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Interview with Jose B. Alvarado [January 2001]

Timothy Sanders:

You are Jose --

Jose Alvarado:

-- Jose Alvarado. I use a B -- they used -- in the Army they used my middle initial, but I never used it.

Timothy Sanders:

When were you born, Jose?

Jose Alvarado:

I was born in June 17th, 1919. That's when I came here.

Timothy Sanders:

And we're here in your home at 633 --

Jose Alvarado:

-- 633 South Street.

Timothy Sanders:

-- South Street in Munster. Your phone number -- I believe I have that somewhere.

Jose Alvarado:

836-0008; three zeroes and an 8.

Timothy Sanders:

Where were you born? You said --

Jose Alvarado:

I was born in El Paso.

Timothy Sanders:

How did you come to Northwest Indiana from El Paso?

Jose Alvarado:

I came over here looking for work.

Timothy Sanders:

And that would have been about what time?

Jose Alvarado:

1936.

Timothy Sanders:

1936. A lot of people were looking for work around the country.

Jose Alvarado:

Well, it was right after The Depression.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

I was in the CC camps, too, you know, before.

Timothy Sanders:

I see. And what branch of service were you in?

Jose Alvarado:

Infantry.

Timothy Sanders:

You went into the Army?

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

Army infantry. You were living here in Northwest Indiana?

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

And where did you go when you enlisted or were you drafted?

Jose Alvarado:

I was drafted.

Timothy Sanders:

You were drafted. And when was that? Do you recall?

Jose Alvarado:

I was drafted in -- let me -- I got it. I got my discharge.

Timothy Sanders:

No problem.

Jose Alvarado:

I know I should know, but, you know, a lot of times whenever you . . . It's in my discharge.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh, sure. All those information.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, I'm trying to get -- April -- on April the 12th, 1941.

Timothy Sanders:

April 12th of '41. All right. And you would have been about how old at that time?

Jose Alvarado:

Twenty --

Timothy Sanders:

23, 22?

Jose Alvarado:

22.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And you were an Army infantry. What division --

Jose Alvarado:

I was in the 38th division.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh.

Jose Alvarado:

152nd infantry. K company, they were 152nd infantry.

Timothy Sanders:

K company. And you -- where did you go from here? You went to --

Jose Alvarado:

Fort Benjamin Harrison.

Timothy Sanders:

So you went to Indianapolis and that's probably where you were sworn in and everything.

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

Your training, was that down there?

Jose Alvarado:

In Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

Timothy Sanders:

So they took you from there to Mississippi?

Jose Alvarado:

Camp Shelby. They sent us to -- they sent us with Indiana National Guard.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And you were -- you went directly into infantry.

Jose Alvarado:

Into the infantry, right. I was never -- I was in same company every day that I was in the service.

Timothy Sanders:

The whole time. What was it like in Mississippi?

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, it was -- the training, it was good because it was real hot, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we trained in the swamps and then we went on maneuvers, you know, to different places.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Went to Louisiana and Texas.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we went -- oh, we went to Florida too. We went for amphibious training in Florida, Tallahassee.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then -- I told you Louisiana and Texas too.

Timothy Sanders:

Yes. So you -- and how long were you then in training in Mississippi before you went --

Jose Alvarado:

-- overseas?

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

We were there for a long time. We were -- we didn't leave -- we were in Mississippi training and then on maneuvers and all that. And then we left on -- well, you know what? I have a diary from --

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- my, my captain.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, all right.

Jose Alvarado:

He used this. See, his name is -- oh -- Vince Kimberland (ph). He's talking about when we left. I don't know when he got there to our outfit, you know, but we were there till Christmas Day of 1943.

Timothy Sanders:

And in Christmas of '43 --

Jose Alvarado:

-- we went overseas.

Timothy Sanders:

-- you flew -- you went overseas?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. We went through New Orleans and went through the Canal Zone and then we went -- on a boat, you know, to Hawaii.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay. So you went -- you went to Japan rather than the other way around?

Jose Alvarado:

We went to Hawaii. We didn't go to -- we didn't get that far.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We went to Hawaii and then we went to New Guinea.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And from New Guinea, went to the Philippines.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And that's where we stayed.

Timothy Sanders:

And you were in the Philippines?

Jose Alvarado:

That's where we fought, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

And what was -- the trip over was on a troop ship?

Jose Alvarado:

A troop ship, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Were you with a group of ships or was it just a --

Jose Alvarado:

From Hawaii over there -- from New Orleans to Hawaii, we didn't have -- very little, you know, boats, you know, to --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- I guess, they could call them fast. At that time there wasn't anything going over there.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But then from Hawaii to New Guinea, we had escort, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

You left at Christmas Day and that was of '42, right?

Jose Alvarado:

'43.

Timothy Sanders:

'43.

Jose Alvarado:

Can't believe __________________.

Timothy Sanders:

To Hawaii, to -- and to the Philippines?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

All right. And when you got to the Philippines, where did you land? Manila?

Jose Alvarado:

We ended up in -- yeah, in Manila. We ended up in Fort -- what the hell was the name of that?

Timothy Sanders:

Clark or --

Jose Alvarado:

No, we weren't in Clark -- that was . . .

Timothy Sanders:

Subic?

Jose Alvarado:

Subic Bay was in Philippines.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, no this -- in Hawaii we went to . . .

Timothy Sanders:

Hickam? Could it have been Hickam?

Jose Alvarado:

No, no, that was --

Timothy Sanders:

That was Air Force.

Jose Alvarado:

We went to the -- let's see. It's here. I'll get to it. You know, this guy wanted medals, you know. And that's why he --

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, he kept a pretty good diary.

Jose Alvarado:

I don't know how he could keep a diary but he lies a lot.

Timothy Sanders:

(Laughing.)

Jose Alvarado:

You know, pats himself on the back. He wasn't -- you know, he claimed several things that I did, he took --

Timothy Sanders:

He took --

Jose Alvarado:

He wrote them, but, you know, well, he's a dead man, he can't . . . Let's see. We left -- New Orleans was the port of embarkation. On December the 30th, 1943, we left.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then -- it's all here. See, I could tell you everything. Oh, that's the trip from -- from New Orleans to Panama, I guess, is -- (mumbling) and I'll tell you the truth. Even has the hour we left.

Timothy Sanders:

You left at 9 --

Jose Alvarado:

9 a.m.

Timothy Sanders:

9 a.m.

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, that's when we got to -- to where the Panama Canal was. Took 11 hours, he said.

Timothy Sanders:

To go through the canal?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

No, no. To get from New Orleans to Panama. We spent a while -- I gave you the wrong information there. We went -- oh, that's where we left from, New Orleans, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We were alongside the docks and began to unload. But that was when we got to -- that's when we got to New Orleans. I must have messed it up. There was a band playing "Indiana" -- that was New Orleans. We got to New Orleans.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Now, just give me a little time, and then I can start and we can go right through.

Timothy Sanders:

No problem. Take your time.

Jose Alvarado:

We were all wondering what kind of a ship we would be sailing on, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh.

Jose Alvarado:

That was on -- try to give you a date, the right date -- the 30th of December. That's when we loaded the boat.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then -- oh, he said he was wondering what kind of a ship we were going to go on, you know, so . . .

Timothy Sanders:

Um-hum.

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, the trip that we left on was the SS Manta Ray, was a former medicine liner.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He's talking about who he shared his room with, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And you were on that same ship all the way to Hawaii?

Jose Alvarado:

Right, to Hawaii, yeah. Took us -- I'm not sure if it -- 17 days, I think.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And he said the food on the ship was the best he had ever eaten.

Timothy Sanders:

Now, this was your captain?

Jose Alvarado:

Not then.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He was just another officer but he was with battalion, see?

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

He was with the -- that's why he's talking -- and then he talks about the guy that he roomed with, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

"On January the 1st, 1944, New Year's Day, we sailed down the Mississippi River and out of the Gulf of Mexico, still not knowing our final destination." We didn't know where we were going to.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

"We had woolen uniforms and we found out that they were too hot, so we didn't know where we were going." And he said that's when we found out that we were going to -- since we were going -- "they gave us a San Francisco post office, we found out that we were going to the Pacific."

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

"Some of the men thought we were going to Hawaii, and some Australia. Some said New Guinea or New Caledonia." It just -- we were going to Hawaii; we went to Hawaii. He talks about the trip, you know, how the flying fish followed the boat.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh.

Jose Alvarado:

Were you in the service too?

Timothy Sanders:

Yes.

Jose Alvarado:

What were you in?

Timothy Sanders:

I was in the Air Force.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay. See, we started -- let's see. Doesn't have the dates every time, you know. He's just talking about the whole trip as a whole. We were on the boat from New Orleans and we were going to Hawaii.

