Pfc. James M. Carter was born on August 25, 1919, and was the son
of Henry D. Carter and Regina Lois Ballard-Carter. With his six brothers and two sisters, he grew up in
Mayfield, Kentucky. He attended Wright Chapel School through the eighth grade but did not attend high
school. As a young man, he worked as a farmer growing tobacco and corn. He also raised dairy cows and
On January 22, 1941, James was inducted into the U. S. Army and sent
to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. Upon arriving at Ft. Knox, James was assigned to D Company of
the 192nd Tank Battalion. The company had originally been a Kentucky National Guard tank company from
Harrodsburg. Being that the company had be National Guard, the army attempted to fill-out its roster with
men from its home state.
A typical day started at 6:15 A.M. with reveille, but most of the soldiers were
already up so they could wash, dress, and be on time for assembly. Breakfast was from 7 to 8 A.M. which
was followed buy calisthenics from 8 to 8:30. After this, the remainder of the morning dealt with .30 and
.50 caliber machine guns, pistols, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in
At 11:30, the tankers got ready for lunch, which was from noon to 1:00 P.M., when they
went back to work by attending the various schools. At 4:30, the tankers day ended and retreat was at
5:00 P.M. followed by evening meal at 5:30. The day ended at 9:00 P.M. with lights out, but they did not
have to be in bed until 10:00 P.M. when taps was played.
From September 1 through 30, the 192nd took part in maneuvers in
Louisiana. After the maneuvers,the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where it remained for
two weeks. On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the battalion learned that it was being sent
overseas. The soldiers received furloughs home before returning to Camp Polk for transport to San
The real reason for this decision - 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.
The battalion's new tanks came from the 753rd Tank Battalion and were loaded onto
flat cars, on different trains. The soldiers also cosmolined anything that they thought would rust.
Over different train routes, the companies were sent to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried, by
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they were given
physicals by the battalion's medical detachment and men found with minor medical conditions were held on
the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27. During this part of the trip, many
tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine
guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a
two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away
from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Louisville and, the transport,
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they
awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11. During the night, while they slept, the ships had
crossed the International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the
horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the
direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas,
coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island
at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent
into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at
Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to
unload the tanks.
At the fort, the tankers were met by Colonel Edward P. King, who welcomed them and
made sure that they had what they needed. He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the
tankers and that they had to live in tents. The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days
before they arrived. He made sure that they had Thanksgiving Dinner before he left to have his own
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the
Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men
were assigned to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed
at the end of the rows of tents.
For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline
from their weapons. They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts. The plan was
for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
After arriving in the Philippines, the process was begun to transfer D Company to the
194th Tank Battalion, which had left for the Philippines minus one company. B Company of the battalion
was sent to Alaska while the remaining companies, of the battalion, were sent to the Philippines. The
medical clerk for the192nd spent weeks organizing records to be handed over to the 194th.
On December 1, the tank battalions were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to
guard against Japanese paratroopers. The 194th, with D Company, was assigned northern part of the
airfield and the 192nd guarded the southern half. Two members of each tank and half-track crew remained
with their vehicles at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, just hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,
the company was brought up to full strength at the perimeter of Clark Field. All morning long, the sky
was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed to be refueled and the pilots went to
lunch. The planes were parked in a straight line outside the pilots' mess hall.
At 12:45, two formations, totaling 54 planes, approached the airfield from the
north. When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew that planes were Japanese. Being
that their tanks could not fight planes, they watched as the Japanese destroyed the Army Air Corps.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield. The
soldiers watched as the dead, the dying, and the wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and
anything else, that could carry the wounded, was in use. When the hospital filled, they watched the
medics place the wounded under the building. Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
That night, most men slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their
tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed.
One of the results of the attack was that the transfer of D Company, to the 194th, was
never completed. The company retained its designation of being part of the 192nd for both the Battle of
Luzon and the Battle of Bataan.
The 194th, with D Company, was moved, the night of the 12th, to an area south of San
Fernando near the Calumpit Bridge arriving there at 6:00 A.M. On December 13, the tankers were moved 80
kilometers from Clark Field to do reconnaissance and to guard beaches. On the 15th, the battalion
received 15 Bren gun carriers but turned some over to the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts. These were
used to test the ground to see if it could support tanks.
The tank battalions were sent to the area around the Lingayen Gulf. The company
was near a mountain, so many of the tankers climber to the top. On the mountain, they found troops,
ammunition, guns but were just sitting there watching the Japanese ships in the gulf. They had received
orders not to fire.
