Hubert H. Long was born in Missouri in
1917. He lived in Buchanan County and
married in 1940. He was married to
Vernelle and was the father of one son.
The family resided at 920 Edmond Street in Saint
Joseph, Missouri. At some point, he
enlisted in the Missouri National Guard.
On February 10, 1941, Herbert was inducted into
the U. S. Army at Saint Joseph, Missouri.
He was sent to Ft. Lewis, Washington, where his
company was designated, B Company, 194th Tank
Battalion. He was later transferred to
The battalion was taking part in maneuvers when
orders came that it was being sent overseas, so
the battalion withdrew from the maneuvers and
returned to Ft. Lewis. By this time, B
Company had been detached from the
The reason for this move was an event that took
place in the summer of 1941. A squadron of
American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf
when one of the pilots 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, hudred of miles away, that had
a large radio transmitter. The squadron
continued its flight plan and flew south to
Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.
By the time the planes landed, it was too late
to do anything that day about the buoys.
By the time another squadron
was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had
been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen
making its way toward shore. Since,
communication between the Air Corps and Navy
were poor, the boat was not intercepted.
It was at that time the decision was made to
build up the American military presence in the
In September 1941, the 194th was sent to Ft.
Mason in San Francisco, California, and ferried
on the U.S.A.T General Frank M. Coxe, to
Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island where they
received physicals and inoculations from the
battalion's medical detachment. Those men
with medical conditions were replaced.
The tankers boarded the S.S.
President Calvin Coolidge on September 8
at 3:00 P.M. and sailed at 9:00 P.M. for the
Philippine Islands. To get the tanks to
fit in the ship's holds, the turrets had serial
numbers spray painted on them and were removed
from the tanks. They arrived at Honolulu,
Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13 at 7:00 A.M.,
and most of the soldiers were allowed off ship
to see the island but had to be back on board
before the ship sailed at 5:00 P.M.
After leaving Hawaii, the
ship took a southerly route away from the main
shipping lanes. It was at this time that
it was joined by a heavy cruiser, the U.S.S.
Astoria, and an unknown destroyer that were
its escorts. During this part of the trip,
on several occasions, smoke was seen on the
horizon, and the Astoria took off in the
direction of the smoke. Each time it was
found that the smoke was from a ship belonging
to a friendly country.
The ships crossed the
International Dateline on Tuesday, September 16,
and the date changed to Thursday, September
18. They entered Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M.
and reached Manila several hours later.
The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M., and were
driven on buses to Clark Field. The
maintenance section of the battalion and members
of 17th Ordnance remained at the dock to unload
the battalion's tanks and reattach the turrets.
The tanks were sent to the
perimeter of Clark Field on December 1st with
the 194th guarding the north end of the
airfield. The southern end of the airfield
was protected by the 192nd Tank Battalion, which
head arrived in the Philippines in late
November. At all time two members of each tank
and half-track remained with their vehicles and
received their meals from food trucks.
On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after Pearl
Harbor, Herbert lived through the Japanese
attack on Clark Airfield. He would spend
the next four months attempting to keep the
tanks of his battalion supplied.
attack the members of HQ Company took cover in
ditches since they had few weapons that could be
used against planes. The attack lasted for
about 45 minutes. When the Japanese were
finished, there was not much left of the
airfield. The soldiers watched as the
dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the
hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything
that could carry the wounded was in use.
When the hospital filled, they watched the
medics place the wounded under the
building. Many of these men had their arms
and legs missing.
The battalion was sent to the
barrio of San Jaoaquin on the Malolus Road and
moved to an area just south of San Joaquin near
the Calumpit Bridge on December 12th. It
would receive 15 Bren Gun carriers that were
used to test the ground to see if it could
support the weight of a tank. The
battalion moved again to west and north of
Rosario and was operating in north of the Agno
River the night of December 22/23.
The tank battalions formed
the Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas defensive
line the night of December 26/27. They
were holding a new line at the Bamban River the
night of December 29/30 and were at the Calumpit
Bridge the next night.
On January 5th, they were at Lyac Junction and
dropped back to Remedios were a new defensive
line was formed.
The night of January 6/7, the
194th withdrew over a bridge on the Culis Creek
covered by the 192nd Tank Battalion, and entered
Bataan. The 192nd crossed the bridge
before it was destroyed and entered Bataan.
The tank battalions were
covering the East Coast Road on January
8th. It was at this time that the tank
platoons were reduced to three tanks each and HQ
Company with the 17th Ordnance Company were able
to do long overdue maintenance on the tanks.
The tanks continued to cover
withdraws for the rest of January and
February. In March, HQ Company was
recovering two tanks that had been bogged
down in the mud when the Japanese entered
the area. Lt. Col. Miller ordered
the tanks to fire at point blank range and ran
from tank to tank directing the fire.