Timothy Sanders:

How long were you -- did you stay in Hawaii? Do you recall?

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, yeah. We stayed a long time because we were doing guard duty.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And we -- every month we'd transfer all the way around -- all around like -- we were on the main island, you know, the island of Maui.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So every month we changed all around. Our division was security for the whole island.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

See, the division was three -- three different regiments.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Used to be four and then they triangularized them and they left three -- they sent 149 infantry to the canal before, way before.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And then there was three, and we did all the security.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see. So you were on Hawaii for a long time.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Then pretty soon you boarded your ship and took off for the Philippines.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Now, here it says, you know, in January the 6th we could see the island of Hawaii.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

So that explains how we got --

Timothy Sanders:

It took you, like you said, 17 days to get there.

Jose Alvarado:

Here it says we could see the Aloha Tower and all that.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then it tells you -- it tells us where we got, you know. From there we went to Hickam Field -- oh, no, we passed through Hickam Hill.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And Pearl Harbor. And it was big, you know. It was --

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

We reached the -- we are now sector of the island and that's where we -- oh, we relieved the 20th Infantry of the 6th Division there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we started training. We were -- he's talking about how we went swimming and all that.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

He said -- oh, he went on a transport to -- on June the 17th (mumbling). He's talking now about when we left.

Timothy Sanders:

Would have been about June sometime, probably?

Jose Alvarado:

Let's see. Not all the time.

Timothy Sanders:

Um-hum.

Jose Alvarado:

Well, we got there -- I told you what day did we get there?

Timothy Sanders:

January 16th, I think it was.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay. On June the 27th we left Hawaii.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you were there about six months?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

And then you left for the Philippines.

Jose Alvarado:

Maybe longer. Yeah, we went to -- we left for New Guinea.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Right.

Jose Alvarado:

And we were on an Army transport then. We were on the -- he hasn't got the name of it. Just -- he said he went to load the -- he was in charge of loading the transport, you know. And again we left on the 10th -- no, no. We left the 1st of July and crossed the equator on the 6th, and by the 10th we reached the Island of Funafuti.

Timothy Sanders:

And that would have been July of forty . . .

Jose Alvarado:

'43. '43.

Timothy Sanders:

'43?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. I remember that because that's when we were in New Guinea.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we went -- we were -- then we start patrolling, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right. What was the status of the island at the time? Was it under occupation? Did the Japanese have --

Jose Alvarado:

No, we had already -- they had already --

Timothy Sanders:

They had already taken --

Jose Alvarado:

-- they took off.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They ran.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, all right.

Jose Alvarado:

There was very little action there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And when we got there, we patrolled a lot, you know. Went on patrols. And that's what we were doing.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And do you -- about how long were you at -- were you on New Guinea?

Jose Alvarado:

New Guinea, let's see. That's what I'm trying to find it. All this talking here about Hawaii. We sailed again on the 11th. See this. Then let me get it right. It was on July the 1st -- we sailed for New Guinea on July the 1st.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We crossed the equator on the 6th, and by the 10th we reached the Island of Funafuti, like I told you.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay.

Timothy Sanders:

And you were there for --

Jose Alvarado:

Well, we just crossed it.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We went by it, so. We didn't land anymore till we got -- we passed New Hebrides.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, yeah. New Hebrides, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. And then we got to -- finally Oro -- at New Guinea we reached Oro Bay.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

From Oro Bay, we -- on July the 17th we got to Oro Bay. We unloaded the troops but he said it took him three days to get the supplies off. Then we -- "It was here that we began to shape up into a fighting unit, bringing up the fighting strength" -- oh, we started getting reserves, you know, new men.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, getting --

Jose Alvarado:

Because we were down, you know, we didn't have a pool.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, so you started to get replacements -- or not replacements, but new troops were coming in, right?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, right. On the 1st of December we were in a boat, the cargo ship, Austin Daly (ph) to sale for the Island of Leyte.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you headed for Leyte.

Jose Alvarado:

Philippines.

Timothy Sanders:

So that would have been December of '43?

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

And --

Jose Alvarado:

Because this was on the 1st of December, we went aboard the cargo ship, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And it would have taken you probably five, 10 days, something like that, to get to --

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, we'll get to it because he's got to be over there when we got -- see, he had been assigned to S-2, you know. I don't know if that was him -- I mean, one of the department they had, you know, S-2 and S-3 and S-4, you know, different.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, he was -- he never did any really training. He was just --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, he was an officer.

Timothy Sanders:

He was a lieutenant at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

He was a lieutenant at the time.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, I never knew him, you know. I hardly ever had an officer. See, I was always --

Timothy Sanders:

And you were a private at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

I was -- well, I was a sergeant by that time.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, you were a sergeant.

Jose Alvarado:

I went -- I was a private, corporal, buck sergeant, staff sergeant, and tech sergeant.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I was -- so I was always in charge of something, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

Let's see, he said when we got -- we got to Leyte. He said -- we didn't have any air raids but we certainly did some dodging to miss them. That's on the boat -- on the trip.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That's when he said he was assigned to be Battalion S-2.

Timothy Sanders:

And when you -- where did you land when you went to --

Jose Alvarado:

In Leyte.

Timothy Sanders:

In the Philippines, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, in the Phili- -- in Leyte.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Now I'll find out to what -- if it's got a town or what.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh.

Jose Alvarado:

And then he said that they were rumors that there were a lot of Japs there.

Timothy Sanders:

Did you get into any action at that point with the --

Jose Alvarado:

I did but he didn't.

Timothy Sanders:

He didn't. What happened -- I'm not interested in him.

Jose Alvarado:

We just went in a -- we went in patrol, you know --

Timothy Sanders:

I see.

Jose Alvarado:

-- looking -- because they had been there, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And by that time, you know -- oh, when we got to the port there, it was full of bodies and all that; blood and all that.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So when we got off, that's -- now we -- he said it rained all the time in Leyte.

Timothy Sanders:

And you were on patrols at that point.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. There were rumors that natives, you -- about -- from the natives of a large force of Japs there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

It was just a handful, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That was in San Miguel, Leyte.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We patrolled -- I patrolled. I know I did, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

How many people were on your patrols with you when you went out?

Jose Alvarado:

I think I only used to take a squad or two.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I didn't take the whole platoon, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

You know, this was -- the natives gave you that information!

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

From the natives, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

I see. So you -- so you went on patrols. What was your -- what were your living conditions like there? Where you had tents?

Jose Alvarado:

It was ____________ -- no, we had small tents, pup tents.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, you had pup tents at the time.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

Had to dig a hole every night.

Timothy Sanders:

And were you moving or were you stationed --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, we kept moving.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, so you weren't stationed --

Jose Alvarado:

Well, they -- we had a camp.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we used to go on patrols.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, but you went back to the same place every night?

Jose Alvarado:

Went back every night.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Unless it was a big patrol, well, you had to stay away, you know. Maybe -- sometimes we had to stay a couple of days, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

How many Japanese do you think were on the island at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, you know, he's saying here that the "patrols I had been sending" -- he was sending them.

Timothy Sanders:

Uh-huh.

Jose Alvarado:

See, he made himself a hero, according -- he wanted the Congressional Medal of Honor, see.

Timothy Sanders:

Well . . . Did --

Jose Alvarado:

He said -- let me tell you. He called me -- oh, he said the colonel called him in and told him -- he told him to go, you know, himself. So he said he was the only man he could find. So he went out to find the Jap camp.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He was sent alone, he said. He's lying. He's lying all of the way. "On New Year's Eve, 1944, we started out" -- oh, yeah, that's -- he went on the patrol -- oh, he went by himself, he said.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said he carried three units of ration. He had a guerilla with a rifle, but he said the bolo -- the native only had a bolo knife.

Timothy Sanders:

So he took somebody -- he had a native go with him and --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and show him around, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said he went through the rice paddies and all that.

Timothy Sanders:

About how long were you on Leyte? Do you recall?

Jose Alvarado:

No, not too long.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Not too long. But it will probably say over here.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

See, this is his diary. I don't know why in the hell -- how he could keep a diary. We couldn't do nothing.

Timothy Sanders:

You didn't have any . . . And you think that some of this was probably made up a little bit.

Jose Alvarado:

Well, yeah, I know he did.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Because I went on patrols. The colonel -- whenever it was a big one, he always sent -- I had some tough guys. I had some good -- I had a lot of guys from the South, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina. I had some good hillbillies.

Timothy Sanders:

Good.

Jose Alvarado:

He said the Filipinos were no help at night.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Now we go -- you know, he's talking about that patrol.

Timothy Sanders:

From Leyte when you left there, where did you go?

Jose Alvarado:

We went to the island of --

Timothy Sanders:

-- Luzon?

Jose Alvarado:

-- Luzon, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, all right.

