Pvt. Henry Andrew Rusch
Pvt. Henry A. Rusch was the
son of Frederick Rusch & Anna
Koenig-Rusch. He was born in June 10,
1922. With his two sisters and two brothers,
he grew up in Maywood and attended local
schools. He was a member of the Proviso
Township High School Class of 1940 but left school
before graduating. He was known as "Henry"
or "Hank" to his family and friends. When he
was called for federal service, he was working
with the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Harry was one of the original Illinois National
Guard members who was called to federal service
on November 25, 1940. At Fort Knox,
Kentucky, he trained to be a member of a tank
Harry spent the next four months fighting the Japanese. In action at Demotis, on December 22, 1941, Harry was reported missing in action. He was later reported as being okay.
After four months of fighting, on April 9, 1942, he and the other tankers heard the order "crash". This was the order to destroy their tanks and surrender to the Japanese. At this time, it is not known if Harry surrendered or escaped to the Island of Corregidor.
What is known is that he was held as a Prisoner of War at Cabanatuan. He also went out on a work detail to Ft. Stotsenburg on October 1, 1942. In November 1942, he was sent to the Port Area of Manila and on the November 7th the POWs were boarded onto the Nagato Maru for shipment to Japan. The ship sailed for the Pescadores Islands and arrived at Takao, Formosa, on November 11th. On November 17th it sailed for the Pescadores Islands. It arrived at the islands the next day. The Nagato Maru sailed on November 18th for Kelung Island and arrived the same date. After a two day stay, the ship sailed for Moji, Japan, and arrived on November 24th.
In Japan, Harry was sent to Tanagawa. The camp there would later be known as Osaka Section Camp #4-B. The POWs arrived at night and were housed in five flimsy barracks that were unheated. In the camp they were used to construct a dry dock for Japanese submarines. To do this, the POWs tore down the side of a mountain.
On April 13, 1945, Harry and 105 other POWs were transferred to Omi POW Camp. There, he labored in a quarry and cement factory. He also may have cleaned furnaces by cleaning out carbon from them.
Harry was liberated in September 1945. On
September 9th, he and the other POWs were sent
to Yokohama by train. From there, they
were returned to the Philippines to be fattened
up before being sent back to the United
States. In early September, he wired his
mother that he was being flown home.
Harry returned home to Maywood after the war. According to his family, he was just a happy go lucky person who loved life. On December 19, 1958, he married Mayme Ledford. The couple was extremely happy.
Harry supported his wife and himself by working as a cab driver. On October 3, 1962, after working all day, he sat down in a chair, at the cab station, and slumped over. He had died of a heart attack. Henry Rusch was buried at Glen Oak Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
It should be mentioned that while Henry was a POW, his sister married, David Deckert, the brother of Henry Deckert of B Company.