Hi, all. My name is Patricia Murphy Minch. My dad was at Camp John Hay (Baguio) in North Luzon when, ten hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed in Hawaii, 18 Japanese bombers swooped in and dropped 120 "eggs" on this small outpost, killing nearly two dozen and wounding many more. The same morning, another wave of enemy bombers attacked Clark Field, halfway between Baguio and Manila, destroying most of the allied planes there. Three days later, the Japanese swarmed ashore at Lingayen Gulf, just 25 miles down the mountain from Baguio, bringing 43,000 fully-armed soldiers and a full complement of war machinery, bent on destroying the American defenders and subjugating the people of the Philippines. Two weeks of confusion followed, with garbled orders and mixed messages coming from General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in Manila. "Stay put and don't worry." Then hordes of enemy soldiers started up the mountain, blocking the direct route to the Bataan Peninsula, where the Allied defenders were to consolidate and hold off the enemy. What to do? Finally, the orders came: "SAVE YOUR COMMAND. USE MOUNTAIN TRAILS." The Baguio contingent headed east over the high peaks of the Cordillera Central. Some made it to Bataan. A few didn't. What followed were several months of hard fighting on Bataan and Corregidor, with no air support, no reinforcements, no resupplies, and precious little food. Bataan was ordered to surrender on April 9th, and Corregidor followed on May 6th, the worst defeat in American history.
My dad was among the few who never reached Bataan. Instead, he retreated back up into the high mountains north of Baguio. He never surrendered, was never captured, never wounded. He and a handful of others organized a 22,500-man guerrilla army: United States Army Forces in the Philippines, North Luzon (USAFIP-NL).
Twenty-three years after my dad's death in 1982, I inherited a cache of hundreds of letters, documents and artifacts dating back to the war years in North Luzon. In addition to my father's own letters, included are a samurai sword and Nambu pistol taken from a surrendered Japanese officer toward the end of the war, an Igorot headaxe, Bowie knife and smaller American-made utility knife, old Manila newspapers dated 1942-1944, copies of numerous documents to and from General MacArthur, etc., etc. Attached is a copy of my dad on a mountain-climbing adventure near Baguio only a week before the outbreak of the war.