Henry's answers about his time during WWII

My new e-mail address is: brooks92587@hotmail.com



read this Article called "Taking The Villa Verde Trail"


This Web page is pasted from e-mails sent to students who were asking for interviews on the "World War II Veterans Web Site". They would all ask about the same ?'s and after Henry did about 20, I made this page.

The students always replyed saying "I used your interview" or "I had know Idea what it was like" or "I know I personally wouldn't have made it." Things like that.

The emblem of the 32nd. "Red Arrow Division"

The map of the Vella Verde Trail, note how few miles of area it was.

Ribbons earned. From reading other web pages I guess there should be a third Bronze Star Medal i.e. (2 oak leaf clusters on the Bronze Star Medal), because anyone receiving the Combat Infantry Badge in WW II is automaticly given one. I never got any papers on this fact.

"World War II" magazine January 1999 issue has a 6 page article by a young writer Tracy Derks, "Costly Advance in the Phillippines, Taking Villa Verde Trail" US 32nd Infantry Division battled the Japanese for control of a 'goat path in the clouds' during the liberation of the Philippines. Henry says it is the way he remembers , except for the no. of GI's. The 127th as he remembers, was down to 3 (the 2nd Battalion that is). That is why they were relieved by the 128th. When he showed up, a few days after the landing, F Company like all of the companies up there had about 20 men. The Magazine is a hard to find, but I found it at Barnes and Noble Book Store. The 32nd Great Western Red Arrow Division is having a renunion April 30, 1999 in San Mateo CA.

Just bought my husband "The 32d Red Arrow Division Book On WW2", By Major General H.W. Blakeley USA, Ret.

It is actually worst than what he talks about, page 265 says: The walkitalkie said,"The War's over." The grimy sergant from A Company flicked the butterfly on the mike and said, "Yeah, all over these damned mountains." It was morning of August 15, 1945. For the book, it was the 32d Division's 654th---and last--day of combat in World War II. But not for the men of A Company. Part of the company had just beaten off a banzai charge. One dough was dead and 2 were wounded. The platoon was cut off. Back through the mountains at B Company, eleven miles by trail, 1st Lieutenant Troy Ricks, one-time basketball star from Booneville, said, somewhat grimly,"There's no celebrating here. This is the Thirty-second. We always fight after the campaigns are over, "which made him somewhat of a prophet, less than eighteen hours later, A Company was hit by another banzai. Another dough was killed and seven wounded. Back at the divisional public-relations office, Capt.Fleisher of New York said, "That is the Thirty-second first to start fighting, last to finish." He's just come from talking to some doughs who had started it out almost three full years before by hiking over the Owen Stanley Mountains from Port Moresby to Buna. Anyway this book I got by finding it in old army books, inter-net, Henry heard it was out there but never saw it tell this week. This one page shows under ground holes the Japanese used on the Villa Verde trail. It says they would pole charge the opening and the Japs dug them selves out 3 times and fought with no food or water for days, "rather than surrender,"the Japanese soldiers remained and fought in these caves tell they were all killed."

Please don't pick on spelling. Sent this to another student maybe you can use it

Henry Brooks, staff sarge. 32nd. div 127 inf, rifle squad leader retired general contractor

<------------------<<<< MEMORIES >>>>------------------->

Ok, I was a structural steel worker before WWII. I would climb an I or H column sit on my spud wrench(which I inserted into a hole in the column and wait, then reach for the beam that was swung over to me by the crane operator. I bolt the beam to the column then move on to the next piece of steel. A welder and riveter would come after me. I had a boiler maker, pipe fitter and lather union card too. so I was never out of work. My father was a crane operator, born 1888. I was told the Japs bomb Pearl Harbor by a neighbor, so we went down to Long Beach CA to see if they were going to land. By the next week all the Southern Cal Coast had armaments and birage balloons. But nothing particular that Sunday. WW2 gave everyone jobs. I was making $138 a week when I was drafted in 1944. I was working 70 hours a week. With double time pay, it was great, but there was nothing to buy. US was only making war products. I didn't feel the gas ration thing because my wife's father owned a gas station and he gave us ration stamps for gas. I also was living in Bloomgtion next to Fontana steel mill and my real resident was Maywood Los Angeles so I put in that I had to drive farther to work and got extra stamps. You weren't allowed to take leisure drives, one person I knew was ticketed for going to Big Bear lake resort. I bought a 41 Plymouth for $800 from a Japanese man that was being interned, They were selling everything, pots, linen, furniture I needed a car not the other stuff, It was the market price. We all thought the Japanese were being screwed, after all they looked different and anyone would know there where abouts. It was to get there land. We (the guys I knew then) all thought this. Some kid I sort of knew, his family lost there farm because of being interned.

