Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chapter 43 Still Building

I was staying at my Aunt Cot’s house during this time. My grandfather was living with her along with my old dog Scrappy that had become his dog. Gin never went anywhere without that dog riding with him in his little blue 39 Ford clip_image002coupe. My mom was staying at Cot’s as well. After the war, Mom left her engineering work on aircraft carriers and returned to teaching in San Antonio.

I could not re-enter the University until February, and the wedding was set for January, so I had to occupy myself for several months.  Dad Sawtelle had always wanted a shop, so I decided to build him one out behind his house. He gave me his desires regarding size, and I took it from there. It took me about two months to build him a 10’ x 20’ shop. The ground sloped to the west back there and I had to build some rather high forms before pouring the concrete. I needed to fill the space inside the form with sand and a lot of rocks. Charlotte’s brother Dan owned a two-wheel trailer which I had retrieved from its resting place in Minneola, Texas.  I used it to haul the rocks that I collected along San Pedro Avenue, north of town.

One day, I was pulling the empty trailer along Hildebrand Avenue on my way out for another load of rocks, when I looked to my left out of the driver’s window, and there was a trailer trucking along beside me. It was not attached to any car and all of a sudden it hit me: “Hey, that’s my trailer!!” It drifted over into the oncoming lane, but fortunately, all the oncoming cars dodged it. It finally jumped the curb and stopped against a big cedar tree. I always had to learn by doing. I had a 1 7/8” ball on the car and a 2” hitch on the trailer and no safety chain. I went over and bought a 2” ball as soon as I could, as well as a safety chain. I hauled all kinds of trailers all over Texas, and up to Kansas in the next 50 years but always with the proper ball, and hitch, as well as a good safety chain.

Another little mishap occurred, this time with the concrete form. On the downhill side of the slab, the form was about three feet high. The concrete truck started delivering the concrete, and I was wading around in the concrete in rubber boots. All of a sudden there was a “Crack!” and the form on that high side bowed out and was about to split open. I rushed into Dad’s garage and got a jack. Then I drove a 2x4 post into the ground with his sledgehammer and used a jack to hold that side of the wall. I was working alone, so I had to finish out the slab before it set up and hardened. I had started at about seven that morning, and finished working the surface of the slab at ten o’clock that night. I had been out there going as hard as I could the whole time, except when Charlotte brought me something to eat and drink. I think Charlotte had to drive me over to Cot’s where I was staying. I literally crawled into the house that night.

I was gratified that for the rest of Dad Sawtelle’s time there living on Kings Highway, he would head for that shop almost every afternoon, when he came home from work. He would come in for supper, and then after supper back to his shop. He spent thousands of hours puttering around in his shop building things, especially for his grand children.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chapter 42 Civilian Again

As soon as we got ashore in Frisco, several of us went to the closest restaurant, and ordered a head of lettuce, fresh tomatoes and a quart of milk. We had none of these for about 16 months. The waitress thought we were either crazy or drunk, and I think she probably considered calling the police, until we explained our reason for ordering such an outrageous lunch. It tasted great.

clip_image001[1]As soon as I could, I got my orders to report to Camp Wallace in Texas to be released from active duty. I wired Charlotte and caught the next train headed for Texas. This time the train was not so crowded, and I was able to sit in a seat all the way to Texas. I reported in at Camp Wallace and began my processing to be released to inactive duty.

The last step in my processing was an interview with a Naval Officer with several stripes on his sleeve. The following conversation went something like this: He said, “We really need men like you in the Navy, especially men with your experience. The Navy would like for you to continue to serve your country.” He was putting it on me pretty heavy. I said, “I appreciate that, and I think the Navy is a great outfit, but my future wife is right outside that door, and that is where I am headed. We are going to be married soon.”

He said, “Tell you what, we will give you a 30 day leave with pay and you go ahead and get married before your next duty.” I replied, “I don’t think so. I have been separated from Charlotte for a couple of years, and I did not like that. I don’t want to be off on sea duty, and not with her and my family for years at a time.”

