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War Journal of Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause

Authors: Damon Rocky Gause, Damon L. Gause (Introduction), Stephen E. Ambrose

Hardcover - 183 pages (November 1999)
Hyperion
ISBN: 0786865105
Dimensions (in inches): 0.99 x 8.57 x 5.82


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Book Description
One of the most extraordinary tales of American military history -- the true, firsthand account of a World War II soldier's escape from the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, across the enemy-held Pacific in a leaky boat, to freedom in Australia. Immediately following his return to safety, Major Gause wrote his gripping memoir using his notes from the battered ship's log and the handmade diary he kept throughout the journey. His account begins with the siege of Manila, where the young Army Air Corps pilot was stationed, and the eventual fall of the Philippines into Japanese hands. Along with 70,000 other American and Filipino soldiers, Gause was captured by the Japanese and destined to walk what would later go down in history as the Bataan Death march. In the first of many amazing feats, he managed to escape, then swam three miles through shark-infested waters to the rock island fortress of Corregidor. When Corregidor fell, Gause and two Filipinos escaped during the night and continued on a ten-mile trek across the water to reach Luzon Island. Island-hopping for two months, Gause was sheltered and moved about by several Filipino families, always staying one step ahead of enemy patrols. On the island of Mindoro, he met a fellow American escapee, Captain Osborne, who was also determined to make it to safety. Osborne and Gause embarked on a 3,200 mile journey to Australia, and to freedom, in a twenty-foot wooden fishing boat. Along the way, they faced strafings from Japanese fighter planes, tropical storms, jagged coral reefs, and near starvation. Once there, Gause met General MacArthur, commander of the American armed forces in the Philippines, who had been ordered to regroup in Australia months before."Sir," he said simply, "Lt. Gause reports for duty from Corregidor!" Vividly written with astonishing attention to detail and a surprising sense of humor, "The War Journal of Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause is impossible to put down. Accompanied by photographs taken during the voyage and an introduction and epilogue by Rocky's son, Damon L. Gause, this amazing document reveals a true American hero and pays tribute to the bravery of those who fought and died beside him.

The New York Times Book Review, Christopher Dickey
The narrative is spare, tough and full of clichés. There is all the stoicism and heroism of the time, but also the machismo and racism...

From Booklist September 15, 1999
This story is unbelievably "movie-perfect" (and Miramax will film it), yet it is purportedly true. Gause, an American pilot who died in 1944, maintained a log of his sea escape from the falls of Bataan and, then, Corregidor in 1942. These records had lain among his effects, his widow resisting importunings to publish them. Gause's son has now decided to go public, in tribute to World War II veterans, to whom he says he often relates the tale. The reputation of Japanese prison camps having preceded them, Gause opted to head for Australia in a leaky boat with a balky engine and another American as crew. The odyssey features much comradely poignancy that complements the action: brushes with Japanese cruisers, planes, even a submarine; near destruction in a typhoon; an encounter with a possible German spy; and the topper, a Japanese strafing attack. Perhaps stranger tales of patriotic heroism have emerged from the war, but not many; and this one should strongly resonate with readers. Gilbert Taylor

