November 21, 2014

MacArthur Left But Volckmann Remained

volckmann-and-valdes-07-july-1945

macarthur

Almost everyone from my generation (baby boomers) knows the quote by General Douglas MacArthur wherein he says, “We Shall Return” in reference to when he was ordered to leave the Philippines in 1942 to command allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Command.

What you may not know is that many men under his command didn’t just surrender as they were ordered, but instead they avoided the Bataan Death March and other atrocities by traveling to northern Luzon where they waged the fight of their lives. One of these men is the subject of this article. His name was Russell W. Volckmann and he was from Clinton, Iowa.

Volckmann

We first were made aware of Colonel Volckmann (his rank in 1941) after reading a small book published by the The Clinton Herald, and written by Gary Herrity. Herrity’s reference to the book written after the war entitled “We Remained” (1954) by Volckmann caught our interest, and after waiting about a week for an interlibrary loan, we were able to read this previously unknown (to us) account of Russ Volckmann’s three years behind the lines fighting against the Japanese invaders.

While Volckmann wasn’t the only person to remain on the island, he was one of four men to help build the guerrilla forces and lead them, along with many brave Filipino citizens, in a three year endeavor to survive and thwart the ruthless ‘Japs’.

volckmann-and-valdes-07-july-1945

Philippine Army Chief of Staff Major Gen. Basilio J. Valdes (L) posing outside command post w. legendary Luzon guerrilla leader Colonel Russell Volckmann (R).  LIFE photo

I would like to make a special point of mentioning that if it wasn’t for the extreme courage and sacrifices that were made by the Philippine people, the outcome of the war and the survival of Volckmann and his compatriots would never  have happened as it did.

Russell Volckman went on to become a Brigadeer General after the war, and is noted even now as one of the proponents of the use of guerilla warfare that has since become one of the effective methods of defence. Volckmann was often sought out as a military consultant on this subject.

Volckmann’s book is well worth reading, not only for American historians, but for Filipino historians too.  My husband is also from Clinton, Iowa.  He said that he never remembered hearing about Colonel Volckmann, or being taught about his importance  in American history in any of his classes throughout his school years.

We cannot forget these heroes!

Sources:

Golden Oldies of Clinton History, Vol. 2 – Gary Herrity (2003-08)

We Remained – Russell W. Volckmann (1954)

IMHO: Why There Must Be Wars

 

 

As I watched the last episode of Ken Burns’ “The War” tonight it came to me why there must be wars. No doubt, if you are male you will disagree with me, but I think my theory has some merit. Yeah, I know, Darwin’s was first.

The male of the species is designed to do one thing. Procreate. Oh sure, they can tune a car, or swing a sledge hammer, or even make a peanut butter sandwich (if someone lays out the bread and a knife…) :wink:. Unfortunately, human males are prone to aggression, and therein lies the check that will balance out their propensity to mate and create too many more children with wild abandon.

 

Can you imagine what our planet would be like if there had not been wars since time immemorial? As sad and ghastly as it is, millions and millions of young men (the ones who traditionally fight wars) have died in all the wars, and in so doing, have kept the population on our planet more in check than if there were no wars.

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Don’t misunderstand. I hate war, but I think I understand the necessity for it. Just as there are winners of the Darwin Awards to keep the gene pool clean, the aggression in men is genetically in place in order to keep us from being overrun by too many of our species.

Next time, just hold the beer for bubba while he shows you how this theory works. :twisted:

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