Pvt. Campbell King Sadler
| Pvt. Campbell
K. Sadler was born on August 26, 1916, in Garrard
County, Kentucky, to James E. Sadler and Mattie
Anderson-Sadler. He had three brothers and
two sisters. He left school after the eighth
grade and went to work at a sand and gravel
company. He married Agnes Fern Harrington
and became the father of a daughter and son.
The family resided at 411 Lucas avenue in
Harrodsburg, Kentucky. With his brother, Sgt. John
Sadler, he had joined the Kentucky National
In September 1940, the tank company was re-designated D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. On November 25th, the company rode a train to Fort Knox, Kentucky, and joined three other National Guard tank companies to form the battalion.
In early 1941, Campbell was transferred to Headquarters Company when it was formed. What duties he performed with the company are not known.
In August 1941, the battalion was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers. Headquarters Company performed administration duties and tank maintenance. At the end of the maneuvers, the tankers were ordered to Camp Polk without being given a reason. They had expected to return to Ft. Knox.
On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the battalion learned that they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM. Within hours, many of the soldiers had figured out that PLUM was an acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.
It was at this time, men 29 years or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service. Those who did were replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion. This battalion had been sent to the fort, but it had not taken part in the maneuvers. The M3 "Stuart" tanks from the battalion were also given to the 192nd.
Traveling west over different train routes, the battalion arrived in San Francisco and ferried to Angel Island. On the island, the tankers were immunized and given physicals. Men found to have treatable medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
The battalion sailed 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 tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers. During the night, word had been received about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. HQ Company remained behind in the battalion's bivouac.
All morning long, American planes filled the sky. At noon, every plane landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, 54 planes approached the airfield from the north. The tankers believed the planes were American until what they described as "raindrops" appeared to fall from the planes. When bombs began exploding around them, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. The members of HQ Company could do little more than watch the attack and seek shelters since they had no weapons to be used against planes.
For the next four months, HQ Company worked to keep the tank companies operational. The morning of April 9, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni, commander of HQ Company informed his men of the surrender. Bruni somehow came up with enough food for the men to have what he called, "Their last supper." The meal consisted of bread and pineapple. Bruni told his men that from this point on it was each man for himself. Most of the company remained in their bivouac for two days.
It was at this time that Campbell made the decision to attempt to reach Corregidor. He and other members of the company made their way to the coast. They found a boat, got the engine running, and convinced the owner, at gun point, to take them to Corregidor. As they approached the island, they signaled it with a flashlight. They finally received a response which told them how to get through the islands mine field.
On the island, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft gun. The Japanese landed on the island on May 6th in an all out invasion. It was on that day the Campbell became a Prisoner of War. He and the other men were herded onto a beach which was designated Corregidor POW Camp. He remained there for about a week when the Japanese began moving the POWs to Manila by barge.
The barge took the POWs to a point about 100 yards from the shore. At that point, the POWs jumped into the water and swam to shore. Once on shore, they were taken to a pier which had been damaged during the Battle of Bataan and filled the holes with pieces of concrete. After they finished, they were ordered to form detachments of 100 men and ordered to march.
Having heard from men who had escaped the march out of Bataan what it was like, they feared they would have the same experience. To their surprise the POWs were not abused on the march and were marched at a reasonable rate. They marched up Dewey Boulevard in Manila to Bilibid Prison. The POWs remained at Bilibid until they were transferred to Cabanatuan.
In late 1942, Campbell went out on the work detail to build and expand runways at Clark Airfield. The POWs did the work with picks and shovels. He remained on the detail for nearly a year when he became ill and sent to the hospital ward at Bilibid Prison. According medical records kept there, Campbell was suffering from pellagra when he arrived there on September 18, 1943. It is not known when, but he was sent to Cabanatuan.
On September 30, 1943, Campbell was sent back to Bilibid as part of a POW detachment being sent to Japan. Medical records show he was still suffering from pellagra. It appears that he was considered too ill to be sent to Japan and sent to what was referred to as "Medical Department Personnel." He was readmitted to the hospital on October 20th and records show he was discharged on October 21, 1943, back to the Medical Department Personnel.
A year later, Campbell's name appeared on another POW draft for transport to Japan. The POWs were taken to the Port Area of Manila and on August 25, 1944, boarded onto the Noto Maru. It joined three other ships to form a convoy. The ships went to Subuc Bay where they spent the night. The ships sailed and arrived at Takao, Formosa, on August 30th. On September 1st they sailed to Keelung arriving the same day. The ship sailed and arrived at Moji, Japan, on September 4th.
The POWs were formed into detachments and marched to the train station. In Campbell's case, his detachment was taken by train to northern Honshu and Hanawa POW Camp. The POWs in the camp worked in the Osarizawa Copper Mine that was owned by Mitsubishi Mining Company.
Each morning, the POWs would eat and walk to the mine. During the winter it meant they marched through deep snow. They would march up the side of a mountain and down into the mine. The POWs noticed that the guards never marched up the mountain, but somehow they were waiting for them in the mine when they got to the bottom. The POWs learned that the Japanese had cut a tunnel into the mine so they did not have to climb up the side of the mountain.
Campbell remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 12, 1945. On that date, an American officer showed up at the camp's gates. The POWs knew the war was over because they had been dropped food, medicine, and clothing.
A few days later, the POWs returned to the train station and rode the train to Yokohama. There, they rode trucks to the docks. At the docks, they were processed by the Recovered Personnel Team. They were taken by hospital ship to the Philippines where they received medical treatment and were fatten up. He was boarded onto the U.S.S. Tryon arriving at San Francisco on October 24, 1945. There, he was sent to Letterman General Hospital.
Sadler remained in the military and rose in rank to Sergeant First Class. He resided in Columbus, Ohio, and after he retired he resided in Muskogee County, Georgia. Campbell passed away on October 12, 1972, and was buried at Fort Benning Post Cemetery in Muskogee County, Georgia, in Section A, Site 586.