Devils Lake Jeep
General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines in 1944. By early January of 1945 the troops had begun the push to recapture the main Island of Luzon. Among the officers involved was Captain Carroll B. Jones who commanded Fleet Air Wing Seventeen in the Southwest Pacific. Jones was originally from Devils Lake and, moving east from the beachhead at Lingayen Gulf, among the heavy traffic, he spied an unusual sign on one of the jeeps. It read "Devils Lake to Tokyo". Captain Jones halted and turned around to give chase. But he failed to catch up to the jeep and, disappointed, he wondered what was the significance of the sign.
It was almost three years later, after sending numerous letters to friends and family in Devils Lake that he would learn the story. The answer came from his sister, Mrs. Lois Vander Veer of Albany, New York who had spotted a news items in the Devils Lake World.
Captain Phil Hoghaug, also from Devils Lake, was Commander of Battery E, 103rd Field Artillery Battalion of the 43rd Infantry and he had painted the "Devils Lake to Tokyo" sign on his jeep while in combat on New Georgia in the South Pacific. When he was transferred to New Zealand, New Guinea and then the Philippines, the jeep went with him. Shortly after the encounter with Capt. Jones Hoghaug was wounded in a night attack and he and the jeep parted company.
Carroll Jones continued in the Pacific War and eventually became Commanding Officer of the US Naval Air Station at Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Phil Hoghaug, however, returned stateside and eventually back to Devils Lake after leaving the hospital. Due to his wounds he never made it to Tokyo. He served as Collector of Custom, as judge and veterans service office in Ramsey County and then as the North Dakota State Treasurer and with the Bank of North Dakota.
But the story of the jeep did not end on Luzon. In 1947, Capt Hoghaug received a visitor, his former jeep driver, Sgt. Kip Johnson of Muskegon, Michigan, who stopped in Devils Lake while traveling to the West Coast. Sgt. Johnson related the complete story. Although Captain Hoghaug was not present, the 43rd Infantry did serve as an occupational unit in Japan, and the "Devils Lake to Tokyo" jeep did roll down the streets of Tokyo, complete with sign,- its mission completed.
By Jim Davis
The Devils Lake World August 27, 1947 Page 1.
The Devils Lake World December 31, 1947 Page 1.
The Bismarck Tribune November 6, 1970 Page 9.