Robert Wheeler, Los Banos Internee
As one who was liberated along with my parents and younger brother from the Los Baños Prison Camp in February of 1945, once I started to read When Angels Fall, I couldn’t put it down. It is an utterly fascinating story...
As one who was liberated along with my parents and younger brother from the Los Baños Prison Camp in February of 1945, I have spent much of the intervening many years trying to learn as much as I could about the 11th Airborne Division and its’ heart and soul, our “Angels” from Heaven above, the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment; culminating, so far, in my book “A Child’s Life Interrupted by the Imperial Japanese Army”.
Over the years, aside from reading and research, I have attended many 511th Reunions where I have often sat in the corner in a motel room listening to the former troopers recount their experiences and state that they feel closer to their fellow troopers than their own brothers.
After having been the guest speaker at the Currahee Military Museum, in Toccoa, Georgia, to which I have donated all of the books, paraphernalia and pictures that I have collected over the years, I was sent a copy of “When Angels Fall” – From Toccoa to Tokyo.
Once I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down. It is an utterly fascinating story of a Regiment whose men were individually selected - they each had to pass the Army Intelligence Test with at least the score required to be admitted to Officer Candidate School – and meet strict physical and character requirements. These requirements were not relaxed for replacements.
It is the story of a Paratroop Regiment thrust into battle in the Mountains of Leyte, fighting Japanese Regiments that often outnumbered them ten to one, often going without food for long periods of time, slogging through ankle deep mud, enduring sores over their bodies – while eliminating three Japanese Regiments.
It is the story of MacArthur’s “secret” unpublicized and under-appreciated Regiment that General Walter C. Krueger of the U.S. Sixth Army called “the God dammed fightingest outfit I have ever seen”.
Robert A. Wheeler
Los Banos Internee &
Author of "A Child's Life: Interrupted by the Imperial Japanese Army"