So what am saying

So what I am saying is to emphasise that we have serious insecurity problem. Rodriguez’s attorneys claimed that prosecutors presented false testimony against him, Here people with 15 and 20 stars on their shoulders can’t do anything: [referring to police] Don’t make much drama here, 3, Finally, as a deterrent to keep the Japanese from hitting Australia before they could get strong”“There’s a lot of guys that died that were cussing the Americans for leaving them sitting there high and dry” Jonassen said Soldiers who defended the islands “were the most tremendous people you could ever imagine They fought until they were sick they fought while they were sick and while they were starving They just fought until they died No good Whole damn thing was no good”On May 10 Jonassen’s commanding officer told his men it was time to surrender “A couple of the guys asked him ‘What if we don’t want to surrender’ ” Jonassen recalled “And he said ‘You guys that don’t want to surrender take what you want from the storehouse and good luck’”Jonassen and a dozen other men grabbed guns ammunition and supplies and took off for the jungle Their plan was to get to the coast find a sailboat and island-hop to AustraliaBut they never made it They split up into smaller groups and Jonassen’s group — which included another Minnesotan Walter Sanders of Bemidji — traveled deep into the jungle and lived for a time with natives who apparently had never before seen white people The natives shared their food — mainly sweet potatoes and papayas“Sometimes nothing was available so you’d just eat the leaves on top of the sweet potato” Jonassen recalled “We had beriberi (a vitamin deficiency disease) and of course we had malaria all the time”They moved on to join a Muslim military leader Major Salapida Pendatun who commanded a force of about 2400 men that was fighting the Japanese in western Mindanao Pendatun was an effective leader who also had medicines such as quinine to fight malaria Later Jonassen and his buddies learned from Jesuit priests that they could make their own quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree Local leadersJonassen and his companions heard through the “bamboo telegraph” about some American civilians who were organizing Filipino fighters into a guerrilla force These were plantation managers mining engineers and lumbermen who’d lived in the Philippines for years They were familiar with the territory and with the local peopleOne was Wendell Fertig who had been a mining engineer in the region for five years and was an officer in the US Army Reserve After serving on active duty with troops defending Luzon and then Bataan Fertig escaped to the big southern island of Mindanao A man used to taking charge Fertig gathered American soldiers who had not surrendered escaped prisoners of war and Filipino fighters and worked to mold them into a single unit under his commandFor months he operated on his own with no contact with headquarters in Australia Eventually two of his recruits cobbled together a makeshift radio and sent a signal that reached US commanders Fertig also sent three men to Australia in a small boat They arrived in early January 1943 and reported to the Allied command about the guerrillas’ activities and their needs At this point MacArthur began taking the guerrillas seriously He organized command structures issued orders and arranged for periodic supply runs by submarineFertig called himself a brigadier general and had a local craftsman make epaulettes to suit the rank His rationale was that only an officer of highest rank would command the respect and cooperation of the Filipino troopsOne of Fertig’s deputies was James Grinstead a plantation manager and longtime resident of the Philippines A veteran of World War I Grinstead had helped organize the Philippine Constabulary a national police force By early 1945 Grinstead’s forces consisted of 327 officers and nearly 4000 enlisted men American and Filipino Jonassen was one of the officers; he was put in charge of about 150 Filipino fighters“At the very beginning of this operation we would go out in groups of six seven 10 and we would ambush Japanese trucks” Jonassen said The guerrillas would harass the Japanese and quickly melt back into the jungle; they rarely engaged the enemy in large numbers But the Japanese responded to these pin-pricks by killing villagers indiscriminately So the mission changed The guerrillas avoided contact with the enemy and concentrated instead on maintaining civilian government and sending intelligence about Japanese air naval and ground movements to headquarters in Australia DIY warfareThe radios used to relay this information were powered by generators attached to water wheels placed in fast-running streams “So you didn’t move them unless you had to” Jonassen explained But sometimes they had to because the Japanese sent bombers to destroy the radios When that happened the operators would “dive out and get under cover and then if anything was left they’d come back and get it”About 70 soldiers Filipino and American held lonely posts along the coast of Mindanao observing air and sea movements and relaying the information to AustraliaThe intelligence was so valuable to Allied naval forces that 7th Fleet commanders became increasingly