|Cpl. Daniel Harden
Cpl, Daniel H. Nugent was born on July 14, 1920,
in Meade County, Kentucky, to Daniel Nugent & Annie Jane
Gray-Nugent. With his three sisters and
brother, he lived at 122 Main Cross Street in
Hawesville, Kentucky. He worked as a
riverboat pilot on a ferry that traveled between
Hawesville and Cannelton, Indiana.
Daniel was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 8, 1941, at Camp Atterbury in Columbus, Indiana. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training and assigned to Headquarters Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. It is not known what training he received or what his duties were in the company.
The 192nd was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, in the late summer of 1941, to take part in maneuvers. During the maneuvers, HQ Company serviced the tanks of the battalion, but they did not actively participate. After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to report to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox. On the side of a hill, the battalion learned they were being sent overseas. According to members of the battalion, General George Patton had selected them. Men 29 years old or older, or who were married, were given the chance to be released from federal service. Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion.
Many of the members of the battalion were given leaves home so they could say goodbye to family and friends. They returned to Camp Polk and traveled by train to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island they were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Some men were held back for health issues but scheduled to join the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and s
ailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii,as part of a three ship convoy. The ships arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd, and the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island. On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam. The ships took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship, was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the ship was from a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables. The ships sailed the next day for Manila. At one point, the ships passed an island at night. While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later in the day. At 3:00 P.M., the soldiers disembarked and were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.
At some point, Daniel was reassigned to Headquarters of the Provisional Tank Group. It is not known what duties he performed with the tank group.
On April 9, 1942, Daniel became a Prisoner of War. Being that he was with the Provisional Tank Group, he did not start the march at Mariveles. The members of the group were marched out to the main road the morning of April 10th. There, the enlisted men were separated from the officers. When they reached the road, they spent the rest of the day sitting and guessing what was going to happen.
After dark, they were ordered to move. They made their way north while Japanese troops attempted to go south. Marching on the stony road was hard. At midnight, they were allowed to rest for an hour. They marched again until dawn when they were given another break.
When they reached the Lamao River, they could smell the corpses of those who had died two days earlier in the Japanese final push. In front of the members of the Provisional Tank Group were a group of Army Air Corps members. They broke from the ranks and drank from the river and filled their canteens with water. This would later be the reason so many POWs died at Camp O'Donnell.
The POWs made their way north through Limay, on April 11th, against the flow of Japanese troops who were moving south.
They made their way north to Balanga and arrived in Orani on April 12th, where they were reunited with the officers of the tank group in a bull pen. At 6:30 that evening, the POWs resumed the march and were marched at a faster pace. The guards also seemed to be nervous about something. This time they made the POWs make their way to Hormosa. There, the road went from gravel to concrete. This change of surface made the march easier. When the POWs were allowed to sit down, those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
The POWs continued north through Layac before daylight, Lurao in the morning, and Guagua at midday. Many POWs fell out at this point. The guards beat the men, but if they didn't get up, they allowed them to lay on the ground until they could continue or were taken by truck to San Fernando.
At San Fernando, the men were forced into another bull pen. This one was already filled with Filipino soldiers. The POWs were put into groups of 200 men to be fed. A couple of the POWs would get the food which was distributed to each member of the group. Water was given out in a similar fashion. That night not all the POWs could lie down to sleep.
The POWs were awoken at 4:00 A.M., ordered to form 100 men detachments, and taken to the train station at San Fernando. They were put into a small wooden boxcars and taken to Capas. The cars could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and closed the doors. Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the cars. From Capas, they walked the last ten miles to Camp O' Donnell.
Once in the camp, the POWs were taken into a large field were they were counted and searched. Blankets, knives, and matches were taken from the them. Finally, the camp commandant came out, stood on a box and told them that they were enemies of Japan and would always be Japan's enemies. The prisoners were than allowed to go to their barracks.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino training base that the Japanese pressed into service as a Prisoner of War camp. It turned out to be a death trap with as many as fifty POWs dying each day. There was only one working water faucet for the entire camp. To get a drink, men stood in line for hours. Many died while waiting for a drink. The death rate among the POWs was high enough to get POWs to volunteer to go out on work details to escape the camp.
The Japanese recognized that they had to do something to lower the death rate, so they opened a new camp at Cabanatuan. Daniel was sent to the new camp because he was one of the healthier POWs. He did not remain in the camp very long.
In early August, Daniel's name appeared on a roster of POWs being transferred to another part of the Japanese Empire. The POWs were taken by truck to Bilibid Prison. On August 11th, they were taken to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Nagara Maru. The ship sailed on August 12th and arrived at Takao, Formosa, of August 14th. The POWs were disembarked and boarded onto a second ship, the Suzuya Maru, which sailed on August 16th and arrived at Keelung, Formosa, on August 17th. The POWs were disembarked and taken Karenko POW Camp, where they worked on a farm. He remained in the camp until October 1944.
While he was a POW on Formosa, Daniel became the orderly for General James N. Weaver who had previously been the commander of the Provisional Tank Group. Daniel took care of the general and made sure that he remained in descent health. For his dedication to General Weaver, Brigadier General William E. Brougher wrote a poem about Daniel.
The POWs were moved to Shirakawa Camp where
the POWs once again worked on a farm
until the POWs were sent to Keelung and
boarded a third ship, the Oryoku
Maru. The ship left Keelung
on October 24th and arrived at Fusan,
Korea, on October 27, 1944, and
disembarked. The healthier POWs
took a two day train trip to Mukden,
Return to HQ Company