On April 4th, the Japanese
lunched an all out offensive at 3:00 P.M., and
the tanks were sent to various sectors in an
attempt to stop the advance. When it
became apparent to Gen. Edward King that the
situation was hopeless, he sent staff officers
to negotiate the surrender of Bataan on April
The evening of April 8, 1942,
the tankers were informed that Bataan would be
surrendered the next morning. At 6:45, the
morning of April 9th, the order crash was given
and anything of military value was
destroyed. It was on April 9th that
Herbert became a Prisoner of War. The
company remained in its bivouac for two days
until Japanese ordered them to move on April
Hubert started the march at Mariveles at the
southern tip of Bataan and made his way to San
Fernando. There, the POWs were packed into
small wooden boxcars that were used to haul
sugarcane. The cars could hold forty men
or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100
men into each car. At Capas, the POWs
climbed out of the cars and walked the last ten
miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an
unfinished Filipino Army Base that the Japanese
put into use as a POW camp on April 1,
1942. They believed the camp could hold
15,000 to 20,000 POWs. When the POWs
arrived at the camp, they were searched and
anyone found with Japanese money were separated
from the other POWs and sent to the
guardhouse. These POWs were accused of
looting the bodies of dead Japanese
soldiers. Over several days, gunshots were
heard coming from southeast of the camp as they
The Japanese also took away
any extra clothing that the POWs carried with
them and refused to return it. Since there
was no water to wash their clothing, the POWs
threw away soiled clothing and stripped the dead
of their clothing. Few of the POWs in the
camp hospital had clothing.
There was only one water
faucet for the entire camp and men stood in line
from 2½ to 8 hours waiting for a drink.
The Japanese guard in charge of the spigot would
turn it off, for no reason, and the next man in
line would have to wait up to four hours for it
to be turned on again. Water for cooking food
had to be hauled three miles to the camp. Mess
kits could not be cleaned.
Since most of the POWs had
dysentery, the slit trenches overflowed which
resulted in flies being everywhere in the camp
including the camp kitchen and in the
food. The camp hospital had no water,
soap, or disinfectant which also caused diseases
to spread. When the ranking American
doctor presented a letter with the medicines and
medical supplies they needed to treat the sick,
the camp commander, Captain Yoshio Tsuneyoshi,
told him never to write another letter. He
also said that the only thing he wanted to know
about the POWs were their names and serial
numbers after they died.
The Archbishop of
Manila sent a truck full of medical supplies to
the camp, but the Japanese refused to let it
into the camp. When a representative of
the Philippine Red Cross told a Japanese
lieutenant that they could set up an 150 bed
hospital for the POWs, he was slapped in the
face by the lieutenant. Medicines sent to
the camp by the Red Cross were confiscated by
the Japanese for their own use.
The POWs called the hospital
"Zero Ward" because most of the men who entered
it never came out alive. The Japanese were
so afarid of contracting an illness that they
put a barbed wire fence up around it. The
POWs in the hospital lay elbow to elbow on the
floor and operations were performed with knives
from mess kits. Only one medic, out of
every six assigned to treat the sick, was
healthy enough to perform his duties.
Each morning, the POWs walked
around the camp and collected the bodies of the
dead and placed them under the hospital
building. To clean the ground, the POWs
moved the bodies, scrapped the ground, put
down lime to sterilize the ground, moved the
bodies back, and repeated the process where the
bodies had been. It took two to three days
to bury a man after he died.
Any POW, if he could walk,
went out on a work detail for the day such as
the one collected wood for the POW
kitchen. Some POWs went out on work
details which lasted for months to get out of
the camp. The worse detail a man could be
put on was the burial detail. On this
detail, two POWs carried a dead man to the camp
cemetery. Once there, they put the body in
a grave and held the body down with a pole,
since the water table was high, and covered it
with dirt. The next morning, when the
burials resumed, the dead were often sitting up
or had been dug up by wild dogs. The Japanese
finally acknowledged that they had to do
something to lower the death rate, so they
opened a new POW camp.
On June 1, the POWs formed
detachments of 100 men and were marched to
Capas, where they were put into steel
boxcars. Each car had two Japanese
guards. During the trip at Calumpit, the
train was switched onto a track that took it to
Cabanatuan. When the POWs left the cars,
they were herded into a schoolyard where they
were fed cooked rice and onions soup. They
were marched to the new camp which was a former
Philippine Army Base and had been the home of
the 91st Philippine Army Division's home.
In the camp the Japanese
instituted the "Blood Brother" rule. If
one man escaped the other nine men in his group
would be executed. POWs caught trying to
escape were beaten. Those who did escape
and were caught, were tortured before being
executed. It is not known if any POW
successfully escaped from the camp.