On December 17, 1944 I left San Francisco bay on a transport ship to the Philippines. Oh! I had 17 weeks of training at Camp Roberts near Pasa Robles, CA. as soon as the ship went under the Golden Gate bridge the seas were rough. All most everyone got sick, there was vomit everywhere, the guys cleaning up the puke, would puke in the bucket they were using. Every step had vomit on it. we ate standing up because there were 5000 on this ship. A guy would eat lean back from the table, puke and keep eating. Now the Officers had it great. 200 officers with 200 nurses, one for each. They ate on white linen table cloths, served by stewards. They had the whole supper structure for them selves. I was lucky I had a bunk with an air vent blowing across it, every time I came back to my bunk I had to get a guy out of it. The other lucky thing is I and 12 other guys found out that at 2 am fresh water was put through the pipes. Every night we 12 stood and waited for a fresh water shower. Now can you imagine12 guys keeping a secret for 5 - 6 weeks of sailing. So welanded in New Guinea and then Leyte, Our final destination the Lingayin gulf Luzon. Between Leyte and Luzon we went on a different ship and the sailors were all covered in bandages. They said the Jap planes went down between the ships and one US ship shot the other US ship. The ship we were on had doors in the front. When we were in Letye we swam in the bay and the front doors & ramp on this ship made a perfect spot for getting on and off the ship. The lynganian gulf was full of ships, the beach and everything around there was full of supplies and equipment. The pier had toilets on them that went directly into the ocean so I didn't want to swim there. I was trucked up to an area in Northern Luzon. Our mission was to secure the Villa Verde trail and connect to hwy 5. This never happened. It was to take a couple of days and in 6 months it didn't get cleared. My Lt Col told us we had 5000 casualties in 6 weeks. The history books say 14000 for that area. Crisis In The Pacific by Gerald Aster writes about the 32 div. I first saw dead guys when walking up to the line. I asked why there were Negroes up here and a guy said those are white guys, that's what a body looks like when it has been laying out in the sun. I asked how close have you been to Japs he said 300 yard. so I thought that was OK, You can't shoot a rifle very well at that range. My first Jap was so close I could have reached out and touched him. We walked up behind this Jap hole. I just backed out and did nothing. On that patrol a kid got a bullet in his leg,I new him from the ship, I heard he died at the hospital and couldn't believe such a small hole could kill a guy. Later I went on a patrol to G company, another patrol, and all these guys were killed by friendly fire. They through out white smoke and the wind blew it back so the planes bombed them. It was only about 10 guys. We were so short men that we never had full companies. They smelled bad. That night I almost kill an American soldier because he was releaving himself beyond the perimeter. A guy next to me knocked up my rifle. I told the Captain I was confused and scared, when he said he was too, I cracked up. They took me back off the line and gave me a pill that I now think could have been LSD. I picked the stars out of the sky that night and wasn't scared the next day. So back on the line. I was now able to sleep. I slept when it wasn't my turn at watch. Some guys never sleep on the line,(afraid the guy on watch will not see the enemy coming and just to scared to sleep.) This did happen to one Company up there they all stayed awake tell dawn, fell asleep and were all killed because the Japs just walked up on them. Once at night I heard some Japs above my hole and put a grenade just over the berm and killed a couple that night.

