16° 14' 32N Long 120° 24' 32E Damortis is a a barrio of San Fernando, located on the eastern shore of Lingayen Gulf.
Damortis - Rosario Road
Run through Damortis (Route
3-11 junction). By 1945, the Japanese had emplaced artillery at this location. Located to
the east of the main American landings on Lingayen Gulf, it was one of the first
objectives of the landing, and was liberated
on January 12, 1945 by the US Army 158th RCT.
Glenn Shankle, 158th RCT adds:
"I was wounded on the road to Baguio that goes east out of Damortis. We were approaching the summit of the pass while being shelled by a enemy mountain gun. I think it was about a 37mm gun. Sundown was approaching, so our C. O. said to set up a perimeter and dig in for the night. My platoon was assigned to a ravine that had a small stream running in it. I was glad for the opportunity to wash up a bit. Near the stream next to the stream bank, there was a pile of straw and movement in the straw. I quickly jumped up on the bank above the straw and dropped phosphorous grenade into the straw. That brought out about 25 or 30 Japs out of a cave covered by the straw. I was firing into their backs as they came out, but they dispersed around the area and my platoon found ourselves in hand to hand combat. I took a bullet hit in my right leg and fell right in center of things. Lucky for me my buddies brought plenty of automatic fire from Browning subs, giving the medics space to come into the ravine to drag me out. I was carried out of the ravine back up to the highway. While the medics attended to me, another cave was uncovered with about the same number of enemy. I was told that there was 75 enemy killed that evening before full darkness set in."
Japanese Memorial Marker "Kenju No He"
This concrete marker at the road junction at Damortis was built by the Japanese, and reads: "Kenju No He" (Dead Soldiers for Country Monument). Japanese Memorial Marker: Then & Now. Demolished after the war in the 1950s by 'treasure hunters' sanctioned by the town Mayor, hoping to find 'Yamashita's Gold'. They found nothing inside other than concrete and rebar. Today, only its shattered base remains. Yet, a false belief this marker has to do with treasure lingers in the minds of some locals.
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February 4, 2018