Nugent

 



Cpl. Daniel Harden Nugent
    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 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, on the side of a hill, the battalion learned they were being sent overseas.  According to members of the battalion, General George Patton told them the news.  Men too old to go overseas were released from federal service.  Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion.
    Many of the members of the battalion were given leave so that they could say goodbye to family and friends.  They returned to Camp Polk and traveled by train to San Francisco, California.  From San Francisco, the tankers 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.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd. 
The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  They sailed the same day for Manila.  The ships entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  


   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.  At Orani, the POWs were put into a bull pin.  In one corner was slit trench that was suppose to be used as a washroom.  The surface of the pit was alive with maggots.  It was also there that they received their first food.
     At 6:00 P.M. the POWs were formed into detachments, they began to march north again.  When they were given a break, they were allowed to sit but they had stay in ranks. When they got north of Hermosa, they were on paved road which made it easier to walk.  It began to rain which was refreshing for the prisoners. 
    The POWs continued north through Layac before daylight.  They passed through Lurao in the morning and Guagua at midday.  Many POWs fell out at this point.  The guards beat the men, but if they refused to get up, they let me lay on the ground until he could continue or was taken by truck to San Fernando.
    At San Fernando, the men were forced into another bull pin.  This one was already filled with Filipino soldiers.  By night, not all the POWs could lie down.
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.
    The POWs were awoken at 4:00 A.M. and taken to the train station.  The Japanese ordered the POWs to form columns and took them to the train depot at San Fernando. 
They were put into a small wooden boxcar and taken to Capas.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car.  Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the car.  From Capas, they walked the last ten miles to Camp O' Donnell.

        The POWs made their way north through Limay.  At Orani, the POWs were put into a bull pin.  In one corner was slit trench that was suppose to be used as a washroom.  The surface of the pit was alive with maggots.  It was also there that they received their first food.
     At 6:00 P.M. the POWs were formed into detachments, they began to march north again.  When they were given a break, they were allowed to sit but they had stay in ranks. When they got north of Hermosa, they were on paved road which made it easier to walk.  It began to rain which was refreshing for the prisoners. 
    The POWs continued north through Layac before daylight.  They passed through Lurao in the morning and Guagua at midday.  Many POWs fell out at this point.  The guards beat the men, but if they refused to get up, they let me lay on the ground until he could continue or was taken by truck to San Fernando.
    At San Fernando, the men were forced into another bull pin.  This one was already filled with Filipino soldiers.  By night, not all the POWs could lie down.
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.
    The POWs were awoken at 4:00 A.M. and taken to the train station.  The Japanese ordered the POWs to form columns and took them to the train depot at San Fernando. 
They were put into a small wooden boxcar and taken to Capas.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car.  Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the car.  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.  The POWs 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.  transferred to a third ship, the Oryoku Maru.  The ship left Keelung on October 24th and arrived at Fusan, Korea, on October 27, 1944.  The POWs took a two day train trip to Mukden, Manchuria.
    In the camp, Daniel continued to play the role of General Weaver's orderly.  Weaver promoted Daniel to Technical Sergeant while he was a POW.  He was most likely the only POW ever promoted in rank while a POW.  
 
    Daniel was liberated at M and promoted to staff sergeant.  He returned home and married Maude Koonce and became the father of a daughter.  He also became the driver for Gen. Mark Clark.  On January 31, 1961, Daniel retired from the military.  He worked as a carpenter.
    Daniel Nugent later resided in Panama City,  Florida.  He died there on May 13, 1999, and was buried in Evergreen Memorial Gardens, Panama City.
    
   






                     
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