At night it would sometimes be KINGS - X, we would carry our supplies on the same trail as the Japs and we all just pretend we didn't notice each other. We were trucked up from leave and the MP's were giving the driver a hard time so one of the guys in the back, took the powder out of a grenade and through it in the middle of the MP's. Ya see it still smokes like a grenade with powder in it. Boy, did they run. The MP's thought they were tough, they would pull the hair and torture the captured Japs. We on the line would never do any of that. I never felt anger toward them. Just tried to avoid buying the Japanese product for years, now I don't care. On another patrol I once was carrying 4 rifles while two guys carried a wounded man, the guy in front of me had his canteen blown off his belt and now it was my turn to cross this open spot. I didn't get hit. The wounded guy had 5 bullets in him, I think he survived, some were chest wounds, Just before this patrol we were sent back off the lines and that wounded guy had spent 2 ˝ hour standing in a whore house line, when it was his turn to go in he didn't even have his pants unbuttoned and they pushed him out the back door. So he burnt the shack down. The only time I carried a dead guy the Japs started shooting at me so he got dropped and I ran for cover. I had my spare pair of pants shot up in my back pack. I remember this time a Guy ran across an area his jaw was shot off. He got to us, sat against a tree and died of shock. He didn't know his jaw was gone. Another had only a tiny hole in his head from shrapnel, he was dead too. These were the only guys I saw die. And once I had some time to put some sand bags over my hole. That night we had shelling and all the bags were shredded. Tuskie got it that night , He was the only causality. He was 6'7" and his body parts were all over the place. Tuskie's Dad was a Major. We were told that a 3 day pass would be given out if we captured a Jap so one guy from another squad ran the length of a football field to capture this Jap, (it was like a football tackle). He yelled, "don't shoot him." This guy was under fire himself. We once (4 of us) shot at a Jap that went from one hole to another and he had to stop, stand straight, then slither down through the opening. We never got him, bullets everywhere. We were a large group going up a trail, and on the side of the trail were these two GI's, one looked shell shock and the other had a stream of blood coming out of his chest, this was an arch of an inch or so (with pressure) pushing this blood out. He had a puddle of blood in his lap from this blood loss, but the thing is, know one was stopping to take care of these guys, Not the 7 to 10 guys in front of me or the guys behind me. Maybe the Medic at the end of the group I was in stopped,I don't know. But the thing is, the guy behind me put his face into the bleeding mans face and said to him, "You lucky Son Of a Bitch".I guess the GI behind me thought this was a million dollar wound, I thought it was worst than that. When I was in the Hospital the first time one guy had both legs in casts, an arm and the rest of himself in bandages. He never asked anyone to lite his smokes. The other GI next to me had a little wound in the palm of his hand (probably self inflected) and he was always calling for morphine. Another time a guy was on the side of a trail crying from the pain of losing his foot and laughing because he new the war was over for him. While I was in that 1st hospital a GI was really feeling sorry for himself because he lost his leg, See this guy like most, only was probably on the line one time, so he didn't realize how lucky he was to get that wound. I think it was a short round hitting a tree top, that was how he lost his leg. I saw this one GI get hit, take his pants off, look to see if anything important was shot and then he went for cover. He was being shot at, while checking him self out.

I was a private when Smiliely and I got my1st. Bronze Star, only a few weeks there. I over heard on the radio that we were going to have courseairs support and the whole company was going up (which was the size of a platoon) so I thought this was going to be a workable operation. I had the BAR. We worked our way up a hill with waist high grass, the corsair air planes scraped the area to keep the Jap heads down, the tracer bullets caught the whole hill on fire, the planes bullets through up dirt in front of me and I could feel this flying dirt. The smoke was thick, I got stuck under a Jap hole but he couldn't shoot me because of the berm, My squad throw hand grenades into his hole and the handles would fall off hitting my back at the same time as the explosion. The Jap kept trying to shoot me, but he had to raise up to see me, one of these times I shot him so we worked our way up to the top. On my left I shot a Jap that had some leaves attached to his helmet like Smiliey but I shot him anyway not sure if it was him or not. We took out 6 machine gun nests. From the top Smiley and I could see that we had really know place to hide, (cover) I still don't know how we got up to the top, except as Smiley would look down the hill I kept motioning "OK go forward", so we did. I think Hush saw us from another advantage point and he wrote up the citation. I remember I leaned my BAR against a tree stump and when I picked it up the barrel was bent. It got so hot from fireing that the lean bent the barrel. Later Smiliey (KIA) got the Medal Of Honor but I don't know why we were in different squads, both squad leaders then.

