ROGER OLAF EGEBERG, M.D.
PERSONAL DOCTOR AND AIDE-DE- CAMP
FOR GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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Arrives in Melbourne

Roger Olaf Egeberg left his medical practice in Cleveland, Ohio in January 1942 to join the 4th General Hospital which left New York on 23 January 1942 and arrived in Melbourne, Australia on 27 February 1942. The 4th General Hospital took over the new Royal Melbourne Hospital. Roger was assigned to the Office of the Theater Surgeon with his friend Dave Chalmers. He helped to establish the small portable surgical hospitals that could be sent to forward areas with Regiments, where the wounded could not be readily transported back to general hospitals.

 

Milne Bay, New Guinea

He was then assigned to Milne Bay (code name "Fall River"), New Guinea where he became Surgeon of the Command for 6,000 - 8,000 US troops and 20,000 Australian troops.

In August 1943, whilst based at Milne Bay, New Guinea, Major Roger Egeberg was driving his jeep the correct way on a one-way road built by the 6th Army. Ahead of him he could see six jeeps driving towards him in the wrong direction on the one-way road. He assumed they were some 6th Army Colonels ignoring their own road rules. He decided initially to lower his head and pretend not to see them and bump into the first jeep to prove a point. He glanced up to judge his strategy for a light collision, but noticed the lead jeep had a red placard with 4 Stars on it. General Douglas MacArthur!! Roger immediately took evasive action and steered his jeep sharply off the road, jumped out and saluted the General as he and his jeep sank into the mud. General MacArthur returned the salute. Roger thought that he had noticed a slight smile on MacArthur's face.

 

Returns to Australia to work for General MacArthur

About a month or so after his encounter with General MacArthur, he became Base Surgeon in Melbourne. After another month or so he was assigned to Brisbane. General George Rice, the Chief Surgeon in GHQ SWPA, contacted Roger one day for a meeting where he was told that General Douglas MacArthur was looking for a doctor for himself and his officers in GHQ SWPA. MacArthur preferred a non-regular Army physician who was tall and had seen some action. General Rice told Roger that he was on a short list of three persons.

Roger told General Rice that he did not want to work for General MacArthur. He told him that MacArthur was the reason for all the shortages of equipment and supplies in Milne Bay. He said he had also heard that MacArthur was very aloof. Roger also commented that he almost had acquired enough points to go home. General Rice told Roger to go back to his quarters and talk to his friends and to see him again the next day. Roger returned the next day and told General Rice that he would be honoured and happy to serve General MacArthur.

Two days later Roger was contacted by Lieutenant Colonel Allen from GHQ, who advised that General MacArthur wanted to see him that day. Roger's uniform was a problem for him. Due to inadequate laundry facilities in Brisbane at that time, he had a shirt with a toothpaste stain. a pair of horrible looking pants, a shabby officer's cap and a less than appealing belt. His Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel William Jefferson Blackwenn (see photo below), lent him his military cap, his belt and some shoe polish. He also lent him his car and chauffeur. Roger managed to get a new pair of pants at the Quartermaster store, which he put on in the car on his way to the meeting with General MacArthur. Unfortunately they did not have any large shirts at the Quartermaster store.

 

John Wayne and Lt. Col. Bleckwenn at the
Albion Park Races in December 1943

 

Egeberg reported to Lt. Colonel Allen in the Adjutant General's office at GHQ and was then forwarded upstairs to Colonel Wilson in an ante-room. Colonel Wilson told Roger to relax and started to heap praise on General MacArthur. A buzzer sounded and Roger was directed to the next room where he met Acting Chief of Staff, General Richard Marshall. Roger saluted the General and announced "Lt. Colonel Roger O. Egeberg, 0400-234, reporting for an interview, sir." He immediately recognised Marshall as the General he had once called a "Goddamned son of a bitch" in an incident in Milne Bay. General Marshall proceeded to say "We've met before."