Jose Alvarado:

From there we went to Luzon.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And from that -- that wouldn't have taken you very long to get there.

Jose Alvarado:

No, no.

Timothy Sanders:

And how -- what was the reception there like? Were there --

Jose Alvarado:

When we went on a -- we went on ships, you know --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- that had those -- to make -- make a landing, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We were on a boat, a big boat. Funny, he hasn't even got the name of the boat 'cause it was a big boat.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

But we didn't have any beds or nothing, you know. It was just a boat. And we were piled up like crap, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. Oh, yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

So then -- he's still talking about that. He was disappointed. We made -- well, we better go now to where we're going, you know. We made it back to headquarters; he made it. Let's see, on January the -- we loaded the USS Baxter.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

On January the 26th and landed on January the 29th of '44.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

'45. It was the '44 already. On January the 29th we -- our landing was unopposed without casualties.

Timothy Sanders:

That was 1-29 of '44, right?

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. On Luzon?

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay. See, the worst part about that, when we were on the boat, you know, we got off the boat at midnight. And we didn't make a landing till daylight, at about 7. And everybody was sick on the boat, you know. And then we didn't know what the hell we were gonna meet, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah, that's right.

Jose Alvarado:

And then they started that bombing, you know, for the beach. And that was the first landing that we made. And -- there was no opposition; they took off.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They took off.

Timothy Sanders:

So the Japanese took off but they were bombing anyway.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, they were bombing.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Then on the third day we marched to the town of Olongapo. That's in Subic Bay.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Olongapo in Subic Bay. We moved east of Olongapo and were -- we were fired by mortars and machine gun fire. That's when we started seeing action, see

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Now, so that would have been probably early February of '44.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

You started to receive some mortar fire --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, it was February the -- we landed on the 29th. I think it was the third day after that.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

It was still in January.

Timothy Sanders:

What would have been the -- it was hot, probably, and humid.

Jose Alvarado:

It wasn't too bad, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, all right.

Jose Alvarado:

We were used to it because we were in the South.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But some people always complain.

Timothy Sanders:

And what was the Japanese resistance like at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't get -- we didn't get -- they took off, so we went after them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we got to Subic Bay.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

And there was no opposition. Subic Bay was almost deserted then, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

That was where the submarines used to come. See, so it was deserted then 'cause it was -- they still -- the Japs still had it, you know, but they weren't there anymore.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay, well, then he said the next day we hiked 15 miles to Subic Bay, still no opposition.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

On the third day after we got there, we reached the town of Olongapo.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That's in Subic Bay. And we moved east of Olongapo. We were fired then, you know. We started getting up at 6 in there. But none of us were hurt badly enough to require treatment. That night we dug in in a rice paddy in Zig Zag Pass. That's where we had a lot of -- that's where we start -- they said it was known as Death Valley.

Timothy Sanders:

It was known as the what?

Jose Alvarado:

Death Valley.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay?

Jose Alvarado:

Everyone was talking about it, you see. Then -- well, he's talking now -- you know, that's when we start -- we start getting -- we start getting the hell knocked out of us.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We camped right outside of Subic -- Zig Zag Pass. That's just outside of Subic Bay.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That's what he called it, Death Valley.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said he was the battalion SD then.

Timothy Sanders:

So there was fighting at that point between you and the Japanese.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, there we started.

Timothy Sanders:

And were you trying to push them out or push them north?

Jose Alvarado:

Kill them. That's all.

Timothy Sanders:

Just kill them all.

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't take prisoners.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We had orders not to take prisoners.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Don't bring any prisoners. But then they were attacking us.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Then it was on -- let's see. Now, this is where we start getting the hell knocked out of us. Oh, that's when we start getting mortar fire. We didn't know if they were mortar fire or artillery, you know. And our captain was -- our captain and one of my boys was the first one that got -- they had -- they were in an area -- they were already ____________. One of my boys, I could touch him. You know, his hole was next to me. His head was blown off.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, no.

Jose Alvarado:

And that's on -- well, that's when they were challenge; see, they were challenge us. And that was on the -- I guess it was the 3rd.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, of February.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. He talks here about Dr. Yotun (ph). He's talking about how we were getting a lot of mortar --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah. Now, were you getting air support at the time? No air support.

Jose Alvarado:

We never got air support.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we never had tanks until it was almost over. And we never had artillery. That's what messed us up.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you had machine guns or rifles?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, we had -- well, just -- we had a heavy weapons platoon.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They had machine guns and they had mortars.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Fourth platoon, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

First, second, third, and then the heavy weapons.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

They had machine guns and mortars, smoke mortars.

Timothy Sanders:

And you had rifles?

Jose Alvarado:

Right. We had Tommy guns and carbines.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. How long, then, was the fighting -- it was kind of intense.

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, we couldn't -- we couldn't get out of the hole. This happened at night.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They hit us at night. See. Here's -- this is Private Jacobs. He was one of my boys.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That's the one that got his head blown off. However that's when they start -- you know, they start firing on us. And we didn't know where it was coming from, you know. We were right on the road and we bivouac right there, you know. That's where we parked. My boy was the first one that got his -- killed. And there was a kid with him, Little Tongue, and another one. There was three of them. And Lee. So, you know, he was blown out of his hole, you know, without a head. Lee and -- he was in the same hole with him but he only had wounds. He was wounded.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And he said that Lee kept saying "Jake's gone!" Jake's gone!" You know. He had everything, you know. I don't know how in the hell he kept a diary. Then he talked about how another sergeant from another company -- oh, he was a medic.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He crawled out. He got killed. He was killed -- he will killed by one of our own men.

Timothy Sanders:

How long was the fighting, then, before you had a chance to --

Jose Alvarado:

That night and then the next morning we moved back -- we went to look for them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But we couldn't find them. Oh, we start finding them, but they were all dug in and, you know, it was just -- that was all jungle and it was a little road, you know, and we didn't -- we didn't have any -- we were all walking. But then that night we went back there because over there we had water and we had a kitchen.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

And I think we ate. We cooked. So . . .

Timothy Sanders:

Did they fire on you again the next night?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, that next night they gave us hell.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

You know, he's talking about how he saw --

Timothy Sanders:

So you would go after them during the day --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and then pull back and then they'd come after you at night.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. See, now, he says, "The next day we sat around waiting for the first battalion to knock out the resistance ahead." See, we changed from one battalion to another battalion.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And company, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, how did that finally -- how did that finally end?

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, we -- we -- they kept running.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They kept moving, moving.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And you got them and --

Jose Alvarado:

See, it was just like hand-to-hand fighting. You had walked on -- walked on in the holes, you know. Before you knew it, they were firing at you.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, man.

Jose Alvarado:

I had a boy from just from just on this side of Lafayette. He was shot in the neck and he was one of my sergeants. See, then we getting out here where we started hitting the strong opposition.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And that's where the top of the mountains were then. From there it was all downhill.

Timothy Sanders:

Correct.

Jose Alvarado:

But they wanted us to take it. Now, he starts talking here about our captain, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Captain Yassum (ph) was our company commander. And --

Timothy Sanders:

Yassum? Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yassum. He was from Illinois.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Then we start getting a lot of artillery. We start getting heavy stuff, you know. And Captain Yassum was killed, you know. He says there how Captain Yassum -- he said he was with Captain Yassum. He was lying.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He was with the battalion! He was over there with the colonel.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we had a tough colonel, you know. But he said Captain Yassum was moaning and crying out. Somehow he said he could tell that he was dying. The captain had been hit by the same shell that Jim was, some guy who was with him. And then he felt -- he said that he felt that Jim's leg -- that Jim was bloody. That was Cunningham; that was another officer.

Timothy Sanders:

Now, you started them -- you got them running finally and got them moving up and you chased them up a hill?

Jose Alvarado:

We -- we -- the next day we start -- we didn't move at night.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Because at night, you know, they was there already.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah. You'd be walking into a trap?

Jose Alvarado:

They could see us, yeah. So he said he took the telephone over where Captain Yassum died and he said that the colonel told him to, you know -- how Captain Yassum was and he said that -- he told him that Captain Yassum had died about half an hour before. Now, he's talking _________. Now he's going where we started moving. He said he put a band on that guy, you know, because our doctor -- our medic was killed too.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't have a medic. Okay.

Timothy Sanders:

So you're chasing the Japanese --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and how long did that go on before you finally got some peace --

Jose Alvarado:

Now we come to that because here he said, "Things were quieter and I checked again with the men of Company K" -- that was my company. And he said it wasn't as bad as they first thought, you know. Now we start moving again. And the rest of the night was quiet after they -- after we got all that mortar and artillery.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

It was quiet, you know. Then in the morning he said that Captain Yassum looked like a wax man -- a wax dummy, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Talking about . . . He said that he took over the job of S-3.

