Combs_R

 


Pvt. Richard A. Combs


Born: 29 March 1920 - Kanawha, West Virginia
Parents: Herbert L. Combs & Nellie Minnear-Combs
Siblings: 3 sisters, 1 brother

Hometown: Elk City, West Virginia

   - living in Three Mile, West Virginia when inducted 

Enlisted:

    - U.S. Army 

        - 7 January 1941 - Fort Hays, Columbus, Ohio

Unit:

    - 19th Ordnance Battalion

        - Note: 17th Ordnance Company created from A Company, 19th Ordnance

          Battalion

Training:

    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky

        - trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox 

Overseas Duty:
    - Ship: U.S.S. President Coolidge
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - Monday - 8 September 1941 .
        - 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
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - about 3:00 P.M.
            - company remained behind at pier to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
            - taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
 

Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands

Engagements:

    - Battle of the Philippines

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942 

            - serviced tanks of the 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
            - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base

            - Japanese put base into use as a POW camp

            - one water spigot for the entire camp

            - As many as 50 POWs died each day

            - Japanese opened new camp at Cabanatuan in an attempt to lower death rate

        - Cabanatuan
            - hospitalized - 2 June 1942 - inanition*
            * There is conflicting information.  Some records show Combs died at Camp O'Donnell while others
                indicate he died at Cabanatuan.

Died:

    - Monday - 2 November 1942 - dysentery & inanition

        - approximate time of death - 8:15 PM 

Buried:

    - Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery
        - After the war, his remains were positively identified.

Reburied:

     - Bethel Presbyterian Cemetery - Waverly, West Virginia 

        - October 1955


 

 

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