The 31st Infantry Association


The 31st Infantry Association


Recovery

The Bowl figured prominently in the Regiment’s ceremonies and social functions from 1932-1941. When it appeared Bataan would fall to the Japanese in April 1942, the bowl and cups were taken to Corregidor Island by barge to keep it from falling into the hands of the Japanese. When it became evident that Corregidor would also fall, the Bowl was buried on the beach between Malinta and Navy tunnels on Corregidor by a detail led by Captain Earl R. Short.

There it remained until after the Philippines were recaptured from the japanese in 1945. The following letters are included to uncover another chapter in the unique history of the Regiment:

FROM: GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, PACIFIC
A.P.O. 500
16 September 1945

TO: LT. GENERAL W. D. STYLER
COMMANDING GENERAL
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES, WESTERN PACIFIC
A.P.O. 707

Captain E.R. Short, who has just been recovered from a prisoner camp in Japan, buried the 31st Infantry Shanghai Bowl on Corregidor shortly before the fall of Corregidor- I am sending Captain Short to Corregidor to locate the place where he buried the Bowl. Request that you furnish him with transportation by fast boat to go over on the morning of 17 September.
Also request that the commanding officer on Corregidor be instructed to furnish labor, tools, etc., to assist Captain Short in excavating the Bowl.

/s/ R.J. MARSHALL
Major General, U.S. Army
Deputy Chief of Staff

FROM: HEADQUARTERS BASE X
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER
A.P.O. 75
16 September 1945

Memo to Capt. Lyons
The deputy chief of staff directs us to furnish four (4) men tomorrow to go with Capt. Short, 31st Infantry, to Corregidor to recover regimental property which was hidden prior to the surrender.

These men will be equipped with picks (4), shovels (4) crow bar (1), fatigue uniforms.

They will report to Capt. Short at Port Hq in the Arizelda Building, foot of San Fernando (across Jones Bridge.) To locate Capt. Short they can contact Mis San Francisco.

This event may well prove to be an historic occasion. Therefore please be especially careful in your selection of personnel- A noncommissioned officer should be included if available. If you have any old 31st Infantrymen available it would be fitting to accord them this opportunity.

/s/J.A. McDONOUGH
Lt. Col Inf
Hq Comdt Base X

FROM: GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, PACIFIC
Manila, Luzon
18 September 1945

TO: MAJOR GENERAL R. J. MARSHALL
DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF
GHQ, AFPAC

SUBJECT: Recovery of 31st Infantry Trophy

On 17 September 1945, I accompanied Major Earl Short to Corregidor Island where, by your instruction he was to recover the trophy known as the Shanghai Bowl, which he had buried there in April, 1942.

Major Short was able to pinpoint the spot where he had buried the box containing the trophy within an area approximately 50 feet square. The locality was on a steep hillside on a prementary between Malinta and Navy Tunnel entrances and about 400 yards from the Pier. As a result of shelling and bombing the area was covered with rock and rubble about 10′ to 15′ deep. A four man detail, equipped with crowbars, picks, and shovels penetrated to a depth of about 5′ in two different spots and encountered no fresh earth.

I estimate that it will take a company of engineers approximately 48 working hours to scale the area and locate the box. Mine detectors would be of no value because of the depth involved and also because the area contains shell and bomb fragments and other metal litter- It will be necessary to shore up the hillside above the area in question before undertaking the work. I recommend against the use of a bulldozer or similar equipment as the trophy might be damaged.

Major Short will have left but the following GHQ officers are familiar with the location: Col. F.- T.- Armstrong, Col. Walter E. Wood, Col. W. J. Niederpreum, Col. Charles Tench, Col. F. R. Roland, Col. Charles Miller.
Our digging operations were observed by members of a Naval Construction Battalion, whose installation is located about 600 yards from the area in question and also by other passersby- No member of our party had any conversation with any outsiders but curiosity may prompt some observer to extend our search.

/s/W.J. NIEDERPREUM
Colonel, Infantry

FROM: GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, PACIFIC
MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SECTION, GENERAL STAFF A.P.O. 500
28 December 1945

TO: MAJOR EARL R. SHORT
910 Colita Street
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Major Short:
The undersigned was a member of the party which accompanied you to Corregidor in September, last, when you pointed out the location where you had buried the 31st Infantry punchbowl and cups.

The area marked by you was excavated and the trophy was not found. The engineer lieutenant who had been present when you pointed out the approximate location of the punchbowl telephoned about further investigation. I made another trip to Corregidor and pointed out where it appeared that further work might lead success. Again nothing was found.

It still seemed to me that digging should be continued. I suggested where it should be done. It will interest you to know that the punchbowl and 65 cups were found about a yard and one half to the north of the area selected by you for excavation. The punchbowl was recovered in good shape, as were all cups.

With the seasons greetings, I am,

Sincerely yours,
/s/F.T. Armstrong
Colonel, G S C Exec. O., G-2

Conclusion

So the Shanghai Bowl, the symbol of the Polar Bear Regiment, was recovered. It was temporarily a relic without an owner, because the 31st Infantry, surrendered by MG King to the Japanese at Bataan, was no longer an active unit.

In 1946, when Colonel Baird became Commander of the reactivated 31st Infantry in Korea, the Shanghai Bowl ceremony was held again for the first time in 5 years. Colonel Baird said,

“It is deemed fitting and proper that the Regiment possess an established ritual or ceremony involving the use of the Shanghai Bowl- The ceremony is one which bespeaks of dignity and is in keeping with the historical background as well as the established traditions by which and for which the Shanghai Bowl was presented to the Regiment. To live, to honor, to cherish for always for memories and heroic deeds of the officers and men of the 31st Infantry Regiment and to feel with pride our close presence and dependability with one another as well as with those who have gone before us is why members of the 31st Infantry Regiment assemble in the presence of the Shanghai Bowl. It is not for to choose or wonder concerning the respected and upright principles concerning the Shanghai Bowl, but rather it is for us, as individuals, to stand in humble appreciation and with sincere and heartfelt gratitude accept the spirit of this living symbol and be thankful for our association with the tradition and esprit which motivates its presence. The Shanghai Bowl is an integral part of the Regiment and available for use by the officers and men thereof for any occasion, social or military. Where dignity and respect as well as the thoughts expressed are paramount.”