Pvt. Eugene Charles Greenfield


 

      Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield was born in July 21, 1918, in Alliance, Ohio, to Howard E. Greenfield and Grace Lavinia-Greenfield and lived in East Liverpool, Ohio.  It is known he had one sister and that his family later resided in Bayard, Ohio.  He also graduated from Ohio State University in 1940.

    Eugene was inducted into the U. S. Army on March 22, 1941, and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  There, he attended radio school and graduated as a radioman.  After completing basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisaiana, and assigned to A Company, 753rd Tank Battalion.

    After the maneuvers, the 192nd Tank Battalio was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox as expected.  Being that the battalion was primarily made up of National Guardsmen from four Midwestern states, those men 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service.  This created vacancies in the battalion that needed to be filled.  It was at this time that Eugene joined the 192nd, with his friend, Olen Gilson, and was assigned to A Company.  He also became a member of the tank crew of 2nd Lt. William Read.  Read, himself, was also a replacement from A Company, 753rd Tank Battalion.

    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.

    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 the 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. 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 KPthey spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.  The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2 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, another transport, the S. S. 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 Dateline. 

    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. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, 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 20th, 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, they were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He made sure that they had what they needed, and that they received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.

    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they prepared to take part in maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.    
    On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark  Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times and received their meals from food trucks.

    The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter Write gathered his company and told them the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier.  He then ordered his men to the perimeter of Clark Field.  Many of the men believed this was the start of the maneuvers they were expecting and laughed.

   At 8:30, the American planes took off and filled the sky.  They landed at noon to be refueled and were lined up, in a straight line, near the mess hall.  The pilots went to lunch.
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north about 12:45, which the tankers believed were American. As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes.  When bombs exploded on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
    When the Japanese were finished, there wasn't much left of the airfield including the mess hall which had taken a direct hit.  The tankers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything else that could carry the wounded.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.   
    On December 12, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau, to guard a highway and railroad from sabotage. 
On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta.  It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
   
From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th, held the position on the south bank on December 25, from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks were asked to hold the position for six hours; they held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.
  Eugene was in his half-track when it came under enemy fire.  One of the enemy rounds hit the the half-track knocking it out.  After the round hit the half-track, Lt. William Read escaped from the half-track and was working to free the rest of his crew from the cab when a second round hit the half-track below his legs.  This round mortally wounded Lt. Read.  Eugene and the other members of his tank crew moved him from the half-track and laid him under a bridge.  Lt. Read would not allow himself to be evacuated since their were other wounded soldiers.  He insisted that these men be taken first.  

    Pvt. Jack Bruce, another member of Eugene's half-track crew went for help, but when he did not return, Eugene went for help in an attempt to save Lt. Read's life.  By the time he reached help, the area where Lt. Read was had been overrun by the Japanese.  The fourth member of the tank crew, Pvt. Ray Underwood, held Read in his arms until he died of his wounds.

    As tanks became scarce, the tank crews from the different companies shared tank duties.  At one point, Eugene fought as a member of a B Company tank crew. 
    One of the few pieces of information received from Eugene was in a letter to Miss Vera Capper of East Liverpool.  The letter was written on March 5, 1942, but was not received until August 1942.  In the letter he asked her to say he was in good health, and de also told his family and friends not to worry about him.

    The Japanese brought in fresh troops from Singapore and lunched an all out offensive on April 3.  On April 7, 1942, the Japanese broke through the east side of the main defensive line on Bataan.  C Company was pulled out of their position along the west side of the line.  They were ordered to reinforce the eastern portion of the line.  Traveling south to Mariveles, the tankers started up the eastern road but were unable to reach their assigned area due to the roads being blocked by retreating Filipino and American forces.
    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 accomplished."
    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.
    When Bataan surrendered to the Japanese, the tankers became a Prisoners of War.  The POWs were ordered to the bivouac of the Provisional Tank Group.  It was from there that they were marched to join the main column of POWs on the march out of Bataan.
    On April 10, the Japanese arrived and ordered the Prisoners of War onto the road.  They quickly stripped the POWs of their watches, pens, and sun-glasses.  The POWs were taken to a trail and found that walking on the gravel trail was difficult.  They immediately witnessed "Japanese Discipline" toward their own troops.  The Japanese apparently were marching for hours, and when a man fell, he was kicked in his stomach and hit in the head with a rifle butt.  If he still did not get up, the Japanese determined that the man was exhausted and left him alone.
    The trial the POWs were on ended when they reached the main road.  The first thing the Japanese did was to separate the officers from the enlisted men and counted them.  The POWs were left in the sun for the rest of the day wondering what was going to happen.  That night they were ordered north which was difficult, on the rocky road, in the dark, since they could not see where they were walking.
    The POWs made their way north against the flow of Japanese horse artillery and trucks which were moving south.  At times, they would slip on something wet and slippery which were the remains of a man killed by Japanese artillery the day before.  When dawn came, the walking became easier but as the sun rose it became hotter and the POWs began to feel the effects of thirst.   It was at this time that the POWs saw a group of Filipinos being marched by the Japanese.  Looking at them, they realized that they had been hungry, but the Filipinos had been starving.
    When the men crossed the Lamao River, they smelled the sweet smell of death. The Japanese had heavily bombed the area causing many casualties and many of the dead lay partially in the river.  The air corps POWs in front of them ran to the river and drank.  Many would later die from dysentery at Camp O'Donnell.
    At Limay, the officers with the rank of major or above, were put into a school yard.  The officers were told that they would be driven the rest of the march.  At 4:00 AM, the officers were put into trucks for an unknown destination.  It was there that the lower ranking officers and the enlisted men joined the main column of POWs being marched out of Bataan. For the first time, they began to witness the abuse of POWs as they walked through Balanga to Orani.
    At Orani, the men were put into a bull pen where they were ordered to lay down.  In the morning, the POWs realized that they had been lying in the human waste of POWs who had already used the bullpen.  At noon, they received their first food.
    When they resumed the march they were marched at a faster pace.  The guards also seemed to be nervous about something.  The POWs made their way to just north of Hormosa. where the road went from gravel to concrete, and the change of surface made the march easier.  When the POWs were allowed to sit down, those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
    The POWs continued the march and for the first time in months it began to rain which felt great and many men attempted to get drinks.  When they arrived at San Fernando, the POWs were put into another bull pen and remained until they were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.
    At some point marched the POWs were marched to the train station, where they were packed into small wooden boxcars known as, "forty or eights."  They were called this since each car could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and shut the doors.  The heat in the cars was unbearable and many POWs died but could not fall to the floors since there was no room for them to fall.  The POWs rode the train to Capas were they disembarked the cars.  As they left the cars, the dead fell to the floors.  The POWs walked the last eight kilometers to Camp O'Donnell.