The POWs were sent out on
work details to cut wood for the POW
kitchens. While on these details they
bought or were given medicine, food, and
tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into
the camp even though they were searched when
they returned. Meals on a daily basis
consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces
of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn.
He remained at Cabanatuan until October 1944,
when his name was posted for transport to
Japan. This was done because U. S. Forces
were approaching the Philippines, and the
Japanese did not want them to be liberated.
When Hubert's group of POWs arrived at the Port
Area of Manila early October 1944, they were
boarded onto the Arisan Maru. They
had been scheduled to be boarded onto the Hokusen
Maru, but since one of the POW detachments
in his group had not arrived on time, the
Japanese switched groups and put another group
of POWs on Hubert's ship so it could sail.
The POWs were packed into the ship's number one
hold. Along the sides of the hold were
shelves that served as bunks that were so close
together that a man could not lift himself up
while laying down, while those standing had no
room to lie down. The latrines for the prisoners
were eight five gallon cans. Since the
POWs were packed into the hold so tightly, many
of the POWs could not get near the cans, so the
floor of the hold was covered with human waste.
The ship sailed on October 10th but took a
southerly route away from Formosa. It
arrived at a cove off Palawan Island where it
dropped anchor. This resulted in the ship
missing an air attack by American planes on
Manila. During their time off Palawan, the
POWs managed to hot wire the hold's ventilation
system into the ship's lighting system.
The Japanese had removed the light bulbs, but
they had not turned off the power. For two
days the POWs had fresh air. The power was
turned off when the Japanese found out what the
POWs had done.
When the POWs began
developing heat blisters, the Japanese moved men
to the second hold. During the move, one
man attempted to escape but was shot.
While in the cove, the ship came under attack
from American planes which were returning from a
attack on Palawan.
The Arisan Maru returned to the Manila
on October 20th, where it became part of a
twelve ship convoy bound for
Formosa. On October 21st, the convoy
left Manila and entered the South China
Sea. The Japanese refused to mark POW
ships with "red crosses" to indicate they
were carrying POWs. This made the ships
targets for submarines. In addition, the
American military had cracked the Japanese code,
but did not inform the crews of submarines that
the ships were carrying POWs. This was
done to protect the secret that the code had bee
According to the survivors of the Arisan
Maru, on Tuesday, October 24, 1944,
around 5:00 pm, POWs were on deck preparing the
meal for those in the ship's two holds.
The ship was, off the coast of China, in the
The POWs on deck watched as the
Japanese ran to the bow of the ship and watched
a torpedo from an American submarine pass in
front of the ship. The Japanese next ran
to the stern of the ship and watched a second
torpedo pass behind the ship. There was a
sudden jar which was caused by the ship being
hit by two torpedoes amidships. The ship
stopped dead in the water. It is believed
that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was
the U. S. S Snook.
The guards went after the
POWs who cooking dinner and began beating them
with their guns and forcing them into the second
hold. Once they were in the hold the
Japanese cut the rope ladders and slammed down
the hatch cover before abandoning the ship.
POWs in the first hold
managed to make their way onto the deck and
reattached the rope ladders and dropped them
into the holds. The surviving POWs made
their way onto the deck. On the ship's
deck an American major spoke to the POWs, he
said, "Boys, we're in
a hellva a jam - but we've been in jams
before. Remember just one thing: We're
American soldiers. Let's play it that
way to the very end of the script."
Right after he spoke, a chaplain said to them, "Oh Lord, if it be thy will
to take us now, give us the strength to be
According to surviving POWs,
the ship stayed afloat for hours but got lower
in the water. At one point, the stern of
the ship began going under which caused the ship
to split in half but the halves remained
afloat. It was about this time that about
35 POWs swam to the nearest Japanese ship.
When the Japanese realized that they were POWs,
they pushed them underwater with poles and
drowned them or hit them with clubs. Those
POWs who could not swim raided the food lockers
for a last meal. These men wanted to die
with full stomachs. Other POWs took to the
water with anything that would float.
Three men managed to get into
a lifeboat that had been abandoned by the
Japanese. But since the sea was rough and
they had no paddles, they could not maneuver the
boat. According to the men as the night
went on, the cries for help became fewer until
there was silence. The next morning, they
rescued two more POWs.
Sgt. Hubert H. Long lost his life when the Arisan
Maru was torpedoed in the South China
Of the 1803 POWs on the ship, only nine survived
the sinking. Eight of the men
survived the war. Since he was lost at
sea, Sgt, Hubert H. Long's name is inscribed on
the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military
Cemetery outside of Manila.