(Just read today 4-4-98, a book Heroes of ww2 by Edward F. Murphy says S. Sgt.Ysmael R. Villegas KIA 3-20-45, that's Smiley). My squad went out the next day and the Japs were again at the same place where he was killed. Mockley was shot in the head there. Smiley was a Mexican from S. Calif, he was anxious to speak Spanish to the Philippines, Once made a comment that they didn't look Spanish or Mexican. A note about medals, I was a steel worker and went as high as 24 stories, this sounds brave but you start doing it and doesn't feel gutsy. I worked on the wind tunnels in San Jose, CA. When I first arrived I saw the guys working on top of these really high tall curved structures, I thought they were brave fools, in a couple of days I was on top of these tunnels and it didn't feel brave at all. It is all in the perspective of where you are. I never felt I was "sticking my neck out" at the moment I did things. These guys in this "Heroes of WW2", they did stick their neck out. Our battalion was down to 3 men. Me, Lt Col. Munk Meyer (the 1935 all American football player {quarterback} from West Point), and the First Sarge. We 3 went out dynamiting caves. The Col was holding a pistol in front of this one cave when the concussion blew him head over heels and ruptured his ear drums. That I think was my 2nd Bronze Star. I was using a flame thrower the day I got my first wound. The flame sucks all the oxygen out of the hole so the Jap gets out of there because he can't breath. Ya have to get close to your target about 12 to 6 feet away. so any way, this Jap through out this Grenade and I turn and got hit in my leg, ear, hand and a couple of other spots, I ran down and up and down a gully before my legged locked up. The guys said, "He is after you Brooks", I said, "shoot him!"

They took me out in a little piper cub type of plane but I can't remember where the airstrip would have been. I remember that the nurses smelled so good and looked so beautiful. I had a nurse that must have liked me, because she kept playing with this little wound on my leg. but when I heard that the 127th was on R and R I asked how long before I could get out of there. she said, you want to leave? and when I said yes, so she put this little bandage on my leg and I was out of there. 2 weeks hospital and 2 days of r & r and I was back on the line. Did see Joe E. Brown at a USO show. (He was an old dead movie star.)

The best duty I had was the time we guarded artillery. We were on top of this mountain, and below us was the war. It looked like a movie, The course airs were flying below us and dropping bombs and men were running and dirt and fire was going in the air. Here we sat watching the whole thing, and glade it wasn't us. (This is kind of where the rear officers got to sit and watch us perform there tactical work). Ok, so anyway We got up by the summer capital Bagieo and I once was digging in and saw these Japs digging in across the hill, These hills are steep and forest like, (you could spit across the ravine to the other mountain) so I went out and shot these two Japs that I could see at twilight, They looked like this was going to be tomorrows opposition and the two new guys in my squad followed me. They were both 19 yrs, I was 26 yrs, so from there we went down and up and one of them went back and got a bazooka. Junior helped me line it up, we had never used one before but there is not much to opperate one. Anyway we shot this bazooka into a Jap area. 1st round was good, 2nd round was a dud. I dropped several gernades into holes. I didn't know if they had Japs in them or not. So it was the Headquarters, so I got the Distinguished Service Cross. Junior and the other Kid picked up some jap binoculars and a pistal and sword. I never took any suvinors. On a Patrol I was on as a private Alabama suggested that suviners could be boobie traped so they weren't that important to me. This action stopped the fighting for a few days. It was the first time we didn't get any causalities for a few days. One of the 19 yr olds' his name was Junior, died the next week he said not to try to get him. No one goes into the line of fire to get anyone, you can't, the movies are wrong, The other kid died the following week, I don't remember his name. When these two kids showed up in my squad I was rough, I told them they would be a lot more fun to screw than the monkeys around here, (I only saw one monkey) but I had these kids scared. I once saw a medic pull the dead Japs out of the hole I just shot up, he looked for souvenirs and then sat on one of these dead Japs and ate lunch. (Sick). Flies were everywhere, I know I ate some flies because I couldn't get the food to my mouth fast enough. Land was really pretty, lots of water falls, and it rained every evening. There was enough rain to soap up lather and wash off.

