Lang_H

Sgt. Howard Ronald Lang


Born: August 1918 - Saint Paul, Minnesota

Parents: August & Marie Lang

Siblings: 3 brothers, 2 sisters

Hometown: New Brighton, Minnesota

Inducted:

    - U. S. Army

        - 20 March 1941

Training: 

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        -

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana
        - 1 September 1941 - 30 September 1941 -  took part in maneuvers

Overseas Duty:
    - battalion travels by train, over four different train routes to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California

    - taken to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay by the ferry the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
    - October 25th & 26th - physicals given by battalion's medical detachment
        - some men released
        - others held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
        - replacements fill these positions
    - Boarded: U.S.S. General H. L. Scott - Monday - 27 October 1941

    - Sailed: same day
    - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
            - arrived in the morning
            - soldiers received shore leave
    - Sailed: Wednesday - 5 November 1941

        - took southerly route away from main shipping lanes

        - joined by heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
            - smoke seen on horizon
            - Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of water, and it intercepted the ship
                - ship was from a neutral country
         - Sunday - 9 November 1941 - crossed International Dateline
             - soldiers woke up on Tuesday - 11 November 1941
        - Arrived: Guam - Sunday 16 November 1941
            - ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
        - Sailed: next day
            - passed Japanese held island in total blackout
        -Arrived: Thursday - 20 November 1941 - Manila Bay - 7:00 A.M.
            - soldiers disembark ship three hours after arrival
            - boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
            - maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from ship
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands

Engagements: 

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - tank battalions last units to disengage from Japanese during withdrawal to Bataan

            - 12 December 1941 - Barrio of Dau
                - guarded a road and railway
            - 23/24 December 1941
                - Urdaneta. Pangasinan Province
                    - while outside barrio the company's commander Captain Walter Write was killed
                 
                -  the tanks were not allowed to withdraw, they almost were captured
                    - tanks made end run to a bridge in the Bayambang Province over the Agno River
            - 25 December 1941 - tanks held south bank of Agno River from Carmen to Tayung
                - held the position until 5:30 A.M. until December 27
                - prevented Japanese from crossing river

            - 30 December 1941

            - A Company wiped out a Japanese Bicycle Battalion that rode into its bivouac at night

            - the company had bivouacked on both sides of a road

            - a noise was heard - the tankers grabbed Tommy-guns and stood behind their tanks

            - as they watched the bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac 

            - the tankers opened up with everything they had
                        - when they ceased fire, the entire battalion had been wiped out

            - A Company attached to 194th - east of Pampanga

                - withdrew from area
                - 2nd Lt. William Read killed during withdraw

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942     

            - 23 January 1942 - 17 February 1942

                - Battle of the Pockets
                   - wiped out Japanese troops cut off behind main line of defense            
            - 27 January 1942
                - tanks held position for six hours to allow a new line of defense to form
                - tanks and self-propelled mounts inflict 50% casualties on three Japanese units
            - 28 January 1942 - beach duty
                - prevented Japanese from landing troops on Bataan     

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

            - 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
            - 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
                        - camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
                        - Corregidor POWs were in better shape
                            - January 1943 - POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
        - Camp Administration:
            - the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
                - Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
                - POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
                    - Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
                    - Japanese beat them for days
                    - executed them
            - Blood Brother Rule
                - POWs put into groups of ten
                    - if one escaped the others would be executed
                    - housed in same barracks
                    - worked on details together
            - 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 looked
            - Work Details:
                - Two main details
                    - the farm and airfield
                        - farm detail
                            - POWs cleared land and grew comotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
                            - Japanese took what was grown
                    - Guards:
                        - Big Speedo - spoke little English
                            - in charge of detail
                            - fair in treatment of POWs
                            - spoke little English
                                - to get POWs to work faster said, "speedo"
                        - Little Speedo
                            - fair in treatment of POWs
                        - Smiley
                            - always smiling
                            - could not be trusted
                            - meanest of guards
            - Airfield Detail:
                - Japanese built an airfield for fighters
                    - POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
                        - at first moved dirt in wheel barrows
                        - later pushed mining cars
                    - Guards:
                        - Air Raid
                            - in charge
                            - usually fair but unpredictable
                                - had to watch him
                        - Donald Duck
                            - always talking
                            - sounded like the cartoon character
                            - unpredictable - beat POWs
                            - POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
                                - at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
                                - POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
                - Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
                    - worked 6 days a week
                        - had Sunday off
            - Other Details:
                - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
                    - 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
            - Burial Detail
                - POWs worked in teams of four
                    - carried 4 to 6 dead to cemetery at a time in liter
                    - a grave contained from 15 to 20 bodies
            - daily POW meal
                - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
                 - rice was main staple, few vegetables or fruits
        - 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
             - hospitalized - Wednesday - 8 July 1942 - dysentery & malaria
                - discharged - Tuesday - 22 September 1942
Hell Ships:
    - Interisland Steamers
        - Sailed: 1 July 1942 - Manila
        - Arrived: 9 July 1942 - Davao, Mindano

POW Camp:
  - Davao - Tuesday - 27 October 1942 - Tuesday - 6 June 1944

             - first American plane seen in two years in late May 1944 

             - Japanese began to evacuate POWs
Hell Ships:
    - Yashu Maru

        - POWs taken by truck to Lasang - 6 June 1944

            - hands tied and shoes removed to prevent escapes

            - POWs put in forward holds

                - remained in holds for six days
        - Sailed: Lasang, Mindano - 12 June 1944

            - ship dropped anchor off Zamboanga, Midinao - 14 June 1944
        - Arrived: Cebu City - 17 June 1944

            - POWs disembark put in warehouse

        - Sailed: unnamed ship - 21 June 1944
            - POWs called ship "Singoto Maru"

        - Arrived:  Manila- 24 June 1944           
            - POWs taken to Bilibid Prison
POW Camp:

      - Bilibid Prison
Hell Ship:

     - Nissyo Maru

        - Boarded: Manila - 17 July 1944 - boarded 8:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 18 July 1944 - dropped anchor off breakwater
            - remained there until 23 July 1944
        - Sailed: 24 July 1944
            - 26 July 1944 - one ship in convoy sunk by American submarine - 3:00 A.M.
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 9:00 A.M. - 28 July 1944
        - Sailed: 28 July 1944 - 7:00 P.M.
            - sailed through storm 30 July to 2 August 1944
            - 3 August 1944 - issued new clothes

        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - midnight - 4 August 1944

            - disembark ship - 8:00 A.M.
            - marched to theater
            - taken by train to POW camp
POW Camps:
   
- Japan: 

          - Nagoya #5B

              - sulfuric acid production
              - POWs transferred -  25 May 1945

          - Toyama Camp #7-B

              - Work: Scrap metal smelter

Liberated: 5 September 1945
        - returned to Philippine Islands
Transport:
        - U.S.S. Hugh Rodman
            - Sailed: Manila - September 1945
            - Arrived: San Francisco, California - 3 October 1945
                - former POWs taken to Letterman Hospital

Promoted: Staff Sergeant

Died:

    - 1992 - Cumberland, Wisconsin


 

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