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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The 200th Coast Artillery (AA)- (12/8/1941) - May 26th, 2004 ^ | Larry Sanderson

Posted on 05/26/2004 12:20:11 AM PDT by SAMWolf

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William Edward Gateley, a native of Greenbriar, Arkansas, lived for a time with his uncle in New Mexico where he and his cousin signed up to serve in New Mexico’s 111th Cavalry, the predecessor of the 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft). He was inducted into the 200th CA(AA) by [then] Captain James H. Hazelwood [1] on December 19, 1940 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gateley's cousin, William Rome Gateley, suffered an appendicitis attack while the Regiment was enroute to the Philippines and was hospitalized in Honolulu. After William Rome was released from hospital, he did not rejoin the Regiment, and would be spared what was yet to come. Twice escaping his Japanese captors following the surrender of Bataan, William Edward fought as a Guerrilla until February 1945.


William E. Gateley with wife Mercedes and infant son, William Jr. (circa 1945)

Capt. William C. Schuetz [2] was the last officer to give me an order on the day Bataan fell. Or rather, I should say, that he was the last to give me any suggestions as to what I should do. At the time I was awaiting orders after arriving at the central kitchen near kilometer post #165 between Cabcaben and Mariveles. He said there were no orders that he knew of at the time except to take care of myself and wait around to see if any other officer came along to give me further directions. We knew that the white flag had gone in that morning and we were wondering what was going to happen. Other officers did show up but they merely repeated what Capt. Schuetz had already told me about taking care of myself.

My buddy, whom I had not known very long, and I decided to go down to the beach facing Corregidor and see if we could find some way of getting across. We met up with several other men, and after talking the matter over we decided to split up and look for a boat or raft to take us over. Either part or all of us were to return later to the same place and report our findings. Half of us went one way and half in the opposite direction. After the group had gone as far as we dared in the direction of the Japs, we turned back towards the China Sea end of the peninsula and met our buddies as our part of the mission had already failed.

We traveled the rest of the afternoon until it became too dark to travel safely and then made camp for the night. About ten o’clock the next day, we arrived at a cave which at high tide was about one foot deep in water. One of the boys was sick, so we fixed a place for him in the cave and left our provisions with him. We then went across a small inlet to a point of land to explore some more. After a short time, we found a small navy boat powered with a diesel engine. There was no one around. We had already the day before found five drums of diesel fuel, but no one in the bunch knew how to run a diesel engine.

Two of the boys and myself started to return to the cave, and I got quite ahead of the others. Upon rounding a corner of the road in the woods, I walked right in front of seven Jap soldiers. I immediately stopped and the leader of the Japs asked, "Americano?" Upon my reply in the affirmative he told me to stand on the other side of the road from them. There were five Filipinos with the Japs, but I never did learn if they were prisoners or Pro-Japs. Knowing the other two boys would be coming around the bend soon, I kept gradually moving backwards so I could get in a position to signal to them. Before I could do so, they walked up and were also captured.

At the place where we were captured, the Japs were filling their water canteens and that had been our intentions, which the Japs permitted us to do. The Japs then took us to the top of the hill where their car, a 1938 Plymouth, was parked. It was then around noon and the Jap leader asked us if we had any food. We told him that we did not, so he went to the car and brought out two cans of food for each of us and asked me to open them. There was an assortment of meat, tomato juice and milk. The Jap leader wanted his opened first. Next I opened a can of tomato juice for myself and drank half of it. The Jap then poured half of his can of milk into my can of tomato juice. I did not like the idea, but when I drank it, the taste was not so bad. The Jap dividing his food with me was something I could not understand as there were also two unopened cans of food for me.

The can opening then proceeded with cans for the other Japs, my buddies and then the Filipinos. Before I finished, the Jap began to get in a hurry to leave. All the Japs got into the car and my buddies were told to get on the running boards. I was still opening my cans when the car started off. The Filipinos were told to follow behind the car. They started out traveling slowly and the Jap motioned and yelled, signaling for me to come on down the road behind them. I started out following with the Filipinos lagging behind, but as I had to eat as I walked, my pace was slow. Evidently the Filipinos pace was slower, for upon traveling a short distance, I looked up, then around ... the car and the Filipinos were no where in sight. The thought of escape had never occurred to me before, but as soon as I found myself alone, the thought and the action took place almost at the same time. I went off that road and down into the bushes as fast as my feet could carry me. That was one time I wished that I had been equipped with a tail like a monkey to have enabled me to travel faster as there were plenty of vines to swing from.

