The Battle of Leyte Gulf – Part 5

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A boat on a body of water

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Gambier Bay and her escorts laying a smoke screen early in the battle.
Photo Credit – U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation

Kurita emerged unopposed from San Bernardino Strait and was racing southward heading for Leyte Gulf. At daybreak on Oct. 25, American carriers were sighted on the horizon. Kurita thought he had caught Halsey’s fast carriers with most of their planes down. In fact, Halsey was 300 miles to the north and his planes were taking off to attack Ozawa’s Northern Force. Ozawa radioed Kurita that he was under attack but Kurita never received the message.

What Kurita had come upon was Rear Admiral Clifton A.F. Sprague’s Taffy 3, one of three groups of escort carriers from Kinkaid’s Seventh Fleet assigned to provide air cover and antisubmarine patrol for the Leyte landings, not to attack enemy warships.

When one of his pilots reported seeing enemy forces closing in…

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A Grateful Daughter’s Tribute To Her Mom – Love and Remembrance

Mom's House 4
Mom & Dad on the back terrace overlooking the backyard at the 50th wedding anniversary

My mom, Fausta (Pacing) Rosales, lovingly called Lola by her grandchildren, passed away on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. She was 96 years old, a month shy of her 97th birthday on Dec. 16. She was the last among her nine siblings to pass on.

I thank you Mom for all the years you loved and took care of my three brothers and me, our spouses and your grandchildren, for your love and loyalty to Dad, for your zest for life and the courage to tackle all adversities that life brought upon you and your family.

I remember stories you told me about my struggle with meningitis when I was two years old. You and Dad and my doctor godmother pulled me through otherwise I would have died. When I was five, all my playmates were all in school but I was too young to enroll in 1st grade but you convinced the teacher to let me just sit in class without grading me. I was admitted and ended up getting 80 at the end of the school year and got promoted to 2nd grade. As I became a teenager and through my twenties, you were my ally when I had problem with Dad about boys. When I was reviewing for my CPA board exam, you were there making sure I ate right to sustain my long days and nights reviewing for my exams. When I left home, you were heartbroken but let me go to pursue my ambition. You knew I would be OK in New York. You were always supportive of what I wanted to do. You were easy to deal with than Dad who was very strict but both of you made me the person I am today because of your strict discipline. Thank you.

Here is my family when I left home for New York in 1967, taken at Manila International Airport.

LM Left Manila 1966

(left to right) – My three brothers, Robert, Radelo, Renato, Me (Rosalinda), Mom and Dad. All four of us have the same initials – R.A.R.

Here we are again in May 1993 for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.

At the 50th Anniversary
Left to right: Me, Rene, Eddie, Dad and Mom with Robert’s family – Stacy, Rose (Robert’s wife) and Stephen. Taken at home in the backyard in front of the extension built before our homecoming.

After I got married, you came to U.S. for the first time, after my first child was born. You stayed for a month to be with your first grandchild and later when I decided to go back to work, you stayed with me for four years until the boys are old enough not to have a babysitter. During those days, when my kids called her “Lola”, people asked me why my children called their grandmother by her first name. I had to explain that “Lola” is the Filipino word for Grandma.

Every time, I moved to a new home, you were around to give me a helping hand on my move. Mom was a well-seasoned traveler, traveling back and forth from the Philippines every two years. Mom enjoyed her U.S. trips to visit us all, alternating her stay between each of her four children. When she got tired of one, she went to the next one. We will always remember those happy times during our family gathering at Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. Mom could get into an argument with one of my brothers who loved to tease her and she would use a few phrases she picked up staying with my other two brothers in New Jersey. We roared with laughter. She was feisty and hilarious. She loved meeting my American friends and always with a smile on her face. The last visit was when we first came to see our new home in Charleston in 2008. Our third bedroom is still called “Lola’s room” because she was the first one to occupy it.

My mom had a good life with few hardships during the war and in between Dad’s downturn in his business. She was the favorite among her siblings as she was growing up. She was a beautiful lady and Dad fell in love with her even before they met. Dad saw her picture in a magazine. Below was the original copy and the picture that Dad fell in love with.

Their love story was the theme of my first book, “Bahala Na, Come What May”. She was also featured in my other book, “The Iron Butterfly”, her mother’s life story. The book cover is a chopped copy of Mom’s photo.

Mom's Photo     The Iron Butterfly Cover

When Dad married her after 4 years of courtship, Dad got her a maid even before I was born. We don’t consider ourselves rich but we are comfortable. Dad built Mom a nice home which has been the envy of the town. It’s made of granite, marble and steel and it has fared very well during typhoons and earthquakes.

