Samar Philippines

Salvatore J. “Sam” Favazza
Written by his daughter Karen Favazza Spencer
November 20, 2005

Branch of Service: U.S. Navy, Lieutenant, Jr. Grade
Fought In: Pacific

Dad spent most of 1945 stationed on Samar Island at the northeast tip of Leyte Gulf. The base was a piece of rat infested jungle. They were given a cloth tent and told to go pitch it. They used a flame thrower to clear the jungle, then built a small wooden platform to get the tent off the jungle floor.

Five hundred Japanese soldiers were still inhabiting Samar and they were so desperate and brazen as to sneak into the Philippine mess tents for a meal. The men slept with a .45 sidearm under pillows at night, in case of trouble. They transported men and cargo between deepwater and shore and provided back-up for the battles.

“One day, my buddy Burt and I found a hill with a wonderful view. We sat down under a coconut tree and were thinking this wasn’t so bad, we could enjoy being stationed here for the rest of the war, when the sirens went off. We hadn’t intended to stray so far and only had our .45s with us. As we jumped up to run back to base, a coconut fell and bonked me on the head. We rolled and tumbled down the hill like a scene from the Keystone Cops! We couldn’t get back to base fast enough! The alarm was a false one. We didn’t leave camp without being fully armed again. Nor did I sit under another palm tree without checking for coconuts, first!”

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