The tankers walked down the mountain and waited. They received orders to
drop back from the mountain and let the Japanese occupy it. They watched as the Japanese brought their
equipment to the top of the mountain. The Americans finally received orders to launch a counterattack
On December 22nd, the companies were operating north of the Agno River and after the
main bridge was bombed, on December 24/25, made an end tun to get south of the river and not be trapped by the
Japanese. The tanks held the south bank of the river from west of Carmen to the Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista
Road with the 192nd holding the bank east of Carmen to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin).
Christmas Day, the tankers spent in the night in a coconut grove. As it turned
out, the coconuts were all they had to eat. From Christmas to January 15, 1942, both day and night, all
the tanks did was cover retreats of different infantry units. The tanks were constantly bombed, shelled,
The tanks formed a new defensive held the Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas- San Jose
line on December 26. When they dropped back from the line, all the platoons withdrew, except one which
provided cover, as the other platoons from the area. One tank went across the line receiving fire and
firing on the Japanese.
At Bayambang, Lt. Petree's platoon lost a tank. It was at this time that D
Company lost all their tanks, except one, because the bridge they were suppose to cross had been
destroyed. The company commander, Lt. Jack Altman, could not bring himself to totally destroy the tanks,
so they removed the alternators. The Japanese repaired them and used them on Bataan. The sergeant
of the one tank, that had not abandoned, found a place to ford the river a few hundred yards from the bridge.
The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27, and at San Isidro
south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29. On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the
defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5. Doing this would allow the
Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan. General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they
came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff.
Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces
defending the bridges over the Pampanga River. Due to the efforts of the Self-Propelled Mounts, the 71st
Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted. From January
2 to 4, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
At 2:30 A.M., the night of January 5/6, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force and
using smoke as cover. This attack was an attempt to destroy the tank battalions. At 5:00 A.M., the
Japanese withdrew having suffered heavy casualties.
The night of January 6/7 the tanks withdrew into the peninsula with the 192nd holding
its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it, cross the bridge, and then cover the
192nd's withdraw over the bridge. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan, before the
engineers blew up the bridge at 6:00 A.M. It was at this time that the tank companies were reduced to
three tanks each. This was done to provide tanks to D Company, while those crews still without tanks were
used as replacements,
At Gumain River, on January 5, D Company and C Company, 194th, were given the job to
hold the south riverbank so that the other units could withdraw. The tank companies formed a defensive
line along the bank of the river. When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see
since they were wearing white t-shirts. The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese. At this time, the
food rations were cut in half.
General Weaver also issued the following orders to the tank battalions around this
: "Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further
delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach
of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the
salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with
accomplishing the greatest possible delay."
A composite tank company was created on January 8th under the command of Capt.
Donald Haines, B Company, 192nd, and sent to defend the Wast Coast Road north of Hermosa. Its job was to
keep the north road open and prevent the Japanese from driving down the road before a new battle line had been
formed. The Japanese never lunched an attack allowing the defensive line to be formed. The tanks
withdrew after they began receiving artillery fire.
The remainder of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the Aubucay-Hacienda
Road. While there, the tank crews had their first break from action in nearly a month. The tanks,
which were long overdue for maintenance, were serviced by 17th Ordnance. It was also at this time that
tank platoons were reduced to ren tanks, with three tanks in each platoon. This was done so that D
Company, 192nd, would have tanks.
The 194th was sent to reopen the Moron Road so that General Segunda's forces,
which were trapped behind enemy lines, could withdraw. Attempting to do this two tanks were knocked out
by landmines planted by ordnance, but recovered, and a Japanese anti-tank gun was destroyed. The mission
was abandoned the next day. Gen. Segunda's forces escaped but lost their heavy equipment.
The next action the tanks saw was on the 20th when they were sent to relieve the 31st
Infantry's command post. On the 24th, the tanks were ordered to the Hacienda Road to support
infantry, but again could not accomplish their mission because of landmines planted by ordnance.
The 194th was holding a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road on January
26 with four self-propelled mounts. At 9:45 A.M., a Filipino came down the road and warned the battalion
that a large Japanese force was coming down the road. When they appeared the tanks opened up on them. At
10:30, the Japanese withdrew having lost 500 of 1200 men. This action prevented the new line of defense
from being breached.
