commanding officer of the 4th Marine Regiment, marked the occasion with a few words. He said the reason they were visiting the island was to honor those that died defending it and to remember an important part of the regiment’s history.

3-inch antiaircraft gun M3 on Corregidor

Marines spent two days exploring the island, crawling through the tunnels and visiting the old defensive positions while learning about the history and heritage of the island.

At noon on May 6th, the sun shines through a hole in the roof of the Pacific War Memorial at Corregidor Island and lands directly on a circular slab. It marks the exact day and time of the surrender.

The Honorable Sung Y. Kim, US Ambassador to the Philippines, honored the men and women who fought to defend the island while celebrating the alliance and friendship of the two countries, Marines reported.

Norton said that, while the Marines that fought at Corregidor didn’t win the battle, their example was an inspiration to those fighting in WWII and it continues to inspire to this day.

The ceremony was part of Kim’s first visit to Corregidor as ambassador. He was grateful for the presence of the 4th Marine Regiment and for their dedication to remembering their history and their commitment to their allies in the Pacific.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE