Saturday, November 15, 2003
By Mary MaynardSpecial to WestportNow.com Sixty years ago today on Nov. 15, 1943, Gen. Douglasl MacArthur sent a submarine to snatch me from the Japanese-occupied Philippine Islands. Thats a topic sentence to grab your attention; there’s much more to the story than that. It is a story of clandestine, dangerous, missions of mercy undertaken by U.S. submarines in World War II. The records of the War Patrols were classified until 1975, and by then the story was cold. On many of the larger islands, after the Philippines fell to the Japanese in May of 1942, Filipinos and few hundred American soldiers who had not surrendered to the Japanese began to form guerrilla bands. Radio messages asking for help from the outside world were ignored because the codes were not current. After a risky sailboat trip south to Australia was successful in convincing the Allied forces that resistance in the Islands should be supported, submarines began to visit cautiously at first and then more and more often. Editors Note: In 1941, Westport author Mary Maynard, then Mary McKay, was an 8-year-old living with her family in the Philippines where her father managed a gold mine on the island of Mindanao. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the McKays quickly gathered what supplies they could and fled into the jungle. They believed that their stay would be brief. But the days turned into weeks and the months into two harrowing years. They lived in close confinement as the often worm-infested food supply fell and their group swelled with more refugees. Eight months after Pearl Harbor, some chose to surrender to the Japanese and be interned in prison camps. But the McKays moved farther into the jungle where they were plagued by disease and shortages of essential items. Eventually, a submarine arrived to evacuate American civilians, taking them to Australia. Maynard recounted her experience in her book “My Faraway Home: An American Family’s WWII Tale of Adventure and Survival in the Jungles of the Philippines” (The Lyons Press, 2001). Especially poignant with this week’s marking of Veterans Day, Maynard takes a look back at a day she will never forget.
Posted 11/15/03 at 01:54 PM Permalink
CommentsYou must have a Facebook account and be logged to this account (login/logout button above) to post comments. Comments are subject to our Comment Policy.
one cannot just imagine how a modern living child at that time endure a tropical,virgin mountain living. today, the place still bear witness to the presence of the evacuees taking refuge in the remote jungles of rosario, agusan del sur. when i got there, i set foot on the structures that maybe once, mary had played on. please tell mary if she ever planned to come back, i will gladly guide her back to the place that once hosted a part of her life.