Leaving Flier for the moment, since she literally does not exist today, we’ll go to the Redfin, who does exist, and is leaving on her third patrol.
She is carrying eight temporary semi-crewmembers. Actually, they were not even Navy, they were Army, so I’m not sure what their status was aboard the Redfin. Likely, like any civilian that might have been carried about a submarine, they would be restricted to a certain portion of the boat, with their meals either delivered to them, or they would be escorted to the Mess, as well as escorted to the Head to keep them out of the way in the case of an emergency.
These eight men, however, were the first stop for the Redfin, and she was taking them to Ramos Island, a rather large island just north of Balabac Island.
They were a small division of the 978th Signal Service Company of the US Army. This Company was created “to handle the communication networks of the Philippine Guerilla movement, and to go on secret missions into the islands for the Commander-in-Chief himself.”
Their mission was three-fold: To operate as a message center for the various Filippino Guerilla groups around the Philippine Islands, to be a radio station to handle all the secret Philippine Radio Traffic, and to train secret agents to send out on missions around the islands. They often operated with great independence, and indeed, their headquarters were often only vaguely aware of what they were doing. Loaded down with vast stores of food, equipment and money, they were left to their own judgement and devices to accomplish their missions.
At the beginning of 1944, the Allies only had six contacts inside the Philippines, and with the military pushing deeper and deeper into Japanese held territory, and a re-invasion of the Philippines coming within the year, more intelligence was needed about the strength, locations, and movements of Japanese forces. Those that were being sent behind lines were trained in Australia in radio equipment, maintenance, and transmissions, encryptions, and survival techniques.
Eight of these men were now aboard the Redfin, bound for the Palawan Island group with instructions to monitor and report movements in Balabac Straits, and to work with the guerillas there. Their names were Sgt. Armando Corpus, commander of the group; Sgt. Carlos Palacido of Laguna Beach, CA; Sgt. R.F. Cortez of California; Sgt. J. Reynoso of Iowa (apparently nicknamed “Slug”); Cpl. T.J. Rallojay of Los Angeles; and T/5 Ritchie Daquel from Ramona CA. Every man was a volunteer for the job.
They were transported from their training camp in the inner wilderness of Australia to Fremantle, where they changed into Navy uniforms before going to the Submarine Base and getting aboard the Redfin, and were under strict instructions to not tell anyone they were Army until they were inside the submarine.
And now they were en route to their destination. If submarines were dangerous, this would end up being far more so. Every radio transmission, even encrypted, could be triangulated back to the base. They were supposed to make contacts with the local Filippinos, but some preferred Japanese rule to American promises of freedom from colonialization and sovriegnty. As 1944 wore on, the danger of getting caught grew, and the penalties for being captured grew ever more severe.
Al Jacobson called them Coastwatchers, when he met them. Coastwatchers are properly another group, generally of Australian military, but the missions were very similar.
Oh, and why does the Flier not exist today? Late on May 25, she crossed the International Date Line traveling from east to west. When you do that, you skip over a day in the calendar. So on Flier War Patrol Report for May 25, she says: 1859 [hours]: Crossed International Date Line, and omitted May 26 from the calendar”.
So today, Flier does not exist. She vanished in a puff of logic. She’ll be back tomorrow.