Timothy Sanders:

How far were you from Subic Bay at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

Not too far; just a few miles.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Maybe I'd say about 10 miles.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Maybe not even that far.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And you were chasing the Japanese?

Jose Alvarado:

We were running after their ass, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

But chasing -- they kept moving but they had already made their holes and they had machine gun nests. And you couldn't -- in the jungle it's hard to find.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

I wasn't a hero, but I had -- I saw a big part of it. In fact, you know, I used to get pissed off because they always -- the colonel always said "Send Joe," you know. And I was company commander a lot of times because we didn't have any officers left.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

I was second lieutenant. I was in charge of the company. And I said -- oh -- this -- this is another guy who got hit. He said he took over in another job.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He was very important. He said they -- oh, when we were -- we start moving and they kept spraying -- you know, they kept spraying us from the holes. They were dug in, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And he said he was with our company but he wasn't with our band.

Timothy Sanders:

Were you getting any support from the Philippines at all?

Jose Alvarado:

No.

Timothy Sanders:

Were the Filipinos not doing --

Jose Alvarado:

No. It was just us.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Later on we got them. We used to get a -- if we needed a guide, you know -- they could climb trees. We couldn't climb trees. You know, they'd give you one or two or whatever you ask for.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And you tell them "Go out there and see -- see if you see anything."

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. All right.

Jose Alvarado:

And they did, you know. We could understand them, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

He said -- oh, he said that he was -- he said he took two shots into a hole and he said that the Jap had an explosive and it blew up. He said that the only thing that was left of him was -- he said that the flies were -- that he was with the flies. I don't know.

Timothy Sanders:

How long did this last, then, that you were chasing them across Luzon?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, let's see. Let's see. Oh, we were in this area; on the 7th we cleared it.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We got up to the top. February the 7th.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That's when we took it over.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

See, cuz that's -- that's the first time I got wounded.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I was wounded before, you know, but it was just a -- I got phosphorus on my back, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And that's when this doctor -- this captain, a doctor that -- my friend --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- that's when he joined us here. He came over and he said -- I didn't know him. That's the first time I ever saw him.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. When did you get the phosphorus? Do you recall?

Jose Alvarado:

That night. You know, the phosphorus.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, then when did you get wounded?

Jose Alvarado:

That same day.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The 7th.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Okay. We're gonna get into -- see, this was February the 2nd and then the next day, February the 3rd. It was quiet and then that's when we start moving then. He said the Japs slipped in and threw grenades at us. They used to throw them at each other themselves. They were scared. Anything moved they --

Timothy Sanders:

-- throw a grenade.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. He said on February the 4th, the colonel put him in command of Company K. That's when he came over to --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

And that's when he said that he -- oh, he went and killed a Jap right now. He was -- he couldn't even talk to me. No, he -- I had a bad reputation. No, the next day we moved up the pass again.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Company L leading and Company K behind them. As Company M moved up to occupy lower ridges, there was some -- you know, we were seeing fire from all sides. And that's when we really start meeting a lot of --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said Company K was ordered with -- up with stretchers to help evacuate the dead and wounded. And then we had to leave the dead only, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, we -- we -- that's when we started getting a lot of action. And Company K moved in to help Company L, you know. That's what he said.

Timothy Sanders:

When you finally got to the top of the hill --

Jose Alvarado:

We're coming to that.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay. All right.

Jose Alvarado:

See, we hit that -- I hit it three times. See, it was -- it was quite a bit of area, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we -- they were shooting from this side and then they stop and the guys from this side, they had a machine gun nest, you know. And then in the middle they had some more, you know. So we were trying to get that -- take that hill and -- that's, you know, we start getting a lot of people -- a lot of kids killed, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So the sergeant -- February the 7th was a date never to be forgotten. Colonel Manguel (ph) ordered Company K to attack and finish taking that hill that -- and he said that was gonna be a tough job, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

But he said -- I know the colonel said, you know, we got to take that hill today. Gotta take it and there's no -- no ifs -- you know, ifs or nots. We're gonna take it. So we -- they sent a patrol, you know. They sent me on the right and another squad in the middle -- another platoon in the middle and another platoon on the left.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So I went over there and we couldn't move, you know. We were right in between a lot of fire. We couldn't move. So I told my -- I had a runner, you know. He had a radio. I told him "Tell the captain, you know, that we can't move over here." So the colonel -- the captain got to Colonel Manguel again. And he said he knew it was gonna be a tough job, but we got to take it today, he said. So -- yeah. He said -- he went -- "He sent Sergeant Taft (ph) with his platoon to the left, and I went with Sergeant Alvarado on the right." I don't know where in the hell he was; I never saw him.

Timothy Sanders:

(Chuckling.)

Jose Alvarado:

And then a Jap machine gun open up on us and cut my gun in half.

Timothy Sanders:

Cut his gun in half?

Jose Alvarado:

Mine.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, cut your gun in half.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, my gun was cut in half! I didn't have a gun, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh-oh.

Jose Alvarado:

I was -- and right next to me was my best friend, Sergeant Gibson. He was shot, you know, right on the side, you know. I could see the -- see, I was -- we were on the hill, and I was a little bit lower than him. They cut my gun in half. And Pat Gibson, he got -- I don't know how many bullets, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh.

Jose Alvarado:

I could see that -- you know, I could see him because I could touch him.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

I could see the [interviewee taking breath in and blowing out]. You know, he just -- he did that about three or four times then he died, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh.

Jose Alvarado:

And we -- I went to pull him, but I -- we couldn't.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

If we -- if you stood up, we'd get shot too.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

So -- then we -- he talks about Gibson, how he was killed.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He had never even saw him.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, you finally, though, made it to the top of the hill.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, no, we went back.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We went back. The first attack failed.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

About noon we tried again.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

First attack failed. About noon we tried again.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

Captain Manguel came up and he was raising hell, you know. "We gotta take it," you know. Yeah, we gotta take it, but he was in the back.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And so we went again, you know. But I took a different squad, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

The first time I took a Mexican kid that used to be with us. I'd sent him the first time, you know. And they got -- hell, you know, they got fire from -- so the second time I took this kid from -- I told you from Lafayette.

Timothy Sanders:

Lafayette?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. I took him. I told him your squad next, you know, but I had to go with him.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So I took him and then we -- first attack failed. Then we went -- oh, they asked for artillery. He said they had asked for artillery but could not get it. And I knew that we couldn't take the hill without knocking out the Japs.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So then --

Timothy Sanders:

Well, at least you wanted to knock out those machine gun nests? Is that what you're talking about?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, that's what we wanted.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But see, we order -- we asked for mortar fire, you know. Mortar, because that's all we had. And they were off. And then they run out of ammunition. So he said he was on the radio with Colonel Manguel for a long time. And we went back again. We had to take it, so we went back again. We went back again. And -- let's see. See, I remember all this because I went there three times. I had to go there three times because, you know, all three companies, three -- three squads, we all, you know -- the guy in charge, you know -- we didn't have very many officers then. I think we had one or two besides the captain.

Timothy Sanders:

So every time they went up -- how many times did you charge the hill or did you go for it --

Jose Alvarado:

Three or four. I think it was -- it might have been four.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But then the third time we went and that's when we took it.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But then after we took it, we -- oh, we -- that's -- we took it that time.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We stay there. That -- see, I was wounded, you know. This guy from Lafayette was wounded real bad. He was shot through the neck. And he was bleeding on both sides, so I took out my -- we had a little packet, you know. So I used mine and his, and I put one in front and one in the back to stop the bleeding.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And you know, when I was doing that, some Jap threw a grenade right between us. I picked it up and I threw it, but when I threw it, it exploded. So we got some more of that crap.

Timothy Sanders:

So you got some shrapnel from that.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. We got shrapnel from that. END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE; BEGIN SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE

Timothy Sanders:

All right. So on your third time, you finally --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- got to the top of the hill and stayed there then.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. See, he says here "the Jap snipers were picking men off right and left, but they kept digging." It was Lieutenant Windler (ph), Sergeant O'Neill, and Private Herriot were killed right there. They were right next to him.

Timothy Sanders:

I see.

Jose Alvarado:

You know. (Mumbling.) Yeah, it wasn't that I called myself brave. I was there -- just there, you know. The other lieutenant, the older one was shot. Oh, he was killed. He was shot through the chest.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Company L was behind us. And let's see. Now we -- there were eight men from my company killed.

Timothy Sanders:

On taking that hill?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Taking that hill.

Timothy Sanders:

When you got to the top then, you stayed there --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, we -- well, we stayed there till we, you know -- they were supposed to come up with some food.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We hadn't had any food. So we ________ had to eat that shit, with Japs there all over, flies and shit.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

But they ate -- we ate.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. You had to.

