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Timeline: World War II in the Philippines

1941-1944 | 1945-2000  


January 7: P.F.C. Eugene Nielsen, a Palawan survivor, tells his story to U.S. Army Intelligence.

January 9: MacArthur invades Luzon, the Philippines.

January 26: General Walter Krueger is alerted to the situation at Cabanatuan. The Alamo Scouts are briefed.

January 27: General Krueger assigns Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci and his 6th Army Rangers to raid Cabanatuan and liberate the POWs. The Alamo Scouts slip behind enemy lines to begin reconnaissance.

January 28: The Rangers slip behind enemy lines. The Alamo Scouts arrive at Platero, two miles north of the camp.

January 29: The Rangers meet with USAFFE guerrilla captain Juan Pajota at Balincarin, five miles north of camp. After receiving reports of heavy Japanese activity in the area, Mucci postpones the raid for 24 hours. The Rangers move to Platero.

January 30, 1945

11:30am: Alamo Scouts Lieutenant Bill Nellist and Private Rufo Vaquilar dress like locals and gain access to an abandoned shack above the camp; they prepare a detailed report on camp activities.

2:30pm: Mucci receives the Nellist report.

3:00pm: Captain Robert Prince finalizes his plan for the rescue and submits it to Mucci.

5:00pm: The Rangers depart Platero.

6:00pm: The P-61 night fighter takes off.

6:50pm: The P-61 buzzes the prison camp to distract the guards. Rangers gain positions.

7:00pm: C Company Rangers are in place.

7:40pm: F Company Rangers crawl into place. A nerve-wracking ten minutes later than planned, a fire-fight starts. Evacuation begins.

7:45pm: Juan Pajota and his guerrilla unit hold off suicidal Japanese forces, securing the Rangers' positions.

8:15pm: Robert Prince fires his flare. The assault is over.

8:40pm: The POWs reach the river. The long trek to freedom begins. The Alamo Scouts stay behind, ensuring against any retaliatory movements.

January 31, 1945

8:00am: Mucci sends word of the Rangers' success. Shortly thereafter the POWs cross American lines. They are free.


February: The U.S. Army returns to Cabanatuan, recovering diaries, photographs and camp records. MacArthur visits the POWs.

February 3: U.S. forces enter Manila. For a month, the Japanese fight back. Manila is destroyed. One hundred thousand civilians, roughly 14 percent of the city's population, perish.

February 10: Claire Phillips, the night club owner and spy, is liberated from prison.

March 3: General Krueger presents awards to the Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas.

March 8: 272 survivors of Cabanatuan arrive in San Francisco aboard the S.S. General Anderson.

May 8: President Harry Truman announces the end of the war in Europe via radio (V-E Day).

August 6: Truman announces the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan by a U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber named Enola Gay.

August 14: Truman announces the end of war with Japan at a press conference (V-J Day).

September 2: Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita surrenders the Philippines, the same day as Japan's formal surrender.


February 11: Japanese generals Masaharu Homma and Tomoyuki Yamishita are found guilty of crimes of war in Manila tribunals.

April 3: Homma is executed.


Ranger commander Henry Mucci is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.


Raid leader Robert W. Prince is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.


A monument honoring all participants of the raid on Cabanatuan is erected at the Ranger Hall of Fame, Fort Benning, Georgia.

1941-1944 | 1945-2000  

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