Pfc. Irvin Martin Brosnan
Born: 23 February 1919 - Trona, California
Parents: Martin F. Brosnan & Catherine McFarlan-Brosnan
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 brother
Hometown: Trona, California
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 17 February 1941 - Los Angeles, California
Training:
    - Unknown
Units:
    - Unknown
        - possibly joined 17th Ordnance, in California, as it was being sent to
          the Philippine Islands
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - company created from A Company of 19th Ordnance
        - trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
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 1842
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - supplied tanks with ammunition & supplies
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - POWs 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

                - each car could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - those POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - walk last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
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
            - camp had been opened to lower death rate among POWs
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - Japanese put base into use as 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
Hell Ship:
   - Tottori Maru
        - Boarded: 1961 POWs put on ship - 7 October 1942
            - 500 POWs in front hold
            - 1461 in rear hold
        - Sailed: Manila - 8 October 1942 10:00 A.M.
            - passed Corregidor at noon
        - 9 October 1942 - two torpedoes fired at ship by an American submarine
                - ship misses mine laid by American submarine
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 October 1942
        - Sailed: 16 October 1942 - 7:30 A.M.
            - because of submarines the ship returned to Takao - 10:30 P.M.
        - Sailed: 18 October 1942
        - Arrived: Pescadores Islands - same day
            - remained anchored off islands for several days
            - two POWs died
                - buried at sea
        - Sailed: 27 October 1942
        - Arrived: Takao - same day
            - 28 October 1942 - POWs taken ashore ans showered
            - ship also cleaned
            - food stuffs loaded onto ship
        - Sailed: 30 October 1942
        - Arrived: Fuson, Korea - 9 November 1942
        - Disembarked: 9 November 1942
            - POWs disembarked and issued new clothes and fur-lined overcoats
            - sick left behind at Fusan
            - those who recovered were later sent to Mukden
            - white boxes with ashes of those who died sent with survivors
        - Train Ride: POWs took two day train trip to
Mukden, Manchuria
            - 11 November 1942 - arrived at Mukden
POW Camp:
    - Manchuria
        - Mukden
            - Work: machine shop or lumber mill
Liberated: 20 August 1945 - Russian Army
    - taken by train to Darian, China
    - returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
    - U.S.S. Tryon
        - Sailed: Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 24 October 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital
Promoted: Sergeant
Discharged: 21 April 1946
Note: His brother, Joseph, was Killed in Action
Residence: San Bernardino County, California
Died: 3 March 1998
Buried:
    - Riverside National Cemetery - Riverside, California
        - Section:  48   Site:  5192

 

 

 

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