The next problem on my mind was to get back to the cave where the sick boy had been left. It was now getting dark so we figured that if the wind and tide were to be in our favor we could get over to Corregidor. We still had faith in the "the Rock." Our position was not opposite Corregidor, but several miles out towards the China Sea. As soon as it got fully dark, we made our way to a large barge anchored off shore having a fresh water tank and provisions. Three men were on board: Pvt. Arthur Hagin, Jayton, Tex.; Sgt. Bernice R. Fletcher, Era, Tex.; and a Pvt. Larson from Colorado. They and myself later escaped and lived in the hills during the Jap occupation.

Japanese News Photo of the Attack on Clark Field

Then men on board the barge were tired and wanted to rest so we waited until about 5:00 a.m. the morning of the eleventh to try to reach Corregidor. For a while, we thought our luck was with us as at one time we were about three miles from our destination. A searchlight was played on us for a short time from the island. They must have identified us as Americans as they did not do any shooting, but no boat was sent out to pick us up. By mid morning we had drifted about fifteen miles out to sea. We figured that the next night, with the change of wind and tide, we might have better luck. Sure enough we were carried back towards Corregidor, but the wind and tide changed too soon, and by morning we were farther out to sea than we were on the previous day. That night we made another try, but by morning we were still farther out to sea. After some discussion we decided to give up trying to get to "the Rock" and instead tried to work our way to some of the islands farther south. One of the boys had sore feet and he kept insisting on holding them in the salt water. His feet became badly swollen and on the fourth day out he began to get delirious. It was also this day a Jap ship came along and took us on board and we became prisoners of the Jap Navy, which made the second time in a few days that I became a prisoner of war. The sick boy was taken to the hospital and I never heard what happened to him. The arrival of the Jap ship probably was a good thing as we only had half a canteen of water between us when picked up.

S/Sgt. William E. Gateley

Gateley’s second escape from the Nips came after 35 days during which time he was held at Grande Island and the Olangapo Naval Base in Subic Bay. At the later place, the Jap guards came into possession of a large store of liquor. On pleasure bent, the captors decided their best method of getting rid of their charges was to get them drunk. The Yanks put on such a convincing show of inebriety that the guards began their party. At the height of the carousal, Gateley and 13 other Americans made their escape.

From that date until February of this year (1945), Gateley lived the life of a guerrilla. At first the guerrilla resistance was passive, but as time went by it became more and more active — reaching its climax just before and during the return of General Douglas MacArthur to the Island of Luzon.

Gateley estimates that he had organized about 6,000 Filipinos into guerrillas bands. The Guerrillas infiltrated the entire Island of Luzon and were able to report any movement of Jap troops however small. MacArthur knew full well the worth of their activities and praised the guerrillas for a job well done.

Gateley rose from the rank of private first class, in the Coast Artillery, to a lieutenant colonel in the guerrillas forces. He spent the greater part of his time during the Jap occupation of the Philippines in Northern Bataan. During those years Gateley is sure he walked far enough to have reached the United States if there had been a road. The Province of Bataan is more familiar to him than his home county in Arkansas.

Although Gateley lived in daily peril of his life, his worst experience came in May 1943 when an erstwhile loyal guerrilla — turned Jap collaborationist — attacked him one night as he slept on the ground. The traitor, doubtless out for the price held by the Japs on Gateley’s head, failed to collect although he left a nasty reminder in the form of a three-inch scar and several missing teeth. The collaborationist and his two companions were "disposed of" before they could do further damage.

It was while Gateley was on Bataan that he met and married Mercedes Nicdao — a lovely Filipino girl of Spanish ancestry — in December 1943. [3] Another American who had escaped and was serving with Gateley married Mercedes’ sister. Mrs. Gateley followed her husband in his constant journeying to create havoc among the Jap forces. Not until time for their child to be born did she leave the guerrilla band. The Japanese had permitted the Filipino Red Cross to set up hospitals, and it was to one of these that Mrs. Gateley went. As soon as possible she returned to her husband.

"He had dysentery and malaria, and the Japs made some Americans dig a hole, and then pushed him in and told the guys to throw dirt on him. He was still trying to push out. One of his buddies had to hit him with a shovel. And he ached over that for the rest of his life."
— Salvador Garcia, 200th CA(AA)
"Beyond Courage"
illus. by Fred Wren, "Life," Feb. 7, 1944

Last February Gateley contacted a reconnaissance group of the 40th (Sunshine) Division. He remained on duty for some time with his own forces before he and his family left for home. With seven decorations pushing his total point score well over 130 points, Gateley has decided to remain in the Army — at least for a while.