Jose Alvarado:

Well, anyway. I was already wounded, see. But I had shrapnel in both my hands.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And my feet. See, my fingernails?

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

My feet are all -- I never got a dime for 54 years before I got --

Timothy Sanders:

Good heavens.

Jose Alvarado:

And, well, anyway, I had to go.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I had to go because I was bleeding quite a bit.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And see I had shrapnel in both shoulders and my hands. But it was the grenade that I threw.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, if you hadn't done that --

Jose Alvarado:

But you know what, I won -- let's see, that was 1945.

Timothy Sanders:

Um-hum.

Jose Alvarado:

-- 57 years of life. That other guy came back -- the other guy was single. He didn't have a family; a mother and father. That's how much life we bought just by throwing it, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Because it would have killed us both.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

But we both got shrapnel -- you know, he was already shot and then I was looking at him because I was, you know, he was --

Timothy Sanders:

Now, this was the guy that you put the -- was shot in the neck?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, and he was in shock, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

I tried to send him back to the rear to go, but he won't stay -- and he was a big guy. He was about 6-3, a big redhead. He had arms on him, bigger than my thighs. And -- but he was shot, you know, and he didn't want to go. He was afraid. So some guys were going down. I told him, "You go with those guys. Goddammit, get your ass out of here." I was wounded, but I was still getting around, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

I could get around. I wasn't like him, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah, he was hurt.

Jose Alvarado:

He was hurt bad.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So anyway, he went back, you know. He went to the -- wherever they had the aid station. If they had one doctor -- we didn't have any medics. They got killed before we did.

Timothy Sanders:

The medics got killed, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, you got to -- when you were at the top of the hill then, you -- did you start to get some reinforcements or some people come up to help you out, then --

Jose Alvarado:

No.

Timothy Sanders:

-- at that point to take your place?

Jose Alvarado:

No. We just hold the ground.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, not till the -- after that, I left. But it was a couple of days -- see, here it mentions all the guys that were killed, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Well, then when you left, you went back to the aid station to --

Jose Alvarado:

I went to the aid station.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And what happened to you there?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, they -- you know, they didn't have any more morphine.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And they said -- you know, they stopped doing like shrapnel wounds. They said you got to wait till in the morning when we can get some morphine. Just the bad cases, you know, they were using the morphine. They said, you know, we can take it out and they give you a stick to bite on. They dug it out, you know, they -- with tweezers.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

They dug it out. It hurt at first but, you know, I wanted, you know, to get -- you didn't want to get infection.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So, "Well, go ahead," you know. You know, I go to the VA over here.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

Adam Benjamin.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And they did surgery on me over there faster than these son of a bitches do to give me a shot of B-12. I go there and wait three or four hours sometimes for a shot.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Over there they -- I had surgery, you know. They pulled it out from my hands, and I told the doctor -- he's a nurse that I told. You know what, on February the 7th, 1945, I had surgery. I had surgery. And took him about 10 minutes.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

Takes you three hours to give me a B-12 shot. I told him "One of these days some guy's gonna come in here with a machine gun and blow your ass up."

Timothy Sanders:

I hope not.

Jose Alvarado:

No, but it can happen.

Timothy Sanders:

I know.

Jose Alvarado:

I -- sometimes we sit there and, you know --

Timothy Sanders:

Just mad, yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

It's terrible.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, after you got patched up, then where -- did they send you back in or --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. I went to the hospital.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And I went to a hospital. They had a tent hospital.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I went over there and then they had to -- it was already taken, that hill was taken.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That was our mission there. So he said they dug in and they were in good -- you know, in good shape. They had water and chow. And there was only -- oh, well, then the rest of it was patrolling there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Just short patrols. But I wasn't there. I was gone for -- for a few days and then they send my ass back.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

You know, if you weren't hurt bad enough that you had to stay -- oh, he said that the Japs wanted the hill back.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

So they start coming back. See, I wasn't there then.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. You were away from the hill for just a couple of days --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, a few days.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and then when you went back, did you go back to the top of the hill?

Jose Alvarado:

I went back, but no. I didn't go back -- when I went back the Japs took off.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They took off, see. But then we start chasing them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So he said he saw a Jap the next morning laying with his hands hanging over the hole. See, I never -- I was never close to the captain too much because I didn't have much use for him because they brought him from somewhere else, you know, to -- and made -- see, it was that old bullshit, you know. Friends take care of friends.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

They made him company commander. I was a tech sergeant, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, later on they send me -- they gave me my commission.

Timothy Sanders:

What is the -- so you were chasing the Japs across Luzon.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, just -- not too far.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Because then once you got out of the mountains, it was flat road, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So they had trucks coming and going from Manila to all over.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. All right. Now, do we have Manila at the time? Were --

Jose Alvarado:

No.

Timothy Sanders:

The Japanese did?

Jose Alvarado:

Hell, yes.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

That came later.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But see, we were too far from them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, I see.

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't get to go there.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

We went, but later on we went there and we -- my company was lucky when we got to go through the leper colony.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, jeez.

Jose Alvarado:

We see them, you know. And those sisters and nuns taking care of them.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

But, you know, they never mention anything about that. So he's talking about the next day. They went -- they saw -- there were a lot of dead people there, you know. But a lot of them were ours. We had -- I think on that hill, we must have had -- between K Company and L Company, we must have had about 25 guys dead too --

Timothy Sanders:

Wow.

Jose Alvarado:

-- besides the wounded, the wounded that, you know, that we could walk or they could carry. Now, let's see. He said they moved back several miles to a creek in Santa Rita.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Santa Rita?

Jose Alvarado:

Santa Rita.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They were eating hot meals and all that.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I was in the hospital then. And then he said -- you know, he talks about how the company looks different, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

We had already -- went through battle and we was all beat up and --

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

He said we lost 12 men, our company did.

Timothy Sanders:

And the other company probably lost about the same, so yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But we had a lot of guys wounded, a lot of them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Now let's see. "The fighting had moved from Bloody Ridge, but the hill was taken." That's what it was called, Bloody Ridge. There was a lot of blood there. A lot of blood spilled there. On the 12th they ran into some, like, sniper fire.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

That's what he said there.

Timothy Sanders:

Now, you were still in the hospital --

Jose Alvarado:

I was in the hospital, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

All right. About when did you get back to the unit?

Jose Alvarado:

About -- I'm not sure if it was eight or 10 days.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, all right.

Jose Alvarado:

They send my ass back.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, they used to use penicillin --

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

-- but in liquid.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

You know, not a shot. They wash it and they healed fast.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. All right.

Jose Alvarado:

So I went back about eight or 10 days.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And the only reason they didn't send me back was because they weren't doing any fighting. They were just getting ready to go out -- you know, go look for some more.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said on February the 13th -- see, I wasn't there then.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

On the 13th, he said was -- "Company K was to make fame and history for itself." He said the colonel sent him to move forward with Company K on the right next to the road. Captain Sandefur (ph) was on the left. They hit sniper fire and he said Sergeant Snyder (ph) and Private ___________ were killed and they were held up -- I went back and I -- and we did some more fighting.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, I just didn't remember. I went back and they -- I went right up there again. That's when we got to Zig Zag Pass, you know. It was in the mountains.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So --

Timothy Sanders:

When did the fighting finally end? I guess --

Jose Alvarado:

That's what I'm trying to find out.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, when I left -- we never had any idea of what day that it was. He said over here before. Let's see what date. When I first got this -- he sent it to some guy, a friend of his, and gave me -- he gave me --

Timothy Sanders:

-- a copy?

Jose Alvarado:

-- one and I went and got copies.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I had copies made for my outfit. We meet yet. Five of us got together last week.

Timothy Sanders:

Is that right?

Jose Alvarado:

In -- over in Butler, Indiana.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

They had a post there, but they went out of business now. So we go over there and we'll stay in a motel and we get together because a couple of the guys that -- one of the guys that always go in, you know, the paperwork, he lives there in Butler, somewhere in that area. Last year was only five of us left.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

From Indiana.

Timothy Sanders:

I see.

Jose Alvarado:

Because we were an Indiana outfit. We got a lot of guys from out of state, but they couldn't come. February the 13th, that's when they said they made history. So I must have come back on the -- if I was gone on the 7th, I came back the day after they went through that. So I didn't have anything to do with that part.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But then when I came back, the colonel told me, "Better get your ass out there. They need you." So, you know, I had to go back with my company.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we started down the road, you know. Oh, yeah. Here's where he lied a lot again. There were Japs on both sides of the road. See, the road was real small. Company L was on one side and Company K on the other. So we were moving real good because, you know, guys on that side could fire across us, you know, because they knew -- and we could fire, you know --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- we weren't shooting into each other. And that's when we finally won the pass.

Timothy Sanders:

What was the -- what was the -- was it grass or rice or what were you going through?