From Kirkus Reviews
An American pilots remarkable diary, copied in a small notebook hidden in a footlocker for over 50 years, records his amazing escape from the notorious March of Death ordeal inflicted by Japanese soldiers on American and Filipino POW's and his further dangerous adventures during the last days of Bataan and Corregidor in the 1942 Philippines. The diary records how Gause, an army pilot without a plane since MacArthur's aircraft were destroyed on the ground after the Japanese sneak attack on Luzon, joined an American infantry unit to continue fighting against a swarming, ruthless enemy that pushed the gallant defenders from Manila to the dense jungles and killing fields of Bataan. Gause was one of the 78,000 American and Filipino soldiers running out of food, medicines, and ammunition who were captured by the Japanese. Nearly 60,000 died in captivity from hunger, thirst, disease, and murder. Gause escaped into the jungle after killing a Japanese sentry and swam through shark-infested waters to Corregidor amid brushes with death from enemy patrols. He found and repaired an abandoned fishing boat and undertook an unbelievable voyage to other islands and Australia after meeting another escaped American officer. Only the constant help and courage of patriotic Filipinos and other natives protected the two Americans from tropical storms, hunger, mosquitoes, and Japanese planes and ships. Gause and Osborne subsisted on raw fish, coconuts, bananas, rice, and rainwater. A Nazi agent dressed as an American colonel tried to kill them while they slept, but they were able to overpower the spy and leave him for dead. After many close calls during a harrowing 3,200 mile voyage to Australia and freedom, they were presented to General MacArthur ten months after the fall of Manila. The two were awarded Distinguished Service Crosses and then sent home for a well-deserved furlough. A suspenseful odyssey, rescued from obscurity, that honors two valiant and resourceful soldiers who never gave up hope to survive an impossible nightmare. A worthy addition to the rich lore of WWII. A movie is planned. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Book Description
One of the most extraordinary tales of American military history -- the true, firsthand account of a World War II soldier's escape from the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, across the enemy-held Pacific in a leaky boat, to freedom in Australia.

Immediately following his return to safety, Major Gause wrote his gripping memoir using his notes from the battered ship's log and the handmade diary he kept throughout the journey. His account begins with the siege of Manila, where the young Army Air Corps pilot was stationed, and the eventual fall of the Philippines into Japanese hands. Along with 70,000 other American and Filipino soldiers, Gause was captured by the Japanese and destined to walk what would later go down in history as the Bataan Death march.

In the first of many amazing feats, he managed to escape, then swam three miles through shark-infested waters to the rock island fortress of Corregidor. When Corregidor fell, Gause and two Filipinos escaped during the night and continued on a ten-mile trek across the water to reach Luzon Island. Island-hopping for two months, Gause was sheltered and moved about by several Filipino families, always staying one step ahead of enemy patrols. On the island of Mindoro, he met a fellow American escapee, Captain Osborne, who was also determined to make it to safety. Osborne and Gause embarked on a 3,200 mile journey to Australia, and to freedom, in a twenty-foot wooden fishing boat. Along the way, they faced strafings from Japanese fighter planes, tropical storms, jagged coral reefs, and near starvation. Once there, Gause met General MacArthur, commander of the American armed forces in the Philippines, who had been ordered to regroup in Australia months before."Sir," he said simply, "Lt. Gause reports for duty from Corregidor!"

Vividly written with astonishing attention to detail and a surprising sense of humor, "The War Journal of Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause is impossible to put down. Accompanied by photographs taken during the voyage and an introduction and epilogue by Rocky's son, Damon L. Gause, this amazing document reveals a true American hero and pays tribute to the bravery of those who fought and died beside him.

The author, Damon L. Gause , October 7, 1999
Welcome to the War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause
Welcome to the War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause

Thank you for joining the web page on my father's book THE WAR JOURNAL OF MAJOR DAMON "ROCKY" GAUSE. This book is a first hand account of his and fellow American escapee, Captain William Lloyd Osborne's survival saga of crossing 3,200 miles of enemy controlled ocean in their native 20 foot launch-sailboat from the Philippine Islands to reach saftey at Wyndam, Australia in the early months of World War II. My father completed his manuscript while stationed back in the United States just after completing this lengthy survival that well may be the longest escape in modern American warfare history. If you are looking for a book that clearly shows the comradeship, loyalty, devotion and honor that two hunted Americans have for each other, their families, and their country, this will appeal to you. I being my father's only child finally realized that by not attempting to have my late father's journal published that I was failing him. It is for him and our many other World War II Veterans that the War Journal of Major Damon Rocky Gause is finally coming to print.

Thank you for your interest.

About the Author
Damon L. Gause, the son of Rocky Gause, was invited by the Philippine Ambassador to the United States to speak at the dedication of the American-Philippine War memorial. A frequent speaker before veterans' groups, he is a general contractor living in Georgia.

Mr. Gause cordially invites all readers to correspond with him at damongause@aol.com.


 

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