Tec 4 Frank Goldstein
T/4 Frank Goldstein was born in Chicago on October 24, 1915, to Max and Sarah Goldstein. With his sisters, he grew up at 1958 West Henry Court, 4433 North St. Louis Avenue, and later at 2030 West Montrose Avenue. He graduated from Roosevelt High School where he became interested in amateur radio operation. As an amateur radio operator, he became good friends with Charles Corr, who also was an amateur radio operator. While he was still in high school, Frank signed up with the Illinois National Guard to practice army communication. Doing this meant that he was slated to be a radioman in the with an Illinois National Guard unit.
Frank was drafted in April 1941 and went to the Madison Street Armory, of the Illinois National Guard, in Maywood, Illinois, for induction. It was there that he was selected to join Company B, 192nd Tank Company as a radio operator. He was sent to Camp Grant, in Rockford, Illinois, and then to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to join his new company. With Frank was his friend Charles Corr.
When the two soldiers arrived at Fort Knox, at 2:00 o'clock in the morning, they were met by Sgt. Albert McArthur, who was the sergeant in charge of communications. Sgt. McArthur gave Frank a choice of jobs. He could either repair the radio equipment or train other men to operate radio equipment and use Morse Code. Frank ended up repairing the equipment while his friend, Charlie, taught high speed Morse Code.
In the Philippines, Frank's job was to keep in touch with every tank of the 192nd. To do this he had a jeep and a half-track, with a 100 watt transmitter, at his disposal. If he could not reach a tank, he would have to take the jeep, which was driven by Sgt. Zenon Bardowski, and find out why he could not make contact with the tank. In his opinion, the tanks were useless in the Philippines since they could only be used along the main highway and not in the fields where they would get stuck.
Although Frank was not involved in any major engagements, Frank did find himself fighting a personal one. Like everyone else on Bataan, Frank was always hungry. One day he took the jeep and his Tommy-gun and went scrounging for food. In the town of Pilar, he found an abandoned candy store that supposedly had some food. It turned out that the store had been striped bare. As he left the store he heard the voices of Japanese soldiers. Since he was near a sugar cane field, Frank jumped into the field with his Tommy-gun and hid hoping that he hadn't bee seen. As it turned out, the Japanese soldiers apparently heard him enter the field and followed him. He wound up playing hide-and-seek in the sugar cane field with the Japanese soldiers. He tried to kill the them before they killed him. As far as Frank knew, only he came out of the sugar cane field.
Frank also was present when Japanese planes bombed the area where B Company tanks were bivouacked on February 3, 1942. According to Frank, the tankers guarded the beach each night to prevent the Japanese from landing troops. Every morning "Recon Joe" flew over attempting to locate the tanks. The jungle canopy hide the tanks from the plane. Walter Cigoi aggravated about being woken up, pulled his half-track on the beach and took a "pot shot" at the plane. He missed. Twenty minutes later, Japanese planes appeared and bombed the position. Frank took cover under a tank.
After the attack, the tankers found Richard Graff, Charles Heuel dead. Another man had his leg partially blown off. To get him into the jeep, Frank cut off his leg. Francis McGuire was also wounded in the attack. Frank felt guilty about Heuel's death because he had promised his sister to watch out for him.
On April 9, 1942, Frank received word that the Filipino-American Forces were to destroy their equipment and surrender to the Japanese. Frank and the men with him destroyed their equipment but decided they would try to escape to Corregidor. They found a Filipino boat that was used to carry water. Since the approach to Corregidor was mined, the captain was not too willing to try to go there. At the point of Frank's 45, the captain of the boat had a change of heart and took them to the island.
Since it was night and they did not want to be spotted by the Japanese, they approached the island in total darkness. Frank took his flashlight and wrapped it in a newspaper to prevent the Japanese from spotting their position. He kept signaling to the island that they were Americans. While he was doing this, they could hear the Japanese troops along the shore of Bataan. Finally, they received a response signal and were told to go to a buoy, then turn sharply to the right. This maneuver got them through the minefield.
On Corregidor, Frank was separated from the other men with whom he had gone to Corregidor. When the Japanese attacked the island, Frank was shot in his leg. He managed to make his way to to a tunnel occupied by Navy personnel and according medical records, was hospitalized the day of the surrender. Frank awoke to find the tunnel full of Japanese soldiers with bayonets attached to their guns. Being wounded he thought he was going to be killed, but to his surprise the Japanese were actually very nice to him.
From Corregidor, Frank was taken to Bilibid Prison in Manila, which was used by the Japanese as a hospital for American Prisoners of War. There, he spent the next thirteen months in bed. When he was healthier, Frank was sent to Cabanatuan for one year. By the time he arrived, Camps 1 & 3 had been consolidated into one camp.
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 camp.
During his time at the camp, he worked on the camp farm tending the vegetables being grown there. The POWs were expected to water the crops by carrying the water in cans. The cans they were given to use had holes in them. These holes were, in most cases, intentionally made in the cans by the guards. When the prisoners got to the place where they were supposed to water, the guards would beat them for not having full cans.
Next, Frank was sent to Clark Field, where he believed that he was one of the few members the 192nd on the detail. Being on the detail without any friends actually had its benefits. Frank witnessed men beaten by the guards because they had tried to communicate with their friends. The beating was given because the men had violated the "no talking" while working rule.
On the Clark Field detail Frank dug revetments to hide planes. The Japanese guards encouraged the POWs to take their time when digging. The guards didn't care how much dirt the POWs moved all they had to do is look busy. The reason the guards did this was because they liked the detail and wanted to stretch it out as long as possible. The only time the POWs were expected to work hard was when big shots came around to expect the work.
