Lehigh Phi Relates His Adventures
PON his graduation from Lehigh,
William Alan Sheppard, Lehigh
'38 ("Pittsburgh Red" in the Army),
enlisted in the Army Air Corps and, after
a year of intensive training resulting in a
commission, found himself in the Philippines early in 1940. He was there when
things happened at Pearl Harbor, and
was soon in the thick of the fray on
Bataan. His father, Mr. W. L. Sheppard,
of Pittsburgh granted the request of the
SCROLL for permission to publish excerpts
from Brother Sheppard's letters. At the
time these letters were written Sheppard
was a first lieutenant. It is not surprising
that for meritorious service he has since
been promoted to the captaincy.
The story begins in the Philippines:
"I was scouting alone one day when I
suddenly saw three Japanese bombers
flying in a nice formation below me.
I said to myself, 'Santa Claus is here,' and
I shot down on one of the rear planes,
pulling in on his blind spot, which with
that type of plane is just a little behind
and above his tail.
"I poured three hot bursts into hifa
and he went afire. The leading plane
ducked out, but the other rear plane kept
crossfiring at me, getting one wing and
smashing the radiator.
"I know I hit him, too. My own plane
was now too hot for comfort, so I bailed
out, landing on a thornbush on a mountain top. I soon met a native who fed me
and directed me through the jungle to
the next village. Here I encountered another pilot who had had engine trouble
and was forced to bail out.
"Being behind the Jap lines on the
coast, but far up a river valley, we decided to cut across the mountains and
return through the interior. So we hiked
out over one hundred kilometers of
Philippine mountain wilderness in the
wildest part. We had to cover prodigious
distances during the day, outwalking
even the Igorotes who carried our things,
but arrived every night at some sort of
white man's outfit, a mine or a mission.
I imagine the going is rough there now.
We emerged on the central road from
the north, with only about twenty more
I I A ALAN SHEPrARD, Lehigh
kilometers of hiking to go. Here we secured transportation over the most hairraising mountain roads imaginable to
Baguio, and finally arrived at Clark
Field. Not more than a couple of white
men had ever made the journey before.
"We crossed the territory of five of the
old head-hunting tribes. The natives
were quite friendly with Americans, but
were all decked out in breech clouts and
war bonnets and heavy spears and head
axes, looking for Japs. Even the road
workers carried head axes."
At his base, Sheppard was ordered to
ferry service between Bataan and Java.
At this point the censor played havoc
with his narratrve, but it is known that,
according to one of his masterpieces of
understatement, he was "in active service" in the East Indies. The censors did
leave, the following fragments of his