Original U.S. WWII 11th Airborne DSC - MacArthur Honor Guard- Los Banos Liberator Grouping

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind grouping. This grouping was originally obtained directly from the solider's widow. Sergeant Edward A. Reed, DSC spent over a year in combat in 11th Airborne Airborne Division, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company C where he took part in the liberation of the The Los Baños Internment Camp Liberation. He was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross, Soldier's Mdeal, Silver Star, Bronze Star and received a Purple Heart. Furthermore, he was selected to General MacArthur’s Honor Guard.

Below are excerpts from period articles about Sgt. Reed (copies of which are included in this set):

LEGION OF VALOR- Sergeant Edward A. Reed, DSC, 1431 W. 1st Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43212, received the Distinguished Service Cross while serving as a platoon sergeant with C Company, 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division. The decoration was awarded him for his extraordinary heroism in action near Mount Mataasna Bundec, Luzon, Philippine Islands, on 27 April 1945. During an attack against a strongly defended hill, Sergeant Reed's squad, the forward element, was suddenly fired upon by two enemy machine guns directly to the front. The two lead scouts were wounded and the company pinned down. Disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Reed crawled forward over fifty yards of fire-swept terrain and single-handedly attacked the first machine gun emplacement. Throwing a hand grenade, he killed three of the enemy gun crew and then, closing in hand-to-hand combat, killed the remaining member. The second enemy weapon, forty yards farther up the hill, then opened fire, again i-mobilizing the company. Sergeant Reed unhesitatingly began a flanking movement and, although wounded by sniper fire, determinedly continued on to a point close to the Japanese position, skillfully hurling a single grenade into the emplacement, he neutralized the strong point killing the Japanese defenders. Then, continuing to expose himself, he went to the aid of the two wounded scouts and moved them, one by one, to safety. By his gallant courage and extraordinary heroism in single-handedly destroying two enemy emplacements and rescuing two comrades at the risk of his own life, Sergeant Reed materially contributed to the successful accomplishment of his company's mission. A veteran of three combat jumps as a paratrooper in World War II, Mr. Reed was chosen as platoon sergeant for the Honor Guard of General MacArthur, himself a member of the Legion of Valor until his death in 1964. Mr. Reed's membership is endorsed by National Commander W. Wallace Stover, DSC.

MAN OF THE WEEK - Entered the army in 1942 in the Paratroopers. Spent 23 months over seas, Three of the 28 jumps he made while in this branch of the service were in combat territory. One of the jumps was made over Los Banos Prison Camp, where he played a part in liberating 2100 prisoners. He has a whole chest full of medals such as: The Distinguished Service Cross, Silver, star, Bronze Star, Soldiers Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Combat Infantry Badge. The last 45 days of the war Ed was in charge of MacArthur's bodyguards. He was on the fifth plane that landed in Japan on the morning of the occupation.


General MacArthur’s Honor Guard

Comprised of men hand-picked for the assignment, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur’s Honor Guard was one of the most important and visible parts of the General’s official family during the closing months of World War II and throughout the Occupation of Japan. The members of this elite unit were selected based on their military bearing, intelligence and physical stature. Every combat Division of the U.S. Army in the Pacific was represented in its ranks. They were the best of the best. They had to be – General MacArthur would accept no less than the best for the men entrusted to provide security not only for himself and his Headquarters but for his family as well. Only the Finest: General MacArthur’s Honor Guard examines a heretofore little-known unit that was such a large part of General MacArthur’s military family.
The Honor Guard was formed in May 1945 for the purpose of guarding General MacArthur’s headquarters and residence, and served the General and his family until MacArthur’s relief during the Korean War in April 1951. The original members of the Honor Guard were chosen from each of the Divisions of the U.S. Army in the Pacific theater, many of them decorated combat veterans. For acceptance into the Honor Guard, the men had to meet criteria very similar to the requirements for Officer Candidate School.

The unit maintained a strength of about 200 officers and men. Half of that number guarded the General’s headquarters, the other half guarded the MacArthur family residence at the United States Embassy compound. Because of their proximity to MacArthur, the men of the Honor Guard were not only witnesses to major events in history, but in some instances were themselves actually a part of those historical events. Members of the Honor Guard are visible in many of the hundreds of photographs taken of General MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan.

When General MacArthur was removed from command during the Korean War by President Harry Truman, one of his final acts before boarding the plane that would take him from Japan was a review of the Honor Guard. The General told the Honor Guard commander that the unit had never looked finer than they did that day.

The Raid at Los Baños in the Philippines, early Friday morning on 23 February 1945, was executed by a combined U.S. Army Airborne and Filipino guerrilla task force, resulting in the liberation of 2,147 Allied civilian and military internees from an agricultural school campus turned Japanese internment camp. The 250 Japanese in the garrison were killed. It has been celebrated as one of the most successful rescue operations in modern military history.

