Brazzel

Pfc. Rufus Brazzel


Born: January 1916 - Kaufmann County, Texas

Parents: Edmond D. Brazzel & Maude F. Lewis-Brazzel

Siblings: 1 sister, 4 brothers

Hometown: Otter Creek, Oklahoma

Education: completed grade school

Enlisted:

    - U.S. Army

         - 25 September 1940 - Ft. Still, Oklahoma

Unit:

    - 19th Ordnance Battalion 

        - A Company, 19th Ordnance Battalion

        - company deactivated and activated as 17th Ordnance Company

Training:

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Note: On August 15, 1941, orders were issued to the company, 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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed, 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:
    - Arrived: 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: 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 reattached
              turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

            - serviced tanks of 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan

                - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor

                    - American artillery returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars

                - dead fell out of cars as living climbed out
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino Army training base

            - Japanese put camp into use as POW camp

            - one water spigot for the entire camp 

            - as many as 50 POWs died each day

            - Japanese opened new camp at Cabanatuan

            - Rufus Brazzel was too sick to be moved

Died:

    - Monday - 15 June 1942 - malaria

        - approximate time of death - 1:00 PM

Buried:

    - Camp O'Donnell Cemetery

        - after the war his remains could not be positively identified

        - buried at the new American cemetery as an "Unknown" 

Memorial:

     - Tablets of the Missing - American Military Cemetery - Manila, Philippine Islands


 

 




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