It's not a well known fact but there was more US Army personnel fighting in the Pacific than Marines, the US Army served in the Philippines, and Private First Class Dirk John Vlug was one of them. He served as part of the 126th Infantry Regiment. In December 1944 the 126th was fighting its way along the jungle covered mountainous hell that was Leyte. The Japanese were fanatically defending in depth, every corner of the road the the 126th was advancing along from Breakneck Ridge had Japanese foxholes dug into it. Equally the hills above were covered with spider holes hidden under logs or the roots of trees. The darkness given by the dense jungle canopy gave the Japanese plenty of cover. The closeness of the fighting meant that the US Army's fire support couldn't be employed. The 126th Infantry had been grinding through this defence since mid November.
During the battle that raged throughout the day two Medals of Honour were won, the first by Sergeant Leroy Johnson, who leapt onto two hand grenades saving the lives of three other soldiers, and PFC Vlug's medal.
In the afternoon five Type 95 Ha-Go tanks approached the roadblock. The lead tank was spewing out smoke in an attempt to conceal the other four. As they approached the roadblock they began to rake the US positions with their machine guns and the 37mm main guns. PFC Vlug grabbed his M9 Bazooka and charged the Japanese tanks.
Halting a short distance away from the lead tank he fired his first round. The missile streaked into the tank and soon it began to spew out black smoke as it burnt. PFC Vlug must not have been taking concealment as both the Japanese and his own side could see him clearly. The crew of the second tank began to dismount to deal with this anti-tank threat. PFC Vlug ripped out his pistol and opened fire, killing the tank commander. The fact he was engaging with his pistol gives you an idea how close he was to the enemy. The remaining two tank crew remounted their vehicle, but before they could move PFC Vlug fired his second rocket, killing the crew.
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