Charlie Horton is a World War II veteran who now resides at the Village at Gleannloch Farms in Spring, Texas. The 97 year old served with the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team that took part in the Battle of Corregidor in 1945.
Corregidor Island in the Philippines, nicknamed the “The Rock,” was the location of Fort Mills, a U.S. Army fortification that Japanese forces captured in 1942. The battle to take back the island took place in February of 1945, and the American strategy involved Charlie’s combat team parachuting on to a hill known as “topside.” The idea was that the Japanese would leave this area less defended as landing thousands of soldiers on the hill would be very difficult. The bold strategy was a success and the combat team, in coordination with soldiers attacking from the beaches, gained control of the island after ten days of intense fighting.
Charlie personally hoisted the American flag over Corregidor after its recapture. For his actions during the battle the Army promoted him to Captain, and soon after he met General Douglas MacArthur when the legendary commander returned to the island.
In the end, much of the credit for the recapture of the island was given to the 503rd: “The combat was ferocious all across the island,” said Charlie. “The Rock was not only a strategic, but also a moral victory for us as the Japanese had taken the island in 1942 and held onto it for several years. The opportunity to later meet General MacArthur, a larger than life figure, was of course quite extraordinary.”
After World War II ended, Charlie went on to serve in Germany and then as an Executive Officer with the 2nd Infantry Division during the Korean War, eventually retiring as a Major in 1960.