Blacketer_W

 

Pvt. William Elwood Blacketer


Born: 5 April 1919 - Mackville, Kentucky

Parents: Elmer Blacketer & Hattie Shewmaker-Blacketer

Siblings: 3 sisters, 7 brothers

Home:  461 Hardin Avenue - Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Occupation: Odd Jobs

Enlisted: 

    - Kentucky National Guard - Harrodsburg

Inducted: 

    - U. S. Army

        - 25 November 1940 - Harrodsburg

Training: 

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky

        - tank driver

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana

        - Louisiana Maneuvers
Note:  In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers.  It was after these maneuvers that the 192nd Tank Battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox.  Many of the soldiers were furloughs home and get their affairs in order.
    The decision for this move -  which had been made in August 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:
    - soldiers arrived by train in San Francisco, California
    - ferried to Angel Island
    - Boarded: U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott
    - Sailed: San Francisco - Monday - 27 October 1941

    - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
        - soldiers give shore leave
    - Sailed: Wednesday - 5 November 1941

        - took southerly route away from main shipping lanes

        - joined by U.S.S. Louisville and S.S. Calvin Coolidge
    - Arrived: Guam - 16 November 1941
        - ships take on coconuts, water, vegetables, bananas

    - Sailed: 17 November 1941
    - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands
        - Thursday - Thursday - 20 November 1941

            - soldiers disembark ship three to four hours after arrival
            - boarded buses
   - Stationed: Ft. Stostenburg
            - housed in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
            - General Edward King greeted them and apologize about their living quarters
            - made sure that the soldiers had Thanksgiving dinner before they he had his own

Engagements: 

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942 

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942 

Prisoner of War: 

    - 9 April 1942

        - Death March

            - Mariveles - POWs started march at southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
                - Americans on Corregidor returned fire
            - 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
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps: 

    Philippine Islands: 

        - 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
 

        - Cabanatuan

Hell Ship: 

     - Nagato Maru  

        - Boarded: Manila - 6 November 1942

        - Sailed: 7 November 1942
            - holds covered during submarine attack
            - ship shook from depth charges

        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 November 1942
            - stayed three days in harbor
        - Sailed: 14 November 1942
        - Arrived: same day
            - Pecadores Islands

        - Sailed: 18 November 1942

        - Arrived: Keelung, Formosa - same day

        - Sailed: 20 November 1942

        - Arrived: Moji - 24 November 1942

            - POWs deloused after coming ashore

            - inoculated

            - new clothing
POW Camps:

    - Japan:  

        - Yodagawa Camp
            - Arrival: 22 November 1942

            - Work: steel mill
            - Japanese pilfered Red Cross packages of cigarettes, canned food and milk, cheese, and other items
                    - also took Red Cross clothing and shoes

            - POWs fed moldy rice and green wheat which made them sick

            - Camp Closed: 18 May 1945
                - most, if not all, the POWs were sent to Osaka 3-B
                    - camp also known as Oeyama

        - Oeyama Camp

            - Work: nickel refinery
                - mines located almost six miles from camp

                    - POWs extracted ore with picks and shovels

                    loaded ore into ore car and pushed it to a railroad track that ran past mine

                    - often worked in snow as deep as six feet
                - POWs also worked on Miyazu docks
                    - stole food meant for Japanese Army

            - Collective Punishment

                - if a POW broke a rule all POWs in his work detachment or the camp were punished

                    - 12 POWs were accused of stealing rice while at the docks

                        - stood at attention for two hours

                        - forced to swallow rope which caused them to vomit

                        - Japanese found no rice

                        - fed the POWs rice and let them go to their barracks
                    - at times entire camp was made to stand at attention because a rule was broken by one POW

            - Red Cross packages withheld from POWs

                - Japanese appropriated packages for canned meats, canned milk, butter, chocolate, and cigarettes

                - Japanese also use clothes and shoes meant for POWs
            - 30 July 1945 - air raid
                - B-29s heavy bomb the the nearby port town on
Miyazu on west coast of island

                    - bombing runs went over camp
                    - two POWs accidentally killed

                - one guard told POWs they would be killed if Americans invaded Japan
            - two weeks later major attack on Miyazu
                - lasted all night until noon the next days
            -guard who told them they would be executed told the POWs the war was over

Liberated: 2 September 1945
Sailed: Manila - U.S.S. Joseph T. Dychman - September 1945
Arrived: San Francisco - 16 October 1945

Married: Juanita Yeast

    - sister of Willard and Claude Yeast of the 192nd Tank Battalion

Note: 

    According to Bill Blacketer, his father had worked as a book salesman and was accused of embezzling money from his company.  He spent two years in prison.  Bill stated that he was in Louisville in December 1969, just after enlisting in the Air Force.  He was walking down the street and ran into his father.  The two talked for several hours before parting company.  That was the last time he ever saw his father.

    Other members of the family have stated that William was involved in some trouble with Chicago hoodlums.  According to them, he disappeared not too long after this and has never been heard from again. 


 

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