Cpl. George Steve Damos
Born: 13 October 1922 - Akron, Ohio
Parents: Steve & Mary Damos
Siblings: 1 brother
Home: 946 North Keystone Avenue - Akron, Ohio
Occupation: worked in restaurant
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 12 July 1940 - Baca Raton Airfield, Florida
Trained:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - qualified as a truck and tank mechanic
Units:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - company created from A Company of 19th Ordnance
        - trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
            - September 1941 - received orders for overseas duty
Note:  The decision for this move -  which had been made on August 15, 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.
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
            - sailed south away from main shipping lanes
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
                - ships from friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
    - U.S.S. Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - Monday - 8 September 1941
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
            - soldiers given shore leave for the day
        - Sailed: same day
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
        - Disembark
            - 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
                - reattached turrets to tanks
        - rode bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
     
       

Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
       - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan
       - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
           - serviced tanks of the Provisional Tank Group
           - received two Purple Hearts
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - POWs started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of
              Bataan
            - ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American artillery returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars

                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
POW Camps:
    - Philippines:
        - Camp O'Donnell
            - unfinished Filipino Army training base
            - Japanese put it into use as a POW camp
            - one water spigot for the entire camp
            - as many as fifty POWs died each day
            - 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
        - Cabanatuan
            - "healthy" POWs sent to camp
            - 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 escaped and were later caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
            - hospitalized - 12 June 1942 - dysentery & Yaws Disease (skin disease)
                - discharged - 18 August 1942
            - hospitalized - 19 December 1942 - malaria
                - discharged - date not given
        -   Ft. McKinley Detail
                - December 1942
                - housed in barracks of the 45th Infantry - Philippine Scouts
                - POW Compound - approximately - 300 feet by 150 feet
                - cleaned up junk from battle
            - Nielson Airfield
               
- 29 January 1943                
                    - four nipa barracks built for POWs
                    - 150 long by 20 feet wide
                    - center aisle was a six foot wide strip of dirt
                    - POWs slept on platforms
                    - each barracks had a latrine and shower
                    - officers had their own section
                    - part of barracks used for sick
                    - POWs slept shoulder to shoulder

                    - POW compound was about 300 feet by 200 feet                 
                    - POWs built runways and revetments with picks and shovels
    
              - at some point George was selected to be sent to Japan
              - he was sent to Bilibid Prison
            - Bilibid Prison
                - hospitalized
- dysentery
                    - Admitted: 1 September 1943
                    - Discharged: not known
            - Nielson Field
                - returned to work detail after release from Bilibid
            - Bilibid Prison
                - returned to Bilibid - 24 February 1944
                    - hospitalized: beriberi
Note: George wrote two letters to his parents during this time.  The first was written the day he was hospitalized on a tissue-thin carbon copy od a target practice report.  In it he said,

    "This is Pvt. George Damos, U.S. Army.  Anyone bearing the following message please notify Mrs. Mary Damos, 946 Firestone Boulevard, Akron, O.
    "I am feeling well.  Hope everybody at home feels the same.  I received your box and was very glad.  Hope to be seeing all of you soon.  Your son."

A second letter was dated March 13, 1944, was on the reverse side of a mineographed general order of army headquarters, Manila, listing transfers of duty as of June 19, 1940.  It open with the same prefacing message as the first note with the exception that he gives his father's name.

    "I hope this message finds all of you well.  Things are still all right here.  Received your mail, thanks a million.
    "I hope this damn mess will soon end so we can all get back into the old swing of life again.  So until we meet again, I still remain your son.
    "P.S.:  Please give my regards to my friends."

   His parents received the letters that had been recovered at Bilibid after it had been liberated.  The letters were sent to Washington and then sent to his parents, who had moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, since the Army believed they would value to them.  Before receiving the letters, on October 11, 1944, they had received a POW postcard from him Omine Marchi.
Hell Ship:
    - Canadian Inventor
        - Sailed: Manila - 4 July 1944
        - Arrived: 4 July 1944 - boiler problems
            - POWs remained in holds while repairs were made on boiler
        - Sailed: 16 July 1944
            - additional boiler problems
            - left behind by convoy
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 23 July 1944
            - salt loaded into hold
        - Sailed: 4 August 1944
        - Arrived: Keelung, Formosa - 5 August 1944
            - remained twelve days for boiler repairs
        - Sailed: 17 August 1944
        -  Arrived: Naha, Okinawa
            - stayed six days for additional boiler repairs
        - Sailed: Unknown
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 1 September 1944
 
POW Camp:  
    - Japan
        - Omine Machi
            - POWs worked in a coal mine
                - brutally beaten and kicked while working in mine
                - POWs also known to be hit with clubs
Liberated: 15 September 1945
    - returned to the Philippine Islands
Evacuated: 16 September 1945
    - Wakayama, Japan
        - U.S.S. Consolation
            - records indicate George was suffering from beriberi
            - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands
                - 28 September 1945

Transport:
    - S.S. Klipfonstein - Dutch ship
        - Sailed: Manila - 9 October 1945
        - Arrived: Seattle, Washington - 28 October 1945
            - taken to Madigan General Hospital - Ft. Lewis, Washington
Married: twice
    - First Marriage
    - Second Wife: Kay Lyons
        - Married: 6 May 1958
    - Third Marriage:
        - Phyllis Z. Pierson
            - 6 June 1974
Children:
   - First Marriage: 2 sons
   - Second Marriage: 1 step-daughter
Military Career:
    - Korean War
        - wounded
    - remained in military
        - 1958 - Ft. Jackson, South Carolina
    - Rank: Sergeant First Class
        - 1960 - served in Europe
        - 1967 - Vietnam
Occupation:
    Artcraft Window Company - St. Petersburg, Florida
Died:
    - 10 March 1988 - Saint Petersburg, Florida

 

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