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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"The Great Raid" coming to the big screen...

Call me an optimist, but I don’t think Hollywood can screw this one up. After nearly a three year delay since shooting, Miramax is set to release “The Great Raid” in early December.
Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order fame) will star as Colonel Henry “Hank” Mucci. If you know the story of the Colonel and his band of Raiders, then you have had the same thoughts as I.
Regardless of the number times Hollywood gets it wrong or wanders off into their own ideological pile of excrement, they can’t screw this one up. In short, there is no way for Hollywood to dip the facts with sentimentalism, anti-war messages, or downright Anti-Americanism. The story, on its own, requires no “poetic license” in an effort to spruce up the chronicle. It stands on its own, because the actual facts are incredible.

The screenplay of “The Great Raid” comes out of the pages of William B. Brue’s novel, “The Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor.” The word from insiders is that the screenplay is a nearly a carbon copy of Brue’s historical reference. There was no need to beef up the story with stereotypical heroic embellishments. The simple fact of the matter is that the real story is more amazing that anything a room full of guild writers could come up with.

Colonel Henry Mucci took a discouraged artillery unit and turned them into the incredible 6th Ranger Battalion of WWII. He did it all in five months. The 6th Rangers took the lead in McArthur’s return to the Philippines three full days prior to the invasion of Leyte. Their spearhead of the retaking of Dinagat, Homonhon, and Suluan was only their opening curtain call. In the process they destroyed all Japanese defenses and captured more than 1,000 Japanese.
Their accomplishments are highlighted by a daring raid 30 miles behind Japanese lines in January of 1945. Colonel Mucci planned, led, and executed a mission to liberate the survivors of the Bataan Death March held at Cabanatuan, Luzon. They removed the prisoners, safely, through 20 miles of Japanese held territory carrying many of them on their backs. Mucci’s Rangers lost only two men in the entire mission.
The Japaneses weren't as fortunate. The entire prison guard structure was taken out like clockwork, as were over 1,000 reserve troops.

It’s an incredible story that is well researched in Brue’s novel. Considering the emphasis on the raid being motivated by the Japanese military’s propensity to execute American prisoners when forced to retreat, it’s clear in this true event who the good guys and bad guys are. The men of the 6th Ranger Battalion were, at the time, the best of the best. And, considering the absolute, no doubt about it, success of those men, it will be difficult for Miramax to hang their “make love not war” label on the chronicles of heroes.

So, no…I don’t think Hollywood can screw this one up.


Addendum:
There’s a Memorial Plaque down at Fort Benning honoring the men and leaders of the 6th Rangers. It reads:

“In Honor of the Men of the 6th Ranger Battalion who liberated the 512 Prisoners of War at Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands, 30 January 1945. This list courtesy of John Cook (POW) who honored the 6th Rangers & Alamo Scouts at the dedication of a Memorial Plaque located at Fort Benning, GA 1999.”

