Sabalauski, Walter James, CSM

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Command Sergeant Major
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
00Z-Command Sergeant Major IN
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1969, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1941 - 1971

Command Sergeant Major


Ten Service Stripes



Fourteen Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home Country
Lithuania
Lithuania
Year of Birth
1910
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Trey W. Franklin to remember Sabalauski, Walter James, CSM USA(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Oct 22, 1993
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 US Army Retired




 Unofficial Badges 

Airborne


 Military Association Memberships
Legion Of Valor
  1966, Legion Of Valor - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting

THE
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
to
Walter J. Sabalauski

Company C, 2d Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division

For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
 

First Sergeant Sabalauski distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during the period 9 to 11 June 1966 while participating in a blocking operation near Dak To. When the Viet Cong occupied jungle suddenly erupted with intense hostile fire from three directions, First Sergeant Sabalauski, realizing that the company commander could not possibly control all the elements in the thick bamboo growth and 50 foot canopies, rallied and directed the beleaguered troops in an attempt to gain fire superiority. With complete disregard for his safety, First Sergeant Sabalauski dashed from position to position and repeatedly exposed himself to muster his unit and quell the hostile fire. As the Viet Cong assaulted the perimeter, First Sergeant Sabalauski quickly organized an assault line and delivered suppressive fire onto the fanatical Viet Cong. After dashing to the rear of the perimeter and observing that the insurgents were surrounding his company, he exposed himself and screamed orders to form a tight defensive perimeter. Although artillery was called in as close as 25 meters from the friendly force and air strikes devastated the jungle around the perimeter, the determined Viet Cong continued to advance.
 

When the company commander called in air strikes on his own position as a last resort, First Sergeant Sabalauski remained on his feet to control the beleaguered paratroopers. For 30 hours, he continued to dash from one side of the perimeter to the other to direct and encourage his men. Although he was wounded himself, First Sergeant Sabalauski aided his wounded comrades, comforted the dying, and continued to direct his men. When reinforcements arrived and a hasty perimeter was again set up, he fearlessly moved forward of the perimeter and retrieved a dead comrade. After a 1,000 meter move to an evacuation point, First Sergeant Sabalauski personally supervised the extraction of the wounded and dead. Through his courage and outstanding leadership throughout the long and perilous battle, he contributed immeasurable to the success of his mission.
 

First Sergeant Sabalauski's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.Company C, 2d Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. HQ USARV GO 5821 Sep 27, 66



Walter James Sabalauski was born in Lithuania in 1910.   His family moved to the United States while he was a small child.  From 1929 to 1937, he boxed professionally while living in the Chicago area. An auto accident ended his career with an outstanding record of only two defeats in 33 bouts. 
 

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski entered the Army in June 1941.  During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater, fighting on the beachheads of the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, and  the Philippines.  


He later served in the Korean War with the 187th Regimental Combat Team (Airborne) and 25th Infantry  Regiment.  


In 1963, CSM Sabalauski went to Vietnam for the first time, where he served as an advisor to the 32d Vietnamese  Ranger Battalion.  


After service in the Dominican Republic in 1965, he returned to Vietnam in 1966.  It was during this tour  that he fought his most memorable battle.

 

Early in June of 1966, Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment was conducting a mission to locate elements  of the 24th North Vietnamese Regiment. Charlie Company made contact with what was estimated to be a battalion-sized enemy element.  Under heavy enemy fire and unable to maneuver, the company commander, CPT William Carpenter called for air strikes in his position in an attempt to force the enemy to withdraw.  The enemy ceased fire long enough to allow Charlie Company to consolidate, reorganize and establish a position from which to defend and begin evacuation of wounded personnel.  1SG Sabalauski, in utter disregard for his own safety, repeatedly placed himself at risk for the sake of his soldiers during the conduct of this mission.  For his extraordinary heroism in destroying the enemy and in evacuation the mass causalities, he received both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.

 

After his second tour in Vietnam he returned to the United States to serve as Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major at West Point.  In 1968, he again returned to Vietnam and the 2-502d Infantry Regiment.  Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski continued to serve until 1971 when he retired at the age of 61.
 

