Graf

 



Pvt. Albert James Graf
Born: 17 December 1916 - Saint Paul, Minnesota

Parents: Barbara Rothenbach-Graf & John B. Graf
    - father died when he was eight years old

Hometown: South St. Paul, Minnesota

Siblings: 6 brothers, 7 sisters
Nickname: Spikes

Home: Shell Lake, Wisconsin

Occupation: worked as farmhand

Inducted:

    - U. S. Army

        - 7 April 1941 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Training: 

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana
        - after training battalion sent to base
        - soldiers 29 years or older were allowed to resign from federal service
       - Graf joined the battalion from the 753rd Tank Battalion
Note: On August 15, 1941, the decision was made to build up American forces in the Philippines at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.  This decision was made 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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, 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:
    - Over different train routes the battalion's companies arrived at San Francisco, California
        - U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe ferried battalion to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Isalnd
        - battalion's medical detachment inoculates and gives physicals to tank companies
            - those men with minor medical conditions were held back ans scheduled to rejoin the battalion
              at a later date
            - some men were simply replaced

    - U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott
        - Boarded: San Francisco - Monday -  27 October 1941
        - Sailed: same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
            - soldiers were given shore leave to see the sights
        - Sailed: Tuesday - Wednesday - 5 November 1941

            - joined by U.S.S. Louisville and S.S. Calvin Coolidge

        - Sunday - 9 November 1941 - crossed International Date Line

            - woke up on Tuesday - 11 November 1941
        - Arrived: Guam - Sunday - 16 November 1941
            - ships took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water
        - Sailed: Monday - 17 November 1941
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Thursday - 20 November 1941

            - soldiers bused to Ft. Stotsenburg
            - maintenance section remained at pier to unload tanks
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg
        - Colonel Edward King apologizes to soldiers that they had to live in tents
        - tents located along main road between fort and Clark Airfield

Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived through attack on Clark Field
                - took cover since the medical detachment had no weapons to fight planes
            - 13 December 1941

                - inspecting aid stations
                    - drove jeep across Clark Field when Japanese planes attacked
                    - others in jeep: Capt. Alvin Powleit, Pvt. Robert Ryan, Pvt. Earl Weaver
                    - stopped jeep and it would not stop
                    - took cover during attack
            - 14 December 1941

                - medical detachment left Clark Field
                - set up aid station in a dried river bed
            - 21 December 1941
                - medical detachment moved north toward Lingayen Gulf with rest of battalion
            - 23 December 1941
                - detachment at Sison being shelled
                    - withdrew with battalion down Route 3
                    - the detachment bivouac-ed
                    - heard tanks
                        - the tanks were Japanese
                        - packed up and went south through Urdaneta
                        - crossed over Agno River bridge and passed through Carmen
            - 25 December 1941
                - set up aid station south of Rosales
                - medics checked letter companies
                - bivouac bombed and strafed

            - 27 December 1941

                - located at Santo Tomas

                    - detachment slept in churchyard
            - 28 December 1941
                - General MacArthur ordered medics not to carry guns

                - kept their guns
            - 28/29 December 1941
                - located near San Isidro
                    - area shelled for three hours
                    - one tank crew injured when a shell caused it to turn over
                    - medics noted that tank crews were in poor condition from lack of sleep and food
            - 30 December 1941
                - detachment did not receive order to pull out
                - ordered out by Capt. John Morley
                    - drover trucks through Gapan
                        - barrio was occupied by Japanese
                        - went through so fast Japanese could not stop them
            - 1 January 1942
                - detachment bivouac-ed north of Luog
            - 2 January 1942
                - treated S/Sgt. Joseph Wierzchon, C Company, who had been wounded by mortar fire
                - Pfc. Frank Byars while delivering a message killed by Filipino who mistook him as a
                  German
            - 4 January 1942
                - medical detachment at Culis
                - treated wounded of the 194th Tank Battalion
                    - 2nd Lt Weeden Petree shot in abdomen
                -  tank shot down Zero which was strafing
            - 6 January 1942
                - shelling destroyed 194th Medical Detachment truck
                - shared what they had with 194th

