BAD HISTORY
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Carl White 

 

 

 Bad History 
a.k.a. what happens when the History Channel gets it wrong?

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The Editors
History Channel

Dear Sirs,

On Sunday July 14, 2002 The History Channel ran a film that showed the recapture of Corregidor Island, P.I. by paratroopers.  The paratroopers were identified as members of the 11th Airborne Division. The jump was actually made by a separate parachute combat team, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team that had no connection whatsoever with the 11th A/B Division.

The parachute unit of the 11th A/B Division was the 511th PRCT, and they had jumped at Tagaytay Ridge on January 31, 1945 in Southern Luzon.  The 503rd Parachute RCT Jumped onto Corregidor on February 16, 1945.

After two weeks of bitter fighting which one officer characterized as “Two weeks in an insane asylum,” General MacArthur personally attended the flag raising ceremonies and recommended the Presidential Unit Citation for the entire invasion force. This is documented in books by William and James Belote, General E. M. Flanagan, Jr., General Walter Kruger and Major Gerard Devlin.  

None of the mentioned were members of the 503rd but they recognized, as did the American government, that the re-taking of Corregidor was perhaps the most outstanding example of how airborne troops should be deployed in battle.  Further documentation will be provided at your request.

Of the 3000 members of the 503rd PRCT who took part in the Corregidor Operation, less than 1000 are alive today. We would consider it a most gracious gesture if the History Channel would correct the audio portion of the film and cite the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team as the rightful military unit that Returned To Corregidor, and notify us of the action you have taken.

Sincerely yours 

Robert Flynn, 
Official 503d PRCT Historian

 

Frank O'Neill, as President of the 503d PRCT Association writes to Bob Flynn, it's Official Historian.  Bob; 

Last year , September 21, as the President of the 503d PRCT Association, I sent a letter to the President of the Airborne Museum ( prepared by Hughie Breslin ) setting forth our displeasure that the museum did not give the 503rd the credit that we deserved for our action in the Philippines, specifically relative to our capture of Corregidor and requested the exhibit be corrected. I received no response. I called a gentleman in the Department of Defense concerning the lack of response and he assured me that he would look into the situation and get back to me. That was in January.

In early March I received attached letter from General Lindsay, President of the Museum in so many words explaining how the 503rd had been inadvertedly overlooked in the exhibit on the recapture of Corregidor and made the change set forth in the attached. photos. I can only assume that the letter, dated October 21, 2001 was held up in the Post Office in WDC due to the antrhrax scare.

I would suggest a strong letter of protest to the History Channel suggesting that before they air any story about Airborne activities in the Philippines they contact you as the Historian to get the TRUE story in addition to their contacting General Lindsay about the display. 

Frank O'Neill

  (Gee, like that's ever going to happen, Frank! - Exo)

Jack Herzig 

You mean that members of the 503rd are really surprised that we're being overlooked? Come on - all those promises that were being made while our members were contributing our dollars were not fulfilled? 

Say, I have a real nice bridge that I'll let you have cheaply because you and I are really nice guys, right?

Sheesh. 

Jack Herzig

 

Paul Whitman to Frank O'Neill & Ors.  Frank,
And Gentlemen,

The A&SO Museum complains about a lack of 503d artifacts. You would have had the main part of the parachute canopy that we found on Corregidor to present to them, if not for Sept 11.

The issue seems to be a twofold one. Firstly, does the A&SO Museum understand the significance of this canopy's remains sufficiently to assure us it will be put on permanent display, and not simply put in a box in a back room never to be seen again? Secondly, are they willing to make some sort of ceremony about it if they do?

Paul Whitman 

 

 

 

 

         

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