    The camp was an unfinished Filipino Army Training Base that the Japanese pressed into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942.  When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them.  They searched the POWs and if a man was found to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse.  Over the next several days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of the camp.  These POWs had been executed for looting.
    There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to eight hours waiting for a drink.  The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again.  This situation improved when a second faucet was added.
    There was no water for washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it had been soiled.  In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and mess kits could not be washed.  The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery.  The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
    The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant.  When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter.
    The Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, the Japanese commandant refused to allow the truck into the camp.  When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
    The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them.  When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
    Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the hospital and placed underneath it.  The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria.  To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it.  The bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
    Work details were sent out on a daily basis.  Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work.  If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to work.  The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day.  The Japanese finally acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
    On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to Capas.  There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards.  At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan.  The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup.  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 camp.   
    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.  The POWs were forced to work in the fields from 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening.  Most of the food they grew went to the Japanese not them.  Other POWs worked in rice paddies.
    The POW barracks were built to house 50 POWs, but most held between 60 and 120 men.  The POWs slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, or mosquito netting.  The result was many became ill.
   Each morning, the POWs lined up for roll call.  While they stood at attention, it wasn't uncommon for them to be hit over the tops of their heads.  In addition, one guard frequently kicked them in their shins with his hobnailed boots. 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 hospital was composed of 30 wards.  The ward for the sickest POWs was known as "Zero Ward," which got its name because it had been missed when the wards were counted.  The name soon meant the place where those who were extremely ill went to die.  Each ward had two tiers of bunks and could hold 45 men but often had as many as 100 men in each.  Each man had a two foot wide by six foot long area to lie in.  The sickest men slept on the bottom tier since the platforms had holes cut in them so the sick could relieve themselves without having to leave the tier.

    It appears he went out on a work detail, but the specific detail is not known.  At some point, while on the detail, Eugene became ill and was sent to Bilibid Prison and hospitalized for pleurisy.  The medical records show he was transferred to Cabanatuan on May 17, 1943.

    Later in 1943, Eugene was selected for transfer to Japan.  The ship, the Coral Maru, was also known as the Taga Maru and left Manila on September 20.  During the trip the ship stopped at Takao, Formosa, arriving there on September 23, and sailed on September 26.  It arrived at Moji, Japan, on October 5, and as the POWs left the ship they were given a chip of wood with a color on it which determined which POW camp they were sent to.   The POWs rode a train to Hirohata #12-B arriving there on October 6.
    In the camp, the POWs were housed in two 50' by 100' wooden barracks that were not insulated.  240 POWs lived in each barracks and slept on straw mats places on two rows of platforms in the barracks.  The bottom platform was sixteen feet above the floor.  They received their meals from a camp kitchen which was a small wooden structure.  Ten POWs were assigned to the kitchen and cook the meals in thirteen cauldrons.  An additional 30 POWs were assigned to maintaining the camp.
    The POWs at Hirohata, which was also known as Osaka #12-B, were used as slave laborers in the Japan Iron Works which was a few miles from the camp.  Regardless of weather, the POWs marched to and from the mill.  They loaded pig iron on ships and trains and unloaded ore.  They loaded and unloaded coal cars at the mills, worked in the machine shops, worked at the blast furnaces, and cleaned the slag from the furnaces.  Working with coal without eye protection resulted in Dannie having vision problems.  If the POWs were caught stealing, they were severely punished.
    During his time in the camp, POWs were beaten with belts, ropes, clubs, and fists.  In addition the POWs had water forced down the nostrils of the POWs and submerged them in cold water and forced to stand nude in the cold.  Men also had their heads put into a trough and when they attempted to take their heads out of the water were hit in the back of their heads with a club.  One guard drilled the POWs and beat them if they missed a step even though the orders were being given in Japanese. 

    The guards also stole food assigned to the POWs and canned meat and fruit, cigarettes, and other items from the POWs' Red Cross packages.  They also stole the Red Cross clothing and shoes sent for the POWs.
    The camp hospital was always filled with 50 POWs who were too ill to work.  An American doctor was in charge of the hospital but was at the mercy of a Japanese corpsman, who frequently changed his diagnosis sending POWs with fevers to work.  He also refused to issue medicine to the sick.

    While Eugene was at this camp, he developed beriberi.  According to U. S. Army records, Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield died from starvation and beriberi on Friday, April 7, 1944, at Hirohata 12-B and was cremated.

    After the war, at his parents' request, the ashes of Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield were returned to the Philippine Islands, where he was buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila in Plot B, Row 12, Grave 159.


 

 

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