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - 7 January 1942
                - Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. James Weaver visit tankers
                    - MacArthur asked why the men were not in the hospital
                    - Dr. Alvin Poweleit replied, "Who would man the tanks?"
                - later in day Japanese bombed and strafed area
             - 10 January 1942
                - A and B Companies, and companies of 194th assigned beach duty
                    - from Abucay to Lamao
            - 18 January 1942
                - moved back to Pilar and Balanga which were burning when they went through
                - tanks inflicted heavy damage to Japanese infantry
             - 19 January 1942
                - dropped back to Orion
                - caught wild pig, roasted it
                - food truck arrived and medics ate first American food in two days
            - 20 January 1942
                - bivouac at 147 kilometer marker (from Manila)
                - Japanese attempted landing
            - 29 January 1942
                - ordered to West Coast of Bataan
                - start of Battle of the Points
            - 31 January 1942
                - Quinauan Point cleared
                    - a Japanese diary said the Japanese were more afraid of being hit by a grenade then of it
                      exploding
            - 3/8 February 1942
                - Battle of the Pockets
                    - several tanks disabled
                    - attempted to recover them
                    - several members of battalion wounded or killed
            - 9 February 1942
                - medical detachment at 218 Kilometer on West Road
                    - medics report tank crews in bad shape
            - 11 February 1942
                - moved to kilometer 205, West Road
                - bombed and shelled
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver
, "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."
        - February 1942
            - tank battalions on their own guarded airfields
            - battalions also guarded beaches to prevent Japanese from landing troops   
             - March 1942
                - treated tank crews for various sicknesses
            - 3 April 1942
                - Japanese lunched major offensive
            - 8 April 1942
                - ammunition dumps destroyed
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 accomplished."
            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result in the massacre of
              6000 sick or wounded troops and 40000 civilians
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
            - 11:40 P.M. - ammunition dumps blown up

Prisoner of War: 

    - 9 April 1942

       - Death March

            - Mariveles - POWs start march at southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
                - Americans on Corregidor returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps: 

    - Philippine Islands: 

         - 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

        - 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
             - Albert was on the medical detachment at the camp

    - Tottori Maru

        - 6 October 1942 POWs left Cabanatuan for Manila

           -  housed in warehouse on Pier 7

        - 7 October 1942 POWs boarded onto Tottori Maru

        - Sailed: Manila 8 October 1942- 10:00 A.M.
           
- POW meal three loaves of bread which equaled one American loaf
                - bread was suppose to last for two days

            - Note:  9 October 1942 - 9:00A.M. - American submarine fired two torpedoes at ship

               - ship's captain maneuver ship and avoided torpedoes
               - passes a mine laid by an American submarine
               -POW meal: 3 candy bags of soda crackers and hardtack

        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 October 1942

        - Sailed: 16 October 1942 - 7:30 A.M.

                        -  returned to Takao- 10;30 P.M
            - POW meal: two bags of hardtack and a bowl of rice and soup

        - Sailed: 18 October 1942

        - Arrived: Pescadores Islands

            - anchored off the Pescadores Islands same day

                        -  remained anchored for several days       

            - two POWs died buried at sea

        - Sailed: 27 October 1942

        - Arrived: Takao - 27 October 1942

            - 28 October 1942 POWs taken ashore and bathed
                - ship also was cleaned

        - Sailed: 30 October 1942

        - Arrived: 30 October 1942 - Makou, Pescadores Islands - 5:00 P.M.

        - Sailed:  31 October 1942
            - seven ship convoy
            - sailed through a storm for five days
            - one ship sunk by an American submarine
                - the rest scattered

        - Arrived: Fusan, Korea - 7 November 1942

            - 8 November 1942 POWs disembarked ship
                - issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats

            - sick POWs left behind at Fusan

            - those who recovered came to Mukden at later date

            - white boxes contained the ashes of POWs who died
            - POWs took two day train trip to Mukden, Manchuria

            - 11 November 1942 arrived Mukden
POW Camp:
    - Hoten Camp
        - lived in dugouts until they were moved into two story barracks
        - each enlisted man received two thin blankets to cover himself with
        - Meals the same everyday
            - Breakfast - cornmeal mush and a bun
            - Lunch - maze and soy beans
            - Dinner - soy beans and a bun
            - trapped wild dogs to supplement meals
                - this ended when they saw a dog eating a dead Chinese
        - POWs worked in factory or at lumber mill
            - walked 3 miles to factories
            - 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
                - committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
                - Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too stupid
                  to commit the sabotage
            - When Japanese searched for contraband in barracks, the POWs had to stand in the cold and
               snow
                - Japanese made them strip
                - stood there until all 700 POWs had been searched
            - Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
            - on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
                - A Japanese lieutenat, Murado, beat each man with that man shoes
Liberated:
    - 18 August 1945 - Russian Army
    - 29 August 1945 - American Recovery Team arrived at camp
    - POW taken by train to Darien, China
    - taken by ship to Okinawa

    - returned to Manila

Sailed: Manila - U.S.S. Tryon - September 1945

Arrived: San Francisco - 24 October 1945
Discharged: 5 July 1946
Married: Deloris Robinette

    - passed away - 29 June 1979
Children: 2 sons
Died: 16 March 1997 - Tuscon, Arizona
Buried: Fort Snelling National Cemetery - Minneapolis, Minnesota
    - Plot: R  Section: O  Grave 926




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