On January 28, the tank battalions were given the job of guarding the beaches so that
the Japanese couldn't land troops. The 194th guarded the coastline from Limay to Cabcaban.
During the day, the tanks hid under the jungle canopy. At bight they were pulled out onto the
beaches. The battalion's half-tracks had the job of patrolling the roads. At all times, the tanks
were in contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols.
For most of March, the situation Bataan was relatively quiet and the Japanese had been
fought to a standstill. On one occasion, two tanks had gotten stuck in the mud, and the crews were
working to free them. While they were doing this, a Japanese regiment entered the area. Lt. Colonel
Ernest Miller ordered his tanks to fire on the Japanese at point blank range. He also ran from tank to
tank directing the crew's fire. The Japanese were wiped out. On March 21, the last major battle
was fought by the tanks.
Having brought in combat harden troops from Singapore, the Japanese lunched a major
offensive on April 3. The tanks were sent to various sectors in an attempt to stop the advance. On
the 6th, four tanks were sent to support the 45th Philippine Infantry, Philippine Scouts. One tank was knocked
out from anti-tank fire at the junctions of Trails 6 & 8, and the other tanks withdrew. On April 8,
the 194th was fighting on the East Coast Road at Cabcaban.
On April 7, 1942, the Japanese broke through the east side of the main defensive line
on Bataan. It was the evening of April 8 that Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was
futile, since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last one
more day. In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared
would be massacred. At 10:30 that night, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms.
Tank battalion commanders received this order
: "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy
within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat
vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as
When the order was given, the tankers circled their tanks, fired an armor piercing
shell into the engine of the tank in front of their tank, and opened up the gasoline cocks in the crew
compartments. They dropped hand grenades into each crew compartment setting the tanks on fire.
Later in the war, the Japanese dragged the tanks out of the jungle to send to Japan as scrap metal. It is
not known if James surrendered on that date or if he escaped to Corregidor and became a Prisoner of War on May
It is known that James was held as a POW at Cabanatuan and Bilibid
Prison in the Philippines. The POWs rode a train to the barrio of Cabanatuan and disembarked. From
there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and
was formerly known at Camp Panagaian.
To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the
camp. The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being
executed, while the other POWs were made to watch. It is believed that no POW successfully escaped from
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens. Meals
on a daily basis consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or
corn. Other POWs worked in rice paddies. Each morning, after arriving at the farm, the POWs went
into a tool shed to get their tools. As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their heads.
While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies was to have their
faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard. Returning from a detail the POWs bought, or were
given, medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp even though they were
searched when they returned.
The camp was actually three camps. Camp 1 housed the POWs who had been captured on
Bataan and held at Camp O'Donnell. Camp 2 was two miles from Camp 1 and was closed because it lacked
an adequate water supply. It was later reopened and held Naval POWs. Camp 3 was eight miles from
Camp 1 and six miles from Camp 2. It housed the POWs fro Corregidor and those men who had been
hospitalized when Bataan surrendered. The camp was later closed and the POWs were sent to Camp 1.
The Camp 1 hospital was made up of 30 wards. Zero ward had been missed when the
wards were being counted so it was given the name of "Zero Ward." The ward became the place
were POWs who were going to die were sent. The Japanese were so terrified by it, that they put a fence up
around it and would not go near the building.
During his time as a POW, his parents received a POW card from him. In the card,
he asked for vitamins, clothing, canned food. While a POW at Cabantuan, he became ill and admitted to the
camp hospital on Friday, February 5, 1943 and again on Saturday, April 10, 1943. No reason for his
admittance or date of discharge were given.
James remained in the Philippines until late 1944. In early October, Japan
attempted to send as many POWs to other parts of its empire to prevent them from being liberated. James
was one of the POWs selected to shipment to Japan.
In early October 1944, 1775 POWs were marched to the Port Area of Manila.
When the POW group detachment at the pier, the ship they where scheduled to sail on, the
Hokusen Maru, was ready to sail, but some of the POWs, in the detachment, had not arrived at the
pier. Another POW detachment had completely arrived, but their ship was not ready to sail. It was
at that time that the Japanese made the decision that they switch POW detachments so the
Hokusen Maru could sail.
On October 10, the POWs boarded the
Arisan Maru and all the prisoners were crammed into the first hold of the ship which could hold 400
men. They were packed in so tightly that they could not move. Those POWs who had lain down in the
wooden bunks along the haul could not sit up because the bunks were so close together. Eight large cans
served as the washroom facilities for the POWs. Anton Cichy said
, "For the first few days, there were 1800 of us together in one hold. I don't know how big
the hold was but we had to take turns to sit down. We were just kind of stuck together."
