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    US 45-Star Flag from Corregidor - General MacArthur's HQ in the Malinta Tunnel.
    This is a 60" x 96" (original dimensions) wool, 45-star, double appliqué, sewn-stripe flag finished with a light canvas header and grommets top & bottom. The flag is marked on the reverse hoist with a series of inscriptions which read as follows: "L. MILLER US NURSE"; "FOUGHT OFF TILL SURR. TO JAPAN"; "CORREGIDOR MALINTA HILL"; "MACARTHUR HQ FLAG"; "6 MAY 42"; "4th USMC FLAG SAVE TO SUB."
    This is an opportunity to acquire what is likely the last flag with a Corregidor association in private hands that is witness to and tells the story of Corregidor, Ft. Mills, the Malinta Hill Tunnel, the Nurse Corps, the USMC and the US Navy.

    This is perhaps the most enigmatic flag in the Dr. Clarence Rungee Collection. At first glance it would seem improbable that General MacArthur would have had a 45-star flag, official from 1896 to 1908, as his headquarters flag on Corregidor in 1942. However, as we interpret the flag and its inscription, we begin to see how this story retains its veracity. The inscription on this flag "L. Miller US Nurse," likely refers to a Lt. Miller. She was officially 2nd Lieutenant Rose Miller, one of the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor" who is commemorated on the "To The Angels" monument at Mount Samat National Shrine in Pilár, Province of Bataan, in the Republic of the Philippines. The "Angels of Bataan" and Corregidor refers to the approximately 100 U.S. Army & Navy and Filipina nurses who were evacuated from Bataan to Corregidor in early April, 1942. The fall of Corregidor and flags are intimately intertwined. When General Wainwright, who'd been left in command of United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) ordered the surrender, he instructed Colonel Paul Bunker, commanding the 59th Coast Artillery, to raise a white flag on Corregidor's main flagpole and to burn the US Flag to prevent its capture. Colonel Bunker obeyed, but preserved a small piece of the flag. He did not survive imprisonment, but the flag fragment is now at the museum at West Point. Likewise, Colonel Samuel L. Howard, commanding the Marines, ordered the regimental and national colors burned to prevent capture.

    This flag is a 45-star U.S. flag, official from 1896 to 1908, when the US took possession of the island, established a military reservation, Fort Mills (built between 1902 and 1910) and began the construction of major coastal defense fortifications. Indeed, there is an almost identical, in terms of both size and condition, 45-star flag on display in the Pacific War Memorial & Museum on Corregidor, whose gallery copy informs that it was the flag hoisted on Corregidor on 14 May 1899. It would seem that at least two, of the doubtless many, 45-star flags flown on Corregidor have been preserved.

    The staccato points of the rest of the inscription refer to the events surrounding the final days of the Corregidor. After the fall of Bataan, General MacArthur withdrew the headquarters of the United States Army Forces in the Far East to Corregidor where it was established in the Malinta Hill Tunnel in the third lateral from the east entrance. (NB: The second lateral led to the hospital where the nurses worked.) The date refers to the date General Wainwright surrendered the island, 6 May 1942. The 4th Regiment of the US Marine Corps was the main fighting force on the island to resist the Japanese landings, and the mention of the submarine doubtless refers to the USS Spearfish, the last submarine to depart Corregidor on 3 May 1942 with important papers, code books and twelve nurses. There is one other incident involving nurses, flags and Corregidor. After the surrender, a nurse, Lieutenant Beulah Greenwalt, wrapped the 12th Quartermaster's regimental colors around her telling the Japanese that is was her shawl, and took it with her into captivity, and thus prevented their capture. They are thought to be the only regimental colors to survive Corregidor. It would seem that a US Army Nurse, in the Malinta Tunnel, was given a vintage 45-star US flag by elements of the 4th Marine Regiment which she then conveyed off of Corregidor aboard the USS Spearfish.

    The flag is in Poor Condition - used, torn, soiled, stained and frayed with severe losses.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,008

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