S/Sgt. Nevel C. Adams

Born: 1 May 1907 - Madison County, Kentucky

Parents: John L. Adams & Sallie Daugherty-Adams

Siblings: 5 sisters, 3 brothers

Hometown: Union City, Kentucky

    - 1930 - family lived in Gary, Indiana 


    - most likely enlisted in 1939

Reenlisted 7 October 1941 


    - 19th Ordnance Battalion

       - trained alongside 192nd Tank Battalion
       - learned to repair the 57 vehicles used by the Army

       - August 1941 - took part in maneuvers in Arkansas

    - 17th Ordnance Company

       - A Company, 19th Ordnance designated 17th Ordnance Company

           - received orders to go overseas the same day
Note: The decision for this move -  which had been made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.   Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:

    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California

        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
            - given physicals and inoculations
            - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day

            - escorted by heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
                - ships belonged to friendly countries
        - Tuesday - 16 September 1941 - crossed International Dateline
            - date became - Thursday - 18 September 1941
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - about 3:00 P.M.
            - company remained behind at pier to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg

    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands


    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942 

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942 

            - serviced the tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions 

            - escaped to Corregidor - 9 April 1942

    - Battle of Corregidor

Prisoner of War:

    - 6 May 1942

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Cabanatuan
        - original name: Camp Panagaian
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - actually three camps
                -  POWs from Camp O'Donnell put in Camp 1
                    - Camp 2 was four miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3 was six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
           - Camp 1
                - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in
                  their shins with their hobnailed boots
                    - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp's fence
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
                - the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn

        - Barracks:
            - each barracks built for 50 POWs
                - 60 to 120 POWs were held in each one
                - POWs slept on bamboo strips
                - no showers
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in

                - many deaths caused by malnutrition
                - others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
            - Nevel was admitted to the hospital and assigned to the ward


    - Monday - 15 June 1942 - malaria

         - approximate time of death - 10:00 AM

        - Note: Rosters kept at camp state that Nevel Adams died from dysentery


    - Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery

        - his remains and those of twelve other POWs could not be positively identified


     - 15 May 1952

         - Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery - St. Louis, Missouri

             - Section:  85   Site:  54 - 58




Return to 17th Ordnance