Panek’s Career with 218 Field Artillery

by Dr. Hargis Westerfield, Division Historian with Major John Panek

Note:  This is an excerpt from a longer article that included the Wakde Campaign:

At Zamboanga Battle in our Southern Philippine Campaign of 1945, Panek daily made two recon flights over the Jap lines to pinpoint targets for our 155s. Pilots were either Lieutenant Case or Lieutenant Janssen. On our third day at Zambo, about 1745 on 12 March, his pilot had to swoop at dangerously low heights to see into the jungle foliage. A Jap 20mm machine-cannon struck one of the plane's main struts, but Panek continued observing, and calling down fire.

Seeing small fires on the ground and Japs milling around a large hut and many tents - surely a headquarters area - he saturated the area with all of the available 12 guns of 218 Field Artillery. After firing this mission, he attacked a gun position. Fifty Japs ran from it into a nearby rainforest grove. He dropped eight volleys into that grove; they surely caused numerous casualties.