He then says, “The Navy will jump you a grade in rank, and assign you to a base in Hawaii for your next three years of duty.” My next answer was one of those decisions that you make at a cross road in your life that determines the future. I replied, “I appreciate it-but no.” If I had said yes, all my kids would have been Navy Brats born, probably, all over the world. Also, if I had said yes, I could have retired on a pension at age 37 since I had gone in the service at 17. However, all that was not meant to be.

clip_image001With that, I was released to inactive duty September 11, 1946, and I rushed out the door to find Charlotte. She and her Mom had driven over from San Antonio in the family 1936 Plymouth. Charlotte was right there and even more beautiful than I had remembered. Our embrace was a long one, and it was so wonderful to hold her once again.

I drove us back to San Antonio, and I later learned that her mom, who was sitting in the back seat, was white knuckled all the way there. All I had was my sunglasses, and most of the way back was after sundown.

Photo of US troop train found here.

Photo of 1936 Plymouth found here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chapter 41 American Determination

clip_image002[1]After two days in Pearl we left for San Francisco and what a thrill it was to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge again. It is hard to describe the feeling I had. On the way out I was ready to finally get into the fight for the freedom of America and the continued freedom of all of my loved ones. I was especially thinking of Charlotte, and wondering if I would see her again. I had been in the Philippines for just about two years but it seemed to me I had been gone from Charlotte for more like ten years.

On the other hand, coming back under the bridge I was relaxed, jubilant, and looking forward to seeing Charlotte and starting our life together. The war had robbed five years out of our lives. The years of seventeen until tweclip_image002nty-one were basically erased from our lives; they just didn’t happen. We all matured fast. Maturity was forced on us in a few months and we never looked back.

My life path was similar to that of my three best friends as well as many young men during the 1940 to 1947 period. I was a happy go lucky teen in 1940 with nothing to think about but school, girls and having a good time. Then December 7, 1941 came and it all changed. In 1943 I was Platoon commander of a 25 man platoon in Louisiana. In 1944 I was in charge of 20 record clerks at the Naval Supply Base in Scotia, New York. In March 1945 I was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy. In 1946 I was the Disbursing Officer responsible for several hundred thousand dollars and payroll for 150 Navy men and 400 civilian workers. clip_image002[4]

By 1947 I was home, married and back in college then, in 1948, employed by Bell Telephone as Management trainee. When I was 25 years old in1950 I was promoted to District Superintendent with about 800 people in my District and so it went. That was the way it was. When the Empire of Japan attacked our country all of our young people had to set aside our lives to get the job done for all the people of America, and we did not regret it one bit. No one said “great job”, or “thanks for your service”, but we did not particularly expect it.

The whole country had joined together in the war effort. The military, of course, but the folks back home had sacrificed also; they were air wardens, “Rosie the Riveters” and victory garden planters. Even the little kids gathered scrap metal for the war effort. They had done without gasoline for their cars, coffee, sugar, and other necessities which were rationed.  Each person back home could buy no gasoline, tires, sugar or other rationed itclip_image002[6]ems without these stamps. No stamp, no purchase, and if you used up all your stamps before next books were distributed, it was just tough. You did without. The whole country came together in one giant, united effort without complaint but with a lot of determination. There was not one negative word spoken about the military, the government or sacrifices that were required. I think it was really an amazing time in the history of our country.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chapter 40 The End of the War

We soon learned that we were assembling for the invasion of Japan. Much later, we learned that our outfit was to land at the southern tip of Japan to secure and repair, if necessary, an airstrip for the American plans to land, and refuel in the battle for Japan. It would have been a very rough landing, and no doubt a lot of lives would have been lost.

About this time, something happened that saved over at least 100,000 young American lives, as well as many Japanese. It ended a war that the Japanese had started with their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, some four years earlier. We dropped “the bomb” and the war was over. WWII was the most deadly war we were ever in. The United States suffered over 600,000 killed and wounded, with about 300,000 having been killed. It is estimated that about 60 million people, military and civilian, from all countries, died between 1937 and 1945, in connection with the war. The Atomic bomb was a horrible experience for the Japanese, but it ended a more horrible war that the Japanese had started.

With the war over, the government developed a point system, based on time in service and time overseas, to determine clip_image002who would go home first. I had enough points but I was declared “essential” and was tasked with a new assignment.