I had a hole that was a dead Japs once and used it that night. I put dirt on him because he smelled so bad, the next morning there looked like live rice coming out of the dirt. (pretty Bad). As a squad leader I got to pick the 1st and 2nd scout. Sarge. goes next. Once a guy didn't want to carry the BAR browning automatic rifle, I was deciding weather to wound him or kill him (in my mind) just as I decided to kill him, is when he decided to carry the bar. I would have killed him. He died anyway. Ya see, in my war the new guy is 1st scout, bar man 2nd and if you survive your first few patrol your made a Sarge. and don't have to be the target anymore. We never had full squads 3 to 8 mostly 4 guys. And you do what your told, my first squad leader taught me this. His name was Alabama He was only 19yrs, I think he was with the 32nd Fighting in New Guinea. We went out on patrol and saw Japs shooting at GI's below us, we were on top of this hill. We motioned him to that direction he said "They aren't shooting at us." Alabama always got us back to a hot meal. Alabama made 1st Sargent before he turned 20 and went to the Japan occupation. So on this one particular patrol we were told to see how company J (I don't really remember there Letter) was doing. We walked on this trail above me we heard Japs and than below us we heard Japs. They were talking to each other. So we walked through slowly and cautiously and got to J Company. "How ya doing?" "Just fine." And now we had to walk back on this trail. Got to the place where the Japs were and they started talking again. So we crept on by, Got back to our area and said J company was OK. So the next day a different patrol goes down this same trail, but they decide to see what the talk in is about and get themselves shot up. So the artillery shells the place and my squad goes into clean it up. There were machine gun nests above us that could see the entire tail the ones below us had the same advantages point of view. I don't know why they didn't shoot us the day before. So my squad and I decided the ones on top were saying to the ones on the bottom. "Hey Missuppeyape, Look at those stupid GI's shall we shoot them? Japs on bottom, "No" I'm eating my breakfast" and in the afternoon "Look here comes those same stupid GI's shall we shoot them?" "NO! I'm eating my lunch now."

I can remember I was talking on a walkie talkie and the antanna was shot off right next to my ear. Another time I walked up on a Jap hole he handed me a gernade, then back back into his hole, I slapped the gernade back at him, he slapped the gernade back at me, I then pushed it down the hill with a slap and shot him with my rifle. I never see a volley ball game with out remembering that time. We got a Filipino squad to go out with us, they were to be the forward squad, but when we got to the Jap area they squatted on the trail and we walked by, we took care of the Japs and they were back with us at camp eating a hot dinner. Now I'm not trying to say all Filipino soldiers we chicken shit, We didn't even think they were at the time, just wished we could not fight too. The Filipinos had the Japs a long time and the ones that survived were the ones that weren't killed. But this was the squad they gave me. When we heard the news Roosevelt died a cheer went up over the company we felt that now maybe the war would end, something had to change and it did. Two new guys came into the squad, but these guys were different. They had been in the motor pool for the whole War, Martin and McCoy, wanted two see some action before the war was over, it just ended in Europe. (({[ BOY WERE THESE GUYS STUPID ]})). My last patrol I picked up a clean rifle from the pile, and noticed it was the rifle issued to me when I first arrived. Once when I was a sarge. I took some new guys out to test there rifles. See, they give us these new guy with new rifles and send us out on patrols, I decided that it would be best if these kids tested there m-1's first. But I told them if we get caught shooting off these rounds for them to take the blame, I got more money with sarg. strips and by the way, The Purple Heart and Bronze Stars put $6. more in my pay check, and extra points for rotation.

My finnal wound was on August 4, 1945 I got shot by a Jap machine gun in the head and elbow. Martin was shot by the same gun. He got seven bullets in him. I woke up and it was getting dark, I called for a medic and Martin said we were still in the line of fire. I asked him what was wrong, he said his legs were all shot up. I said is there anything wrong with your arms? So he went out by using his arms. I tucked my arm in my shirt and slithered out too. It took 4 soldiers to carry me down the mountain, they stopped every few feet to rest,

