The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Herrity

September 4, 2013

“We Remained,” the story of Russell Volkmann in the Philippines

(Continued)

As Volckmann trudged through the mountainous terrain of north Luzon, he developed malaria and other diseases which might have caused a softer man to give up. He completely wore out his shoes and was not to have a decent pair again for three years. He and his comrades worked hard, between fevers and exhaustion. Their two leading commanders were soon lost to Japanese units, who hunted them down and killed them. Now, Colonel Russell Volckmann was the highest ranking officer of the Allied Forces in the Philippines. It was up to him to lead the fight for his country!

Initially, the guerrillas fought with abandon and many units were lost.  One colleague of Volckmann’s was an officer by the name of Walter Cushing, who drove the Japanese crazy with sneak attacks that marked him as "most wanted" among the insurgents. Finally, the Japanese trapped his group in the jungle and a strong fire fight ensued. Although Japanese numbers far outweighed them, Cushing fought down to his last ammunition. He saved the last bullet for himself, since his capture would have betrayed many men and plans.  The Japanese were so impressed by his courage and warrior spirit that they gave him the funeral of an honored compatriot!

Many Americans opted not to be taken prisoner and fled to the mountainous jungles of North Luzon.  There they joined up with some of the natives, most of whom were very anti-Japanese …. although it was hard in some cases to know friend from foe.  Many soldiers and natives lost their lives during those years, and Colonel Volckmann himself had many close calls.  He wrote a book called We Remained, in 1954 that chronicles his experiences as field commander of a guerrilla army.  In it, he describes how effective guerrilla fighting can be.  Volckmann was a valued military consultant on this subject for many decades after the war, and his thoughts on guerrilla warfare would seem to ring true, even today.

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