She loved sewing and I had to have tons of sewing projects for her to do during her stay with me. Otherwise, she got bored. I still have the sewing machine she used and I was hoping for years that she would come back because I still have tons of fabric for her to do some work. She made curtains and slipcovers, did alterations for me, fixed buttons, mended things and made some of my early clothes.

One thing she was not an expert is cooking. Since she always had a maid, she very rarely cooked. But she was a big help to Dad in his business by taking care of the books. She was very organized and constantly in motion. She was a strong and confident woman. You would not dare cross her path because she would have something to say. She always stood her ground and we love her for that. Maybe that was the key to longer life.

She is now with Dad who left us in 2007. Dad must be smiling to welcome her in his arms once more.

I love you Mom and will miss you terribly. I wish I was there with you to send you off safely home to God and Dad. Rest in peace and thank you for everything

The Battle of Leyte Gulf – Part 4

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Vice Adm. Shoji Nishimura – Photo Credit – Wikipedia

At the same time that Halsey was chasing Ozawa’s decoy carriers, the second arm of the Japanese pincers, Vice Admiral Nishimura’s Southern Force, was approaching Surigao Strait, the southern entrance to Leyte Gulf. Although he knew that Kurita had been delayed and would not be able to keep the dawn rendezvous in Leyte Gulf, Nishimura steamed ahead on schedule.

Aware of Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura’s Southern Force but ignorant of the gaping hole of the San Bernardino Strait, Kinkaid ordered Rear Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf to deploy the U.S. ships in preparation for a night engagement. They would be waiting for Nishimura. As Nishimura’s force steamed single file into the southern approaches of Surigao Strait, it was ambushed by several groups of American PT boats, which had been lying motionless in the water so as not to leave wakes that would…

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Veterans Day 2019

To all the veterans: Thank you.

Pacific Paratrooper

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

US Military dog insignia

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth…

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The Battle of Leyte Gulf – Part 3

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Admiral Halsey’s pilot reported that four of Kurita’s battleships had been severely damaged, that nine cruisers and destroyers had been sunk or heavily damaged, and that the remains of the armada were retreating westward. Halsey assumed that the Center Force was no longer a threat. On the contrary, air attacks by Halsey’s carriers, though damaging to the Japanese fleet, were not the knockout blows reported by the pilots.

Meanwhile,
Admiral Ozawa artfully coaxed Halsey to chase him. Desperate to lure the
Americans, Ozawa directed his pair of ships that were half-battleship and
half-carrier, the Ise and the Hyuga, to run south and find the
hostile fleet. U.S. planes scouring the area finally spotted the pair around
4:00 pm on Oct. 24.

At
about 5:30 pm, one spotted the carriers of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa’s Northern
Force 300 miles to the north of San Bernardino Strait. Now, Halsey regarded the
Northern…

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The Battle of Leyte Gulf – Part 2

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The bridge of Musashi

The messages from the Dace and the Darter, warning of the advance of Kurita’s fleet, began arriving in Flag Plot aboard USS New Jersey at 6:20 am on Oct. 23. Halsey and his staff pondered the significance of the sightings by the two submarines.

Halsey
was not the only fleet commander tracking the Japanese movements. The Seventh
Fleet - “MacArthur’s Navy” – of old
battleships and small “jeep” carriers floated off the invasion beach,
supporting the landings with gunfire and strafing and bombing runs. Aboard his
flagship at anchor in Leyte Gulf, Adm. Thomas Kinkaid, the commander of the
Seventh Fleet, weighed in with his prediction. In a message to all commanders
(MacArthur, King, Nimitz and Halsey) sent shortly after 10:00 am, Kinkaid
suggested that the Japanese warships were headed to the Philippines to stage
what Kinkaid called a “magnified Tokyo Express.” Kinkaid suggested that…

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Battle of Leyte Gulf – Part 1

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The
Battle of Leyte Gulf was the last great naval confrontation in history and the
largest naval battle of World War II in term of ships and men. It was fought
from Oct. 23 to 26, 1944, between combined American and Australian forces and
Imperial Japanese Navy in the waters off the Philippines. The battle was
immense, involving four separate engagements/battles extending over hundreds of
miles, between fleets that included 35 large and small aircraft carriers, 21
battleships, 34 cruisers and hundreds of destroyers, along with submarines and
motor torpedo boats and more than 1,700 aircraft with over 200,000 naval
personnel involved. As part of the invasion of Leyte, it aimed to isolate Japan
from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia which were a vital source
of industrial and oil supplies.

A close up of a map

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The Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four
main separate engagements:

1 – Battle of the Sibuyan…

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