then these Phillipineno ladies took me (2 of them) and carried me up and down and up and down two more mountains with out stopping once. They couldn't have weight more than a 100 lbs each. I was asked once how it felt to get shot, my description is imagine putting your elbow on concrete than some one with a 10 pound sledge hammer drops it as hard as he can on your elbow that is about how it felt. I was 1st operated on for the head wound, there was know anaesthetic for head wound operation and my arm hurt so bad I told the doctor to just kill me instead of torturing me. I remember he had a black hairy chest. When I didn't die form the brain surgery they put me out for the arm. I was lying under tall pine trees on a hospital cot when a female nurse told us they dropped a big bomb that would probably end the war. I had a head ack and knew the war was over anyway for me. Most everyone I knew there died in combat, one 36 year old man with 5 kids died, I had 2 children at the time myself. That Captain who said he was scared, died. The whole time I was there we had no lieutenants and no buck sergeants. In the infantry know one survives the 3rd wound. Now I say this and I new one guy with five Purple Hearts all little ones in the head area, But in the 127th there was this thing if you survived the third wound and came back to the company you'd become the cook. (We never changed cooks). Hughs survived, Mockely, Hush, Martin, McCoy, Suesia, Munk Meyers the Col, Alabama, the bird Col from Pheinnixs Ariz. But the ones that got wounded and didn't come back to the company I don't know about. From my training camp at Camp Roberts a guy looked me up after the war, he didn't go over seas, He said only three of us that went over sees survived from my training Co. And to that stupid drill Sargent that had a few days of combat in the Eluetions(by Alaska) that said he was being hard on us so we could survived combat, "YA DID A GREAT JOB!! B.S. .

On Sept 22, 1945 I landed in San Francisco and they gave each one of us a fresh quart of cold milk as we got off the boat. It sure tasted good. I was at Menlo Park hospital for a few months in San Francisco. Some of the guys were bad off, I played poker with fellows that were getting their skin put back on by grafting from their upper arm skin to their face. (They'd still have the skin attached to the arm and cast it so it wouldn't pull away from the face). We were all invited to the race track and given the winning horse numbers to play. 1st we thought it wasn't going to be the winners tell these horses started coming up the real winners.

I couldn't be a steelworker any more because my elbow wouldn't bend so I went back to lathing, That is the Black paper and Wire under stucco or the wall board under neath the inside plaster. It took 7 hits to sink a 1 ˝ inch nail when I first started back lathing. It should be 2 hits. I first came back and the only Job I got was scrapping construction jobs at $60 a week. A friend Larry Riggs (now Dead) did the work I couldn't do so I could get work and make journeyman wages. The plastering contracters didn't want me, but Larry was so valuable that when he said he wouldn't work with out Brooks we stayed employed. Larry carried my load for almost 2 yrs. Larry was a helmsman (driver) of landing craft in WW II. I didn't use the GI bill, I all ready had a house. That GI collage thing came a little later and know one told me to apply. The VA pretty much let a guy take care of himself. They (the VA) said I could be a salesman so they sent me out with a "pots and pan" guy selling door to door. This wasn't going to work so I ask my uncle if I could have a job and he was a builder and gave me work. Larry saw me and told me to be a lather. Somehow history shows it different, GI's coming home. I saw no parades, if it wasn't for friends and family I'd probably had become a drunk. I get all my health care at the Loma Linda VA hospital Because I'm 70% disabled. 1946 I got $170.00 per month, which is tax free. Now I get about $1,120 per month. I have six kids. My oldest child is 58 d, 55s, 45s, 18s, 16 s, and a 15-year-old daughter. I never hunted after the War because there was no point. I did before. I never liked to camp after the war, I did enough of that (6Months), and when Woody and Jimmy my two oldest sons were old enough to be drafted into the Viet Nam war I told them to let the other guys do it. Most of the military is bookkeeping or supplies, but if you are unlucky enough to get into the fighting part (10%) it is a real mess. So Woody played dumb and got out and Jimmy was defiant and didn't have to go in. Funny thing my x-wife called Clinton a draft dodger and I told her so are our sons. I voted for Perot. Oh! new wife is 47. I'll send you a picture of me now and then with medals so you know this isn't bull shit. The book World almanac of world war II by Brigadier Peter Young says on Page 350, 28 June 45 Philippines; MacArthur announces that the operations on Luzon are over, It is now five months and 19 days since the invasion. July 5 says Philippines have been completely liberated. This is wrong. I was shot Aug 4, 2 days before they dropped the bomb and a lot were shot right up tell the end of the war, the Japanese would never have surrendered without total annihilation. 32 Div is a Wisconsin, Michagin National Guard. I never met anyone from these states, they were all gone by the time I arrived as a replacement.

