On 6 May 1942, after five months of resistance, fifteen thousand U.S. and Filipino troops surrendered to the Japanese on the island of Corregidor. Just before the fall of the fortress, Sergeant Irving Strobing tapped out this final radio message. After the surrender Sergeant Strobing became a prisoner of war, captured by the Japanese.

6 May 1942

They are not yet near. We are waiting for God only knows what. How about a chocolate soda? Not many. Not here yet. Lots of heavy fighting going on. We've only got about one hour, twenty minutes before.... We may have to give up by noon. We don't know yet. They are throwing men and shells at us and we may not be able to stand it. They have been shelling us faster than you can count....

We've got about fifty-five minutes and I feel sick at my stomach. I am really low down. They are around us now smashing rifles. They bring in the wounded every minute. We will be waiting for you guys to help. This is the only thing I guess that can be done. General Wainwright is a right guy and we are willing to go on for him, but shells are dropping all night, faster than hell. Damage terrific. Too much for guys to take.

Enemy heavy cross-shelling and bombing. They have got us all around and from skies. From here it looks like firing ceased on both sides. Men here all feeling bad, because of terrific nervous strain of the siege. Corregidor used to be a nice place, but it's haunted now. Withstood a terrific pounding. Just made broadcast to Manila to arrange meeting for surrender. Talk made by General [Lewis C.] Beebe. I can't say much.

I can hardly think. Can't think at all. Say, I have sixty pesos you can have for this weekend. The jig is up. Everyone is bawling like a baby. They are piling dead and wounded in our tunnel. Arms weak from pounding key long hours, no rest, short rations. Tired. I know now how a mouse feels. Caught in a trap waiting for guys to come along finish it. Got a treat. Can pineapple. Opening it with a Signal Corps knife.

My name Irving Strobing. Get this to my mother. Mrs. Minnie Strobing, 605 Barbey Street, Brooklyn, New York. They are to get along O.K. Get in touch with them soon as possible. Message. My love to Pa, Joe, Sue, Mac, Carrie, Joy and Paul. Also to all family and friends. God bless 'em all, hope they be here when I come home. Tell Joe wherever he is to give 'em hell for us. My love to all. God bless you and keep you. Love.

Sign my name and tell Mother how you heard from me.
Stand by...... IS


Irving Strobing N4FLW sk
(Famous Last Words)
24 March 1920 -- 7 July 1997

''When I turned my head,
I was looking up the barrel of a Japanese soldier's rifle.
He made a gesture - I raised both hands''

No human or animal should be subjected to the atrocities that followed.

Irv seldom mentioned this period of his life, but occasionally we would chat about it.  The inhumane treatment, brutality, pain, and living Hell, that Irv and thousands of others suffered then and since must be a firm reminder of what can happen when despots rule.

In spite of everything, Irv's spirit was not broken.  His love of country and fellow man was undaunted, and he showed neither bitterness nor animosity towards anyone, even to his last day on Planet Earth.

I first met Irv via radio, after his retirement and headed south with his camper trailer, looking for a spot to settle down.  Knowing the most dangerous thing on the road was a Yankee headed south with a U-Haul, I could imagine the danger of a Yankee towing a Camper?!  I suggested a place he may check out, he did, bought a home and set up housekeeping in Northside, NC (across I 85 from Butner).  Little did I know the impact Irv would have on so many lives, including mine.

Many times we had late nite - early morning chats via Amateur Radio, sometimes deep discussions into various topics.  At times, others would join for a round table.  We had fun working DX all around the world.  His gruff, gravely voice and witty remarks came to be his trademark.  Whenever a new Amateur was licensed, one of us older ones made a point to introduce Irv to this new Ham.  Never failing his character, Irv would come back with one or more gruff statements, such as 'Don't need any more Hams' - 'too many now' - 'frequencies too crowded' or any one of a number of phrases.  This was his welcome, but behind this deep growl was a heart of pure platinum.

One of his favorite expressions was, 'You Rebs talk funny', and of course, our response, 'We don't talk funny, Yankees hear funny'.

Irv was there when you needed him, whether it was shooting the bull, Simulated Emergency Tests, or the real thing, such as Hurricane Fran.  Although his health was failing, he spent lot of time in ARES center at Area B Emergency Management when Fran was raging.  He received messages, flawlessly relayed them to proper destinations, plus maintained his jovial manner.

Irv was there when Falls Lake Amateur Radio Club was formed.  As a charter member, his expertise was invaluable to FLARC and members.  He could be counted on for assistance at annual SwapFests each September in Butner.

Irv was also there on Field Day Exercises.  He was a humdinger on CW; his melodious rhythm on a sending key was awesome.  Perfect too.

At his death, his 'Reb' friends had the opportunity to meet his next of kin; a sister, brother in law, niece, and nephew.  None of us had ever met, but there are no finer friends anywhere, and a shame we never had the pleasure of knowing them before.

Yes, Irv touched many lives, and it was an honor for us to attend his well earned last rites in
Arlington National Cemetery.

Wiley Ayscue N4NCK

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