Rex Heuer

Exuberant Filipinos Greet Allies, Cpl. R. Heuer Says; Tells of D-Day on Leyte
Corporal Rex Heuer, with the United States Forces on the Philippine Islands, former employee of the Eau Claire Press Company, tells of the invasion in a letter written to A. E. Marten, of the Leader and Telegram staff.

"D-day was a beautiful day," he writes. "We couldn't have asked for a better day. There was only one enemy plane in the air, and he was over us just at daybreak. What an eyeful he must have gotten when he saw all the ships. I have never seen so much flak thrown at one plane. Every ship opened up at him, but he still kept on going.

"The plane was no sooner out of sight, when the battleships started shelling the beach. What a mess of shells they threw at the Japs. About 15 minutes before H-hour, every battleship, cruiser, and destroyer opened up with everything they had at point blank range."

Japs Move Inland
"I was in the sixth wave and, when we landed, the Infantry was still on the beach. It was just like I expected; there wasn't a building that wasn't destroyed. I only saw 16 dead Japs on the entire beach. They had moved further inland.

"The third morning, Jap planes were right overhead before the alert sounded. An LCI got the first one, and he crashed about 100 yards from us. Our fighter planes accounted for three more before they got away.

"For some reason or other, I seem to be just where the Japs want to bomb. I have just missed it by a few feet every time. One time I was nearly covered with dirt from a 500 pounder."

Girls Dress Well
"Now about some of our good times and the Filipino people. I was really surprised when I saw my first Filipino woman. She was dressed just as well as any girl in the States. We found out later they had their clothes buried, since the Jap occupation, and dug them out when we arrived. I still don't know how they could keep them that long. The first Filipino people tried to get through our lines the first night. The one that led them to where he thought we were got shot. We thought they were Japs. He was just a boy 12 years of age. We buried him where he fell.

"The first day we took the town, I will never forget. I have never in my life seen happier people. All the time the Japs had the island, they weren't allowed to go near, or even look at, the docks. That was the first time they had seen it in three years and our being there at the same time was more than they could stand."

Have Useless Jap Money
"Everyone had Japanese money by the arms full. They had broken into the bank and taken it. They didn't know it wasn't worth a cent. What they wanted to buy was clothes and food. They went wild over our dog biscuits.

"We always travel with the front line troops, so we get there first, you might say. We have had dances in our favor, chickens fried for us, and even our clothes washed, if we happened to stay a few hours.

"At the rear bases, all that is changed now. The towns are off limits. The Filipinos are starting to steal; some of them will work where others won't. Prices are sky high. They will give you one egg for a set of fatigues and the fatigues have to be new."

Corporal Heuer enclosed some real Japanese money and also some of  the invasion money, partially printed in English, the language which the Filipinos could read.


T/5 Rex Heuer Sees Jap Planes Fall in Flames
WITH THE FIRST CAVALRY ON LEYTE—After nineteen months overseas and many campaigns to his credit, Technician Fifth Grade Rex A. Heuer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Heuer, 415 Washington Street, Eau Claire, WI, finally had the thrill of seeing so many Japanese planes being shot down in flames that he couldn't look everywhere fast enough to see them all. A member of the crew on a landing barge, he is taking part in the invasion of the Philippines with the First Cavalry Division.

"We were in a small harbor in Leyte," said Heuer, "waiting to take on some troops from the First Cavalry Division before embarking on a scouting mission along the coastline of Leyte. Suddenly, a group of Japanese "Bettys" appeared above the harbor, evidently planning to  bomb the shipping anchored there.  I never saw so much ack-ack in the air before. Then, a bunch of  Navy planes appeared to take part  in the fun and, between the planes and the fire from the ground, the  "Bettys'' began to burst into flames so fast that I couldn't see them all  before they fell to the ground. It certainly was a satisfaction to see them take such a beating."  

Heuer, who has been in the service since April 1942, received his basic training at Camp Robinson,  Arkansas and then went to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, where he  joined his present outfit, coming overseas with them early in 1943. 

Before coming in the Army, he attended the Eau Claire High School, where he was a member of the football and basketball teams. He was then employed in the advertising department of the Eau Claire Leader and Telegram. A brother, Garen P. Heuer, is in the Army, stationed somewhere in India.


Gives Graphic Account of Recapture of Corregidor
A graphic account of the return of American soldiers to Corregidor in Manila Bay is given in a letter from Corporal Rex Heuer, 415 Washington Street, a former employee of the Eau Claire Press Company, to Arthur E. Marten.

Heuer took part in the invasion of the Admiralty Islands, Leyte, and other places before joining in the attack on Luzon.

There wasn't a Jap near the beach when Americans landed on Bataan, Heuer said, but Corregidor was different.

"From where we were, we could see the Rock," Heuer wrote. "All day, wave after wave of planes were dropping bombs on the place, plus the Navy shelling the caves. We were told beforehand that the paratroopers were going to land on it. After all the shelling and bombing, we thought they would have an easy time. I don't believe I slept all that night.

"Next day we were up bright and early. This day I was in the third wave, which I thought would be all right. From dawn on, the Navy and Air Corps really gave the place a going over. It looked, for awhile, as if we wouldn't have a place to land on.

"The paratroopers landed at exactly the time scheduled, 8:30. We weren't scheduled to go in until around 10, so we had quite a show to see. Time was getting short and I started to get a lump in my throat.

"The first wave started in with the gunboats, and the dust was so thick you couldn't see a thing. When the second wave landed, the dust started to clear a little. The firing started when we went in. The whole rock seemed to be alive with Jap machine guns. I'm telling you, they really slung lead and we slung it right back at them. But the devil of it was you stop them at one cave, and they would set up another machine gun in a few seconds. There were bullets flying all around us. I don't see how they missed us like they did. When we got out of range, I looked over the boat, and we had only one hole in it. One of our men got a piece of shrapnel. After the initial phase, we looked over the boats.  You should have seen some of the holes in them. Of all the boats there, we were the luckiest."

Corporal Heuer writes that, in some caves on Corregidor, there were 200 to 300 Japs with enough supplies to last them five years. They were the biggest Japs I have seen so far, he added. In the daytime, Americans would seal up caves and, at night, trapped Japs inside would blow them open again, Heuer said, adding that nearly every night they would have two or three banzai charges, in which Japs were "mowed down with machine gun fire."

Heuer said he met a paratrooper whose chute failed to open and who lived to tell about it. Two broken legs were his only injuries.

Heuer said that he met Vernon Rafferty of Eau Claire, serving on a PT boat, a few days before leaving Corregidor.