Pvt. William L. Arnold
| Pvt. William
L. Arnold was born on May 4, 1917, in Fishtail,
Montana, to William C. & Margaret B.
Arnold. He was the oldest of the couple's
six sons and four daughters. Since he could
not afford the cost of getting to school, he
dropped out of high school during his first
year. To help support his family, he worked
on the family's farm. He was one of the
first Montana men to have his name selected to be
Bill was inducted into the Army on March 25, 1941. He was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, for basic training, and Ft. Knox, Kentucky, to radio operator school and qualified as a radio operator.
The battalion sailed, U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott,
for Hawaii as
part of a
in Hawaii on
and had a
Christmas Day for John and the other tankers was
spent in a coconut grove. As it turned
out, the coconuts were all they had to
eat. From Christmas to January 15, 1942,
both day and night, all the tanks did was cover
retreats of different infantry units. The
tanks were constantly bombed, shelled and
Since Bill was suffering from malaria and dysentery, he was in a military hospital when the surrender took place. This prevented him from taking part in the death march from Bataan.
was transferred to Bilibid Prison as
part of the Cabcaben Detachment on May
19th. He was sent ot Cabanatuan and later
taken to the Port Area of Manila to work as a
stevedore loading and unloading ships. He
remained on this detail until the summer of 1944
when the detail was dissolved and the POWs were
sent to Bilibid Prison.
After being declared healthy, Bill sailed to the United States and arrived at Seattle, Washington, in late 1945. He was discharged from the army on March 25, 1946. He returned to Montana and later moved to Billings. He married, Gertrude, in 1950. She passed away in 1987. He worked for the Montana State Highway Department until he retired in 1982. He married a second time. His second wife passed away in 2012. He still resides in Montana.