1. and 2. Major Hazelwood and Captain Schuetz were among five officers and eight enlisted men from the Regiment who did not make the Death March. They rode to Camp O’Donnell on trucks. On arrival, the men were searched and found to have items of Japanese origin, souvenirs, money, etc. On April 14, 1942, the men were executed.

"That afternoon Cain and a corporal were sent for water. ‘On the way back, they showed us twenty or thirty American Army officers and men, dead. In this group I recognized Captain Kemp and Major Hazelwood lying face up in sort of a common grave or pit. I had known Kemp and Hazelwood intimately for fifteen years. Hazelwood was like a younger brother.’"
— Beyond Courage

3. William E. Gateley and Mercedes Baking Nicdao, a native of Dinalupihan, Bataan, were married in the Catholic faith on October 14, 1942. Gateley, after much paperwork, was granted permission by his command (HQ Replacement Command, USAFFE) on March 26, 1945 to re-affirm his marriage to Mercedes.

4. Mercedes B. Gateley and her infant son, William E. Jr., appear on the same list of arrivals, or expected arrivals, at San Francisco of "alien" family members as Romana R. Lucero, the wife of Nano C. Lucero, another member of the 200th Coast Artillery (AA) who escaped to fight as a guerrilla for the duration of the war.

1 posted on 05/26/2004 12:20:13 AM PDT by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; The Mayor; Darksheare; Valin; ...
A Brief History of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery
Courtesy of the Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library.

The 200th Coast Artillery, better known as "The Regiment," was inducted into federal service on 6 January 1941, supposedly for one year of active duty training.

Pre-WW II Coast Artillery Recruiting Poster

For eight months the Regiment underwent hard and rigorous training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Not only did these former "horse soldiers" have to learn new skills and techniques, but they had to absorb into their units hundreds of untrained Selective Service inductees. At one time the Regiment numbered over 2300, more than 400 above war strength figures.

On 17 August 1941, the Regiment was notified that it had been selected for an overseas assignment of great importance and that the choice had been made because of the high satisfactory state of training which had been attained. The reward for all the hard work performed in Federal Service was to have the 200th named officially as the best Anti-Aircraft Regiment, (Regular or otherwise), then available to the United States Armed Forces for use in an area of critical military importance.

By 26 September 1941, the entire Regiment reached the Philippines and then immediately moved to Fort Stotsenberg, some 75 miles north of Manila. On 23 November, all batteries were placed in combat positions for the protection of Fort Stotsenberg. The training program was to provide the greatest possible amount of experience under simulated war conditions.

Coat of Arms - 515th Coast Artillery

During the next ten weeks of settling down the 200th was able to unpack its equipment, get set in position, and had even planned for some target practice; however, no target ammunition could be obtained. As a consequence, the first shots fired by the 200th were aimed at enemy aircraft. They fought the war without ever having had any firing practice.

At 1235 hours, 8 December, Manila time, Japanese bombers, flying at 23,000 feet and accompanied by strafing planes, made their appearance and the war was on. The 200th could not, with powder train fuses effective only to about 20,000 feet, do much damage to the high altitude bombers. The men dished out what ever they could and stood up well under these unfavorable and unequal conditions. When the smoke from the muzzles cleared away, five enemy planes had been shot down and two men of the outfit had lost their lives.

This is a height finder for a 3-inch Anti-Aircraft gun battery. The height finder was coupled to the director , which would send it angles of azimuth and elevation to the target. The height finder would then measure the range to the target and convert it to target altitude. This data was returned to the director, which continuously calculated the azimuth, elevation, and fuze setting for the guns.

Two weeks after the war began the Japanese started to make landings on Luzon and their air effort over Clark Field and the Manila area was intensified. Soon the main Japanese landing was made and a decision was reached to withdraw the forces into Bataan. The parent 200th assumed the mission of covering the retreat of the Northern Luzon Force into Bataan while the newly formed 515th assumed a similar mission for the South Luzon Force.

Fire from the Regiment defense held back Japanese air attempts to destroy the bridges. As a result, the North and South Luzon Forces found a clear passage into Bataan. Thus the 200th and the 515th completed their tasks of bringing the divisions safely to the peninsula.