Roger said "Yes sir, in Milne Bay, New Guinea." General Marshall said in a stern voice "I remember, I remember the occasion well, .... should you come to work here, I trust you will be more temperate in your language."

Roger was then ushered into a large office where General MacArthur shook his hand. He had a smile on his face and his corncob pipe in his hand. The General asked Roger to sit down and tell him about himself. MacArthur told him that he wanted him to be his doctor and if necessary also to look after his wife Jean and son Arthur MacArthur. Roger said yes. MacArthur said he also wanted him to be the doctor for his officers at GHQ. He said he wanted him to get to know these officers and set up a small clinic or dispensary for them. He wanted Roger to find out what they were worrying about and to let him know if he thought any of them were so stressed that they needed a break.

The following day, Roger received a call from Colonel Allen who advised that his orders would be drawn up and he could expect to report for duty within three days. Roger was given a room in Lennon's Hotel in George Street where General MacArthur and his senior officers had their quarters.

After commencing in his new role, Roger initially saw very little of General MacArthur, only seeing him in the corridor occasionally. Roger went to MacArthur's office on one occasion to discuss a general officer who appeared to be at the end of his tether and needed a break. MacArthur told Roger that if he felt the officer needed a rest, he told him to tell General Richard Marshall that the officer should have a three weeks break. MacArthur said that General Marshall would then tell Colonel Burdette Fitch, the Adjutant General.

Roger's friend Dave Chalmers was also in Brisbane at this time and was the head doctor in the headquarters for the United States Army Forces in the Far East USAFFE.

 

His New Dispensary and Nurse

Egeberg was given space in GHQ on the 8th floor of the Commercial Bank Building in Queen Street where he set up a dispensary. The Commercial Bank Building was adjacent to the AMP building where General Douglas MacArthur had his office on the 8th floor. Although in different buildings, the dispensary was but a very short walk from General MacArthur's Office through a doorway which was knocked in the walls between the two buildings at the 8th floor level. See photo below.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn

The northern side of the AMP building showing the bricked
up doorway between the 8th floor of the two buildings.

 

In his search for a nurse for his dispensary Roger received recommendations from various Colonels and General Officers. Roger approached the Chief Theater Nurse who was called Ma Clemens. Two days later Ma Clemens recommended a former regular Army nurse, Mabel "Robbie" Robertson, who had married an Englishman George Edward Charles "Bill" Mears. When the Japanese arrived in the Philippines the couple became POWs. The Japanese put "Bill" Mears in charge of a large lumber operation to repair bridges. They eventually both escaped the Japanese and met up with Cecil Walter, the General Manager of the Anakan Lumber Company, in an evacuation area behind Cecil's sawmill operation. Another American couple with that group were Fred W. Varney and his wife Nellie Varney. "Bill" and "Robbie" stayed there for about two years. Cecil Walter was involved in delivering supplies and equipment from US Submarines to various Filipino guerilla units. 

"Robbie" escaped by Submarine to Australia at an unknown date. Some reports suggest it was a British submarine. "Bill" Mears escaped after "Robbie" onboard the American submarine USS NARWHAL from Nasipit, Mindanao, Philippines, on 16 November 1943 with 31 other evacuees including Mrs. Nellie Varney. The evacuees disembarked at Darwin in the Northern Territory. "Bill" Mears went on to join the US Corps of Engineers. "Bill" and "Robbie" were reunited at the end of the war. "Robbie" passed away on 17 March 2005.

"Robbie" was a modest, attractive, hard working nurse. She became a draw card ensuring many visitors to the new dispensary. "Robbie" went on to receive the bronze star for heroism, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre ribbon with 2 stars, the Philippine Liberation ribbon with one star, and the WWII Victory Medal.

The May 1944 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows the following entry:-

GHQ DISPENSARY

Medical Officer:                        Room No.    Tel. No.
    Lt. Col. Egeberg, R. O.        806 CBB       AMP 582

Nurse:-
    Lt. Robertson, M. E.            806 CBB       AMP 582

NOTE:- "Robbie" was using her maiden name whilst in this role as Dispensary Nurse in Brisbane.

