January 7 – Happy Birthday Clifford Arnold

 

carnold3Here’s an excerpt from my story about this Amsterdam area hero which appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

Clifford Arnold and Bill Thatcher were best friends. The two had grown up together in Hagaman, NY and been classmates at Hagaman Grammar and Amsterdam High. In February of 1940, they decided to enlist in the US Army together as well. This was almost two years before the US would enter World War II but with the Japanese already exhibiting menacing behavior in the Pacific, the boyhood friends soon found themselves stationed at Fort Mills on the Island of Corregidor…

…After their strike at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese avoided the Fort Mills batteries by invading the Philippines from the north via the Lingayen Gulf, landing at Luzon and attacking Manila from its landward side. This meant that instead of being the first installation hit in the attack, Corregidor became the site of the US and Philippine forces last stand….

…Arnold, Thatcher and the rest of the American and Philippine forces defending the island did so valiantly but the Japanese were able to implement an effective naval and artillery blockade of Corregidor that prevented any food or fresh water from getting in and on May 6, 1942, the defenders of the island surrendered…

 

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