I was given an Ensign, a Chief Petty Officer and about thirty men. We were  responsible for closing down the Construction Battalions on the Island of Luzon. I would go into a Battalion and report to the Skipper, usually a commander or Commodore. He would give me an inventory of every piece of equipment he had and I would sign a receipt for it. Then the Battalion of about 1000 men would vacate the base, go home, and leave everything to us. clip_image001

We would evaluate everything and decide if it was usable or not. The usable we took to the nearest Navy Supply Depot. The unusable we dug a hole with one of the bulldozers, and pushed it in. After we had put all the unusable in the hole, we then covered it with dirt, and walked it down with the dozer. Most of the larger stuff like motor graders, draglines, trucks and jeeps we took to the depot. A lot of the broken office machines, desks, chairs, some jeeps and cars, went into the hole. 

clip_image002[4]After a few months, I had twice the number of points I needed and I finally got my orders to board a General Class troop ship to go home. This was quite a change from the Evangeline. This was a huge ship, but I was soon to experience the worst typhoon the Pacific had seen in some time. Before we reached Hawaii, we hit this storm. I am prone to be seasick, but this time almost everyone on board was seasick, but I wasn’t even queasy. The ship pitched and rolled. The bridge was about 40 feet above the main deck. The waves were so high that they came over the bridge of the ship. This went on all night long with torrential rain and wind. Toward the end of the second day, things got a lot better, and after that we had an uneventful trip on into Pearl Harbor.

Photo of Supply Depot found here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chapter 39 Letters from Home

After a few months, we were transferred up to the island of Luzon north oclip_image002f Manila, to a place called Subic Bay. The bay was packed with ships, and all the land around the bay was full of men. They took us out to a rice paddy with water standing a foot or so deep and said, “this is your assigned area.” Our Skipper did not complain. We built raised walkways, and wooden deck platforms for our tents, and moved into them. We put up a sign over the walkway into our camp that said, “Welcome to 34th Naval Regiment Amphibious Operation.”

An interesting aside at this point is to mention that I was camped out less than a mile from where my friend Paul Silber was so badly wounded not even a year earlier.clip_image002[4]

The thing that got me through all these months in WW II in the Pacific was letters from Charlotte. I know it is hard to believe, but she wrote me a letter every day I was away from her. I did not get mail regularly and clip_image002[8]sometimes, I would get ten letters or more at one time. I cherished every one of them, and read them over and over. I wrote her quite often, but she far out did me in that department

The men all wanted some souvenirs to take home and I heard about a tribe of Negrito pygmies up on the North part of Luzon. The Negrito peoples include several ethnic groups that live in isolated parts of SE Asia. I loaded my jeep with mattress covers and cigarettes and headed North. I had a general idea of where they were from talking with one of the men who had seen them. I spent several hours winding around jungle trails, always trying to head toward a volcano where I expected to find them.

I finally ran into one of them; he was standing by the trail with a bow and arrow in his hands watching me. I stopped and gave him a big “me friend” smile and showed him my mattress covers and cigarettes. I then pointed to his bow and arrows and again to my trading gooOriginal caption: Two Ilongot warriors pose for their picture in Northern Luzon where they have proved invaluable in scouring out Japanese strugglers in the rough mountain terrain. Former headhunters, the Ilongots have tirelessly helped stalk down the last remnants of the Japanese army in the Philippine mountains.ds. He got the message and took a carton of cigs and gave me his bow and arrows, which I still have. By then, he was also smiling and gave me a sort of ‘stay there’ sign with his hands and disappeared into the forest.

After a short time he came back with about five or six others with bows, arrows and several Japanese rifles. Their arrows were all sizes; they had small ones for small game and fish. They also had rather large ones with which they had killed a number of Japanese. That is where they got the rifles. I left with a Jeep-load of loot but no more cigarettes or mattress covers. I kept one of the rifles and gave the rest to the officers and men at my camp.

Photo of Negrito warriors found here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chapter 38 Ask the Chief

One memorable story from this time resulted from the big 45 caliber revolver I carried overseas. On payday, the civilians would line up outside. My Chief, a couple of the seamen and I would sit at a table to pay them. Several times, when one of the natives got paid, there would be another guy who said he owed him money, and they would get into a fight. Well, there we were with all that money on the table, and a big clip_image002bag full of more money at my feet. I told the Chief that we had to do something about it. He said for me to bring that “hog leg” (large revolver) I had in my quarters on the next payday.