enthusiastic about sending submarines with equipment supplies and items designed to boost morale such as American magazines cigarettes matchboxes emblazoned with the motto “I shall return” and autographed photographs of MacArthurSometimes the subs evacuated American soldiers who were having trouble handling the situation Jonassen chose not to leave“It was a temptation to go but by that time it was a little bit personal too so I stayed And so did a bunch of other guys” he added modestlyThe relationship between guerrilla leaders in the jungle and their commanders in offices in Australia was not always cordial Officials failed to support some of the most effective Filipino leaders for example preferring to send Americans from Australian bases perhaps with the aim of closer control of guerrilla operationsMany of the Filipino fighters felt betrayed by the United States which for a long time seemed to pursue the war everywhere but in the Philippines They remained loyal largely because of past treatment by the Americans compared to the brutality of the Japanese occupationSurvivalFor Jonassen one of the most rewarding jobs was rescuing downed American fliers“We picked up pilots that had gotten in trouble and fallen to the ground The natives would bring them to us (and) they’d say ‘What the hell’s going on here Who are you’ We sent them back to the coast where they were picked up by a submarine”Jonassen suffered recurring bouts of malaria and other diseases Supplies were scarce Jonassen used a school notebook to record his observations of air traffic He wore civilian clothing to blend in with the populationThe Japanese knew well that the Americans were there“There was one time I had a message from them asking me to surrender and being guaranteed a very good stay with them in their prison” Jonassen said “So they knew us; they knew our name rank serial number They had a 5000-peso reward dead or alive on all Americans for all the time we were there They knew all of us”Jonassen was impressed that in his area no one was turned in to the Japanese“That’s the Filipino people” he said “They are that good”Allied reinvasionThe dark days of the Japanese army’s devastating occupation of the Philippines and nearby islands eventually gave way to a series of Allied sea victories that halted Japan’s expansion followed by an agonizing push to scour the enemy from the region island by island In the late summer of 1944 Allied air strikes on airfields in Mindanao signaled the beginning of the return of regular American forces to the Philippines On Oct 20 MacArthur made good on his promise striding ashore knee-deep in waves on a Leyte Island beach cameras eagerly recording the long-awaited eventGuerrilla forces enthusiastically and effectively supported the invasion On Mindanao Fertig commanded a force of 38000 men They captured the Allies’ first target on that island Malabang and its airfield before regular troops landed A month later US forces arrived to find guerrillas already had cleared the beaches at Macajalar Bay Then Fertig’s soldiers guarded a key highway so the Allies could race across the island without fear of Japanese attackIt was the same on other islands On Leyte in anticipation of Allied landings an effective guerrilla force under Ruperto Kangleon dynamited bridges harassed enemy patrols and sabotaged supply depots On Luzon guerrillas played key roles in dramatic rescues of prisoners of war from behind enemy linesBut the work of forcing Japanese soldiers from mountain strongholds and clearing them from entrenched positions in Manila was a long and bloody process Although Allied forces declared the Philippines liberated on July 5 1945 fighting continued until the final Japanese surrender on Sept 2After the warJonassen was promoted twice during his time on the Philippines Among other recognitions he received a Presidential Citation and a Bronze Star for his serviceJonassen studied engineering and became the district traffic engineer in Northeastern Minnesota for the Minnesota Department of Transportation He and his colleagues designed an early computerized traffic management system for downtown Duluth’s busy Superior Street before Interstate 35 was built He and his wife Irene had a son and he now has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildrenToday at 95 Jonassen lives in Duluth He reads history books keeps up with his favorite sports teams and enjoys family gatheringsIf you ask Jonassen whether the hardships he suffered during the war were worth it he says it’s up to history to decide But he’s proud of his role in helping to maintain order for the Filipino people — and in helping other American soldiers Not only did he guide downed pilots to safety but radio reports to headquarters pinpointed the location of Japanese ships so submarines could torpedo them preventing attacks on Allied naval vessels“I think in that respect we probably saved one heck of a lot of American lives” he saidStephanie Hemphill is a freelance writer based in Duluth She is retired from Minnesota Public Radio and previously worked at KUMD-FM She can be reached at stephaniejhemphill@gmailcom? 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that story was an easy sell. and very few articles picked up on that.

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