Pacific Paratrooper

“On The Rock” by James Dietz

On 16 February 1945, 51 C-47s of the 317th TCG, nicknames “The Jungle Skippers”, dropped 2000 men of the 503rd PIR/11th Airborne Division on the fortress island of Corregidor.  Due to the modest size of the drop zones, only one battalion could be dropped at at a time, with a 5-hours turn around between drops. Each C-47 had to make repeated passes over the DZs and only a handful of paratroopers could jump each time.

The commanding officers, Lt.Col. John Lackey and Co. George Jones circled the island directing the choreography of the mission.  At 08:33 hours, barely 3 minutes late, against 16-18 knot winds, the troopers began to descend on the remnants of MGen. Tsukada’s Kembu Group.

503rd/11th Airborne Division

Paratroopers and infantrymen waged a tenacious battle ‘Topside’ while the 3rd Battalion of the 24th Infantry Division waded ashore on the eastern end…

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