Capt. Richard Coordes Kadel
| Capt. Richard C. Kadel was born on
August 13, 1904, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to
Phillip H. Kadel & Metta Coodes-Kadel.
With his sister, he grew up in Terre Haute,
Indiana. He married Kathryn Allison Curd in
Cave City, Kentucky. The couple resided
on U.S. Highway 70 in Barren, Kentucky. During World War I,
he served with the 35th Divison in France.
He graduated from college and was a civil engineer
with the Civilian Conservation Corps when he
enlisted in the army on September 8, 1940.
When the 17th Ordnance Company was formed from the 19th Ordnance Battalion, Kadel became the commanding officer of company. With the company, he was sent to the Philippine Islands in September 1941. The company arrived in the Philippines on September 26, 1941.
During Kadel's time in the Philippines, his
company prepared to work on the tanks of the 1st
Provisional Tank Group. On December 8, 1941,
just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor, Kadel witnessed the Japanese bombing of
Clark Airfield. His company watched the
field bombed from their quarters at Fort
Stotsenburg. He was promoted to major on
December 19, 1941, but never received word of the
For four months Kadel's company kept the tanks of the 192nd Tank Battalion and the 194th Battalion running. Often, they had to scavenge parts from other tanks. His company also made landmines from cigar boxes and modified World War I ammunition. They did this work until they were ordered to surrender on April 9, 1942. After the surrender, Kadel took part in the death march, but was separated from his company and interrogated by the Japanese.
It was at this time that Kadel witnessed the
Japanese bury alive three Americans three Filipino
officers in the basement of a building. The
men were too ill from dysentery and malnutrition
to continue the march. One man tried to
climb out of the basement but was hit in the head
with a shovel. In the building, Kadel was
interrogated by a Japanese colonel about American
ordnance. Since he would not reveal anything
to the Japanese officer, he was beaten.
Kadel said, "I told him
he could go to hell, and then I gave him my
name and serial number." The end result of the
beating was that he walked with a cane, the
rest of his life, because of the back injuries
When American forces landed at Subic Bay in late
1944, Capt. Richard Kadel and two other American
officers were waiting for them on the beaches.
After making contact with American forces, Kadel
learned he had been promoted to Major.
In a letter that was sent out on a submarine, he
wrote, "At present I
am in fine shape. am free and busy now
that the time in near. These Filipinos
are very very poor, but their hearts are
pure gold and they are very pro-American,
thank God. I can tell you many stories
about life in the swamps, the jungles, and
the mountains, and many of the strange
things I have seen, and believe me that time
is rapidly approaching when I can see my
loved ones again." The
letter was dead November 6, 1944.
After the war, he swore an affidavit against Major
General Yoshitaka Kawane and Colonel Kurataro
Hirano. Both men were charged with
contributing to the deaths of 1,200 Americans and
10,000 Filipinos during the death march and an
additional 1,548 Americans and 25,000 Filipinos at
Camp O'Donnell. Kadel was discharged on
November 24, 1946, as a Lieutenant Colonel in
Richard C. Kadel died on October 27, 1983, in Swain County, North Carolina. He was buried at Cave City Cemetery in Cave City, Kentucky.