Pvt. Edward Charles Keith Jr.
Born: 18 May 1923 - New Lisbon, Maine
Parents: Edward C. Keith Sr. & Mary Sotak-Keith
Hometown: Gary, Indiana
Enlisted: September 1940
Training: Fort Knox, Kentucky
    - 18 May 1940
Unit:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - company trained on tanks of the 192nd Tank Battalion
        - drove a tank wrecker
    - 17th Ordnance Company
        - 17 August 1941 - Company A designated 17th Ordnance Company
        - received oversea duty 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:
    - Philippine Islands
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - 8 September 1941
        - Sailed for Philippines - Monday - 8 September 1941 - 9:00 P.M.
        - Arrived Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:30 A.M.
        - Sailed: Same Day
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - unloaded tanks of 194th Tank Battalion
            - taken to Ft. Stotsenburg by bus
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March - POWs made their way from Mariveles at southern tip of Bataan to San Fernando
            - march took Edward eight and a half days to complete
            - POWs received no food and little water
            - POWs put in small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane
            - each car could hold forty men or eight horses
                - Japanese put 100 men in each car
                - those who died remained standing until living left cars at Capas
            - POWs walk last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
    - Camp O'Donnell
        - 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
        - Edward lost 100 pounds during his time in the camp
Work Detail:
    - In early May, Edward and two other POWs were digging a drainage ditch near the camp with one Japanese guard with them.
    - The guard turned his back on the POWs and was hit, by one POW, in the back of the head with a shovel killing him.
    - The three POWs escaped into the jungle. 
        - Two of the POWs were recaptured and executed by the Japanese.
    - Edward was saved by Filipino guerrillas who helped him regain his strength
Guerrillas:
    - Fassoth Camp    
    - Bulacan Military Area
        - Edward became the leader of a Filipino guerrilla unit of 500 men
            -acting rank of lieutenant
        - The unit raided Japanese garrisons and airfields between Clark Field and Manila.
        - Their primary mission was to gather information and radio it to American submarines
        - Americans supplied the unit with ammunition and other supplies
        - His guerrilla group rescued an American pilot shot down over Manila Bay.
        - December 1944 - his unit met elements of the 30th Infantry Division after their landings at Subic Bay
            - supplied Americans with intelligence about the Japanese
    - Promoted: Tec 5
Liberated:
    - after making contact with Americans, his parents were informed he was alive and well
        - military had not informed his family that he was alive even though they knew he was
    - taken to New Guiana to recuperate - 21 December 1944
    - returned home
    - Promoted:
         - Sergeant
Discharged:
    - 4 July 1945 - Camp Atterbury
Reenlisted:
    - 12 October 1948
        - Rank: Sergeant
    - 9 December 1957
Military Career:
    - fought in Korea
    - retired - 31 January 1961
Married:
    - Violet Baker
        - married - 21 April 1946
        - divorced
    - Doris M. Drake
        - married - 1947
            - 1 daughter, 1 son
        - divorced - March 1952
    - Mildred B. Fisher
        - married: 3 October 1974
Died: 5 February 1995
Buried:
    - Southern Nevada Veterans Cemetery
        - Section: C-0311

 

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