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"I Have Returned" - World War II week by week

The invasion of the Phillipines had begun and would trigger the greatest battle in the history of naval warfare in a matter of days as the Japanese and Americans vied for control.
The invasion of the Phillipines had begun and would trigger the greatest battle in the history of naval warfare in a matter of days as the Japanese and Americans vied for control.

Oct. 20, 1944

"I have returned. By the grace of almighty God, our force stands again on Philippine soil, soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples." Gen. Douglas MacArthur pushed European war news to a small corner of the front page with the invasion of the Philippine Islands. An estimated 250,000 men were in the invasion force. Though the Tribune did not have the famed photo of the General wading ashore, there was a story from United Press reporter William B. Dickinson who was with "cool confident leader."

The news raised spirits in Salinas. Troops that had trained at Camp San Luis Obispo had been among the first Americans to face Japanese ground troops.

"General Douglas MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines, today raised new hopes in the hearts of wives, parents and relatives of a group of men from Salinas, members of a tank battalion which had sailed for Manila Sept. 8, 1941. Company A and B from Salinas were based at Fort Stotsenburg, 60 miles from Manila, when the Japanese loosed their bombardment. Twenty-one were reported dead, 57 held prisoner and 27 missing. Of the 21 known dead, only two were reported killed in action, the others reportedly perished in Japanese camps. Mrs. C.F. Lang, president of the Bataan Mother's Club and mother of Staff Sergeant Sidney G. Lang, a prisoner, said today: "It is a mixture of fear and happiness. It is good news, yes...but I am afraid it is too late for some of the boys."

Roy Vincent was charged with the operation of a still in Pozo. Apparently revenuers enforced the law even in wartime. The defendant was arrested Oct. 7, when the still was found on Vincent's Pozo Ranch.

Oct. 25, 1944

When the war was over and the final numbers tallied The Battle of Leyte Gulf would be called the greatest in the history of naval warfare. The Japanese Imperial Navy would be staggered with the loss of 34 ships. U.S. losses were 6 vessels. Initial reports in the Telegram-Tribune were cautious and included the loss of the American aircraft carrier Princeton. "Reports which are as yet incompleter indicate that severe damage has been inflicted on the enemy, that at least one of his large carriers has been sunk and that two others have been damaged severely," said the communique from Admiral Chester Nimitz. By the end of the battle 4 Japanese carriers would be on the ocean floor. Control of the sea would determine the success of the invasion.

According the United Press correspondent Walter Cronkite "The entire front in western Holland is moving." An estimated 50,000 Germans were trapped against the lower Maas river as British troops advanced. Winter snows were beginning to fall.

The 13th mission of B-29 Super-Fortress bombers attacked the Japanese home island of Kyushu.

Presidential candidate Gov. Thomas E. Dewey promised "the largest and finest housecleaning there ever was" in Washington if elected. President Roosevelt was optimistic about carrying a majority of states.

A Halloween party was scheduled for San Luis Obispo Junior High School including music, stunts, skits, a movie and refreshments.

The Navy Department reported that Boatswain's Mate 1-c Willam Dudy, of Paso Robles was killed in action. His wife Alberta lived on Park Street.

California had its biggest voter registration in history with 4,141,331. San Luis Obispo had 19,609 registered voters.