The next three months saw the war situation deteriorate from bad to worse. While the enemy air actions were sporadic in nature, the menace of malaria and dysentery was everywhere. Food became scarce and the combination of hunger and fever reduced the units on Bataan to a state of apathy.

The guns' targeting system consisted of a director (above) and a height-finder. Men would point the tracking scopes of the director at the target. Angles of azimuth and elevation would then be sent to the height finder so that it could also be pointed at the target. The height finder determined the range to the target, which was converted to its altitude. This data was returned to the director, which would then predict the target's location at the projectile's time of arrival.

On 3 April 1942, the Japanese received sufficient reinforcements with which to begin their drive down the peninsula. An intense concentration of Japanese air and artillery fire was placed on the front and rear areas. After two days and nights of continuous shelling, the Japanese infantry and tank attacks commenced. On 7 April, the combined enemy effort broke through allied lines.

The battle for Bataan was ended on 9 April, the fighting was over. The men who survived the ordeal could feel justly proud of their accomplishments. Total enemy aircraft shot down by the 200th and 515th was 86 confirmed. For four months they had held off the Japanese, only to be overwhelmed finally by disease and starvation. The story of the Regiment and the other defenders reached its tragic climax with the horrors and atrocities of the 65 mile "Death March" from Mariveles to San Fernando. This infamous march was followed by forty months in Prisoner of War Camps.

Of the eighteen hundred men in the Regiment, less than nine hundred made it back home and within one year a third of them died from various complications.

In December of 1945, General Wainwright, in paying tribute to the Regiment, said:

"On December 8, 1941, when the Japanese unexpectedly attacked the Philippine Islands, the first point bombed was Ft. Stotsenberg. The 200th Coast Artillery, assigned to defend the Fort, was the first unit, under The General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, to go into action defending our flag in the Pacific. First to fire, and last to lay down their arms! A fitting epitaph for a valiant Brigade which fought standing firmly in its appointed place and facing forward to the enemy."

The 200th and 515th — The New Mexico Brigade — brought home four Presidential Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Citation. They earned their place in American History.

Mobile anti-aircraft gun

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur wrote about the battles for the Philippines, " ...had it not held out, Australia would have fallen with incalculable results."

Of 33,021 Americans captured, approximately 1,000 died on the Death March. Of 45,000 Filipinos captured, an estimated 9,000 died on the march. By the end of the war in the Pacific, there were 14,000 American POW deaths; Filipino deaths more than doubled that number. In contrast, of 96,614 American POWs captured by the Germans, only 1,121 died in captivity.

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 05/26/2004 12:20:51 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: All
The 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), originally the 111th Cavalry — a New Mexico National Guard unit — had been sent to the Philippines to provide air defense for Clark Field. Typical of American Guard units, it was a hodgepodge of races and colors with Mexican and Native American blood running through the men's veins. There was a certain pride in this uniquely American mixture; while overseas dictators preached the dominance of a master race, they served for the freedom of all.

In the summer of 1941, while American attention was directed to Europe, the Japanese out blitzkrieged their Nazi allies by suddenly occupying nearly 1/4 of the globe. They struck America at Pearl Harbor. At 5:00am on December 8, 1941 (10:00am December 7 in Hawaii) the men in the 200th CA were notified that the United States was officially at war with Japan; just six and a half hours later, Japanese bombers and fighters attacked. Now, it was an entire planet at war with itself.

The men rushed to their weapons as the first bombs fell, some of them firing live ammunition for the first time. Only one of six of the ancient shells exploded. Yet they brought down nine enemy fighters with their fierce anti-aircraft fire.

The next four months would bring determined rearguard fighting as American and Filipino defenders retreated onto the Bataan Peninsula. On April 9, 1942 the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery, along with the rest of the Bataan defenders began the march of death to prison camps where they would be interned for three and one half years.

And while their war ended after just a few months of fighting, the men of the 200th forged a legacy — and left a military maxim — for all those who would serve as air defenders in World War II: "First to Fire."

3 posted on 05/26/2004 12:21:12 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: All

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Your friends at PDN


The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul

Click on Hagar for
"The FReeper Foxhole Compiled List of Daily Threads"

4 posted on 05/26/2004 12:21:29 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: CarolinaScout; Tax-chick; Don W; Poundstone; Wumpus Hunter; StayAt HomeMother; Ragtime Cowgirl; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Wednesday Morning Everyone.

If you would like to be added to our ping list, let us know.