Frank also had to dig out volcanic rock which was used in the construction of runways. He did this work until August 1944. How the POWs did this was to sift the sand through a screen trapping the rocks. The rocks were used as base material for new runways for heavy bombers. When the rock ran out, the Japanese engineers told the POWs to use sand for the base material for the last half of the runway.
The first time a Japanese heavy bomber landed on the runway it sped across the first half of the runway. When it hit the second half of the runway, the bomber's carriage suddenly sank out of sight and the bomber flipped over. Frank recalled that he and the other prisoners hid their laughter.
While working at Clark Field one of the jobs Frank had was to transport drums of coconut oil from the rail head to the airfield. Some of the POWs on the detail took the opportunity to fill their canteens with oil from the drums. They would take the oil and boil it until it was eatable and then pour the oil on their rice to add flavor to the rice.
One time as Frank and the other POWs were working the detail, the Japanese pulled a surprise inspection. The "gunso" in the guard tower a quarter of a mile away ordered the guards to have the POWs to empty their canteens. When the guard got to Frank, Frank emptied his canteen and water came out of it. Frank still had water in the canteen from that morning.
The "gunso" knowing that Frank was involved in the stealing, ordered the guard to punish Frank. The guard grabbed Frank's half-filled canteen and hit him squarely in the mouth with it, knocking out four of Frank's teeth.
On August 8, 1944, Frank was then returned to Bilibid Prison in Manila where he had contact with Zenon Bardowski and James Griffin. This was the first time in over two years that he had contact with other members of Company B. To Frank, both men looked to be in bad shape. It was at this time that he received a red cross package that had not been raided containing vitamin pills and clothing. He gave each one of them a handful of vitamin pills. He also received winter clothing in the package which at the time seemed very funny since he was in the Philippines.
On August 25, 1944, Frank was sent to Japan on the Noto Maru. The trip was only twelve days long. During the voyage, the ship stopped at Takao, Formosa ,on August 30th, before heading to Japan. It arrived in Moji, Japan on September 4th.
The camp was approximately 200 feet wide by 350 feet long and had a 12 foot high wooden fence around it and was located at 4,000 feet. The POWs were housed in wooden barracks, with 30 foot ceilings, with two tiers of bunks, against each long wall, with straw matting and a mattress stuffed with straw for sleeping. They also had a 4" by 4" by 8" block of wood for a pillow.
In the camp, 500 POWs worked in the copper mine owned by Mitsubishi Mining Company and worked under company supervision. The POWs woke up at 5 A.M. and ate breakfast which was small bowl of rice, barley or millet and a watery soup. Meals for the POWs were brought to the barracks, in buckets, and the POWs ate at tables in the barracks. After breakfast, at 5:30, roll call was taken and the POWs and the POWs left the camp. They arrived at the mine at 7 A.M., had a half hour lunch, and worked until 5:00 P.M. before returning to camp, usually after dark, and had supper. Afterwards, they went to bed.
The clothing issued to the POWs was a combination of Japanese clothing, made of thin cloth and shoes, and captured American clothing. For the winter the POWs were issued a uniform made of burlap and long socks. Those who needed shoes were issued Japanese canvas shoes with webbing between two toes. They also received grass shoe covers so they could get through the snow.
Work details were set up for POWs who were machinists, electricians, mechanics. Those who did not have these skills were assigned to working at a foundry or mining. The POWs worked in a copper mine owned by Mitsubishi. Each day, the POWs were marched up the side of a mountain to the top and then down into the mine. To their amazement, their guards always seemed to be waiting for them. It turned out there was a tunnel into the mine which the guards used so they did not have to climb the mountain.
Each detail had a "honcho" who was employed by Mitsubishi and supervised the POWs. They carried a large stick which they used on the POWs when they felt they were not working hard enough.
The mine had been abandoned because it had become to expensive to extract the copper, but Mitsubishi believed it could make it profitable with the slave labor provided by the POWs.
At one point as a POW, Frank was so sick from pneumonia that he could not walk up the road to the mine. He fell in the snow and had to be carried the rest of the way. On the second day, he again was too weak to walk up the incline to get to the mine. This time, when he fell in the snow, he was left lying there for twelve hours while the other prisoners worked. On their way back to camp, the other POWs picked him up and carried him back. The Japanese decided that he was too ill to work in the mine so they had him make nails from copper wire in the camp.
While working in the mine from November 1944 until August 15, 1945, the POWs were abused by the civilian foreman, Hichiro Tsuchiya, who was known to the POWs as "Patches." Tsuchiya used any excuse to abuse the POWs. He was known to hit the POWs for no reason in their faces and to also use a wooden club or pick axe handle. He also used a sledge hammer to hit the POWs on their heads. His parents received a postcard from him in January 1945.
In August 1945, the POWs lined up to go to work as usual. This time they were sent back to their quarters. The same thing happened repeatedly over the next few days. The POWs knew something had happened, but no one wanted to think that the war was over. Finally, a Japanese officer stood on a box and announced the Japanese Empire and the United States were no longer enemies. He also told them that the camp was theirs. This was the first time the POWs received news on how the war was going.
The Japanese townspeople helped the POWs carry the food to the camp. Since material for clothing was scarce, they were interested more in the silk from the parachutes for clothing than the food in the drums.
One day, a jeep with American soldiers appeared and the soldiers told the former POWs to sit tight until the railroad line had been repaired. After it was repaired, the prisoners took the train and then an LST to Yokohama. Frank then took a destroyer back to the Philippines. The reason for this was that the former POWs were in such poor physical shape that the American Military Command did not want them to be seen back home in this condition. In Frank's case he weighed 97 pounds when he was liberated.
Frank returned to Chicago where he worked in the radio industry. He married and became the father of two children. He later moved to California where he resided for 25 years. He and his wife would return to the Chicago area to be near their children.
Frank Goldstein passed away on January 21, 2010. He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.