HewlettO

 


Tec 4 Owen Manley Hewlett
Born: 3 November 1902 - Anton, Kentucky
Parents: Giles B. Hewlett & Lola D. Kirkwood-Hewlett
Siblings: 3 sisters, 4 brothers
Home: Hopkins County, Kentucky
Education: 2 years high school
Divorced
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army - 3 year enlistment
        - 12 January 1941 - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Training:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Rank: Tec 4 - equal to sergeant
Unit:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
            - trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion
            - learned to maintain 57 different vehicles used by Army
            - learned to repair and maintain guns used by Army
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - 17 August 1941 - 17th Ordnance created from a company of 19th Ordnance
            - received overseas orders the same day
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:
        - traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
            - Arrived: Thursday, 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
            - given physicals and inoculations
            - men with medical conditions replaced
        - removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
        - Ship: S.S. President Calvin 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
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - 16 September 1941 - crossed International Dateline
            - date became Thursday - 18 September 1941
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
        - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
            - 8 December 1942 - lived through Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
                    - company set up bivouac
                        - set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
                - received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
       - 12:45 P.M. - Japanese attacked
           - Japanese wipe out Army Air Corps
           - dead and wounded were everywhere   
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942
            - lived through attack on Clark Field
                - attack took place ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - serviced tanks of Provisional Tank Group
            - supplied tanks with gasoline and ammunition
            - headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
                - repaired tanks under constant fire
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American Artillery returned fire
                    - knocked out three Japanese guns
            - San Fernando
               - POWs packed into a bull pin
                   - remained there until they were formed into detachments of 100 men
                - marched to train station at San Fernando
                - POWs put into small wooden
boxcars
                - each car 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
                - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
POW Camps:
    - Philippine Islands
        - Camp O'Donnell
            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for
                      water to be turned on again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio
             
Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
        - 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 #1
            - original name - Camp Panagaian
               - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                   - put into use by Japanese as a POW camp
            - actually three camps
                - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell sent there in attempt to lower death rate
                - Camp 2:  two miles away
                    - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                    - later used for Naval POWs
                - Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
                    - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
            - September 1942 - Camps 1 & 3 consolidated
                - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                    - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
                - POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
                - Barracks:
                    - each barracks held 50 men
                        - often held between 60 and 120 men
                        - slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
                            - diseases spread easily
                        - no showers
            - Morning Roll Call:
                - stood at attention
                    - frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
                - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in
                  their shins with their hobnailed boots because they didn't like the way the POWs had lined up
            - Work Details:
                - Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
                - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                    - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp's fence
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
                - the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
                - most of the food the POWs grew went to the Japanese
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                  - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
                  - medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
                  - many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
            - 12 December 1942 - left Cabanatuan
        - Fort McKinley
            - POWs appear to have collected scrap metal
            - 29 January 1943 - POWs sent to Neilsen Airfield from Ft. McKinley
        - Neilsen Airfield
            - POWs extended runways and built revetments with picks and shovels
            - POWs sent to Camp Murphy - 25 October 1943
        - Camp Murphy - Lipa Batangas
            -
Zablan Field            
                - POWs built runways at an airfield and worked on a farm
                - returned to Cabanatuan
         - Cabanatuan
                - sent to Bilibid Prison
                    - POWs  assigned to Building 12
                    - POWs in building referred to as "The Casual Group"
        -
Bilibid Prison
            - admitted: 1 September 1944 - U.S. Naval Hospital Unit - Bilibid Prison
                - dry beriberi, dysentery, and malnourished
                - sent to hospital ward as soon as he arrived at Bilibid
             - discharged date not known
             -  Owen had been selected to be sent to Japan
                 - doctors determined he was "too ill" to survive trip

            - admitted: 26 September 1944
                - amoebic dysentery
Note: Hewlett may have been reassigned to 192nd Tank Battalion in the Philippine Islands
        - records kept by doctors at Bilibid Prison indicate he was a member of the tank battalion
Died:
    - Monday - 2 October 1944 - Bilibid Prison
        - amoebic dysentery complicated by beriberi
        - approximate time of death  - 7:50 PM
Buried:
    - Bilibid Cemetery
        - 3 October 1944
Reburied:
    - East Lawn Cemetery - Hanson, Kentucky







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