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60th Anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf
When Americans stormed ashore at Leyte, it fullfilled a promise made by Gen. Douglas MacArthur
made in the dark days following the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942.

October 20, 1944, was a day of redemption for Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur as he splashed ashore on the Philippine island of Leyte. It was a complete turnaround from the last time he had seen the islands.

The Japanese army had chased MacArthur out of the islands in March 1942. He had barely escaped Corregidor Island via a Navy PT boat. As he left the Philippines, he vowed, “I shall return.”

But it wasn’t easy. By May of that year, the Japanese controlled everything from Burma to the Aleutians and threatened Australia. American forces were fighting a desperate fight on land, sea and air.

Then in quick succession came the Battle of Coral Sea and the astounding U.S. Navy victory at Midway. The U.S. Marines began the long road back

fighting in the tropical Hell of Guadalcanal. U.S. Army and Australian forces forced their way through the jungles of New Guinea.

Each month, American might grew, and they took on the Japanese at Tarawa,

Peleliu, Biak, Saipan, Guam and finally America was ready to redeem MacArthur’s pledge to the people of the Philippines.

With U.S. Army troops still fighting, MacArthur landed at Red Beach on Leyte, and, via radio, he addressed the Philippine people. “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a

LEYTE GULF – The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the Honorable Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, along with dignitaries from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines participate in a wreath laying ceremony during the 60th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary commemoration at MacAurthur Landing Memorial National Park, Palo, Leyte, Philippines, Oct. 20, 2004. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer John S. Stadelman   Hi-Res

foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people.”

Much fighting remained, but the landing at Leyte began the liberation of a people.

RELATED LINKS
• Commemorative Program
• War in the Pacific
• Leyte Campaign
• Leyte Landing
• General Douglas MacArthur's speech
• The Battle of Leyte Gulf Timeline
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