 

The reason MacArthur chose him

Approximately a month after joining GHQ, Roger attended a party where an officer asked him why General MacArthur had short listed him for his role. After Roger said he had no idea, the officer told Roger "I think he suggested you."

The Officer went on to tell Roger that General MacArthur had seen a caustic letter that Roger had written while he was in Milne Bay on the problems with venereal disease. Roger remembered that Colonel Bland had wanted to court-martial him for the use of obscenities in the letter which had been sent up through channels. Roger's Commanding Officer, Colonel Burns, suggested that Roger send copies of his letter to his friends in GHQ, and ask them to circulate it, with explanation on its background, in an effort to diffuse the commotion.

 

A Rip Tearing Home Consultation for young Arthur!!

Roger was invited to Lennon's Hotel to meet Mrs. Jean MacArthur and son Arthur MacArthur and Ah Cheu in Mrs. MacArthur's apartment on the 4th Floor. Roger decided that he would stay in Brisbane on his free Sundays to be available in case General MacArthur or his family needed him. One Sunday Mrs. MacArthur saw him alone in the lobby of Lennon's Hotel and contacted him to make sure he was not staying in town for their sake. She insisted that he should not do so. Roger thanked her for her comments.

Two weeks later Egeberg returned from a day's sailing with his friends Dave Chambers and Ben Whipple. He was covered in tar and grease and was sunburned and worn out. The phone rang within minutes of his arrival with a voice saying "Mrs. MacArthur would like to speak to you." Mrs. MacArthur came on the line and said "Oh Doc, I'm glad I caught you. Arthur is sick, has a fever and I wonder if you could suggest what I do?"

He had a quick shower and Dave Chalmers a much thinner person than Egeberg, lent him a pair of pants and a shirt. Ben Whipple found an electric miner's lamp that could be mounted on Roger's head and Dave Chambers found a thermometer and Roger borrowed a tablespoon. Egeberg arrived at Mrs. MacArthur's apartment in less than 45 minutes. He found Arthur looking very feverish. Jean MacArthur said that Arthur had been lying around all day and felt listless. Roger took Arthur's pulse and temperature and loosened his clothing to look for spots. His temperature was just over 103 degrees and he had some swollen glands in his neck. Ah Cheu stood near the door anxiously watching what was happening.

As Roger Egeberg squatted down to check Arthur's tongue and throat, his borrowed tight pants split open from crutch to the belt in the rear with an obvious tearing noise. He found that Arthur's throat was red, and there were no Koplick spots and his tonsils were only slightly inflamed. Roger stood up and backed towards the wall to hide his embarrassment. At that moment General MacArthur burst into the room while Egeberg was running through his diagnosis in his mind. He had ruled out measles, diphtherias and tonsillitis. His best diagnosis was an ordinary sort throat.

General MacArthur asked Egeberg "What's the matter with him, Colonel?"

He told the General that he did not know for sure which brought an uncomfortable look from the General who then asked "Well, what are you doing for him?". Egeberg replied "Nothing" which brought another piercing look from the General who then said "Well, I guess that's right. Thank you." Roger Egeberg then suggested a salt water gargle and some fruit juice drinks. Roger then backed out of the apartment continuing to hide his torn trousers. Arthur's fever had disappeared by the next day and he was back to normal in a few days.

 

Accompanied MacArthur on a Beach Invasion

On 23 February 1943, Roger received a call that night from Colonel Larry Lehrbas, General MacArthur's aide-de-camp, who asked Roger to call into his room in Lennon's Hotel. Larry told him that the General was going on an invasion beach landing in about two days time and that they were both accompanying the General. Larry told Roger that he was unaware of the location of the beach landing. It was not until Sunday 27 February 1944 that Larry Lehrbas and Roger Egeberg met in front of Lennons Hotel to wait for the General who arrived just before 7am. They got into the General's car and headed out to Archerfield Airfield where the General's personal B-17 Flying Fortress "Bataan" was waiting for them. "Bataan's" pilot Hank Godman and his crew were waiting for them to arrive. The General's car drove on to the airfield near "Bataan".

Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commander Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area had arrived at Archerfield Airfield just before them. They all boarded the B-17 and they took off within a few minutes. They arrived in Townsville and General MacArthur visited and inspected No. 2 Air Depot near Garbutt Airfield before lunch. Colonel Victor E. Bertrandias was the Commanding Officer in charge of the large Air Depot, nestled at the base of Mount Louisa.

They took off again in "Bataan" after lunch. It was on this leg that Roger Egeberg learnt that the beach landing was to be in the Admiralty Islands about 250 miles off the northeast coast of New Guinea. They landed at Milne Bay, where Egeberg had spent some time in 1942/1943. Admiral Daniel E. Barbey, the Commander of the Amphibious Forces met them at Gili Gili dock and they boarded the cruiser USS PHOENIX and set sail. The next morning they sailed at 1000 hours for the Admiralty Islands. They arrived off Momote, Los Negros Island on Tuesday 29 February 1944.

General MacArthur, Admiral Kinkaid, Admiral Berkey, Col Lehrbas and Lieutenant Colonel Egeberg, watched the bombardment of enemy positions from the bridge of USS PHOENIX. At 1600 hours General MacArthur went ashore in a landing boat accompanied by Admiral Kinkaid, Colonel Lehrbas, Lieutenant Col Egeberg, Lieutenant Freeman and officers from USS PHOENIX. On shore they visited the newly established American positions, inspected Momote Airfield, which had been captured shortly before their arrival.

General MacArthur spoke with Brigadier General William C. Chase, Commander of 1st Cavalry units which had made the landing, and presented a Distinguished Service Cross on the battlefield to 2nd Lieutenant Marvin J. Henshaw, Troop G, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Dismounted), the first man ashore. They then returned to USS PHOENIX and sailed for Finschhafen at 1800 hours.

They arrived at Finschhafen at 0800  hours on Wednesday 1 March 1944 and were met by Lieutenant General Kreuger for a brief conference before going ashore. At Finschhafen, they visited Sixth Army Headquarters at 0900 hours and conferred with General Kreuger and Brigadier General Patrick. At 0930 hours they took off in “Bataan” for Port Moresby, arriving there at 1100 hours.

They departed Port Moresby in "Bataan" at 0800 hours on Tuesday 2 March 1944 and after a lunchtime stopover with Colonel Bertrandias in Townsville, arrived in Brisbane at 1645 hours on the same day.

 

Bypassing Sutherland

Normal protocol required that all communications with General MacArthur were to be through General Richard Sutherland. Some of the Generals realised that Lt. Colonel Egeberg had MacArthur's ear and they would drop into Roger's Dispensary with suggested hints or clear messages they wanted Roger to pass on to General MacArthur. He did pass some of them on to the General, sometimes with surprising responses. MacArthur was well aware that most of his officers thought General Sutherland was a mean arrogant S.O.B. But he was also aware that Sutherland did his job well.

 

Promoted to MacArthur's aide-de-camp thanks to "Bessie-Marie"

On one occasion Captain Elaine Bessemer Clark, an Australian WAC, saw Roger Egeberg in his Dispensary. She was General Sutherland's married girlfriend and had followed Sutherland (also married) from Melbourne. She was the Receptionist on the ground floor of the AMP building. Her presence and role in Brisbane frustrated General MacArthur. Elaine's nickname was "Bessie-Marie". Colonel John F. Day, Jr., the Headquarters Commandant for GHQ SWPA, quoted Roger Egeberg as saying "Sutherland was screwing the socks off her every night."

Elaine had been worried about a symptom which she was unnecessarily over concerned about. Roger reassured her over a number of visits that there was nothing to worry about. This reassurance eventually turned to chiding which upset Elaine. Soon after, General MacArthur called Roger to his office, where MacArthur told him that he was going to make him his aide-de-camp.