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski's awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, 8 Bronze Stars, 3 Air Medals, 6 Army Commendation Medals, 4 Purple Hearts, 3 Awards of the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge along with campaign medals for service in World War II, Korea, Dominican Republic, and Vietnam.
 

Command Sergeant Major Sabalauski died in 1993 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.  To the soldiers who served with him, he is remembered as a fearless leader in combat and as having a heart as big as any country in which he served. 


 

 
     WJ Sabalauski PHOTO

 

   
Other Comments:

The Sabalauski Air Assault School located in Fort Campbell, Kentucky was renamed in his honour in 1994.

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WJ Sabalauski PHOTO

   
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Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Manila
Start Year
1945
End Year
1945

Description
The Battle of Manila (Tagalog: Laban ng Maynila ng 1945), also known as the Liberation of Manila, fought from 3 February-3 March 1945 by American, Filipino, and Japanese forces, was part of the 1945 Philippine campaign. The one-month battle, which culminated in a terrible bloodbath and total devastation of the city, was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater, and ended almost three years of Japanese military occupation in the Philippines (1942–1945). The city's capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur's key to victory in the campaign of reconquest.
On 3 February, elements of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division under Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge pushed into the northern outskirts of Manila and seized a vital bridge across the Tullahan River, which separated them from the city proper. A squadron of Brig. Gen. William C. Chase's 8th Cavalry, the first unit to arrive in the city, began a drive toward the sprawling campus of the University of Santo Tomas which had been turned into an internment camp for civilians and the US Army and Navy nurses sometimes known as the "Angels of Bataan".

Since 4 January 1942, a total of thirty-seven months, the university’s main building had been used to hold civilians. Out of 4,255 prisoners, 466 died in captivity, three were killed while attempting to escape on 15 February 1942, and one made a successful breakout in early January 1945.

At 21:00, a lead jeep crashed into the main gate, triggering a firefight, and its driver, Capt. Manuel Colayco, a USAFFE guerrilla officer, became the first known Allied casualty of the city's liberation. He and his companion Lt. Diosdado Guytingco guided the American First Cavalry. Both were unarmed. Colayco died seven days later in Legarda Elementary School, which became a field hospital. Simultaneously, a single tank of the 44th Tank Battalion, named "Battlin' Basic," rammed through the university walls, Sgt Austin E. Aulds from Texas, a combat medic was the second US Soldier to enter, while four others entered through the Calle España entrance. American troops and Filipino guerrillas immediately followed and, after a brief skirmish, freed many of the internees.

The Japanese, commanded by Lt. Col. Toshio Hayashi, gathered the remaining internees together in the Education Building as hostages, and exchanged pot shots with the Americans and Filipinos. The next day, 4 February, they negotiated with the Americans to allow them to rejoin Japanese troops to the south of the city. The Filipinos and Americans agreed but only allowed them to carry their rifles, pistols and swords. That same day, a patrol from the 37th Infantry Division and 31st Infantry Division came upon more than 1,000 prisoners of war, mostly former defenders of Bataan and Corregidor held at Bilibid Prison, which had been abandoned by the Japanese.

On the morning of 5 February, 47 Japanese were escorted out of the university to the spot they requested. Each group saluted each other and departed. The Japanese were unaware the area they requested was near the American-occupied Malacañan Palace and soon afterwards were fired upon and several were killed including Hayashi. Later in the afternoon, the survivors returned to the university and were captured.

In total, 5,785 prisoners were freed: 3,000 Filipinos, 2,870 Americans, 745 British, 100 Australians, 61 Canadians, 50 Dutch, 25 Poles, 7 French, 2 Egyptians, 2 Spanish, one Swiss, one German, and one Slovak.

Encirclement and massacres
Earlier on 4 February, General MacArthur had announced the imminent recapture of the capital while his staff planned a victory parade. But the battle for Manila had barely begun. Almost at once the 1st Cavalry Division in the north and the 11th Airborne Division in the south reported stiffening Japanese resistance to further advances into the city.

