Cpl. Kelly STEPHEN Borders
15 September 1919 - Middletown, Ohio
Parents: John T. Borders & Leona Welch-Borders
- mother died when he was two years old
- 2 sisters, 3 brothers, 6 half-sisters, 3 half-brothers
Hometown: Middletown, Ohio
- living with sister and brother-in-law in Lemon, Ohio, in
Occupation: did odd jobs
- U. S. Army
- 8 May 1940
- Fort Knox, Kentucky
- B Company, 19th Ordnance Battalion
- A Company reorganized as: 17th Ordnance Company
- 17th Ordnance Company
Note: On August 15, 1941, the company received orders 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.
- 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 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
-27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
- Battle of Luzon
- 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
- Battle of Bataan
- 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
- did tank maintenance and supplied the tank battalions with ammunition
Prisoner of War:
- 9 April 1942
- Death March
- started march at Mariveles
- POWs ram past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
- Americans artillery returned fire
- San Fernando - POW packed into small wooden boxcars
- those who died remained standing
- Capas - POWs leave cars
- walked last miles to Camp O'Donnell
- Philippine Islands:
- Camp O'Donnell
- unfinished Filipino training base
- Japanese put base into use as POW Camp
- one water spigot for the entire camp
- as many as 50 POWs died each day
- Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan 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
- Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
- Japanese put base into use as a POW camp
- "Blood Brother" rule implemented
- if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
- work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens
- many were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco
- men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
- daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
- Lipa Batangas
- January 1943
- built runways and revetments at Lipa Airfield
- every other day the POWs worked on a farm
- sent to Bilibid
- Bilibid Prison
- Admitted: 11 December 1943
- hospitalized with pellagra
- Discharged: 16 December 1943
- sent to Cabantuan
- Nissyo Maru
- Boarded: 15 July 1944
- Sailed: Manila - 17 July 1944
- Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 17 July 1944
- Sailed: 28 July 1944
- Arrived: Moji, Japan - 3 August 1944
- Fukuoka #3B
Note: In violation of the Geneva Convention, the POWs worked at the Yawata Steel Mills doing manual labor. War materials were produced at the mills. Their work was shoveling iron ore and rebuilding the ovens. The POWs were sent into the ovens to clean out the debris. Since the ovens were hot, because the Japanese would not let them cool off, the POWs worked faster on this detail. Many of the products from the mill helped the Japanese war effort. If an air raid took place while the POWs were at the mill, they were put into railway cars and the train was pulled into a tunnel. They worked from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M., and received a half hour lunch.
The barracks that the POWs lived in were always cold since the Japanese heated them on a minimal basis. Only the sick rooms had heat. All POWs who died were reported to have died in the camp hospital. Food for the POWs consisted of a main dish of rice, wheat, wheat flour, corn, and, Kaoliang, a millet. To supplement their diets, the POWs in the camp would hunt rats at night for meat.
Although medical supplies for the POWs were sent to the camp by the Red Cross, the Japanese commandant would not give the American medical staff the medicine that was in the packages. Any surgery in the camp had to be performed with crude medical tools even though the Red Cross had sent the proper surgical tools. To meet quotas for workers, the sick POWs were required to work even if it meant they could possibly die from doing it. The Japanese camp doctor made the sick stand out in the cold for hours. He beat them and allowed the guards to beat them.
Three days a month, the POWs were allowed to exchange their worn out clothing for new clothing, but a Japanese guard beat POWs attempting to exchange their clothing. The POWs went without clothing to avoid the beatings which resulted in men developing pneumonia and dying.
The POWs were beaten daily with fists and sticks for violating camp rules, and the guards often required them to stand at attention, in the cold, while standing water. In one incident an entire barracks was slapped in the face, by the guards, because some POWs had smoked in the barracks. During the winter, POWs who were being punished often had water thrown on them. A group of about 60 POWs were made to crawl on their hands and knees, while carrying other POWs, on their backs. As they crawled, they were hit with bamboo sticks, belts, and rifle butts. There were two brigs in the camp which had as many as 20 POWs in them at a time.
Another incident involved an American soldier who traded with the Japanese. The war was almost over and Japan was about to surrender. The soldier traded for roasted beans. As it turned out, the beans had been tainted with arsenic. The soldier died the next day. After going through all he had suffered, the soldier died when freedom was almost his.
The Yawata Steel Mills were the primary target for the second atomic bomb, but since the sky was extremely overcast, the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This time, they saw Japanese workers facing in the direction of radio speakers with their heads bowed. The Americans thought that the emperor had passed away. The truth was that the second atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki, and the emperor was announcing Japan's surrender. An American ensign, who could read and speak Japanese, saw a newspaper with the announcement of the surrender. He was the first person to inform his fellow POWs that the war was over. They were then told the same news by a Japanese officer.
Liberated: 13 September 1945
- returned to the Philippine Islands
- U .S.S. Marine Shark
- Sailed: Manila - not known
- Arrived: Seattle, Washington - 1 November 1945
- taken to Madison General Hospital - Ft. Lewis, Washington
Military Career: U.S. Air Force
- retired as sergeant
Married: Ruth Drake
- 21 January 1970 - Middletown, Ohio
- Woodside Cemetery - Middletown, Ohio
- Section: 29 Lot: 993
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