Next payday I did bring it, and Chief brought one of the civilians from our office who spoke the local dialect. Chief had me take that big revolver out of the holster and put it on the table in front of me when I was paying the men. The civilian from the office said in a very loud voice, “See that big gun of the Lieutenant? You get in fight and he kill you.” We did noclip_image001t have any trouble after that.

My Chief was amazing. Once my jeep broke down, and couldn’t be fixed. The Chief said, “No problem, LT.” Two days later there was a jeep parked where I usually left mine, and I noticed it had new numbers painted on it. We called this a “Moonlight Requisition.”

Jim Hibbard, my good friend from OCS at Harvard, stopped by for a visit with me whileclip_image002[4] I was on Samar. This was the friend we had to stretch to make him tall enough to pass his final physical and get his commission.   Jim was from Minnesota and he and I had great plans to get together after the war. We planned to spend a month or two canoeing in the Thousand Lake region of upper Minnesota and camping out in the wilderness, but we never did it.

On Samar we had better quarters. We lived in Quonset Huts and had electricity. One night I was playing cards with Jim Hibbard, a fellow named Larson and Jean Pement, the Supply Officer. I remember that Larson had a beard and was red headed. He was sort of crammed in the corner with the table pushed up against him, and I was seated opposite him. About the time I had a royal flush hand or at least a flush, we heard an automatic weapon cut lose on the camp, and we could hear a shot hit the one of the other metal Quonset huts nearby.

When the shots started, Larson was crammed behind the table sitting where Jim is sitting in this photo. The floor lamp was over the table, and I was sitting on this side of the table. Without saying a word, Larson clip_image002[6]sort of levitated out of that corner, and in mid-air he switched off the floor lamp over the table and landed in my lap. Of course, my cards were all over the floor. Our combat guys were on the scene almost immediately and shot the Jap, who was trying to kill us, out of the top of a palm tree.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chapter 37 It’s a Jungle Out There

There was a rubber plantation on the island, and the couple running it were Swiss. They would frequently invite the officers to come up to their big house for a party. The houses were all open with porches all the way around them. The floors were Philippine mahogany, and the lady of the house would direct young Philippine servant girls to tie open half coconuts to their feet and spend hours sliding their feet back and forth oiling the floors. When the liquor ran low, the owner would tell us go out to the third row of trees from the gate, then down to the sixth tree and dig. A couple of us would follow instructions, and sure enough, there we would hit something buried. It would be a case of whiskey, or Scotch, or whatever. He had buried a four years’ supply of liquor before the Japanese took the island. clip_image001

The living conditions on the island were challenging. Many of us developed what we called “Jungle Rot” from the humid, wet conditions we lived in. It rained every afternoon about three and was real damp at night. When I turned up with it, the Doc had to cover both of my hands in a salve and then wrap my hand in a mummified fashion. Not much pain but both of my hands were constantly draining. It was pretty bad stuff. I still see signs of it if my hands are wet for too long a time.

For some, the stress could be overwhelming. One hot afternoon I was approaching my tent that I shared with three other officers and heard a great commotion coming from the inside. As I entered I found two of my tent mates restraining the third, a dentist. He was a Jewish fellow that had gone berserk and was out to kill somebody for hating the Jews. We took him over to sickbay and the Doctor gave him a shot to put him out. He was shipped out a few days later.

clip_image002After a few months, our job was finished at Isabella, and we were sent to Samar. Most of the enlisted men were sent back to the States. They had been through the Solomon Island campaign and also the invasion of the Philippines when MacArthur returned.

I was transferred to the 34th Naval Construction Regiment. My duties were about the same, except we had a lot more civilians to pay, and it had to be in pesos. The exchange rate was about 8 to 1, so I had a problem finding a place for all the cash I had on hand, which was at one time about 800,000.00 pesos. All I had was a little safe, so I had them take a pontoon, cut a door in the side and build shelves in it to store the money. I was real nervous about it, because all I had in the door of the thing was the biggest padlock I could find. I talked it over with the Skipper, and he had a 24-hour guard with an automatic weapon put on duty at my office.

