One Regiment Against Japan, 1941-1945
PREFACE TO THIS EDITION
Beyond Courage was written initially to tell a story of human endurance, sacrifice, and loyalty that, so long unwritten, needed to be told. That it is still in demand is a tribute to readers who, in this age of negativity, cynicism, and blame-America persuasion, are still inspired by the nobility of American history and by those heroes who have made it so.
This story is both about and by the heroes of Bataan. They are the true authors; I have but penned in ink what they wrote in blood. It focuses on one small stout-hearted unit, citizen soldiers who speak for all the others and in a larger sense evoke the grit and guts and gallantry of all American soldiers in all American wars.
Their stand was pivotal. MacArthur rightly called Bataan “one of the decisive battles of the world.” Yet today’s textbooks largely ignore it, reduce the Pacific campaign to a few drab paragraphs that emphasize the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and dismiss the guilt of Japan. I have tried herein to balance the account.
Shortly after the first edition of Beyond Courage was released, some 15,000 top-secret documents were declassified. These comprised Japanese communications sent in a code the enemy believed unbroken, intercepted and decrypted through a machine called “Magic.” This vital information streamed daily into Washington throughout the war. One of America’s greatest weapons and most closely guarded secrets, Magic’s intercepts were crucial in winning victory in World War II. Its story has been appended to all editions.
Now, at the time of publication of this new edition with America again at war, the Bataan story acquires a new significance as an analogy to our current struggle, and gains a deeper dimension. Now as then, American heroes are fighting a ruthless enemy for our survival. Now as then, whether gained through intercepted messages or overseas wiretapping, intelligence is vital to winning another war, and maintaining its secrecy as critical now as then for protecting our soldiers in deadly combat. Those who expose and decry such crucial measures today might well reflect that without the knowledge gained by the Magic intercepts of World War II, those heroes of Beyond Courage would very likely never have returned to tell their heroic story.