Roger said "Yes Sir" in a resigned tone. MacArthur said in an annoyed tone of voice "That's an honour, dammit," clenching his fist. The General went on to explain the role of his aide-de-camp. He told Roger to go down and tell General Marshall. He did this and Marshall told him to obtain some new insignia. He was no longer in the Medical Corps. His new insignia was a small red and white striped shield with four stars across the top. He was then required to carry a pistol when he accompanied the General in the field.

Roger Egeberg later learned that Captain Elaine Clark had complained to her boyfriend General Sutherland, who had the power to transfer Egeberg out of GHQ. However if Roger was MacArthur's aide-de-camp, Sutherland was not able to transfer him. MacArthur had become aware of the issue and had made Roger his aide-de-camp to protect him from the whim of Captain Elaine Bessemer Clark who had apparently played a role in the removal of MacArthur's previous doctor.

 

New Friend "Dusty" Rhoades - MacArthur's pilot

One day Major Weldon E. "Dusty" Rhoades, General MacArthur and General Sutherland's new pilot dropped into the Dispensary and introduced himself to Roger Egeberg. He was looking for some medicines to use in a tropical area under conditions of deprivation. Roger slowly became aware that he was preparing for a secret mission to an airfield under the control of Filipino guerillas in the Philippines in Japanese held territory. Roger later learned with much relief that the mission had been cancelled.

Roger and Dusty went on to become great friends and later shared quarters in the Philippines and Tokyo.

 

Acting in General Wilson's Role

Roger Egeberg was asked by General MacArthur to take over General Wilson's role while Wilson was on leave for three weeks. General Wilson was effectively MacArthur's military secretary. During this period Roger noticed that not many of the GHQ general officers visited MacArthur. They interacted with General Sutherland. Roger found that General Charles Willoughby bypassed Sutherland by staying back after Sutherland left at night and catching MacArthur just before he would leave the building or as he was leaving the building. The latter tactic, particularly annoyed MacArthur and he asked Roger to tell Willoughby that he knew what his strategy was and that when he was ready to leave he wanted to leave. Willoughby persisted with the tactic and was remonstrated a few times by Roger Egeberg.

 

Another Beach Invasion with General MacArthur

MacArthur invited Egeberg to one of his briefings and said "You've made a landing, a good one, but you should have a look at what's coming up." The briefing was held in a large room in GHQ in the AMP Building. There were maps on the wall and others ready to be hung on the wall. There were 12 to 15 of his officers in attendance, mostly G3 officers in three or four rows of chairs. General MacArthur sat in the middle of the front row between General Sutherland and General Stephen Chamberlin, his G3. After much discussion for three or four hours MacArthur said "Thank you very much, gentlemen." which effectively ended the briefing.

MacArthur would sometimes run through with Roger the various options and countermeasures that could be adopted depending on what the Japanese reaction was to to each option. This might happen sitting down somewhere or while they were driving in the General's car.

Dusty Rhoades flew the General and his party to Lae on Wednesday 19 April 1944 and they then drove to Finschhaven and boarded USS NASHVILLE. On Saturday 22 April 1944, they watched the bombardment of Hollandia and landed on Hollandia Beach at 1100 hours and met up with Major General Fuller and members of his staff. They returned to USS NASHVILLE a few hours later and steamed to Tanahmerah Bay arriving there at 1300 hours. Generals Kreuger and Eichelberger and Admiral Barbey came aboard for a conference. Then all went ashore for a conference with General Irwin and visited positions and troops. MacArthur and his party returned to USS NASHVILLE at 1600 hours and then steamed southwards.

They arrived off Aitape at 0700 hours on Sunday 23 April 1944 and watched a brief bombardment of island positions. MacArthur and party then went ashore and met with Brigadier General Doe and visited a newly captured airfield near the beach as well as some shore positions and met some troops. They reboarded USS NASHVILLE and steamed southwards at 1500 hours. They arrived at Finschhaven at 0700 hours on Monday 24 April 1944 and landed by PT Boat. and then took off in "Bataan" arriving at Port Moresby at 0915 hours.

