MacDonald_L

 


Cpl. Lee Donald MacDonald


Born: 23 August 1920 - Crow Wing County, Minnesota

Parents: John R. & Matilda MacDonald

Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother

Home: 514 Quice Street, Brainerd, Minnesota
Nickname: Scotty

Inducted: 

    - U.S. Army

        - 6 February 1941 - Brainerd, Minnesota

Training:

    - Fort Lewis, Washington

        - motorcycle messenger

Overseas Duty:

    - Ship: S.S. President Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
                - ships from friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
        - returned to Manila to help 17th Ordnance with unloading of tanks
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 
        - 1 December 1941
            - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
            - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
            - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all times
                - meals served by food trucks
            - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                    - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                - operating north of Agno River
                - main bridge at Carmen bombed
            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                    - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
            - 26/27 December 1941
                - ordered to withdraw
                    - 1 platoon forced its way through way through Carmen
                        - lost two tanks
                            - one tank belonged to company commander - Captain Edward Burke
                                - believed dead, but was actually captured
                            - one tank crew rescued
                - new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
                - rest of battalion made a dash out
                    - lost one tank at Bayambang
                    - another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
                - Lt. Petree's platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
                - D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
                    - the tank commander found a crossing
                    - Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
            - 29/30 December 1941
                - new line at Bamban River established
                - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
            - 30/31 December 1941
                    - tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
                    - covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
            - 2 January 1942
                - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
                - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
            - 5 January 1942
                - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline
                  Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
                - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate
                    - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                    - tanks opened fire
                    - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
                - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off engagement
                    - suffered 50% casualties
                - Remedios - established new line along dried creek bed 
            - 6/7 January 1942
                - 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
                - both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
           - January 1942
                - tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon

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."
           - 8 January 1942
                - composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect
                  East Coast Road north of Hermosa
                    - their job was to keep the East Road open  north of Hermosa and prevent the
                      Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed
                - remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                    - tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
                    - tanks also needed overdue maintenance
                    - 17th Ordnance
                - all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
                - three per tank platoon
                - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw
                - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
                - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
                - mission abandoned
                - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
        - 12 January 1942
                - C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
                    - forward position with little alert time
        - 13 January 1942
                - mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
                - returned to battalion

        - 16 January 1942
                -  C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
                    - highway had been cut by Japanese
                    - Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
                        - tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
                            - tanks knock out gun
                            - cleared roadblock with support of infantry
        - 20 January 1942
                - Banibani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
        - 24 January 1942
                - tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
                     - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
        - 26 January 1942
            - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
                - four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
            - 9:45 A.M. - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
                - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
                - 10:30 A.M. - Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
                - prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
        - 28 January 1942
                - 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
                - guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
                - half-tracks patrolled roads
                    - maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols

        - 15 February 1942 -  wrote letter home on back of church program
                - "I suppose you heard about us at home." 
               
- tanks guarding beaches
                    - roads patrolled by half-tracks
        - March 1942
                - two tanks were bogged down in mud
                - the tankers were working to get them out
                - Japanese Regiment entered the area
                - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
                    - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
                - wiped out Japanese regiment

                - gasoline rations cut to 15 gallons a day - except tanks

                    - later would be cut to 10 gallons
        - 4 April 1942
            - Japanese launched major offensive
            - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
        - 6 April 1942
            - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
                - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at junction of Trails 8 & 6
                - other tanks covered withdraw
            - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
                - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
                - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
        - 8 April 1942
            - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
Note: Additional information states he was promoted to Sergeant and made a tank commander

POW:

    - 9 April 1942

        - received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
            - Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
        - Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
    - 10 April 1942
            - 7:00 P.M. - started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
            - 3:00 A.M. - halted and rested for an hour
            - 4:00 A.M. - resume march
                - at times slipped on remains of dead who had been killed by Japanese shelling
    - 11 April 1942
        - 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
            - allowed to forage for food
        - 9:00 A.M. - resumed march
        - Noon - reached Limay and main road
    - Death March
        -  Orani
            - herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
            - in morning found they had been lying in human waste
            - latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
            - ordered to form 100 men detachments
            - POWs marched at faster pace
            - fewer breaks
                - when given break, the POWs sat on road
        - North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
            - made march easier
            - POWs given an hour rest on road
            - those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
            - POWs march through Layac and Lurao
            - rains - POWs drank as much as they could
        - San Fernando
            - POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
                - one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
                - pottery jars of water given out the same way
            - POWs awakened
                - formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
                - POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
                    - 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
            - as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
            - also gave them water
            - POWs walked last 8 kilometers to Camp O'Donnell
        - About the march, he said:
            "We marched 8 or 10 days, you sort of lost track of time. The guys who couldn't march were killed.  They
             didn't feed us, we had to steal our food as we walked past sugar cane fields.  We walked all day and half a
             night."

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for the entire camp

                - about this, he said, "Men were lined up for over a mile waiting their turn."
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate

    - Scrap Metal Detail
        - POWs tied disabled vehicles together using ropes
        - an operating vehicle pulled the disabled vehicles
        - each disabled vehicle was driven by a POW
        - POWs found caches of food hidden by American troops
            - "There never was enough to eat though."

        - Cabanatuan
            - assigned to Barracks #7

            - MacDonald believed it was easier to die then live.  All a POW had to do was stop

               eating and dysentery would kill the man. 
                - As for himself,
"I made up my mind that they would have to kill me."


            - spent the next year and a half there
            - worked on camp farm     
            - suffered from malaria     
- 23 January 1943 - parents learned he was a POW

Hell Ship:

    - Taga Maru

        - Sailed: Manila - 20 September 1943
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 23 September 1943
        - Sailed: 26 September 1943

        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 5 October 1943

            - POWs arrived at camp on 6 October 1943,

POW Camp:

    - Japan

        - Hirohata #12-B

            - POWs worked at Seitetsu Steel Mill

                - Stevedores

                - cleaned ovens of slag

            - MacDonald recalled the POWs worked from dawn to dusk.  In his own words, "We stopped working when they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima."

        - 29 August 1945

            - B-29s drop food to former POWs
        - 17 January 1945 - parents received first letter from him in 2 1/2 years:

"This is the second letter I've written.  I hope you received the first one  I am fine and hope all of you are the same.  Thanks a million for the box.  I hope you send them occasionally and also pictures. 
    Hope the war doesn't last much longer, as I can hardly wait to get back.  I'm happy that Jack (his brother) joined the navy.
    Please send some concentrated food and sweets, a sweater and socks.  Take care of all the kids and things.  God Bless you all."


Liberated: 9 September 1945

    - weighed 85 pounds when liberated
    - returned to the Philippine Islands

Promoted: Staff Sergeant
Transport:
    - U.S.S. General R. L. Howze
        - Sailed: Manila - 23 September 1945
        - Arrived: San Francisco, California - 16 October 1945

Discharged: 11 May 1946

Occupation: mail carrier

Died: 19 March 1968 - Brainerd, Minnesota

Buried:

   - Evergreen Cemetery - Brainerd, Minnesota

       - Block:  44   Lot:  30


 

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