Springfield has plenty of veterans with military service worthy of a motion picture. In fact, Springfield has a veteran who was part of a small force in the Philippine Islands whose heroics were depicted in the motion picture “They Were Expendable” starring John Wayne. The individual was Grover DeLong, Springfield native and 1937 graduate of the Naval Academy. Grover got caught right in the middle of the darkest period for the United States in the Pacific war. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese turned their attention to the Philippine Islands where they systematically pushed the American contingent down the Bataan Peninsula to the island of Corregidor. During the first six months, Grover DeLong skippered his Torpedo boat as it harassed the advancing Japanese. The exploits of the DeLong and the Motor Torpedo Squadron Three would be depicted in the movie “They were Expendable.” DeLong was eventually captured by the Japanese and executed.
By Dick Martin