After two days of conferences they flew to Milne Bay in "Bataan" where they drove to the Headquarters of the 6th Division to inspect positions and meet troops. They flew back to Port Moresby arriving at 1625 hours. They flew to Dobodura on Saturday 29 April 1944 and drove to 31st Division Headquarters to inspection positions and meet troops. They took off from Dobodura at 1100 hours and arrived in Port Moresby at 1250 hours.

They left Port Moresby on board "Bataan" at 0700 hours on Monday 1 May 1944 accompanied by Colonel Diller, Colonel Lehrbas, Lt. Colonel Egeberg and T/Sgt. Bothne.  MacArthur had lunch with Colonel Bertrandias at the Townsville Air Depot and they took off for Brisbane at 1315 hours and arrived at Archerfield Airfield in Brisbane at 1630 hours.

 

New GHQ Headquarters in Hollandia

On Saturday 9 September 1944, Dusty Rhoades took off from Eagle Farm Airfield with General MacArthur, Colonel Lehrbas, Lt. Colonel Egeberg and M/Sgt Bothne. After a short lunch stop at Townsville they arrived in Port Moresby at 16115 hours. They left Port Moresby the next morning 10 September 1944 at 0745 hours and arrived in Hollandia at 1215 hours. They drove up the hill to the new GHQ offices and quarters and were met there by Generals Sutherland, Krueger, Eichelberger, Kenney, Myers, Decker and Admiral Kinkaid. The GHQ area was on a high ridge overlooking Lake Santani.

The headquarters building was two pre-fabricated buildings placed together in a Tee shape. MacArthur was annoyed with Sutherland for not keeping the headquarters facilities simpler than what he encountered.

 

"Bessie-Marie" causes as stir in Hollandia

MacArthur and most of the other officers were also annoyed to see Captain Elaine Bessemer Clark, General Sutherland's girlfriend, serving lemonade and fruit juices to those arriving in GHQ on business. MacArthur was more than annoyed, he was furious, and he directed Sutherland to send her back to Brisbane.

General Douglas MacArthur had promised Prime Minister John Curtin that Australian non-combatants would not be sent to serve outside Australia. Captain Elaine Bessemer Clark was in fact an Australian national serving in the American WACs. An Australian newspaper article incorrectly referred to Elaine as a British citizen. Elaine's husband was British and she had previously lived in London. As a consequence she probably had a British Passport. No doubt the fact that she was actually an Australian was ignored and her British passport and her enlistment in the American WACs was used to allow her to leave Australia to relocate to Hollandia.

General MacArthur and his party held various meetings on Monday 11 September 1944. On Tuesday 12 September 1944, they boarded USS NASHVILLE at 1030 hours and headed for Morotai at 1100 hours. They watched the naval bombardment of Galela Bay shore positions on Halmahera Island from 0715 to 0815 hours on Friday 15 September 1944. At 1015 hours they landed on Morotai via a landing craft. Their landing craft got stuck on a sand bar and they had to wade ashore, initially in water up to their armpits! They inspected Pitoe Airfield and at 1230 hours they reboarded USS NASHVILLE and were underway for Hollandia at 1300 hours.

They arrived back at GHQ Hollandia at 1000 hours on Sunday 17 September 1944 and were surprised to see Captain Elaine Clark still serving drinks to the officers visiting GHQ. MacArthur became so angry that he recalled his aircraft "Bataan" back from Australia and flew to Port Moresby on Tuesday 19 September 1944 where they stayed the night. They flew out of Port Moresby at 0800 hours on Wednesday 20 September 1944 and after a hour stopover in Townsville arrived in Brisbane at 1600 hours.

 

Saying goodbye to Prime Minister John Curtin

On Saturday 30 September 1944, Egeberg accompanied MacArthur and Colonel Lehrbas to visit Prime Minister John Curtin in Canberra. The Prime Minister and the American Minister Johnston met MacArthur and his party when they arrived in Canberra at 1030 hours. MacArthur met with the Prime Minister in his office. They then all had lunch at the Prime Minister's Lodge. They were joined by Colonel Wilson the Acting Secretary for Defence.