Following the initial American breakthrough on 4 February, fighting raged throughout the city for almost a month. The battle quickly came down to a series of bitter street-to-street and house-to-house struggles. In the north, General Griswold continued to push elements of the XIV Corps south from Santo Tomas University toward the Pasig River. Late on the afternoon on 4 February, he ordered the 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, to seize Quezon Bridge, the only crossing over the Pasig that the Japanese had not destroyed. As the squadron approached the bridge, Japanese heavy machine guns opened fire from a formidable roadblock thrown up across Quezon Boulevard, forcing the cavalry to stop its advance and withdraw until nightfall. As the Americans and Filipinos pulled back, the Japanese blew up the bridge.

On 5 February, the 37th Infantry Division began to move into Manila, and Griswold divided the northern section of the city into two sectors, with the 37th responsible for the western half and the 1st Cavalry Division responsible for the eastern sector. By the afternoon of 8 February, 37th Division units had cleared most of the Japanese from their sector, although the damage done to the residential districts was extensive. The Japanese added to the destruction by demolishing buildings and military installations as they withdrew.

The bitterest fighting for Manila—which proved costliest to the 37th—occurred on Provisor Island, a small industrial center on the Pasig River. The Japanese garrison, probably less than a battalion, managed to hold off Beightler's infantrymen until 11 February.

Mudge's 1st Cavalry Division had an easier time, encountering little opposition in the suburbs east of Manila. Although the division's 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments fought pitched battles near two water supply installations north of the city, by 10 February, the cavalrymen had extended their control south of the river. That night, the XIV Corps established for the first time separate bridgeheads on both banks of the Pasig River.

The final attack on the outer Japanese defenses came from the 11th Airborne Division, under XIV Corps control since 10 February. The division had been halted at Nichols Field on 4 February and since then had been battling firmly entrenched Japanese naval troops, backed up by heavy fire from concealed artillery. The airfield finally fell to the paratroopers the next day, and the acquisition allowed Maj. Gen. Swing's division to complete the U.S. encirclement of Manila on the night of 12 February.

In an attempt to protect the city and its civilians, MacArthur had placed stringent restrictions on U.S. artillery and air support. But massive devastation to the urban area was not avoided. Iwabuchi's sailors, marines and Army reinforcements, having initially successfully resisted American infantrymen armed with flamethrowers, grenades and bazookas, faced direct fire from tanks, tank destroyers, and howitzers, who attacked one building after another and killed the Japanese—and often the trapped civilians—inside, without differentiation.[5]

Subjected to incessant pounding and facing certain death or capture, the beleaguered Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire, committing multiple acts of severe brutality, which later would be known as the Manila Massacre. Violent mutilations, rapes, and massacres on the populace accompanied the battle for control of the city, which lay practically in ruins. General Yamashita was subsequently blamed for the massacres and hanged for war crimes in 1946 even though he had no responsibility for the battle itself.

Intramuros devastated
The fighting for Intramuros, where Iwabuchi held around 4,000 civilian hostages, continued from 23 February to 28 February. Already having decimated the Japanese forces by bombing, American forces used artillery to try to root out the Japanese defenders. However, the centuries-old stone ramparts, underground edifices, the Sta. Lucia Barracks, Fort Santiago, and villages within the city walls all provided excellent cover. Fewer than 3,000 civilians escaped the assault, mostly women and children who were released on 23 February afternoon. Colonel Noguchi's soldiers and sailors killed 1,000 men and women, while the other hostages died during the American shelling.

The last pocket of Japanese resistance at the Finance Building, which was already reduced to rubble, was flushed out by heavy artillery on 3 March. Iwabachi was said to have committed seppuku (ritual suicide) on February 25, but his body was never found.

Army Historian Robert R. Smith wrote:
"Griswold and Beightler were not willing to attempt the assault with infantry alone. Not expressly enjoined from employing artillery, they now planned a massive artillery preparation that would last from 17 to 23 February and would include indirect fire at ranges up to 8,000 yards as well as direct, point-blank fire from ranges as short as 250 yards. They would employ all available corps and division artillery, from 240mm howitzers down. (...) Just how civilian lives could be saved by this type of preparation, as opposed to aerial bombardment, is unknown. The net result would be the same: Intramuros would be practically razed."  "That the artillery had almost razed the ancient Walled City could not be helped. To the XIV Corps and the 37th Division at this state of the battle for Manila, American lives were understandably far more valuable than historic landmarks. The destruction stemmed from the American decision to save lives in a battle against Japanese troops who had decided to sacrifice their lives as dearly as possible."