Calvin Graef said about the conditions in the hold
, "We were packed in so tight most men couldn't get near the cans. And, of course, it was a
physical impossibility for the sick in the back of the hold, the men suffering the tortures of diarrhea and
dysentery. We waded in fecal matter. Most of the men went naked. The place was alive with
lice, bedbugs and roaches; the filth and stench were beyond description."
On October 11, the ship set sail but took a southerly route away from Formosa.
The ship anchored in a cove off Palawan Island where it remained for ten days. The Japanese covered the
hatch with a tarp so during the night, the POWs were in total darkness. Within the first 48 hours, five
POWs had died. Being in the cove resulted in the ship missing an air raid by American planes, but the
ship was attacked once by American planes while there.
Each day, each POW was given three ounces of water and two half mess kits of raw
rice. Although the Japanese had removed the lights in the hold, they had not turned off the power to the
lights. Some of the prisoners were able to hot-wire the ship's blowers into the light power
lines. This allowed fresh air into the hold, until the power was disconnected, two days later, when the
Japanese discovered what had been done.
After this was done, the POWs began to develop heat blisters. The Japanese
realized that if they did not do something many of the POWs would die. To prevent this, they opened the
ship's number two hold and transferred 600 POWs into it. At this point, one POW was shot while
attempting to escape.
Of this time, Graef said
, "As we moved through the tropical waters, the heat down in the steel-encased hell hole was
maddening. We were allowed three ounces of water per man every 24 hours. Quarts were needed under
these conditions, to keep a man from dehydrating.
"While men were dying of thirst, Jap guards--heaping insults on us--would empty five
gallon tins of fresh water into the hold. Men caught the water in pieces of clothing and sucked the cloth
dry. Men licked their wet skins. It was hell all right. Men went mad."
Arisan Maru returned to Manila on October 20, where it joined a twelve ship convoy. On October 21,
the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea. The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with red
crosses to indicate they were carrying POWs making them targets for American submarines. In addition,
U.S. military intelligence was reading the Japanese messages as fast as the Japanese. To protect this
secret, they did not tell the submarine crews that ships were carrying POWs which made the ships targets for
the submarines. The POWs in the hold became so desperate that they prayed for the ship to be hit by
Graef described the deaths of the POWs hold.
"There were so many (that died) out 1800. The conditions in the hold.....men were just dying in a
continuous stream. Men, holding their bellies in interlocked arms, stood up, screamed and died. You
were being starved, men wee dying at such a pace we had to pile them up. It was like you were
choking to death. Burial consisted of two men throwing another overboard."
"The Japs told us that they'd be in Formosa the next day to pick up some cargo. They had to
make room on deck so they tossed a whole bunch of life preservers down into the hold. I held onto one but
didn't think anything about it."
According to the survivors of the
Arisan Maru, on Tuesday, October 24, 1944, at 4:00 P.M., ten POWs were on deck preparing dinner for the
POWs in the ship's two holds. The ship was, off the coast of China, in the Bashi Channel.
Suddenly, sirens and other alarms were heard. The men inside the holds knew this meant that American
submarines had been spotted and began to chant for the submarines to sink the ship.
The waves were high since a storm had just passed. At about 4:50
P.M., about half the POWs had been fed. As the POWs on deck watched, the Japanese ran to the bow of the
ship and watched as a torpedo passed in front of it. Moments later, the Japanese ran to the ship's
stern and watched as a second torpedo passed behind the ship. There was a sudden jar and the ship stopped
dead in the water. It had been hit by two torpedoes, amidships, in its third hold where there were no
At first the POWs cheered wildly until they realized they were facing
death. Cichy recalled
, "When the torpedo hit everybody in the hold hollered 'Hit her again!' We wanted to get it
Lt. Robert S. Overbeck recalled
, "When the torpedoing happened, most of the Americans didn't care a bit--they were tired and
weak and sick."
He also said
, "The third torpedo struck squarely amidships and buckled the vessel but it didn't break in
Overbeck also commented on the reaction of the POWs in the holds.
