Kygar
 

Pvt. Merl Wilson Kygar


Born: 3 December 1913 - Still, Colorado

Parents: Jesse Kygar & Florence Ritchey-Kygar

Siblings: 3 brothers

    - one brother was his twin

Home: Highland Drive - Owyhee, Oregon

Occupation: farmer

Enlisted:

    - U.S. Army

        - 19 February 1941 - Portland, Oregon

Unit:

    - 19th Ordnance Battalion

        - A Company reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company

Training:

    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky

        - trained on tanks of the 192nd Tank Battalion 

    - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands

Overseas Duty:

    - U.S.S. Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - Monday - 8 September 1941
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
            - soldiers given shore leave for the day
        - Sailed: same day
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
        - Disembark
            - 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
                - reattached turrets to tanks
        - rode bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
     
  
        - lived in tents at Fort Stotsenburg
            - barracks completed - 15 November 1941

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

           - provided tanks of 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions with

              ammunition

          - maintained tanks 

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American Artillery returned fire
                    - knocked out three Japanese guns
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars
                - each car could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
                - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino Army training base
            - Japanese use camp for POWs
            - one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new camp at Cabanatuan to lower death rate

        - Cabanatuan
            - hospitalized - optic atrophy

                - lost sight as POW from overdose of quinine to treat his malaria
                - discharged - 5 February 1943
            - transferred to Bilibid - 1944

        - Bilibid Prison
            - blindness caused by quinine prevented him from being sent to Japan

Liberated:

    - 4 February 1945 - Bilibid Prison

        - 37th Infantry Division 

Unit:

    - assigned to 12th Replacement Battalion after liberation

Promoted: Tec 3
Transport:
    - S.S. Monterey
        - Sailed - Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco, California - 16 March 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital

Married: Emma Rees - 1957

Married: Lola May Brown - 3 December 1966  - Winnamucca, Nevada

Residence: Malheur, Oregon

Died: 17 January 2002 - Marsing, Idaho

Buried: Homedale/Marsing Cemetery - Marsing, Idaho


 

 


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