Goldstein

Tec 4 Frank Goldstein


     T/4 Frank Goldstein was born in Chicago on October 24, 1915, to Max and Sarah Goldstein.  With his sisters, he grew up at 1958 West Henry Court, 4433 North St. Louis Avenue, and later at 2030 West Montrose Avenue.  He graduated from Roosevelt High School where he became interested in amateur radio operation.  As an amateur radio operator, he became good friends with Charles Corr, who also was an amateur radio operator.  While he was still in high school, Frank signed up with the Illinois National Guard to practice army communication.  Doing this meant that he was slated to be a radioman in the with an Illinois National Guard unit.

     Frank was drafted in April 1941 and went to the Madison Street Armory, of the Illinois National Guard, in Maywood, Illinois, for induction.  It was there that he was selected to join Company B, 192nd Tank Company as a radio operator.  He was sent to Camp Grant, in Rockford, Illinois, and then to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to join his new company. With Frank was his friend Charles Corr.

    When the two soldiers arrived at Fort Knox, at 2:00 o'clock in the morning, they were met by Sgt. Albert McArthur, who was the sergeant in charge of communications.  Sgt. McArthur gave Frank a choice of jobs.  He could either repair the radio equipment or train other men to operate radio equipment and use Morse Code.  Frank ended up repairing the equipment while his friend, Charlie, taught high speed Morse Code. 
    Next, Frank went on maneuvers with Company B at Camp Polk, Louisiana.  It was here that he shared a tent with Pvt. Lester (Tenney) Tennenberg.
  After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk.  None of the members of the battalion had any idea why they were there.  On the side of a hill, the members learned they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many men had figured out they were being sent to the Philippine Islands. 
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
    The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th, for Guam. 
    When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.

    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two weeks.  They were than sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.

    In the Philippines, Frank's job was to keep in touch with every tank of the 192nd.  To do this he had a jeep and a half-track, with a 100 watt transmitter, at his disposal.  If he could not reach a tank, he would have to take the jeep, which was driven by Sgt. Zenon Bardowski, and find out why he could not make contact with the tank.  In his opinion, the tanks were useless in the Philippines since they could only be used along the main highway and not in the fields where they would get stuck.

     Although Frank was not involved in any major engagements, Frank did find himself fighting a personal one.  Like everyone else on Bataan, Frank was always hungry.  One day he took the jeep and his Tommy-gun and went scrounging for food.   In the town of Pilar, he found an abandoned candy store that supposedly had some food.  It turned out that the store had been striped bare.  As he left the store he heard the voices of Japanese soldiers.  Since he was near a sugar cane field, Frank jumped into the field with his Tommy-gun.  He hid in the field hoping that he hadn't bee seen.  As it turned out, the Japanese soldiers apparently heard him enter the field and followed him.  He wound up playing hide-and-seek in the sugar cane field with the Japanese soldiers.  He tried to kill the them before they killed him.  As far as Frank knew, only he came out of the sugar cane field.

    Frank also was present when Japanese planes bombed the area where B Company tanks were bivouacked on February 3, 1942.  According to Frank, the tankers guarded the beach each night to prevent the Japanese from landing troops.  Every morning "Recon Joe" flew over attempting to  locate the tanks.  The jungle canopy hide the tanks from the plane.  Walter Cigoi aggravated about being woken up, pulled his halftrack on the beach and took a "pot shot" at the plane.  He missed.  Twenty minutes later, Japanese planes appeared and bombed the position.  Frank took cover under a tank.

    After the attack, the tankers found Richard Graff, Charles Heuel dead.  Another man had his leg partially blown off.  To get him into the jeep, Frank cut off his leg.  Francis McGuire was also wounded in the attack.  Frank felt guilty about Heuel's death because he had promised his sister to watch out for him.

    On April 9, 1942, Frank received word that the Filipino-American Forces were to destroy their equipment and surrender to the Japanese.  Frank and the men with him destroyed their equipment but decided they would try to escape to Corregidor.  They found a Filipino boat that was used to carry water.  Since the approach to  Corregidor was mined, the captain was not too willing to try to go there.  At the point of Frank's 45, the captain of the boat had a change of heart and took them to the island.  