Henry Brooks, 79 years, Canyon Lake, CA

This is the monument that was built at the foot of the Villa Verde trail buy the 32nd engeiners. A news letter I recieved from the red arrow club said since this was not an offical U.S. monument it is not being maintained. I have a son who flys 727 cargo planes (he is a captain now)and Manila is on his route. I asked if he ever went up to the villa verde trail area and his answer was that it is too dangerous for tourist up there.

below was taken from World War II January 1999 Magazine, page 60. Major General Gill, VMI graduate and the Commanding General of the 32nd div. of the Saidor, Aitape, and Luzon campaigns 1943 to 1945 was asked if the price paid by the 32nd Division for the goat path in the clouds had been too high, Gill answered: "The Villa Verde Trail cost us too high in battle casualties for the value received. In other words... I believe the supreme commander (MacArthur ) and ... his staff violated one of the great principles of shopping..." Gill clarified that statement by explaining that MacArthur had paid too much for what he got. The 32nd had gained too little for the men it had lost.

Henry said the men had suspected this while fighting.

The book "Crisis in the Pacific" by Gerald Astor. page 425 says By the time the 32nd division finally cleared the Villa Verde Trail, over a nearly four-week period, it counted almost three thousand combat killed and wounded with an additional six thousand men withdrawn from the lines because of sickness or psychoneurotic problem (shell shock).

On another book says...Although Baguio had fallen, Bambang and Bontoc remained unconquered. Until the end of the war the Japanese defenders in North central Luzon still held the Americans off. MacArthur had been simply unable to overcome Yamashita's skillful delaying tactics. The Japanese commander had taken advantage of every feature of the terrain lending itself to defense. and had compelled his American counterpart to fight the most costly kind of warfare: crosshatched, cross-grained combat. MacArthur's admirers speak of the campaign on Luzon as "the achievements of a great strategist." But tactics and terrain, not strategy, were the decisive factors in the campaign against Yamashita, ......For some inexplicicable reason, where Clark has been roundly criticized for taking so long in a contest actually settled by attrition on the Western and Eastern fronts, MacArthur, fighting in the same kind of terrain against the same kind of quality commander and with identical results, has not. MacArthur's strategy in the Philippine Landings was superb, and well executed... The dash on Manila was also Masterly. But the decision to liberate the entire archipelago with the consequent depletion of Krueger in the north to reinforce the empty but showy triumphs of Eichelberger in the south contributed to Yamashita's stubborn defense. Why, it may be asked, was it necessary to conquer SHOBU Group? Yamashita could have been contained. All the ports and airfields and sites for the invasion of Japan were already in Macarthur's hands. Yamashita so far from the sea and unable to build airfields, caught in a cup of his own devising, certainly could not expect help. His lines of supply and communication were cut . Unless he chose to sally forth in a suicidal banzai, he could only wither on the vine. Yet, Macarthur, who would later critice Nimitz for his "awful" handling of the campaign on Okinawa, had ordered the same sort of useless attacks with identical "sacrificial losses." (Taken from "Delivered from Evil" by Robert Leckie, Harper & Row, New York, New York, 1987, page 861)

Japanese General I also read that Yamashita told his men that every US soldier killed on Luzon would be one less soldier invading Japan. So they fought to their death.

Henry met a Filippino man in National City (a town below San Deigo, CA) who said he was 16 when Yamashita was captured. This old man said his legs are in the surrender photo that was in all the newpapers all over the world. He said the train that carried the general to Manila was riddled in holes from all the Filipino people trying to shoot him.

Yamashita said he did not suicide because he did not want his officers to be responsible for his actions. He wouldn't surrender tell he got official word from Japan Sept 2, 1945. He was hung in Feb. 1946.

