Louis G. Aiken Sr.


There were not many incidents that were actually funny during the Corregidor operation of February 1945. However there was one incident that I have remembered down through the years that was funny when it occurred and I laugh every time I think of it or tell it to someone else.

 This situation or incident occurred not too long after the First Battalion arrived on the island. We in B Company were assigned an area to search out, reconnoiter etc off Topside on the Ft Drum side of the island.

 Lt. Wirt Cates, a very good officer, was "B" Co C.O. and Lt. Raymond Barnowsky was a platoon leader. We had covered a good bit of the area assigned, caves etc and had found no evidence of live enemy. The company came to a stop on a trail and I could tell there was some kind of a discussion going on at or near the entrance of a cave. Shortly Lt. Barnowsky started back down the trail, stopping periodically to discuss something as he progressed toward my squad and platoon. He finally reached my position and asked if I or any member of the platoon had any flashlites. I stated that I didn't know, but however I would inquire. I asked him who wanted the flashlites and just what was their intended use, hell it was broad daylight.

He explained to me that Lt. Cates had come upon a cave with quite a large opening or crawl area. Lt. Cates it seems, believed that this particular cave had the potential of being a storage area as it developed into the mountain or rock formation of the island, and he wanted to explore this possibility but to do so required the use of flashlites. His specific request was for three (3) flashlites and he had directed Lt. Barnowsky to locate at least three (3) flashlites. Basically this is what Lt. Barnowski explained to me in answer to the question I has asked.

 When he had finished explaining to me what the situation was he paused a second and stated, "You know Sgt. Aiken, he (Lt Cates) evidently intends to hold a flashlite in each hand and put one on his pistol belt, because I sure as hell don't intend to go into that cave with him". I looked at ole Barnowsky for a second and I burst out laughing as did several others near us.  Lt.Barnowsky just grinned and moved on searching for flashlites.

Yes, he found the three (3) and yes, Lt. Cates and someone else, not Lt. Barnowsky, entered the cave or crawl area of the cave. Yes, there was a Jap or Japs in the cave and shortly after entering the cave Lt. Cates and whoever it was with him came out very hurriedly. Wm. Arris can probably give you a better description as to why they came out very fast, he was much closer to the situation than I was.

 I think white phosphorous grenades were introduced into the cave and one lone Jap soldier banzaied "B" CO of the 503 RCT, and as he cleared the mouth of the cave he charged with a broken Samurai sword. He was quickly relieved of his assignment and his broken sword. Best I can remember his body was placed in the mouth of the cave and this became his burial place.

 If Capt Wirt Cates, (KIA on Banana Hill- Negros Island late April or early May 1945), and Lt. Raymond Barnowsky, deceased, were here with us today, I feel certain they would both join in a hearty laugh about the Three Flashlights on Corregidor, February 1945.

 Actually I talked with Barnowsky via telephone several years prior to his death and we both had a good laugh about this particular incident.

 May "The Good Lord" let them both rest in peace.


Louis G Aiken, Sr

Co "B" 503 PIR RCT

June 42-Oct 45











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