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The Cost of Being Unprepared: The Last Days on Bataan

P-35s destroyed during an air attack on Nichols Field, Luzon, on Dec. 10, 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo)

P-35s destroyed during an air attack on Nichols Field, Luzon, on Dec. 10, 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Japanese troops coming ashore in the main landing at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on Dec. 22, 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Japanese troops coming ashore in the main landing at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on Dec. 22, 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Map of the Philippines, showing the Bataan Peninsula.

Map of the Philippines, showing the Bataan Peninsula.

"It really must be getting serious when they have to take the mechanics and armament men and make infantrymen out of them."
- Jan. 9, 1942, diary entry of 2nd Lt. John Posten, 24th Pursuit Group pilot

On Dec. 8, 1941, Japanese aircraft crippled several USAAF airfields in the Philippines -- within three days, the USAAF lost two-thirds of its aircraft there. After Japanese aircraft invaded Luzon, Gen. Douglas MacArthur ordered a withdrawal to the stronghold of the Bataan Peninsula. With only a handful of aircraft left, many USAAF mechanics, armorers, services personnel -- and sometimes even fighter pilots -- became infantrymen.

Click here to return to the Bataan Death March Overview.

 

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