Led by:
LTC Henry A. Mucci, Ranger Hall of Fame 1998
CPT James C. Fisher
CPT Robert W. Prince, Ranger Hall of Fame 1999
1LT John F Murphy
1LT William J O'Connell
1LT Melville R Schmidt
1LT Clifford K Smith
1SG Robert G Anderson
1SG Charles H Bosard
1SG Ned H Hedrick
TSGT Melvin H Gilbert
TSGT Daniel H Watson
TSGT Ralph C Franks
SSG Floyd L Anderson
SSG Lyle C Bishop
SSG Charles W Brown
SSG William R Butler
SSG Thomas H Frick
SSG Clifford B Gudmunsen
SSG Clifton R Harris
SSG David M Hey
SSG James V Millican
SSG Norton S Most
SSG Richard A Moore
SSG Cleatus C Norton
SSG Preston N Jensen
SSG Mike Koren Tec 5 Bernard L Haynes
Tec 5 Edward L Biggs
Tec 5 Patrick H Marquis
Tec 5 Francis R Schilli
Tec 5 William A Lawyer
Tec 5 Robert W White
Tec 5 Dalton H Garrett
Tec 5 Alymer C Jinkins
Pfc Vernon N Abbott
Pfc Donald A Adams
Pfc Warren M Bell
Pfc John D Blannett
Pfc James W Conley
Pfc William F Crumpton
Pfc Carlton O Dietzel
Pfc Virgil S Dixon
Pfc Waverty R Duke
Pfc Eugene H Dykes
Pfc Edwin G Enstrom
Pfc Howard R Fortenberry
Pfc Mariano Garde
Pfc William H Garrison
Pfc Thomas A Grace, Jr
Pfc Paul J Grimm Pfc Merrie K Purtell
Pfc George H Randall
Pfc James M Reynolds
Pfc John B Richardson
Pfc Alvie D Robbins
Pfc Edgar L Rubie
Pfc Roy D Sebeck
Pfc Melvin P Shearer
Pfc Charles Q Snyder
Pfc Conrad J Solf
Pfc Buford K Spicer
Pfc Frank R St John
Pfc Robert C Straube
Pfc Peter P Superak
Pfc Charles S Swain
Pfc Russell J Swank
Pfc Ronald R Thomas
Pfc Gerhard J Tiede
Pfc Alexander E Truskowski
Pfc Jasper T Westmoreland
Pfc Ray E Williams
Pfc Joseph O Youngblood
SSG Lester L Malone
SSG John W Nelson
SSG Theodore Richardson
SSG August T Stern Jr
SSG Manton P Stewart
SSG James O White
SGT Claude R Howell
SGT Harry C Killough
SGT Milo C Mortensen
SGT Albert F Outwater, Jr
SGT Vance R Shears
SGT James M Tucker
SGT Leo M Wentland
SGT Arthur T Williams
Tec 4 Homer E Britzius
Tec 4 Robert L Camp
Cpl Martin T Estesen
Cpl Waymon E Finley
Cpl James B Herribk
Cpl Marvin W Kinder
Cpl John G Palomares
Cpl Roy F Sweezy
Cpl Robert L Ramsey Pfc Howard J Guillory
Pfc Dale F Harris
Pfc Norman F Higgins
Pfc Clarence W Heezen
Pfc Andrew J Herman
Pfc Frank C Huboda
Pfc F J Hughes
Pfc Edward N Knowles
Pfc Eugene J Kocsis
Pfc Edward Littleton
Pfc Joseph Lombardo
Pfc Alfred A Martin
Pfc Billy McElroy
Pfc Alfred J McGinnis
Pfc Ralph C Melendez
Pfc Leroy B Myerhoff
Pfc John V Pearson
Pfc Joseph M Pospishil
Pfc William H Proudfit
Pfc Edward Paluck
Pfc Jack A Peters
Pfc Roy B Peters
Pfc Alva A Polzine
Pfc Leland A Provencher




Additional Members of the Liberation
547th US Air Force Pilots
The Night Fighter, P-61 of the US Air Force to distract the Japanese Guards so the Scouts and the Rangers could get into positions around Camp, for the Raids.

Photographers of Combat Photo Unit F, 852nd Signal Service Battalion
1LT John W Luebddeke, OIC
Tec 4 Frank J Goetzheimer
Pfc Robert C Lautman
Pfc Wilbur B Goen

Capt Kenneth R Schneber
LT Bonnie B Rucks


6th US Army Alamo Scouts: "The Alamo Scouts preceded the Raid as to the surrounding of the camp and the approximate number of Japanese personnel in and around the camp"

Pfc Alfred Alphonso
Pfc Sabas Asis
Pfc Thomas Siason
1LT Thomas Rounsaville
1LT William Nellist
1LT John E Dove Pfc Rufo Vaquilar
Pfc Gilbert Cox
Pfc Francis Laquier Pfc Wilber Wismer
Pfc Andy Smith
SGT Harold Hard
SGT Galen Kittleson
Pfc Franklin Fox

Philippine Guerillas - There were approximately 284 Philippine Guerillas whom helped with the Raid on Cabanatuan, without their help who knows what may have happened, that night, Liberating 512 Prisoners of War after 34 months in prison.

Major Robert Lapham
Capt Juan Padota, Leader
Capt Eduardo Joson, Leader

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