    Since it was night and they did not want to be spotted by the Japanese, they approached the island in total darkness.  Frank took his flashlight and wrapped it in a newspaper to prevent the Japanese from spotting their position.  He kept signaling to the island that they were Americans.  While he was doing this, they could hear the Japanese troops along the shore of Bataan.   Finally, they received a response signal and were told to go to a buoy, then turn sharply to the right.  This maneuver got them through the minefield.

     On Corregidor, Frank was separated from the other men with whom he had gone to Corregidor.  When the Japanese attacked the island,  Frank was shot in his leg.  He managed to make his way to to a tunnel occupied by Navy personnel.  Frank awoke to find the tunnel full of Japanese soldiers with bayonets attached to their guns.  Being wounded he thought he was going to be killed, but to his surprise the Japanese were actually very nice to him.  What he could do that they could not do was read the codes on the cans of food in the tunnel.  The soldiers were looking for cans that contained fruit.  They took Frank to another tunnel where Dr. Edwin Wade performed surgery on his leg which had been shattered by the bullet.  Dr. Wade performed more surgeries on Frank's leg and saved it.  It should be noted that Dr. Wade did not survive the war.

     From Corregidor, Frank was taken to Bilibid Prison in Manila, which was used by the Japanese as a hospital for American Prisoners of War.  Here he spent the next thirteen months in bed.  When he was healthier, Frank was sent to Cabanatuan for one year.  He worked on the camp farm tending the vegetables being grown there.  The POWs were expected to water the crops by carrying the water in cans.  The cans they were given to use had holes in them.  These holes were, in most cases, intentionally made in the cans by the guards.  When the prisoners got to the place where they were supposed to water, the guards  would beat them for not having full cans.   

    Next, Frank was sent to Clark Field.  Frank believed that he was the only member of the 192nd on the detail.  Being on the detail without any friends actually had its benefits.  Frank witnessed men beaten by the guards because they had tried to communicate with their friends.  The beating was given because the men had violated the "no talking" while working rule.

    On the Clark Field detail Frank dug revetments to hide planes.  The Japanese guards encouraged the POWs to take their time when digging.  The guards didn't care how much dirt the POWs moved all they had to do is look busy.  The reason the guards did this was because they liked the detail and wanted to stretch it out as long as possible.  The only time the POWs were expected to work hard was when big shots came around to expect the work.

    Frank also had to dig out volcanic rock which was used in the construction of runways.  He did this work until August 1944.  How the POWs did this was to sift the sand through a screen trapping the rocks.  The rocks were used as base material for new runways for heavy bombers.  When the rock ran out, the Japanese engineers told the POWs to use sand for the base material for the last half of the runway.  

    The first time a Japanese heavy bomber landed on the runway it sped across the first half of the runway.  When it hit the second half of the runway, the bomber's carriage suddenly sank out of sight and the bomber flipped over.  Frank recalled that he and the other prisoners hid their laughter.

    While working at Clark Field one of the jobs Frank had was to transport drums of coconut oil from the rail head to the airfield.  Some of the POWs on the detail took the opportunity to fill their canteens with oil from the drums.  They would take the oil and boil it until it was eatable and then pour the oil on their rice to add flavor to the rice.

    One time as Frank and the other POWs were working the detail, the Japanese pulled a surprise inspection.  The "gunso" in the guard tower a quarter of a mile away ordered the guards to have the POWs to empty their canteens.  When the guard got to Frank, Frank emptied his canteen and water came out of it.  Frank still had water in the canteen from that morning.

    The gunso knowing that Frank was involved in the stealing, ordered the guard to punish Frank.  The guard grabbed Frank's half-filled canteen and hit him squarely in the mouth with it, knocking out four of Frank's teeth.  

    On August 8, 1944, Frank was then returned to Bilibid Prison in Manila where he had contact with Zenon Bardowski and James Griffin.  This was the first time in over two years that he had contact with other members of Company  B.  To Frank, both men looked to be in bad shape.  It was at this time that he received a red cross package that had not been raided containing vitamin pills and clothing.  He gave each one of them a handful of vitamin pills.  He also received winter clothing in the package which at the time seemed very funny since he was in the Philippines. 