Photo of Philippine jungle found here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chapter 36 Adrenaline Accounting

Each Construction Battalion had two Supply Corps Officers. One was the supply officer responsible for supplies and the mess halls. The other was the disbursing officer responsible for all payments to the men and to venders. I was the disbursing officer for our battalion and one of my duties was to pay all of the civilian employees. We had a saw mill up in the mountains in the center of the island where some of our sailors as well as a number of civilian worked.

clip_image001I remember clearly one time I made the trip to the saw mill with the payroll. I started out one morning with a petty officer armed with an automatic weapon who rode shotgun. As we were slowly making the winding, tortuous climb, about halfway up, we suddenly heard the rapid fire of an automatic weapon coming out of the jungle. We had apparently intercepted one of the Japanese patrols. The Petty officer with me swung around to face the direction of the shots while I shifted down and did as close to a burnout that was possible on the side of that hill. (I guess I learned something from my high school driving!) We roared around the next corner and made it the rest of the way to the top, where the saw mill was located.

As soon as we arrived at the saw mill, we had them radio back to base camp to send out our patrol to intercept the enemy. They radioed back to us about two hours later that, the Japanese apparently had left the area by the time our patrol reached the spot we had been shot at. That evening I made the trip back down the mountain faster than my trip up earlier that day.

Several times each week, one of the PT boats would come into our dock to refuel and restock. These boats had three big engines on them and burned gasoline pretty fast. Their food aboard was limited to what you would call “snack food.” These guys would always arrive thirsty and hungry and they had a lot of great stories of their exploits to tell in the evening at the officers club. I am sure the stories over at the enlisted men’s club were even better.

One such story was from a Skipper of one of the boats about what they had done early that very morning. The night before had been very dark with no moon. They had quietly, with engines idling, slipped up a large river, holding close to the south bank. On the North side of this wide river was a rather large base of Japanese. The Japanese had built a whole line of outhouses out over the river on stilts.

Our guys had gone on up the river past the Japanese and spent the rest clip_image001of the night up there. At early dawn with the PT boat wide open, they came barreling down the north side of the river, just a few feet out from all those out houses. They figured most of the outhouses would be occupied at that time, and they were right. The PT boat was racing as fast as it would go with all guns, 20mm canons and 50 caliber guns blazing. They said those outhouses fell like dominoes as they roared past, and the whole camp looked like a bunch of chickens running in all directions, trying to get away from a pack of dogs.

Those PT Boat guys were kind of like Navy Seals, well trained in what they do but kind of wild and crazy.

Photo of PT Boat found here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chapter 35 They Have No Tails

There was no Construction Battalion on Zamboanga, but I did find a Marine Air Group. I reported to the commanding officer. He advised me that my outfit was on Basilan Island, down towards clip_image001Borneo. Now get this-he said he went over there a lot because they had the best Officers club and Officer’s head (bathroom) in the whole Pacific. That engaged my curiosity!

He had the 118th notified by radio, and within the hour, here comes this PT boat about 50 miles an hour. Before it was tied up, a lieutenant jumps on the dock and practically hugs me. “Where the H—have you been? I got orders to go home two months ago and I have been waiting for you to relieve me ever since.” I replied, “If I told you wouldn’t believe me.”

In short order, we were back across the straights to Isabella on the Islaclip_image002nd of Basilan. Our base camp was at Isabella, and we were building a PT boat dock where they would overhaul the boats. The Island was about fifteen miles wide, and rose 3186’ to the top of some mountains at the center, where we had a sawmill. I was told that we occupied the west side of the island, but the Japanese occupied the east side of the same island. Our patrols and those of the enemy occasionally met and there would be a firefight. Later, I participated in a Purple Heart presentation to a number of our men who had been wounded on these patrols.

Our patrols were led by an Army Ranger captain and he was strange. He would not go into the Officers Club at night because of the lights. I liked him and would occasionally see him standing by a tree in the shadows at night listening to the music and chatter coming out of the club. I would take him a drink and he always appreciated it. Every once in a while when I was going back to my tent in the darkclip_image001[4] he would step out from behind a tree to walk with me and scare me half to death. Our base camp was at Isabella, and we were building a PT boat base and dock where they would overhaul the boats.

