Baxter_V

 

Tec 5 Von Haslem Baxter


Born: 7 March 1915 - Mount Sterling, Utah

Parents: Robert L. Baxter & Sarah Haslam-Baxter

Hometown: Wellsville, Utah

Siblings: 4 sisters 2 brothers

    - one brother died in 1939
Education: left high school during junior year

Inducted: 17 March 1941 - Salt Lake City

Unit:

    - A Company, 19th Ordnance Battalion

        - Reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company

Training:

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  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 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: U.S.S. President 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 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
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalion

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

           - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
           - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
               - American artillery returned fire
           - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars
               - those POWs who died remained standing
           - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
           - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for water to be turned on again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio
              Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
            - 1 June 1942 - Japanese began transfer of POWs to new camp

            - Baxter was considered too ill to be moved, so he remained behind at Camp O'Donnell

Died:

    - Saturday - 4 July 1942 - dysentery

Buried:

    - Camp O'Donnell Cemetery
        Section O   Plot 8   Grave 10
Burial:
   - Latter Day Saint Memorial Service - 27 October 1948

Reburied:

    - 27 October 1948 - Wellsville Cemetery - Wellsville, Utah

        - Plot:  A  10  7  6 


 


 

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