"For about five second there was panic among us, but there were five or six chaplains who prayed
fervently and quieted the men. By then the Nips--300 of them on deck--were scurrying about, scared as
hell. The boilers exploded. I don't think any of us got hurt in the torpedoing or the
explosion. Most of the prisoners were American, with a few British. The Japs took the two
lifeboats aboard as all 300 abandoned ship. That was about 5:00 P.M."
It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was either the
U.S.S. Snook or
The guards took their rifles and used them as clubs to drive the POWs on deck into the
holds. Once in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders into the holds and put the hatch covers over
the holds, but they did not tie the hatch covers down. Cichy recalled
, "The Japs closed the hatches and left the ship in lifeboats. They must have forgot about the
prisoners on deck who had been cooking. When the Japs were off the boat, the cooks opened the hatches and
told us to come up. I was just under the deck, but there were a lot of guys down below. One of them
escaped by simply walking into the water from a hole in the bulkhead. He was Lt. Robert S. Overback,
, "The Japs had already evacuated ship. They had a destroyer off the side, and they were saving
The POWs left the holds but made no attempt to abandon ship. On the ship's
deck an American major spoke to the POWs, he said
, "Boys, we're in a hellva a jam - but we've been in jams before. Remember just one
thing: We're American soldiers. Let's play it that way to the very end of the
Right after he spoke, a chaplain said to them
, "Oh Lord, if it be thy will to take us now, give us the strength to be men." The ship
sank lower into the water."
Overbeck also stated
, " We broke into the ship's stores to get food, cigarettes, and water -- mainly water, we were
so thirsty. All of us figured we were going to die anyway. The Japs ships, except for the
destroyers, had disappeared. All we had were life belts which the Japanese had fortunately thrown
down the hold the day before.
"But as darkness settled and our hopes for life flickered, we felt absolutely no
resentment for the Allied submarine that had sent the torpedo crashing in. We knew they could not tell
who was aboard the freighter, and as far as the Navy could have known the ship could have been carrying Jap
troops. The men were brave and none complained.
"Some slipped off their life preservers and with a cherry 'so long'
disappeared." The ship sank slowly in the water.
According to surviving POWs, the ship stayed afloat for hours but got lower in
the water. At one point, the stern of the ship began going under which caused the ship to split in half
but the halves remained afloat. Most of the POWs were still on deck even after it became apparent that
the ship was sinking. Some POWs attempted to escape by putting on lifebelts, clinging to hatch covers,
rafts, and other flotsam and jetsam. When they reached other Japanese ships, the Japanese pushed them
away with poles. Glenn Oliver said
, "They weren't picking up Americans. A lot of the prisoners were swimming for the
destroyer, but the Japanese were pushing them back into the water."
, "I could see people still on the ship when it went down. I could see people against the
skyline, just standing there."
In the water, he watched as the ship went under.
"I kept getting bumped by guys wearing life jackets. Nobody wanted to share my planks. I
didn't ask them."
Three POWs found an abandoned life boat and managed to climb in but found it had no
oars. With the rough seas, they could not maneuver it to help other POWs. According to the
survivors, the Arisan Maru and sank sometime after dark on Tuesday, October 24, 1944. Oliver, who was not
in the boat, stated he heard men using what he called "GI whistles" to contact each other.
"They were blowing these GI whistles in the night. This weird moaning sound. I can't
The next morning there were just waves. Olvier and three other POWs were picked up by a
Japanese destroyer and taken to Formosa. They later were sent by ship to Japan. The men in the boat
picked up two more survivors and later made it to China and freedom. Pvt. James M. Carter was not one of
Since he was lost at sea, the name of Pvt. James M. Carter is inscribed on the Tablets
of the Missing at the
American Military Cemetery outside of Manila. He was awarded the Purple
His family received this message:
"The information available to the war department is that the vessel sailed from Manila on October 11,
1944, with 1775 prisoners of war aboard. On October 24 the vessel was sunk by submarine action in the
south China Sea over 200 miles from the Chinese coast which was the nearest land. Five of the prisoners
escaped in a small boat and reached the coast. Four others have been reported as picked up by the
Japanese by whom all others aboard are reported lost. Absence of detailed information as to what
happened to the other individual prisoners and known circumstances of the incident lead to a conclusion
that all other prisoners listed by the Japanese as aboard the vessel perished."
It should be noted that the Tablets show that James was a member of the 194th Tank
Battalion. Although D Company was attached to the 194th, it was never officially transferred to the
battalion and remained a part of the 192nd Tank Battalion throughout the Battle of Bataan.