Ghost Soldiers

Sunday, October 09, 2005
"And still we have faith-----faith in your might
In each bright weapon in the far flung fight
And in the blood of weary men
Who take the coral beaches back again"

--Henry Lee, American prisoner of war.

I just read Hampton Sides's book the Ghost Soldiers .

The book is about the raid by 121 US troops and their Filipino allies on the Japanese Cabanatuan POW camp in the Phillipines on January 28, 1945.

The 513 POWs had been held prisoner by the Japanese Imperial Army since the fall of Bataan in 1942. Many of them had survived the Bataan Death March, which they simply referred to as the hike.

The end of the war was near and the raid had been decided on after the news of the massacre of American POWs at Puerto Princesa Prison Camp, Palawan, Phillipines on December 14, 1944.

There was a very real fear that all the Americans would be slaughtered by their captors if not liberated.

The raid was a daring rescue mission which did succeed in liberating suffering men who had for too long been left to languish in the hands of the enemy.

The stories of Japanese cruelty are balanced by the accounts of the selfless and brave people of the Phillipines who risked their lives along with the American Rangers to save the lives of American strangers.

Then like now we had men and women in the service of our country in harm's way.

Let's not forget them.


Jamie Irons said...


I want to read this book.

You write about the brave men and women fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and eslewhere, Let's not forget them.

To that end, I recommend that everyone who hasn't been following his dispatches read Michael Yon's "The Battle for Mosul IV"

simply the best account of the war I have read anywhere.

David Thomson said...

The Great Raid is the movie version of this heroic rescue mission. Unfortunately, the politically correct MSM film reviewers slimed it. They were irritated by its unabashed pro-Americanism and depiction of the Japanese as cruel war criminals. Captain Bob Prince, the planner of the mission, is still alive.

This movie is another reminder that “red staters” must develop their own film system. Hollywood is controlled by the radical left. The so-called elites have no interest in making films to please the rest of us.

terrye said...


My agency got one of the survivors as a client.

You should have seen his medical history and his scars.

But he was one tough old hombre.

Hated McArthur.

In the book there is a scene in which the local girls dressed up and sang God Bless America. It made the Rangers blink back tears.

David Thomson said...

"Hated McArthur"

Why did he hate McArthur? I was under the delusion that his troops worshipped the ground he walked on.

Knucklehead said...


I believe the troops who served under McArthur prior to, and during, the Japanese invasion of the Phillipines felt quite differently about him than do those who served under him later.

There are those who make a case that he badly botched the preparations and actual defense of the Phillipines. One might imagine that those who were captured there might have some sympathy for that view.