Pvt. James Taylor Aikin
Born: 11 December 1926 - Hardin County, Kentucky
Nickname: "Ted"
Parents: Samuel & Minola Aikin
Siblings: 3 sisters, 2 brothers
Home: Hardin County, Kentucky
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 1941
            -lied about his age - only fifteen years old
Training:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
    - 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:
    - 4 September  1941
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 5 September 1941
    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - 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 the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.

Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands  

Engagements:
    - 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
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
          - Mariveles - POWs start march at southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
                - Americans on Corregidor returned fire
                -Ted ate toothpaste powder and used iodine to purify water
                - at one point, he witnessed an American beheaded with a bayonet
                - the Japanese stuck the man's head on a pole
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars

POW Camps:
    - Philippines:
        - Camp O'Donnell
            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate

            - 1 June 1942 - POWs formed detachments of 100 men
                - POWs marched out gate and marched toward Capas
                    - Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
                        - the guards did not stop them
                - At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
                - train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
                    - POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a school yard
                    - fed rice and onion soup
                - arrived at Cabanatuan
        - Cabanatuan
            - original name: Camp Panagaian
                - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - actually three camps
                    - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell
                    - Camp 2:  four miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3: 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
            - 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
            - POWs taken by truck to Bilibid Piison - 28 October 1942
                - many deaths caused by malnutrition
                - others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
Hell Ship:
    - Nagato Maru
        - Boarded: 6 November 1942
        - Sailed: Manila - 7 November 1942
            - three ship convoy
            - submarine attacked convoy
                - Japanese put hatch covers on holds
                - POWs felt depth charges explosions through hauls
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 November 1942
        - Sailed: 14 November 1942
        - Arrived: Pescadores Islands
            - remained off islands because of a storm for two days
            - lice spread among POWs
        - Sailed: 18 November 1942
        - Arrived: Keelsung, Formosa - 18 November 1942
        - Sailed: 20 November 1942
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 24 November 1942
  
Disembark: 25 November 1942
   
- POWs deloused, showered, fed, and issued new clothes    
    - POWs boarded train and rode to POW camp
    - Arrived: 26 November 1942
POW Camp:
    - Japan:
        - Mitsushima
        - Tokyo 12B
            - also known as Mitsushima Camp
            - during trip to camp, the train the POWs were on had to stop because of a train wreck at a tunnel
                - the POWs left the train and climbed a mountain at night to reach the camp
            - when they reached the camp, the POWs stood out in the cold for an hour and a half and listen to
              the camp commandant
                - he threatened to kill them at the slightest opportunity
        - Work:
            - POWs carried cement to build dam
            - work done during winter months
            - POWs suffered from frozen feet
Note:  The Japanese intentionally failed to give the POWs adequate food, and the Japanese supervisor of the POW kitchen, Tomotsu Kimura, also known as "The Punk," was known to take sacks of rice - meant for the POWs - home.  The food the POWs did receive consisted of under-cooked rice and barley, and a soup that was made from mountain greens and weeds.  The portions given to the prisoners were smaller than they should have been because Kimura skimmed food from the POWs and gave it to the guards.
    Red Cross packages which arrived at the camp were commandeered by the Japanese for themselves.  If the POWs did receive packages, it was evident that they had been gone through because canned fruits and meats, cheese, chocolate, and other items were missing.
    The camp hospital was a hospital in name only.  The POWs were given little to none medicine when they were sick, and there were no bathroom facilities for the sick.  The POWs had to sleep on soiled blankets which could not be cleaned since there were no facilities to wash them.
- Transferred: 16 April 1944
        - Tokyo #16B
            - Work: carbide mill - POWs made carbide rods
            - owned by Showa K+Lenko Company
            - worked in dangerous conditions - poor lighting and supervision
Liberated: September 1945
    - returned to the Philippine Islands
    - 7 September 1945 - family notified he was liberated
Promoted: Corporal

Transport:
    - U.S.S. Yarmouth
        - Sailed: Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 8 October 1945

Reenlisted: 15 June 1946
Married: Jackie Ruth Wright - 17 September 1946
Children: 2 daughters, 3 sons
Retired: 1968
Rank: Master Sergeant
Owner: Akin Service Station - 25 years
    - turned station into game room - ran it for five years
Residence: West Point, Kentucky
Died: 30 August 2013 - Radcliff, Kentucky
Buried: Garnettsville Cemetery - Meade County, Kentucky



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