After buying several used books about the 32nd division on the Internet Henry found out he couldn't have gone "nuts" after G Company was killed by friendly fire because he was already a staff sarge by then. He went "nuts" when he was a private. He said he was lucky he got any of the events "straight" after all these years. Yesterday was 11/02/99, Six months since we went to the 32nd reunion and 6 months since Henry's death. I miss him so much, He exercised every morning and evening. He used that Chuck Norris "total gym". It was perfect for him because of his arm being fixed at a 90 degree angle. He swam every morning, when it was warm. Joyce told me that it was 6 months ago her Dad died. Henry always had dates in his head. He new all the "real" dates for holidays and he remember all the amounts of wages he made. In 1995 Henry fell from a ladder 14 feet and hit the back of his head. and the VA hospital told me he was going to die, then they told me he was going to be brain damaged because of all the dead spots in his brain. He fooled them. I took him home, still in diapers. He started exercising and got most all his strength back. He had past and present memory, he didn't have dementia, but he was gullible, Just like always. He believed peoples stories and I would tell him that a lot of people "bull shit". He worked so hard, hard physical work, to make a living. Then he would get someone to come along and steal his money away. He would shrug his shoulders and start over again. Nothing would ever really bother him. I never saw him cry, not even at his friend Larry's funeral. He said anyone who cry's hasn't gotten over fear. His belief was that reality is a "lie" that it is "just a movie." (got that line from the Paramahansa Yogananda)His 3 sisters say Henry was the only one they new to come back from the War "funny". He was really different, had an unbelievable positive attitude. I wish he could still see the high school football games, he enjoyed them so much this last 4 years. The last couple of times we did remodel work, it was hard. People seamed to want to take advantage of weak people . I told Henry I can't work for free any more, it is to hard on my body. He would say "it doesn't hurt me and I'm a lot older than you." I wish he had known I was really sick and not just lazy. I had a total hysterectomy on June 10th, '99 I had a cantaloupe size tumor on my right ovary and 3 others in my uterus. Henry was so incredibly unique. I really expected him to make it to 100 years. He told me he couldn't die because he had this pack with God from WW II. That he could live as long as he wanted, because Henry believed all death was suicide. That a person wanted to die, that is why they died. On the Monday before his death he told Neita, his 83 year old sister, if he had a change to die he would take it. He always wanted to live to be 105 like their Great Grand father did. (This great grand father owned all of Antilope Valley, Lancaster CA) But not being able to build anymore there just didn't seam to be any point. She said she felt the same way too. I'm going to Neita's grand daughters baby shower on Saturday, This will be her 5th great grandchild. So time passes, and Henry is gone. I've been out to the Riverside National Cemmetary 6-8 times since his death. I never would have believed that I would ever have gone to anyones plot before. Henry still doesn't have his plaque on his crept. There is 2 more rows sinces he was interned. So many young men who were Viet Nam vets have died this year. I went to the Cemetary office this last time and asked what was the delay and they said they would get back to me on it. Henry said they counted 35 dead on his DSC action. He said he might have killed 60 Japs in all. He never really counted. I miss you Henry.

Henry's plaque is on his Riverside National Cemetery internment spot. It took 1 year, 1 month to get it placed. They had lost it, gave him someone else. Had the wrong dates, 4 mistakes and the 5th was correct--Sue--Sept 2, 2000. I know it is a bad pic, I have to re-scan most of the pics on this site, I'll do it later. the plaque has his citations. It says Henry Ellwood Brooks, US Army WW II, S Sgt,May 17 1919(Angel Moroni) May 2, 1999, Distingushed Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal 1 olc, Purple Heart 1 ofc. I don't see anyones plaque's with his awards, He felt that most of his soldiers just let themselves get killed because they couldn't take it any more. He said he was going to make it home "if he had to kill everyone of the Japs himself."

William Stroebel sent me a e-mail saying today was his special day Sept 2, It took me a while to remember that it was the date the Japanese General Surrendered

Please read the 32nd, Red Arrow Division History link below. At the reunion, I met many "old Men" who were in the War from the beginning They all got Berry-Berry, Malaria, dysentery, Yellow Fever some with all these diseases at the same time.

my new e-mail address is:


main page, Brooks Family Web Page
Brooks Family pics,
favorite links,
Interview with Mr. Reece Haines, New Jersey, 33 div on Luzon
[web page about] From Butte to Iwo Jima,
[web page about] A WW II Marine Story,
[Official History]===>32nd “Red Arrow” Division History
{Luzon}: The Villa Verde Trail,,This is the section Henry was in.

Email: brooks92587@hotmail.com