MacArthur and his party flew out of Canberra at 1435 hours and arrived back in Brisbane at 1735 hours on 30 September 1944.

 

MacArthur - "I have Returned" to the Philippines

MacArthur suggested that Egeberg attend another one of his briefings which discussed a planned landing at Leyte. After that MacArthur began showing Egeberg messages that clarified parts of the plan. Egeberg soon realised he would be travelling with MacArthur again, this time to Leyte and also that they would not be returning to Brisbane.

At 0800 hours on Saturday 14 October 1944, MacArthur accompanied by Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg and M/Sgt Bothne, departed Eagle Farm Airfield on board "Bataan".  They arrived in Townsville at 1130 hours and had lunch at the Townsville Air Depot. They departed Townsville at 1230 hours and arrived in Port Moresby at 1600 hours. MacArthur met with General Sir Thomas Blamey at 1700 hours.

At 0800 hours on Sunday 15 October 1944 they flew to Hollandia arriving there at 1200 hours. They were met by General Sutherland and General Kenney. MacArthur embarked on USS NASHVILLE at 1100 hours the following day accompanied by General Sutherland, General Kenney, Colonel Wheeler, Colonel Whitney, Colonel Ballantyne, Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg, Lt Colonel Craig, Major Rhoades, Major McCampbell, Major Burton, Captain Barker and Chief Warrant Officer Rogers.

On Friday 20 October 1944, MacArthur landed near San Fernando, on Red Beach, on Leyte at 1300 hours, with Egeberg and other Staff who had accompanied him on USS NASHVILLE, plus General Stivers , General Akin, Lt. Colonel McMicking, and the presidential party of President Osmena, General Valdes, General Romulo and Captain Madrigal. MacArthur was met by Major Generals Sibert and Irving of the 24th Division. After inspecting installations on the beach, with President Osmena, MacArthur made a broadcast to the United States and the Philippines. This was MacArthur's famous "I have returned" speech.

Once ashore, MacArthur offered President Osmena the services of his aide-de-camp Lt. Col. Roger Egeberg while he was ashore at that location. After MacArthur and Osmena did their speeches, Egeberg led Osmena back to a landing barge which returned him to USS NASHVILLE. MacArthur and Egeberg and others later reboarded USS NASHVILLE and landed on White Beach the next morning at 1000 hours. They landed at Tacloban at 1200 hours on Monday 23 October 1944 with President Osmena and proceeded to the Capitol where the civil government was reinstalled.

They returned to USS NASHVILLE where they stayed a few more nights and relanded at Tacloban at 0900 hours on Thursday 26 October 1944 and MacArthur moved into his new Headquarters.

At 2100 hours on Tuesday 26 December 1944, Colonel Lehrbas and Lt Colonel Egeberg pinned the 5-star insignia on General MacArthur’s collar. Roger Egeberg continued to serve with MacArthur right through to the occupation of Japan and was present at the surrender ceremony on USS MISSOURI on 2 September 1945. Lt. Col. Roger Egeberg returned to the United States in November 1945.

 

Roger Olaf Egeberg

 

Roger O. Egeberg in later years

In later years Roger Egeberg went on to become the Chief Health Officer for the Richard Nixon administration. He had previously been Dean of the Medical School at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Roger Olaf Egeberg died at the age of 93 years on 13 September 1997.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"The General - MacArthur and the Man he called Doc"
by Roger Olaf Egeberg, M.D.

"Save Our Souls, Rescues Made by U.S. Submarines during World War II"
by Douglas E. Campbell

"An Officer in MacArthur's Court"
Based on the true diary, letters and oral history on Colonel John F. Day Jr.
by John F. Day III

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Karen Nunan for her assistance with this web page.

 

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This page first produced 29 October 2016

This page last updated 03 February 2017