Before the fighting ended, MacArthur summoned a provisional assembly of prominent Filipinos to Malacañan Palace and in their presence declared the Commonwealth of the Philippines to be permanently reestablished. "My country kept the faith," he told the gathered assembly. "Your capital city, cruelly punished though it be, has regained its rightful place—citadel of democracy in the East."

Aftermath
For the rest of the month the Americans and Filipino guerrillas mopped up resistance throughout the city. With Intramuros secured on 4 March, Manila was officially liberated, but large areas of the city had been leveled. The battle left 1,010 U.S. soldiers dead and 5,565 wounded. An estimated 100,000 Filipinos civilians were killed, both deliberately by the Japanese and from artillery and aerial bombardment by the U.S. military force. 16,665 Japanese dead were counted within Intramuros alone.

In the month-long battle, the Americans and Japanese inflicted worse destruction on Manila than the German Luftwaffe had exacted upon London, which resulted in the destruction of the city and in a death toll comparable to that of the Tokyo firebombing or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Destruction of the city
The battle for Manila was the first and fiercest urban fighting in the entire Pacific War, from the time MacArthur started his leapfrogging campaign from New Guinea in 1942, leading to the invasion of Japan in 1945. Few battles in the closing months of World War II exceeded the destruction and the brutality of the massacres and savagery of the fighting in Manila.

A steel flagpole stands at the entrance to the old U.S. Embassy building in Ermita, which was pockmarked by numerous bullet and shrapnel hits, and still stands today, a testament to the intense, bitter fighting for the walled city. In this category, Manila joined Stalingrad as being the host to some of the fiercest urban fighting during the war.

Filipinos lost an irreplaceable cultural and historical treasure in the resulting carnage and devastation of Manila, remembered today as a national tragedy. Countless government buildings, universities and colleges, convents, monasteries and churches, and their accompanying treasures dating to the founding of the city, were ruined. The cultural patrimony (including art, literature, and especially architecture) of the Orient's first truly international melting pot - the confluence of Spanish, American and Asian cultures - was eviscerated. Manila, once touted as the "Pearl of the Orient" and famed as a living monument to the meeting of Asian and European cultures, was virtually wiped out.

Most of the buildings damaged during the war were demolished in the name of "Progress" after the Liberation, as part of rebuilding Manila, replacing European style architecture during the Spanish and early American era with modern American style architecture. Only a few old buildings remain intact.

Historical commemoration
The Memorare Manila Monument at Intramuros, Manila.
On 18 February 1995, the Shrine of Freedom also known as Memorare Manila Monument was erected in dedication and memory to the war victims. This monument is located at the Plaza de Santa Isabel, also known as the Plaza Sinampalukan, located at the corner of General Luna and Anda Streets in Intramuros, Manila. The inscription reads:

"This memorial is dedicated to all those innocent victims of war, many of whom went nameless and unknown to a common grave, or even never knew a grave at all, their bodies having been consumed by fire or crushed to dust beneath the rubble of ruins."

"Let this monument be the gravestone for each and every one of the over 100,000 men, women, children and infants killed in Manila during its battle of liberation, February 3 - March 3, 1945. We have not forgotten them, nor shall we ever forget."

"May they rest in peace as part now of the sacred ground of this city: the Manila of our affections."
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1945
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
May 18, 2009
   
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  43 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Beckwith, Bruce Norman, Sgt, (1943-1946)
  • Bradley, Bernard, S/Sgt, (1941-1945)
  • Johnson, Carroll Robert, S/Sgt, (1942-1946)
  • Lawn, John
  • Loftis, Eugene, Pvt, (1944-1946)
  • Mayberry, Morgan, T/4, (1942-1945)
  • Parfitt, David, T/Sgt, (1942-1945)
  • Yingling, Clifford Lindaman, T/4, (1943-1946)
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