On Dec. 14th, I was called by the brigade commander Tokunaga and told that it would be the last flight to Leyte due to the problem of the transport. When I left from him, he passed me sake and cigarette of imperial gift and gave his regards to the regimental commander. 35 men from the commanding section, HMG platoon and five regimental HQ staff would ride on three transports. The commander of the transports was Captain Kaieda. Waiting until the midnight in the forest, we were prepared for riding on the transports. The commander Tokunaga himself came up to give a farewell to us. He said, "There is a tendency to jump earlier in the night drop. Take care". Now, we rode on the transports. But, it was a hard work to climb the steps. We carried heavy equipments and weighed about 150kg. We managed to ride on the transport helped by ground crews.
We flew about two hours at the night with the Southern Cross twinkling. We were all silence to prepare for destiny. Around 4 AM, the sky became bright and the ground could be seen dimly. The buzzer announced to be prepared for drop. I said goodbye to Major Kaieda and stood a seat. Then, the buzzer announced to get ready to jump and a door was opened. Seeing outside, I was waiting for the buzzer to jump. Suddenly, I saw one or two men jumped from the second plane and parachutes opened. They jumped earlier, inspite the brigade commander's advice. I damned a failure, but it was too late. Only by a few minutes, the plane flies some miles and paratroopers will be scattered widely. I dicided to jump at once and ordered paratroopers to jump. After falling about 300m, I looked around and saw three lines of white parachutes opening in the sky. I was relieved to see them. I released the equipments attached to my both legs and hanged them down with a rope in order to make ready for landing. After a few moment, I landed in safety.
The land was soft and looked marsh. Detached from parachute, I shot a signal pistol. A squad leader of the commanding section first came up. While gathering paratroopers, I heard the noise of trucks. They were the transports of the 1st Division. Due to the enemy airraid in daytime, they run at night. I asked the situation at the depot base and arrived at the Army HQ. There, I knew that the Valencia where we had planned to land was bombarded by enemy. If we had landed there, we would have suffered casualties by bombardment.That was an unexpected success born out of a failure.
The next day, we were order to go to Limon in order to reinforce the 1st Division. One squad of 3rd Company and one infantry mortar squad joined us. We rode on the trucks of the transport unit of 1st Division and departed from the Army HQ. At midnight, we arrived at the 1st Division HQ which lacated in a cave. Gen. Kataoka, the commander of the 1st Division was much delighted with our arrival and instructed me the situation by himself in the light of candle. He said to his staff, "We shall defend here to the death with a help of Ohmura unit". It indicated that the situation was so critial. Adjutant 1st Lt. Matsumoto was wounded and used a crutch. I heard that the previous day an enemy tank appeared some hundreds meters from the HQ and Major Ueda repulsed it in closed combat.
The next morning, I deployed the HMG platoon and anti-tank attack unit in the front of the HQ. I went to scout together with HQ staff Doi. Near the top of the hill, he stopped and said, "Listen. The last bombardment of our artillery begins." I heard the noise of the bombardment. But, it was very feeble compared with enemy bombardment. On my way back, I visited the 49th Infantry Regiment HQ. The regimental commander was ill and he said, "To my regret, I cannot make a job. I rely on your unit". I replied to him in high sprites, "Yes, Sir". We were wearing the special uniform for paratrooper and still fresh just after arrived at the front. So, we would look reliable. At that night, enemy shells fell on our position. Though I was safe, two men were injured. I tried to send them to the divisional hospital, but they refused it and wanted to stay in the unit. The enemy bombardment became intense more and more. We made "Kirikomi" or night-raid to defend our positions. I formed "Kirikomi Tai" or a raiding team from HMG platoon. The anti-tank attack unit was defending the front line.
At the night of 21th, we would retreat to Mt. Canquipot by the order of the Army. Our unit went forwards with the HQ. Carrying wounded staff Setoguchi with a stretcher and an infantry mortar on the shoulder, we crawled in the jungle. The HMG platoon was left behind as rearguard. Soldiers of the 1st Division were so exhausted that they were hard even to walk. Gen. Kataoka himself cut the jungle by sword and made a route. I encouraged soldiers and punched ones who would fall down. Later, I was appreciated by a soldier whom I punched. He said, "Unless you had done it, I would have fallen down and died there".
We advanced hiding from enemy scout plane and avoiding Philippine guerrillas. On Dec. 25th, suddenly I heard the sound of gunfires. It was an attack of guerrillas. The HMG platoon which just caught up with us, fired to the enemy. Paratroopers armed with a sub-machine gun dushed towards the enemy in the jungle and killed some guerrillas.However, we were spotted by enemy scout plane. Enemy infantry mortar bombarded us and prevented our advance. Guerrillas attacked us repeatedly. We covered the advance of the HQ and pursued them after sunset.
On 29th, we were attacked by guerrillas again. We fought with them with grenade and sub-machine gun in the jungle. In this fight, Warrant Officer Mima was wounded. On the morning of 30th, we received an enemy attack with the bombardment of enemy infantry mortars. I ordered the HMG platoon to attack the enemy. The HQ in the rear was also bombarded. I run up on the hill. Guerrillas had withdrawn leaving several dead and one infantry mortar. The HMG platoon fired and killed them. During this fight, a divisinal adjutant and a commander of the engineer regiment were killed.
On 31th, we had arrived the camp of the Army. We camped between the Army and the Division. In Jan. 1945, our unit was assigned under the direct command of the Army. We received some separate paratroopers and soldiers of Kaoru unit who landed on Ormoc. The numbers of the unit became one hundred and some men. Late in Jan., Major Shirai, the comander of 3rd Raiding Regiment and a dozen paratroopers of his regiment came back. We received them. Major Shirai had jaundice and passed away some days after arrived. About that time, the main body of the 4th Raiding Regiment arrived. All paratroopers gathered and we were about 400 men.
From Feb. to the middle of March, we continued the difficult defense. We collected foods and scouted the enemy and terrain. We formed "Kirikomi Tai" and made a attack against enemy base. But, we were pressed by enemy and our casualties increased. By the shortage of foods, patients of malnutrition also increased. 1st Lt. Ohuchi was wounded on legs by bombardment. Warrant Officer Usui, who recovered from the injury, went Kirikomi and did not return. Sergent Major Hatanaka went to collect foods and encountered the enemy and he was killed. Warrant Officer Mima who was wounded took a turn for the worse and died.
In the middle of March, it was decided that the Army HQ would move to Cebu and we would escort it. We escaped from enemy siege and advanced toward the seaside.Two sergents of the 3rd Raiding Regiment who were rather healthy accompanied with us. Wounded and patients were left behind. It was a very painful decision. We started at night. We adavanced in the enemy territory and it was very strained. In the morning, we reached the assembly point. However, the HMG platoon which followed us did not arrived. It missed the course and encountered the enemy position. They were shot by enemy and the platoon leader Yoshida was killed. Sergent Major Shimura led the platoon and reached the assembly point.
We waited for some days and two Daihatsu crafts came up. While four Daihatsu crafts were planned, two boats could not be operated due to the delay of maintenance. A half of us got aboard and the rest was left behind. It was a cold-hearted decision but inevitable for the duty. Alas, it would be the fate of paratroops. We rode on the Daihatsu and sailed to Tabogon in the north of the Cebu Island. Fortunately, we did not meet enemy PT-boats and arrived Tabogon. However, just after landing, two Daihatsu were destroyed by enemy PT-boats. By this losses, the second transport became impossible. We were accepted in the camp of the 1st Divison which had moved to Cebu before.