Jose Alvarado:

All jungle.

Timothy Sanders:

Just a jungle, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, jungle.

Timothy Sanders:

Jungle through -- a narrow road through a jungle.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

And where were you going at the time? You were --

Jose Alvarado:

We were just trying to get them out on the flat land so that they could get them from the other side.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Got it.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

All right. And there were U.S. troops on the other side --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- that were trying to squeeze them.

Jose Alvarado:

A different unit, but we didn't know what company they were.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, right.

Jose Alvarado:

You never knew.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

You never knew who in the hell was next to you.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

Except when -- when -- we got help from the 1st Cavalry and then we got help from the ____________ division. We used to alternate.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

We'd be up there and then they'd come. See, this one I wasn't there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They had quite a few, quite a few guys killed that time.

Timothy Sanders:

When you were in the hospital?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

So you got back and you said you weren't in the hospital very long.

Jose Alvarado:

No.

Timothy Sanders:

And you finally got them down onto the flat and you're pushing them toward our friends.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. And so we went back to Zig Zag Pass. We went to take care of the town.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, we went back to Olongapo.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we made bivouac there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we had to have patrol -- we had to have groups, you know, at every bridge and everything, you know, so the Japs wouldn't come and blow them up.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So that's what we -- we came back. We were there, but I don't know how long we were there. And then, see . . .

Timothy Sanders:

What was your rank at this time?

Jose Alvarado:

Tech sergeant.

Timothy Sanders:

You were still a tech sergeant?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, I was a tech sergeant.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, this one I -- I really don't remember much about this.

Timothy Sanders:

But you did go back --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, I went back.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and were guarding the town and the bridges and keeping everything secure.

Jose Alvarado:

I was -- see, I worked with the Japs -- with the Filipinos. They made me a captain in their outfit. They gave me a diploma or something. I have it.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, I was a captain in the Filipino guerrillas.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

These other guys made me second lieutenant. They made me a captain.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, they liked me, you know, because I used to go on patrol and they used to give me hell. We didn't have too many men. We were short. We were real short then.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. When you were guarding the town, were there Japanese in the area that you --

Jose Alvarado:

No -- yeah -- out of town.

Timothy Sanders:

You cleared them out pretty well.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, they were gone.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, good. Good.

Jose Alvarado:

But they were afraid that there could be some left. There were stragglers.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Sure. Be safe.

Jose Alvarado:

He said they were close to the road and they were all -- they all took off their clothes and were swimming. They were -- oh, no, they were just resting.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And cleaning their guns. Clean your gun every day.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. Right.

Jose Alvarado:

Didn't give a damn what you were doing, you clean your gun every day. Let's see now. See, then -- then they moved us.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I can't see here when they -- they moved us. But I know there was a -- while I was gone, they got hell too.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They were hitting -- bullets were hitting all over, all around them.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. But that's still back when you were in the hospital?

Jose Alvarado:

But no -- "No one right near me had been killed then," he says.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The radio operator was shot, but the -- "I was still trying to get the radio to work."

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, I wasn't there then. He said he lost his rifle and helmet in the confusion, the captain.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

He said he found a Browning automatic rifle, and he had 200 rounds of ammunition "on the ground near me. I picked it up and loaded it, loaded a clip and start spraying the brush again." See, they hid.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, all right, I see. Well, how long -- you guarded the town, you said, for a while.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, we stayed there for a while.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we rested. See, because there wasn't any action any more on that part of the island.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

It was over. They were all going towards Manila then.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we -- that's where they sent us. But we went on the other side of Manila. See, the -- Manila was right on -- you know, not too far from the ocean.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

So they sent us around, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. Around the other side of Manila to come in from that side.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Right.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And we got over there and there was mountains too, you know, but different kind of mountains.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Bare mountains, but hills. So -- but I want to get to there so I can make sure that I let you know what happened, you know. He said we were down to 40 men in Company K.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

When we started we had over a hundred.

Timothy Sanders:

Wow.

Jose Alvarado:

Had a lot of men -- oh, we had a lot of guys killed. You know, if you tell people, they -- you know, maybe this guy's crazy. Oh, we had so many killed -- kids killed, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

We were -- hand-to-hand, you know. We didn't use the bayonets. Hell, it's too dirty. And you know, they were in the holes and we would get close to them. You know, the dirt that they threw out, you know, they were hiding.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

Shoveled dirt in the holes, suffocate them.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. Whatever it took.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. See, we had orders not to take prisoners. Now he's talking about another captain that we had, __________ +. See, I wasn't there then.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The next day we got orders to push a short distance.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, I'm interested now in Manila. Can you tell me --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Before we get to manila, we went through a dam, Wawa Dam. That's what we took.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, we didn't -- we didn't -- we were not in Manila. We went to Wawa. There was a dam that used -- they used to get the water from there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And it was full of Japs, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Was this the water source for Manila?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Evidently it was.

Timothy Sanders:

And you took that -- you took that --

Jose Alvarado:

We went that way.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

But some of us didn't even get close to the dam because that's when we really start getting -- it was tough there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And it was hills and mountains and no cover, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

I see.

Jose Alvarado:

So it was bad. But we had them on the run then, see. They didn't put up much of a . . .

Timothy Sanders:

And you still had no air support or were you getting any air support?

Jose Alvarado:

We never got air support.

Timothy Sanders:

You never got any air support, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Or artillery.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you got the Japs on the run around the dam --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

-- and got them out of there.

Jose Alvarado:

That's where we went, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I want to -- if I can see what happened, I'll remember.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Zig Zag Pass was open already, see.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So we played a vital role in opening it to Manila, you know, and the battle of Manila was not taking place.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, we didn't go straight to Manila. They sent us another way. And then that's when I got wounded again. 20 men had been killed.

Timothy Sanders:

How many times were you wounded?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, twice.

Timothy Sanders:

Twice and once was --

Jose Alvarado:

See, the captain said, you know, he said in that paper, in that letter that I was wounded three times. But over here, he put a patch on it because I had a phosphorus burn.

Timothy Sanders:

Phosphorus burn.

Jose Alvarado:

But I didn't have to go to the hospital, you know. But he said I should have gotten -- you only get one Purple Heart, that's all.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

You don't get two, you know. You get what you call a -- what the hell they call it?

Timothy Sanders:

Oak leaf?

Jose Alvarado:

Oak leaf. I wasn't worried about -- I didn't want any of that. I'd show you my ribbons.

Timothy Sanders:

I'd like to see them.

Jose Alvarado:

We pulled back to Olongapo to guard the ammunition dump and hospital.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

See, neither those things -- I didn't go on those, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

But he knew everything because the colonel would tell him, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Let's see. Where we come -- oh, he -- he got his promotion here now. Got promoted from first lieutenant to captain. See, he said that the natives gave us parties and all that but -- in Olongapo. See, I wasn't -- I -- I wasn't invited.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Then on the 14th of February, we hadn't had any casualties since the 8th through the 14th.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

He said we stayed there a short time, and then we got orders to move into the Zambales Mountains. That's what I was trying to remember.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

It was on the other side of Manila. See, I told you it was bare, you know, just rocks. We went to block the ___________ Trail that leads from Clark Field west to the coast.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you're taking -- you're going --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, they gave us the transportation ___________+.

Timothy Sanders:

I see.

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't have to walk there. We went to -- he said we passed through, oh, Pumbatu (ph).

Timothy Sanders:

Pumba (ph)?

Jose Alvarado:

Pumbatu and then to the village of Mawgeesawgees (ph). He said they were not -- those black -- little negritos, you know. We got those too. We couldn't see anything. Get them up at 3 and they get up and they tell you. Japs. And then they didn't know whether they were Japs or their own men.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

That's when we -- we found a lot of guns and all that and ammunition, Japanese. They left them; you know, they couldn't carry it any more.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

What they wanted to do was get the hell out of there.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

But they couldn't go anywhere. Go out to sea. Oh, yeah, I remember this spot now. We got to a place where clear stream and set up camp.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We were there -- this is where I got -- no, I got hurt again later on. He said we had fresh meat for dinner because they killed one of those -- those -- I don't know what the hell they call them, like -- they weren't cows.

Timothy Sanders:

Whatever it was.

Jose Alvarado:

See, now over here he comes to Sergeant Hernandez. He was another boy from the harbor. We went together. But I had him changed because he was a little bit too, you know, rough, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

He beat up one of the boys, you know. And I went, I told him, "How come you beat him up?" "Oh, I didn't like the son of a bitch." So I busted his ass from sergeant to private again and moved him to another -- not a company, to another platoon, you know. But then later on I got him again. He was good, you know. But I didn't like what he did. He killed one of the bravest guys that we had, some Italian kid from New York City. Yeah, you know, they -- he didn't like him for some reason and kicked his ass. He used to fight. You know, he used to fight.