Under cover of darkness on 21 February 1945, Lt. Skau and his 31-man platoon left the north shore of Laguna de Bay and headed across the lake in three bancas. Lt. Skau and six men led the way while the separate assault team of 23 men followed soon after. Avoiding Japanese patrol craft on the lake, they landed near Nanhaya and met with local guerrillas and some camp escapees at the local schoolhouse. Included in the group were Freddy Zervoulakos and Benjamin Edwards, another young escapee, who sketched the layout of the camp on the schoolhouse blackboard. Lt. Skau decided to split his group into six teams, assigning a number of guerrillas to each team. Edwards and Zervoulakos each accompanied one team. On the night of 22 February, they journeyed through the jungle and rice paddies to their starting points.

At 04:00 on 23 February 1945 the 1st Battalion 511PIR (less B Company) boarded fifty-four amphibious tractors (Amtracs), slipped into Laguna de Bay, and headed for Mayondon Point. They also managed to reach their destination without alerting any Japanese defenders and headed off for the remaining 2 miles (3.2 km) overland journey to the camp, aiming to arrive just after 07:00.

Meanwhile, Lt. Ringler's B Company, 511th PIR together with the Light Machine Gun Platoon, had spent the moonless night of 22 February waiting at Nichols Field where, in the early dawn, they donned their parachutes, put on their equipment, and loaded onto nine C47s of the 75th Troop Carrier Squadron, under the command of Major Don Anderson, for the short flight. Flying unopposed by Japanese aircraft or antiaircraft fire, they soon arrived at their destination, which was clearly marked with green smoke by the Reconnaissance Platoon.

The Recon Platoon teams led by Lt. Skau, and Sgts. Angus, Call and Town took out the guard posts on the north and west side of the camp. The Hunters ROTC guerrillas chased after and killed the Japanese guards.

At 07:00, coming in at the planned 500 feet (150 m) jump altitude and in three "V"s of three aircraft, Lt. Ringler's paratroopers dropped from their aircraft.[1]:48 B Company charged the camp 15–20 minutes after the attack was launched, entering through openings cut by the scouts. The firefight was short and intense, and with the Japanese defeated, the internees freed.

The fifty four Amtracs of the 672nd Amphibious Battalion came ashore in nine columns of six vehicles after green smoke grenades were popped on San Antonio beach, by Sgt. Hahn and Marking's guerrillas, at 0658. Led by Burgess, the amtracs reached the camp, knocking out a pillbox and crashed through the camp gate.

Mindful of the need for speed, Lt. Ringler's men rounded up the internees as rapidly as they could. Some prisoners refused to leave, so Lt. Hettlinger's men burned the camp’s remaining huts, to encourage the internees to the Amtracs. At first, the disabled, along with the women and children, were loaded onto the waiting vehicles, while the more able internees formed a walking column and headed for the beach and freedom.

In the distance, across the lake, intense fire was heard. That sound was from the Soule Task Force. Early that morning, the diversionary force of the 188th Glider Infantry Regiment and Company C of the 637th Tank Destroyer Battalion, together with elements of the 472nd and 675th Field Artillery Battalions under Soule, rolled out into Highway 1 and attacked across the San Juan River. They ran into Japanese opposition near the Lechería Hills where casualties were taken, but by mid-morning they had cleared the area and were marching towards Los Baños and cutting off the road between the Japanese 8th Tiger Division and Los Baños.

From an elevated position, Soule could see, in the distance, the Amtracs on the beach heading back to Mamatid, so he ordered his force to conduct a defensive withdrawal and to re-establish its bridgehead across the San Juan River.

Finally, after two trips, the last of the amtracs departed at 1500 for Mamatid. The internees included a three-day-old baby girl Lois Kathleen McCoy. Frank Buckles, who would become the last surviving American veteran of World War I, was also among the prisoners; he had been captured as a civilian in Manila.

The 11th Airborne Division rightfully takes tremendous pride in the liberation of the Los Baños Internment Camp. The regional chapters of the Division Association celebrate that brilliant raid and rescue with a Los Baños Commemoration Dinner on or about 23 February every year. That superb exploit is not forgotten in the town of Los Baños itself. The Hunters-ROTC Filipino guerrillas and other partisan units, who supported the 11th Airborne Division also commemorate the freeing of the prison camp.

 Included in this incredible grouping are the following items:

- Class A tunic with Reed's Laundry number R-1758 with sterling silver combat jump wins (three stars). Medal ribbon bar with the following awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Pacific Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars, WWII Victory Medal, Presidential unit citation with star. 11th airborne patch on left shoulder, Sergeant Chevrons and four overseas service bars on left cuff. Condition of the jacket is excellent.

- Five Original Cased Wartime Medals as follows: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star (inscribed to Edward R. Reed Jr.) and a Purple Heart.

- M1 Helmet with 11 A/B to front (most certainly part of his uniform for use with General MacArthur’s Honor Guard

- Overseas Garrison Cap with 511th Parachute Regiment insignia and Paratrooper patch.

- 11th Airborne unit history book

- Original compass pouch

- Original ammo pouch

- Aluminum bracelet marked New Guinea 1944 with Paratrooper wing emblem.

- Emergency chute handle.

- Original paperwork and wartime articles about him.

- Copies of his citation from the National Archives.

Certainly one of the most incredible groupings we have ever offered, this is one for the museums!

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