5 posted on 05/26/2004 12:23:59 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Good Night Snippy.

6 posted on 05/26/2004 12:27:55 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: SAMWolf

Good night Sam.

7 posted on 05/26/2004 12:29:04 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
So many Heroe's in the early days of the war.
First to fight..
Corregidor,...The Flying Tigers...The USS Houston

On Eternal Patrol...

8 posted on 05/26/2004 1:48:17 AM PDT by Light Speed
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

9 posted on 05/26/2004 1:56:05 AM PDT by Aeronaut (There are no acceptable terrorists.)
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To: Light Speed

Yea, they bought America the time it needed and paid a heavy proce for it.

10 posted on 05/26/2004 2:10:05 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: Aeronaut
Morning Aeronaut

I didn't know Cessna made 4 engine planes.

11 posted on 05/26/2004 2:12:02 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: SAMWolf

I didn't know Cessna made 4 engine planes.

Well, you are looking at the entire production run in this photo.

I'd say that's about the minimum taxiway required for this aircraft.

12 posted on 05/26/2004 2:15:47 AM PDT by Aeronaut (There are no acceptable terrorists.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole.

13 posted on 05/26/2004 3:02:55 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. —Psalm 30:12

When things go wrong, I would not be a grumbler,
Complaining, seeing everything as grim;
For when I think of how the Lord has blessed me,
I cannot help but give my praise to Him.

Instead of complaining about the thorns on roses, be thankful for the roses among the thorns.

14 posted on 05/26/2004 4:42:15 AM PDT by The Mayor (Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him.)
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To: snippy_about_it; bentfeather
Good morning ladies. Flag-o-gram.

John Trumbull
Oil on canvas, 12' x 18'
Commissioned 1817; purchased 1820
Capitol Rotunda

The surrender of the British at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781, ended the Revolutionary War. Trumbull placed American General Benjamin Lincoln at the center on a white horse, with French officers on the left and Americans on the right, led by General Washington on the brown horse. The British were represented by officers, but Lord Cornwallis himself was not present. Trumbull was proud of the fact that he had painted portraits of the French officers while in France; he also included a self-portrait in the group under the American flag.

15 posted on 05/26/2004 5:32:09 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (I'm a new father. Just call me the bus driver.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; blackie; stand watie; Taxman
"Fear's Fer Minions!!"
(To be sung to Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven")

Will they know my face...
When I meet them in heaven?
"What's yer FReeper name?"
It's what they're askin' in heaven.

Right must be strong...
We'll carry on...
'Cuz I know poet's belong...
Up in heaven.

Can we save our Land...
From Dem Sosh'list Lib'rals?!!
Right shall make a stand...
Rout Dem pathetic Lib'rals!!

We'll fight always...
Fer liberty...
'Cuz RATS know Big Guv'ment stanks!!
Devolve Power!!

Time to weild our Power...
Time to join in...FReep!!
Right shan't break yer heart...
Cut Big Guv'ment...please, Dubyuh please.

Reject RATS' Whore'd...
Their "peace" ain't OURS!!
"Cuz Right knows as FReedom grows...
Fear's fer minions!!

Will you know my face...
When I meet you in heaven?
"What's yer FReeper name?!"
It's the Big Question in heaven.

Right shall be strong...
We'll carry on...
'Cuz I know FReepers belong...
Up in heaven.

Mudboy Slim (5/25/04)

16 posted on 05/26/2004 6:08:22 AM PDT by Mudboy Slim (RE-IMPEACH Osama bil Clinton!!)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Professional Engineer; PhilDragoo; radu; All

Good morning everyone.

17 posted on 05/26/2004 6:41:06 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (~The Dragon Flies' Lair~ Poetry and Prose~)
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To: Professional Engineer
Hi PE!

Very nice Flag-o-gram today, thank you. How is everyone in the house hold.? Little one sleeping well?

I know these are very busy times for you. I appreciate the time you take selecting a lovely Flag each day.
18 posted on 05/26/2004 6:46:31 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (~The Dragon Flies' Lair~ Poetry and Prose~)
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To: E.G.C.

Morning E.G.C. Cloudy and high winds this morning. Predicticting rain for today.

19 posted on 05/26/2004 7:17:56 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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To: The Mayor

Good Morning Mayor.

20 posted on 05/26/2004 7:18:13 AM PDT by SAMWolf (hAS ANYONE SEEN MY cAPSLOCK KEY?)
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