Timothy Sanders:

Is he still around?

Jose Alvarado:

No, he died a long time ago. There were -- oh, we -- this -- on this -- when we got over there to those towns, we got out of there and we started going -- we meet a little assistance, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

Because they were trying -- they were trying to join forces with the guys that were in Manila.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And so we went looking for them.

Timothy Sanders:

You were cutting them off?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, we were looking for them.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

He said here that he shot -- he did a lot of firing. He said his pistol was empty, so he took a rifle that he found. Let's see.

Timothy Sanders:

And is this where you got wounded again?

Jose Alvarado:

Not yet.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We were on our way over here. That's when I got wounded.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. How did that happen?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, we were looking for them -- we knew where they were but, see, we couldn't stand up. We were crawling.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We did a lot of crawling.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

See, we couldn't stand up. And then it was open and we were moving -- you know, I moved with my men all the time. This guy said he moved with the men, but he didn't. I knew the guys that moved with the -- you know. You could get along with -- the men would do anything for you. See, over here -- see, that area didn't have a name. We were just wide open.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And then we got -- wherever it was, he said a lot of Japs came up and they were cooking, the mess -- the kitchen was there and they were cooking. And some Japs came and even the cooks got guns and they killed them. Yeah. But see that's when we found a real good spot. It was like on the mountains and there was like a spring.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And gave a lot of water.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

You know. And we could bathe. We couldn't swim, but we could drink it.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

You know, it was real good. And that's when -- that's when I -- we were there and I had -- that's when I went on a patrol then. I went -- I didn't go on a patrol. I was the front.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, there was -- see, he was -- you know, there was mountains. They were sliding, you know. It was steep mountains and it was hell. No cover and you were -- you know, the guys were waiting for you.

Timothy Sanders:

The Japanese were up above you on the mountain?

Jose Alvarado:

They were down there already. They could see you.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

He said they got relieved again from over there. He said -- oh, here he comes again with me. We were there in that area where the water was. He said, "Company L came up to relieve us. I warned the company to be very careful that night and not to fight unless they had to. I want to get out of this area without any more casualties. We had some booby traps set -- set out. And the order was -- the orders were that no one could leave the company area in the morning." See, I had those done. I didn't do it; my men.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

I had a guy, Gonsi (ph), he used to be from here. He was good about that, you know, he liked to mess around with autos and all that. And so he went and put the booby traps; they were booby traps. "During the night a Jap patrol hit us with some firing and some firing took place. Things were quiet at daylight, so I awoke Sergeant Alvarado and told him to take his detail out to disarm the booby traps." We got some guys killed here too. Sergeant Traheyda (ph) was our first sergeant. We got him from the regular Army. And the runner, the captain's runner, Pearson, they went out to look for souvenirs. We had set those traps and told everybody not to move. The colonel was sleeping with me that night. Every time he'd come, he'd always bunk with me. And he was bunking with me. So these guys went out to find souvenirs, and he started out yelling for them. He said he started. "I heard the explosion," he said. But I had already hollered at the other guys, you know, "Stop those guys." They were going -- they went out to look for souvenirs. And they both -- you know, one of them died right away and the other one went to the hospital, you know. They -- you know, they set up -- they set them up all night long. The Japs set some of them. But there were some left.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And we had to go take them because --

Timothy Sanders:

-- you knew where they were.

Jose Alvarado:

-- Gonsi knew where they were --

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

-- and he could disarm them easy.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So anyway, he said I called back -- I called them back, but Peterson -- Pearson was dead and Traheyda was hurt. We had to bring them back and then we sent them to the hospital because we were -- we had a truck then. I don't know how in the hell we got it but we had a truck -- oh, the colonel.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. It was the colonel's truck.

Jose Alvarado:

Oh, yeah, he came up. And he doesn't mention the colonel. The colonel was there that night. Company K moved on -- we moved on that day to Olongapo.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We had a nice time there for about a week. We got drunk and checked on the girls. He didn't. He didn't do nothing. He was -- evidently he was a religious guy, but, you know, most of us -- my life -- you could float a couple of battleships, the beer that I drank. "We were into plenty of Japs and some of them were tough. Sergeant Alvarado was wounded for the second time on this trip." That's on this trip. Yeah. So they sent me to the hospital, you know. They sent me back and, you know, it was nothing but mountains. And so we had to -- they had to carry me out, but the guys that were going to carry me were sicker than I was. I was shot in the leg, but, you know, I had pain but --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- you know, I'd take a shot of morphine and I could stand it. But I couldn't walk on it. I walked for a little while so they had to carry me. So they would carry me for a little while and we'd stop and I'd crawl, you know, to give them a rest.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

Till we got out in a flat area and they landed -- they were landing a small plane.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And they carried out, you know, on the sides --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- one of those little shitty-ass planes. What the hell -- I don't know what they call -- plane, little ones, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And they took me out. But those guys that carried me over there, that helped me over there was sicker than I was. The only thing I -- you know, I could -- I could --

Timothy Sanders:

You couldn't walk and they could walk.

Jose Alvarado:

They were sick -- yeah, yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure. So then now the plane took you where then?

Jose Alvarado:

Took me to a hospital.

Timothy Sanders:

In Manila or -- no, no, you --

Jose Alvarado:

No. In Clark Field. In Clark Field.

Timothy Sanders:

In Clark Field, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

And how long were you there?

Jose Alvarado:

Let me see how long. I had it in the -- that's the -- maybe I have it there, but I wasn't there very long.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

See, my captain told me, "You going home now, Joe." He told me, "You're going home now. I won't see you anymore till -- if I get back to the States, I'll see you," he told me. And god, you know, over there they -- they x-rayed me and the doctor said -- oh, I stayed there 10 days.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

So he said stay off your feet for 10 days. They send my ass back up. And you know what, they closed that hospital, they never told us anything. They knew they were moving but they didn't tell us. So during the night, you know, we went to sleep; got up in the morning and looking for the kitchen, for the chow. And there was no kitchen, nothing.

Timothy Sanders:

It was gone.

Jose Alvarado:

And no transportation. So we were -- there was quite a few of us. And I could walk then, you know, but, you know, the damn thing was still bleeding, you know. So we had to go back to my outfit. We got back on the road and we could see trucks going, so I was looking for a 38th Division truck. And one was coming and I stopped it, you know. I was by myself. The other guys were looking for trucks, you know, from their own --

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

-- division. So I -- I got back to my outfit. When I got there, there was one officer left, and when he saw me -- I went first to division, you know, because that's where the truck was going. When I got there, I said -- you know, I reported there to some colonel. I'm looking for my outfit, Company K. He said, "Oh, we're gonna send a truck over that way. Wait a little while." So I waited there a while. Then I went -- I joined my battalion again.

Timothy Sanders:

You were going back to your --

Jose Alvarado:

And that's when we went back and -- oh, that's when we went to Manila, see.

Timothy Sanders:

Now, when you got to Manila, was most of the fighting over then at --

Jose Alvarado:

They were fighting but they were going out to sea.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. I see.

Jose Alvarado:

They shoved them out into the ocean.

Timothy Sanders:

And you --

Jose Alvarado:

Japs were laying all over. They killed a lot of them.

Timothy Sanders:

What did you do in Manila, then?

Jose Alvarado:

We went through it, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The guys that were in front of us were taking care of it.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't have to shoot any more.

Timothy Sanders:

All right.

Jose Alvarado:

So then we went and we went got to -- we went to a place -- I don't remember what the hell the name of it -- and we made a camp, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The division -- well, we were so short of men, you know. But each unit was assigned a spot and we had tents and close to town. That's all we wanted.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And -- but there were a lot of Japs killed in that area.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

God all mighty.

Timothy Sanders:

Tough fighting.

Jose Alvarado:

Stuff. So the hard fighting was over there, see.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And, well, he's talking about how it was -- but I don't know how Andy he wrote this. This one, he wasn't even there then.

Timothy Sanders:

How long did you stay in Manila?

Jose Alvarado:

We didn't stay in Manila, just outside.

Timothy Sanders:

Just outside of town. How long were you there in that camp?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, till we came back.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And when did you leave the Philippines, about?

Jose Alvarado:

The Philippines, it's in -- what in the hell --

Timothy Sanders:

Because that would have been --

Jose Alvarado:

It's got to be here in -- see, I never had a record. I had a discharge with a -- I was at the 36th Evac Hospital, see.

Timothy Sanders:

Right. On February 7th, right, I've got that. And then you went back.

Jose Alvarado:

Right.

Timothy Sanders:

And then -- but I'm trying to figure out when did you leave the Philippines?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, it will be here somewhere.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay. All right.

Jose Alvarado:

See, I don't -- I really never got a record of -- see this.

