ROYAL C. REYNOLDS JR.
Brigadier General | Infantry
"I was carried as Missing in Action. When the radio operator joined us, I had the opportunity to send my name back. I thought, well, I'm not going to do it, because this was October, 1944 and as far as I was concerned there was still a lot of action that probably would take place. If they were already regretting my death, and then they got the word that I was still alive, and then if something happened to me and I didn't make it through, that would be even a greater bereavement, let's say, for them. So, I purposely did not send my name out" (1).
The Philippines was in Reynolds blood. His father, Royal Sr., was a Brigadier General in the Army Medical Corps and his Uncle, Major General Charles R. Reynolds, the Army Surgeon General. Both of whom served extensively in the Philippines during their careers. Royal Jr. lived in the Philippines twice as a dependent, first beginning in 1911 and second in the early 1920s during which time two of his sisters were born in the islands.
He entered the United States Military Academy in 1929 and upon commissioning a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, he reported to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he served as a Platoon Leader in a Rifle Company and then a Machine Gun Company of the 29th Infantry. Two years later he was Company Commander in the 12th Infantry. From 1937 to 1939 attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, taking the Regular Officers Course and the Advanced Communications Course.
It seemed whenever Roy served overseas, he stayed much longer than a typical tour and devoted his whole to the mission. He arrived in Korea in October 1951 as Chief of Staff for the 7th Division and ten months later, replaced Col. Richard Risden as commander of the 17th Infantry Regiment. Though his tenure in the Philippines was most strenuous, he was most decorated for his service in Korea. It was a different kind of war. The month of October 1952 was particularly rough for the 17th Infantry as they dealt with a number of attacks from the Chinese. During such an assault on October 8, Reynolds ditched his relative safety of the regimental CP and moved through the front lines to direct a counter attack to retake lost positions. Not all colonels were so bold to emerge from their sandbag castles and run along with the line companies, but Roy was a true soldier's soldier. It was this attitude for which he was well respected among the ranks, and dearly missed when he departed the regiment. He held the Buffalos as close to his heart as he did the Philippine Scouts.
Reynolds reported to the 57th Infantry at Fort McKinley, Philippine Islands in October 1939 as the Regimental Commo Officer, having just taken the course at Benning, and after a year he was given command of HQ Company. The 57th Infantry was a regiment of the Philippine Scouts, Reynolds choice because of their outstanding reputation. He served for two years overseas before the war and in the entire time never had a court martial, article 15, or section 8 under his command. "I must say that to be in a unit where there are no court martials and no Article 15 punishments is pretty remarkable" (1). In Semptember 1941, while on the brink of war, Royal assumed command of the 1st Battalion.
After the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, the 57th Infantry was deployed just outside of Fort McKinley in the event the Japanese parachuted on Nielson airport, then to central Luzon after another report of enemy paratroopers. These attacks never came and on January 1, 1942 the Scouts deployed to their initial defensive positions on Bataan.
After the fall of Bataan, Reynolds escaped to the hills to join one of the scattered guerrilla camps that had formed. The leaders of these bands gathered frequently to discuss campaigns only to retreat back to their humble dwellings where they could remain mobile and avoid the threat of any significant damage from Japanese forces. In a few months, their belongings had deteriorated and they mended their shoes with animal hide and used gunny sacks to mend their clothes. Roy grew long, curly whiskers, hair hanging to his shoulders, and had a gaping hole where his two front teeth broke off from always eating corn. The other officers fared no better and were a startling sight when Margaret Utinsky found them in the steep hills.
There were still many months before he returned to the United States in 1945 and assigned to the United States Military Academy as a Tactical Officer.