The first evening when I arrived, after I had moved into my assigned quarters, I got to check out not only the famous Officers Club but also the more famous “head.” First, I have to tell you that many military camps had open ditch latrines and only a tent for the officers club and enlisted men’s club. The 118th carpenters, welders and metal smiths had done an incredible job. The clubs were in Quonset huts that looked something like a greenhouse except with a galvanized metal top. They had Philippine mahogany bars and and they were nice, but the “head” was something else.

Now picture this: the building was rectangular with a thatched roof, which was typical of the area. As you step inside the “head” you see a row of seats. This would be what you would call a ten “holer.” The seats were of polished mahogany, and the bowls were made of hammered brass. Above clip_image002[5]each was a 55 gal drum of water with a rope hanging down that you could pull to flush. This was an area without running water. You can understand why our visitors’ first question was frequently, “I want to see the head.” I guess it is better to be known by something than nothing.

Photo of Moret Field found here.

(Lots of information and) photo of PT Boat found here.

Photo of Isabella, Basilan, Philippines found here.

Photo of thatched hut found here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chapter 34 It’s a Long Way to Zamboanga

We left Pearl on our way to Eniwetok and Palau islands, then on to Samar in the Philippines where we finally stepped out on dry land again. We got into a typhoon before we got to Palau and lost one of the sea doors. A sea door is down at the water line and is used when you are in clip_image001[1]port to load men and materials aboard the ship from the dock. 

This was my first experience in a real storm at sea. It started raining in the early afternoon and the sea became rougher and rougher as the hours passed. Finally we could not go on deck because the sea was washing across the ship and the decks were sometimes knee deep in water. The head down below was full of guys being sick and throwing up. I went down to the Officers Mess just to get away. As I went down the companionway I sort of bounced from side to side holding on as best I could.

In the mess there was no way any dish or cup could stay on the table even though the sideboards had been pulled up. I ate some finger food, a biscuit I think, and tried to get down a cup of black coffee. There were very few men in the mess and we were all just sort of holding on waiting the storm out. The old Evangeline was pitching and rolling and giving us a really rough ride. Amazingly, I was not the least bit seasick.

The crew installed a temporary door but it leaked like a sieve. We came into Samar listing about 40 degrees because of the loss of the sea door. All of our gear, except what was in our duffel bags, had been under water for about two weeks. We were issued “A” boxes just like the Marines, and the crew just dumped them on the beach. We went down and broke them open and everything was soggy and mildewed. Our firearms were packed in Cosmoline, a sort of grease which protected them from the water. We took our Carbines and 45 pistols along with all the ammunition and left the rest on the beach. We used the Cosmoline to coat the shoulder strap for the carbine and the holster for the 45 and it restored the leather like new. clip_image001

I reported in to the 61st Naval Construction Battalion to find out where the 118th was. After a day of checking they said they thought it was at Zamboanga on Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. After a few days, there was a small ship in the harbor and the chief in the office said it was going to Zamboanga. I got my duffle bag and went down there. The skipper said he was going to Zamboanga and I was welcome to come along, but he was leaving within the hour. So I just got aboard without having time to notify anyone.

We left Samar Island and headed west. I knew Zamboanga was due south, so I inquired where were we headed. They wouldn’t say. The next evening we landed on Palawan Island at Puerto Princesa. After two days we left heading southeast and, I felt a little better. At least I was not headed for China.

That night it was absolutely pitch black with no moon and even the ship was completely dark.  Orders were: no lights and no smoking. We were plowing through enemy infested waters. About 10 o’clock that night, we were advised that they had a submarine contact. The ship started zigging and zagging. All of a sudden it just stopped dead in the water. We had broken a rudder chain, and there was no way to steer the ship until it was repaired.

We were ordered to stand by the life rafts, and keep quiet, no talking, and of course no smoking. We stayed perfectly still for about two hours and then a huge yellow moon started up on the horizon and, I heard several whispers of, ”Oh, no.”  The moon made the sky like daylight and we stood out like a sore thumb. About this time we got under way again. The Skipper said the contact was either an allied submarine or possibly the enemy thought our little ship was not worth a torpedo.

Two days later we pulled into Zamboanga harbor and I went ashore.

Photo of battleship in typhoon found here.

Photo of 61st NCB found here and see also here.

To see map showing distances from Samar to Puerto Princesa to Zamboanga-and proximity to Japan in the upper right corner-click here.