Timothy Sanders:

January 10th of '46 you got out of the service.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, well, that's -- you know, but I had some time, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

We were on that boat, that Marine Cardinal. Let me check and see if I --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Do you have anything there but the Marine Cardinal? The hospital ship? It's a Navy ship, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

They put you on a hospital ship to come back?

Jose Alvarado:

No, the whole --

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The whole -- well, my battalion came on that one and we had a lot of nurses. See, before we got on that boat, I was the billeting officer. The colonel told me, "You go -- you're in charge for the billeting for the women," you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

The women, he meant the nurses, the Red Cross women and -- a lot of women that we had. So I worked my ass off all day. And I was through at about 11:00 at night. So I went to my -- I had to go find out where in the hell I was gonna stay, with the other guy that was -- that -- we were both commissioned --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- him and I. When I got there, I told him, you know, "I feel sick. I got a" -- I had a, you know, pain in my chest. So I told him, "Is the doctor on?" He said, "Yeah." I told him, "Well, why don't you call him." So the doctor came and he saw me. He said, "Joe, I can't do anything for you now. You're under the Navy's" -- I told him, "Well, what the hell am I gonna do?" He said, "I'll go and tell the Navy" --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- "doctor." The Navy -- the Navy doctor came and he said, "I got to operate on you, but I can't operate on you right now; in the morning, at daylight."

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

In the morning I -- and I stayed on the boat, in the hole all the time back.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And no son of a bitch ever came to see me. They were busy.

Timothy Sanders:

Busy?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

What was the matter with you?

Jose Alvarado:

Well, I had appendicitis.

Timothy Sanders:

You had appendicitis. Oh, man.

Jose Alvarado:

Had an appendicitis attack.

Timothy Sanders:

Did he operate and take it out?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, he operate.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay, good.

Jose Alvarado:

He operated on me. And then he saw my feet and he said, "What the hell you been doing with your feet?" I told him, "Well, I was shot in that leg." He could see the, you know -- I still had infection on it. And he said, "What's the matter with your toes?" I told him, "Nothing. I had a little jungle rot when we were in New Guinea." So, you know, he pulled my nails out.

Timothy Sanders:

Aw.

Jose Alvarado:

He pulled the nails off and I couldn't walk for nothing for -- you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Aw, jeez.

Jose Alvarado:

But anyway, that's when we start coming back. But I'd like to find the --

Timothy Sanders:

And you came back and you finally got out in '46.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, '46. I was -- see, I had a few days coming, but I was by myself. See, I didn't have anybody from my division.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

I was a bastard out there by myself in that hospital. And, you know, I had morphine needles, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

They gave them to us in case somebody got hurt, you know, to stop the pain.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

And when we were in the hospital, they saw them and they said, "Where in the hell did you get those" -- I told them, "Well, hell, every -- every -- leader, you know, had them, you know. Sergeants and" -- we had them, they come to find out when we got on the Marine Cardinal.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah, you got out March 15th of '45.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah -- well, that's when my time that I had --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah. And your serial number was 35158004.

Jose Alvarado:

That was as an enlisted man.

Timothy Sanders:

That was your --

Jose Alvarado:

As an officer I had another number.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And what was your --

Jose Alvarado:

Second lieutenant.

Timothy Sanders:

That was your highest rank.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. See, that's my number here.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. And this is -- and your lieutenant number is --

Jose Alvarado:

42024259.

Timothy Sanders:

42024 --

Jose Alvarado:

-- 259.

Timothy Sanders:

-- 259. All right. And now when you came back, where did you land? You came to --

Jose Alvarado:

In LA.

Timothy Sanders:

In LA?

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And they took me to a hospital there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And I had to stay there till they released me. I'm by myself. The only good thing about it is my family was living in California, in LA, and my wife was there.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. So you got a chance to see --

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. Oh, that's my --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

That's what's his name's --

Timothy Sanders:

That's his wife.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, his wife.

Timothy Sanders:

Now, so you -- you were in LA. Is that where you were discharged finally?

Jose Alvarado:

No. My wife was living in Texas --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- when I was in the war, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

She had a sister over there and her husband was in the --

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

-- Air Force, so she went to live with her sister over there; they could share expenses, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Because I -- you know, I was only an officer from -- I think it was April.

Timothy Sanders:

Just a little while.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah.

Timothy Sanders:

Wasn't very long. But where were you then when you did get discharged finally?

Jose Alvarado:

From Fort Bliss in El Paso.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay. You got -- from El Paso.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah, from there. On my own.

Timothy Sanders:

On your own.

Jose Alvarado:

And I went and had a physical there.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And those bastards said, "You see that Mexican. He's an officer." You know -- but, you know, I never saw an officer in my -- in my division. I was trying to find out if there's a way that I could get any of that information.

Timothy Sanders:

I think we can find some of that out for you when we --

Jose Alvarado:

The 38th Division is in Indiana.

Timothy Sanders:

We ought to be able to help you.

Jose Alvarado:

That's from the National Guard.

Timothy Sanders:

Well, then after you were discharged, did you come back here to Indiana?

Jose Alvarado:

I came back here.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I had my job over here.

Timothy Sanders:

You had your job still?

Jose Alvarado:

I came back and --

Timothy Sanders:

Where were you working at the time?

Jose Alvarado:

In the steel, in the open hearth.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Do you know anything about the mill?

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah. Oh, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

Did you work in the mill?

Timothy Sanders:

No, but I know I've been through them many times.

Jose Alvarado:

I was in the open hearth. And I came back and I went back to the open hearth. And I worked till 1966, the first year they had a pension I got out. My back was bad, you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

I had a bad back, and I worked too hard. I was second helper -- I was first helping then. But my wife, they were giving tours, my wife went through the mill. And she told me, "We got to find a way to get out of there." So she started -- we started a little restaurant.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay.

Jose Alvarado:

Over in the harbor, close to the mill. And we managed to --

Timothy Sanders:

Great.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. You know, I have a son. My son played football at Notre Dame.

Timothy Sanders:

He did?

Jose Alvarado:

And my boy's got a good job. He works for Ispot now.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

And, you know, but, see, I live by myself. My wife died and I stay by myself. My daughter -- I don't want to break a home nor something. You don't know how they take -- and then I've got two granddaughters and a boy, a grandson.

Timothy Sanders:

That's good.

Jose Alvarado:

And, see, it's my daughter and her husband and me and my wife and my daughter's boy.

Timothy Sanders:

Right.

Jose Alvarado:

The girls were -- they were too busy, you know, but --

Timothy Sanders:

Kids are busy.

Jose Alvarado:

Yeah. But, you know, when we went in there, into Mississippi they had a first sergeant, you know, from 38th Division. He used to carry like a whip, you know, like a guy from --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- you know, we had campaign hats then.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

And he -- you know, he had that whole company buffaloed.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

Every morning he'd come out -- he was built pretty stocky, you know. And he mention, you know, "Any son of a bitch feels that he can whip my ass, I'll take him on," you know.

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

All those guys from the -- it was the original National Guard company.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

He had them buffaloed. So, you know, the kids -- the boys would ask me, "Why don't you put the gloves on with" -- you know, I fought in the Golden Gloves here in 1938.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh.

Jose Alvarado:

Just, you know, that's why I got on the team, to see if I could get a better job. And they didn't give me a better job. They ignored me. So I quit, you know. But I was a street fighter, you know. I had -- I had to defend myself. You know, I sold the extra -- when Lindbergh flew across the ocean --

Timothy Sanders:

Yeah.

Jose Alvarado:

-- I was a newsboy.

Timothy Sanders:

Okay.

Jose Alvarado:

I sold the extra.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh.

Jose Alvarado:

See, so that's why I figure, you know -- I was probably born in '15 or '16 but I don't know why I told those other -- I told the other -- you know, well, anyway I messed myself up. I'm on the _________ for social security.

Timothy Sanders:

Oh, okay. Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And I got a small pension, you know. That's why I been trying to get -- you know, so I could -- I want to get -- hire somebody to clean my house for me. It's hell.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure, sure.

Jose Alvarado:

And --

Timothy Sanders:

Well, we're --

Jose Alvarado:

But I put the gloves on, you know. He kept -- you know, he'd come out. One day the guys talked me into doing it. I put the gloves on. And, you know, God was with me. And I was -- you know, I didn't know if he was a professional boxer.

Timothy Sanders:

Sure.

Jose Alvarado:

I didn't know him. And we were -- but, you know, he opened up and I hit him and I broke his nose and his lip. And, you know, he had to get transferred to another -- because all the other first sergeants, they used to have a first sergeant meeting every day at noon, you know, in Camp Shelby. At noon they'd blow whistles and all that. You know, first sergeant meeting and all that.

(CONCLUSION OF INTERVIEW)

 
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  October 26, 2011
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