Linse

 

Pvt. Wilbur E. Linse


Born: 17 February 1918 - Buffalo County, Wisconsin

Parents: Etta Goeldner-Linse & Alvin A. Linse

Siblings: 3 brothers, 2 sisters

Home: Lanson Valley Road - Modena Township, Buffalo County, Wisconsin

Occupation: farmer

Inducted: 

    - U. S. Army 

        - 18 April 1941 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Training: 

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky

        - tank mechanic 

        - at some point he trained as a medic 

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana
        - received orders for overseas duty
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:

    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
    - ferried on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island
        - gave physicals to members of the battalion
    - Boarded: U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott
    - Sailed: Monday - 27 October 1941 - San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: Sunday - 2 November 1941 - Honolulu, Hawaii
    - Sailed: Wednesday - 5 November 1941
        - took southerly route away from main shipping lanes
        - joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the transport, S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
            - smoke seen on horizon
            - Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke
                - ship was from a neutral country  
    - Sunday - 9 November 1941 - crossed International Date Line
        - work up on Tuesday - 11 November 1941
    - Arrived: Sunday 16 November 1941 - Guam
            - loaded bananas, coconuts, vegetables, and water
    - Sailed: Next day
    - Arrived: Manila Bay - Thursday - 20 November 1941 - about 8:00 A.M.
    - Disembarked: 3:00 P.M.
        - taken to St. Stostenburg by bus
        - lived in tents along road between the fort and Clark Airfield

Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg
            - General Edward King met the soldiers when they arrived
                - apologized to soldiers about living conditions
                - lived in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
                - made sure they all had Thanksgiving Dinner before he had his dinner 
Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived through attack on Clark Field
                - took cover since the medical detachment had no weapons to fight planes
            - 13 December 1941
                - inspecting aid stations
                    - drove jeep across Clark Field when Japanese planes attacked
                    - others in jeep: Capt. Alvin Powleit, Pvt. Robert Ryan, Pvt. Earl Weaver
                    - stopped jeep and it would not stop
                    - took cover during attack
            - 14 December 1941
                - medical detachment left Clark Field
                - set up aid station in a dried river bed
            - 21 December 1941
                - medical detachment moved north toward Lingayen Gulf with rest of battalion
            - 23 December 1941
                - detachment at Sison being shelled
                    - withdrew with battalion down Route 3
                    - the detachment bivouac-ed
                    - heard tanks
                        - the tanks were Japanese
                        - packed up and went south through Urdaneta
                        - crossed over Agno River bridge and passed through Carmen
            - 25 December 1941
                - set up aid station south of Rosales
                - medics checked letter companies
                - bivouac bombed and strafed
            - 27 December 1941
                - located at Santo Tomas
                    - detachment slept in churchyard
            - 28 December 1941
                - General MacArthur ordered medics not to carry guns
                - kept their guns
            - 28/29 December 1941
                - located near San Isidro
                    - area shelled for three hours
                    - one tank crew injured when a shell caused it to turn over
                    - medics noted that tank crews were in poor condition from lack of sleep and food
            - 30 December 1941
                - detachment did not receive order to pull out
                - ordered out by Capt. John Morley
                    - drover trucks through Gapan
                        - barrio was occupied by Japanese
                        - went through so fast Japanese could not stop them
            - 1 January 1942
                - detachment bivouac-ed north of Luog
            - 2 January 1942
                - treated S/Sgt. Joseph Wierzchon, C Company, who had been wounded by mortar fire
                - also treated Pfc. Frank Byars, who while delivering a message, was killed by Filipino who mistook him as a German
            - 4 January 1942
                - medical detachment at Culis
                - treated wounded of the 194th Tank Battalion
                    - 2nd Lt Weeden Petree shot in abdomen
                -  tank shot down Zero which was strafing
            - 6 January 1942
                - shelling destroyed 194th Medical Detachment truck
                - shared what they had with 194th
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - 7 January 1942
                - Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. James Weaver visit tankers
                    - MacArthur asked why the men were not in the hospital
                    - Dr. Alvin Poweleit replied, "Who would man the tanks?"
                - later in day Japanese bombed and strafed area
             - 10 January 1942
                - A and B Companies, and companies of 194th assigned beach duty
                    - from Abucay to Lamao
            - 18 January 1942
                - moved back to Pilar and Balanga which were burning when they went through
                - tanks inflicted heavy damage to Japanese infantry
             - 19 January 1942
                - dropped back to Orion
                - caught wild pig, roasted it
                - food truck arrived and medics ate first American food in two days
            - 20 January 1942
                - bivouac at 147 kilometer marker (from Manila)
                - Japanese attempted landing
            - 29 January 1942
                - ordered to West Coast of Bataan
                - start of Battle of the Points
            - 31 January 1942
                - Quinauan Point cleared
                    - a Japanese diary said the Japanese were more afraid of being hit by a grenade then of it
                      exploding
            - 3/8 February 1942
                - Battle of the Pockets
                    - several tanks disabled
                    - attempted to recover them
                    - several members of battalion wounded or killed
            - 9 February 1942
                - medical detachment at 218 Kilometer on West Road
                    - medics report tank crews in bad shape
            - 11 February 1942
                - moved to kilometer 205, West Road
                - bombed and shelled
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver,"Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal.  If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay."
        - February 1942
            - tank battalions on their own guarded airfields
            - battalions also guarded beaches to prevent Japanese from landing troops   
             - March 1942
                - treated tank crews for various sicknesses
            - 3 April 1942
                - Japanese lunched major offensive
            - 8 April 1942
                - ammunition dumps destroyed
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."
            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result in the massacre of 6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000

              civilians
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
            - 11:40 P.M. - ammunition dumps blown up

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

            - assigned to Barracks 7, Group 2
                - 23 June 1942 - assigned to medical staff at camp

                - many of the medical staff assigned to this barracks
        -  Work Detail:
            - went out on an unknown work detail
                - became ill on detail and sent to Bilibid

        - Bilibid Prison
            - 31 October 43
                - assigned to Group 1
        - Cabanatuan
            - returned to camp after he recovered

Hell Ship:

- Noto Maru

        - Sailed: Manila - 27 August 1944 

        - Arrived: Takao & Keelung, Formosa

        - Sailed: Keelung, Unknown

        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 4 September 1944
POW Camps:

    - Japan: 

        - Yokohama Dispatch Camp

        - Sendai #10

            - Work: steel mill
                - POWs worked without proper safety devices and were exposed to excessive heat and gaseous fumes
                - sick who could walk were required to work
                - Japanese withheld clothing, medical supplies and treatment, and food from Red Cross packages

Liberated: 

    - September 1945
        - returned to the Philippine Islands

Promoted: Corporal
Transport:
    - U.S.S. General R. L. Howze
        - Sailed: Manila - 23 September 1945
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 16 October 1945 - 3:00 A.M.

            - someone spotted lights of San Francisco

            - the former POWs lined the rails as a tug helped the ship to the pier

            - men openly cried as a band played "San Francisco"
            - former POWs taken to Letterman General Hospital

Discharged: 28 April 1946
Reenlisted:  not known
Discharged: 1951
Residence: lived in California and Arizona
Never Married
Hospitalized: throat infection

Died: 9 January 1957 - Phoenix, Arizona

Buried:
    -15 January 1957

        - Saint Paul Lutheran Cemetery - Modena, Wisconsin


 

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