Maj. Maynard Goldman Snell
    Major Maynard G. Snell was the son of Benjamin F. Snell & Mattie E. Goldman-Snell and was born in 1901.  It is known that he grew up, with his brother and sister, in Lampasas County, Texas.  After high school, he attended Texas A&M College and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in 1921.  He next attended New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which is now New Mexico State University, where he earned a Masters Degree in Veterinary Medicine.          
    Snell became a college professor, served on the faculty of Louisiana State University, and was a published author.  At the same time that he was teaching, he served in the Army Reserve.  On February 26, 1941, he was called to active duty in the army and left his teaching position. 

    At Fort Benning, Georgia, Snell attended Officers Training School, and upon completion of this program, he was sent to Camp Bowie, Texas.  It was from there that he was sent to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to join his new unit the 192nd Tank Battalion which was being sent to the Philippine Islands.
 
   
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, and the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.  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. 
    On another occasion, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon  The escort cruiser revved its engines and took off after the ship.  As it did this, its bow came out of the water.  As it turned out, the ship belonged to a neutral country. 
    When the ships arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, they took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the next day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th, where 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. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.  The week of December 1st, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  
    Around 12:45 in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, as the tankers were getting lunch,  planes approached the airfield.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the airfield that they knew the planes were Japanese.  The bombers were followed by fighters which strafed the area.

    During this time, Snell mentioned in a letter home that he had been assigned as a liaison officer to Gen. MacArthur's staff.   The envelope that the letter came in appeared to be homemade.  Although in this role he never saw action, he did have the job seeing that the tankers received the necessary food and other supplies so that they could continue to fight.   In the same letter, he mentioned that Lt. Willie Heard, another member of the 192nd and a law student at Louisiana State, was also with him in the Philippines.
    In another letter written in February 1942, he told his parents:

    "The last two months have been quite an experience for us.  The Japs started their offensive on December 8th and have rapidly most of the island of Luzon, on which Manila is located.  What has happened in the rest of the island, I do not know.  I do know that a considerable portion of the news we hear over the radio is exaggerated.
    For example, after the first raid on Ft. Stotsenberg by the Japs, radio reported that the 192nd Tank Battalion had been wiped out.  As a matter of fact, that battalion's tanks had been hidden in the woods for the protection of Clark Field and their casualties were less than 0.02 per dent.  Jap bombings from the air were heavy and their forces were considerably larger than ours.  During the fighting that followed, casualties have naturally occurred but the estimates of the Jap losses have been as nine to one for the Americans."

    In another excerpt from the letter, he said:

    "With no more fighting that is going on at the present.  We could hold on indefinitely."

   
On April 9, 1942, Snell became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. 
On April 10th, the Japanese arrived and ordered the HQ personnel onto the road.  The POWs learned quickly the treatment they would receive from the Japanese.  If a prisoner fell, he was kicked in his stomach and hit in the head with a rifle butt.  If he still did not get up, the Japanese guard determined that the man was exhausted and left him lay there.
    When the trial ended, the POWs had reached the main road, where the first thing the Japanese did was separated the officers from the enlisted men.  After this was done, the POWs were left in the sun for the rest of the day.  That night they were ordered north out of Bataan.  The march was difficult in the dark since they could not see where they were walking.  Whenever they slipped, they knew they had stepped on the remains of a dead soldier.
    The POWs made their way north against the flow of Japanese troops who were moving south.  At Limay on April 11th, they were put into a school yard and told that the officers would be driven to the POW camp.  At 4:00 AM, the officers were put into trucks for an unknown destination.  They were taken to Balanga, disembarked, and ordered to put their field bags in front of them for inspection.  During the inspection, one officer was found to have an automatic gun in his bag.  As punishment the POWs were not fed.  They set in a paddy all day and were ordered to move near sunset.  They were made to march as punishment for the gun being in the bag.  They reached Orani on April 12th at three in the morning. 
    At Orani, the POWs were put in a pen and ordered to lay down.  In the morning, the POWs realized that they had been laying in human waste. 
At noon, the POWs received their first food which was a meal of rice and salt.  Later in the day, other POWs arrived in Orani.  While they were there, one group that arrived was the enlisted members of the tank group.  They had walked the entire way to the barrio.
    At 6:30 that evening, POWs resumed the march but this part of the march was different.  The POWs were marched at a faster pace.  The guards also seemed to be nervous about something as the POWs made  their way to Hormosa, where, the road went from gravel to concrete.  The POWs found that 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 the march.  For the first time in months, it began to rain which felt great.  At 4:30 PM on April 13th, they arrived at San Fernando.  The POWs were once again put into a pen.   In one corner was a slit trench which the POWs used as a toilet which was covered with flies.  At 4:00 in the morning, the Japanese woke the POWs and marched them to the train station where they were packed into small wooden boxcars.  The cars were known as "Forty or Eight" because each car could hold forty men or eight horses.  They rode the train to Capas arriving there at 9:00 AM.  There, the living disembarked from the cars.  When they did, the dead fell to the floors.  From Capas, the POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.  
    The camp was an unfinished Philippine Army training base that the Japanese put into use as a POW camp.  There was one water faucet for the entire camp.  Men literaally died for a drink.  The death rate in the camp reached as many as 55 men a day.  The death rate got so bad that the Japanese opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
     It is not known if Snell was sent the camp when it opened or was sent there after returning from a work detail.  What is known is that after American troops landed in the Philippines, the Japanese began transferring large numbers of the remaining POWs to other parts of their empire. 
    On September 24, 1944, Snell was sent to Bilibid Prison and remained there for over two months.  On December 8th, the Japanese told the medical staff to put together a list of POWs who were healthy enough to be sent to Japan.  The morning of December 12th roll call was taken and Snell's name was on the list.  That evening he said his goodbyes to his friends.  At 4:00 A.M., on the 13th, the POWs were awakened and fed breakfast.  In addition, the POWs were told they would receive, cigarettes, soap, and salt. 

    The POWs were allowed to roam the prison until ordered to form ranks.  When the order was given, 1,619 POWs were marched down Luzon Boulevard to Pier 7 in Manila.  As they marched they noticed that the street cars were not running.  When they reached the harbor, they noticed many of the ships in the harbor were damaged from American attacks.
    After arriving at Pier 7 in the Port Area of Manila, the POWs were allowed to lay down.  Many fell asleep and slept to around 3:45 P.M.  About 5:00 P.M., the POWs were boarded onto the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan.
   Snell boarded the ship and was put in the rear hold.  On the sides of the hold were tiers of bunks that went around the walls of the hold.  The POWs under the hatch used anything they could find to fan air to the POWs further away from the hatch.
    The ship remained docked in Manila and did not sail until 3:30 A.M. as part of the Convoy-37.  Inside the holds, the temperature was near 100 degrees.  The POWs could tell they were in open water from the wave swells.
   
It was during the night of Wednesday, December 13, 1944, that Maj. Maynard G. Snell collapsed and died in the rear hold of the ship.  After his death, his body was stripped of its clothing and hoisted out of the hold and thrown into the sea. 
    Since Maj. Maynard G. Snell was lost at sea, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.





 

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