     On August 25, 1944, Frank was sent to Japan on the Noto Maru.  The trip was only twelve days long.  During the voyage, the ship stopped at Takao, Formosa ,on August 30th, before heading to Japan.  It arrived in Moji, Japan on September 4th. 
   
The POWs were packed into the ship's hold so tightly that they could not use the the half barrel that was suppose to be the toilet.  The floor of the hold was covered in human waste since most of the men were suffering from dysentery.  The smell got so bad that the Japanese covered the hatch of the hold.  The POWs received water twice a day and were fed once a day. 

    As the ship made its way to Japan men died of sickness and starvation.  With each death, there was more room in the ship's hold.  The bodies of the dead were hosted out of the hold by ropes and dumped in the sea.  The suction of the ship's propellers pulled the bodies into them and resulted in the bodies being cut up.   
    The Japanese finally decided that the only way to deal with the smell coming from the hold was to bring the POWs on deck and wash them down with seawater.  They also washed down the floor of the hold at the same time.

     Frank ended up in northern Japan at Sendai Camp #6 which was outside of Hanawa.  Here, 500 POWs worked in the copper mines.  In the mines, Frank worked on a blasting crew whose job it was to blast ore loose.  The Japanese engineer had a deal with the POWs that he would mark the walls with the amount of dynamite to blast.  He would then leave the mine and leave the POWs alone.  As it turned out he was deathly afraid of the dynamite because  it was old and extremely volatile. Being alone, the POWs would perform "little acts of sabotage", like putting too large of a charge to make the vain of ore useless. 

     At one point as a POW, Frank was so sick from pneumonia that he could not walk up the road to the mine.  He fell in the snow and had to be carried the rest of the way.  On the second day, he again was too weak to walk up the incline to get to the mine.  This time, when he fell in the snow, he was left lying there for twelve hours while the other prisoners worked.  On their way back to camp, the other POWs picked him up and carried him back.  The Japanese decided that he was too ill to work in the mine so they had him make nails from copper wire in the camp.

     In August of 1945, the POWs lined up to go to work as usual.  This time they were sent back to their quarters.  The same thing happened repeatedly over the next few days.  The POWs knew something had happened, but no one wanted to think that the war was over.  Finally, a Japanese officer stood on a box and announced the Japanese Empire and the United States were no longer enemies.  He also told them that the camp was theirs.  This was the first time the  POWs received news on how the war was going.
    An American Naval plane flew over the camp.  The pilot dropped a note to the POWs and told them to paint one stripe on the roof of a barrack if they needed medicine, two stripes if they needed food, and three stripes if they needed clothing.  The POWs painted one stripe on one barrack, two stripes on another barrack, and three stripes on a third barrack. 
    When the plane returned. he dropped another note saying that there was no way for him to drop everything, so B -29s would have to drop the supplies.  The POWs had no idea what the pilot was talking about.  When the B-29s appeared over the camp, the POWs had never seen anything so large in the sky.  The POWs received so much food and clothing that they shared it with the Japanese civilians who had been kind to them. 

    The Japanese townspeople helped the POWs carry the food to the camp.  Since material for clothing was scarce, they were interested more in the silk from the parachutes for clothing than the food in the drums.   

     One day, a  jeep with American soldiers appeared and  the soldiers told the former POWs to sit tight until the railroad line had been repaired.  After it was repaired, the prisoners took the train and then an LST to Yokohama.  Frank then took a destroyer back to the Philippines.  The reason for this was that the former POWs were in such poor physical shape that the American Military Command did not want them to be seen back home in this condition.  In Frank's case he weighed 97 pounds when he was liberated. 

    Frank returned to Chicago where he worked in the radio industry.  He married and became the father of two children.  He later moved to California where he resided for 25 years.  He and his wife would return to the Chicago area to be near their children.

    Frank Goldstein passed away on January 21, 2010.  He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.


 


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