Robert Schuld

'We made the landing'


Robert Schuld's ship had already pulled off three gutsy invasions in the South Pacific as the Allies chased the Japanese: Angaur and Babelthuap in the Southern Palau Islands, and Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.

He was the navigator on a landing ship called the USS LST-600.

His ship would sail on toward Japan for a planned U.S. ground invasion, delivering supplies and troops to islands along the way.

In the dark hours of January 9, 1945, Schuld's crew was in Lingayen Gulk, gearing up to invade Lingayen.

Two hours before the first wave of U.S. troops were set to storm the beach of the Philippine Island, Schuld and the others could hear the Japanese talking in a boat nearby.

It was about 4 a.m., and you couldn't see anything, said Schuld, 85, because of the total blackout. Three hundred troops were quietly gearing up for their landing.

Schuld and the others could make out the shape of something floating.

"Then at 10 minutes after four, their motor turned on. A high-speed motor roared to life and within 15 seconds they pulled into us, took out 28 foot of our stern, which is the rear."

The ship was blown up. "We made the landing, we made the landing."

Schuld was hit with shrapnel in the right abdomen as he stood on the bridge, the lone man injured on the ship.

He lay unconscious for 10 or 15 minutes until he was found. It left him with an ugly scar.

The kicker is that he had changed ranks on purpose after his first two invasions. He'd been a signalman on a small landing craft called an LCVP, and volunteered to become a quartermaster.

He did so because he didn't like getting shot at from the beaches.