McCarter

 

Pvt. Emerson Maytubby McCarter


     Pvt. Emerson M. McCarter was a Native American and a member of the Chicashaw Tribe.  He was born on June 19, 1918, in Jefferson Township, Coal County, Oklahoma, to Andrew L. McCarter & Matilda Maytubby-McCarter.  He was the youngest of the couple's nine sons and six daughters.   He grew up in Jefferson Township, Oklahoma, and was known as "Pete" to his family and friends.  

    During the 1930s, his father died and Emerson went to work as a laborer for the Public Works Project.  It is known that he was married Junia Faye Hampton in 1940.  His wife was a member of Choctaw Tribe.

    Emerson was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, on February 15, 1941.  After basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and assigned to A Company, 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had been sent there but did not take part in the maneuvers that were being held at that time.

    At Camp Polk, Emerson became a replacement and assigned to A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  He replaced a National Guardsman who had been released from federal service.  It is believed he was a member of a tank crew, but his specific duties are not known.
    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, 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 that a large radio transmitter. The island was hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The and the next day, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen making its way to shore.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    After the companies were brought up to strength with replacements, the battalion was equipped with new tanks and half-tracks with came from the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion traveled over different train routes to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, where they were taken by the ferry, the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island.   At Ft. McDowell, on the island, they received physicals and inoculations.  Men found with minor medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced.  

    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27.  During this part of the trip, many of the tankers suffered from seasickness.  Once they recovered, they spent their time breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.  The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S. S. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.
    During this part of the voyage, on Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King who apologized they had to live in tents between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20 was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents. 
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers.

    During lunch, the "replacements" were ordered to stay with the equipment while the original members of the battalion went to eat.  From the north, a formation of 54 planes approached the airfield.  As they watched the sky, they felt good about the planes in the sky and the protection they were providing them.  It was only when they heard the sound of bombs falling did they realize that the planes were Japanese.
   When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  Since the battalion's bivouac was near the main road between the fort and airfield, the soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks and trucks.  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.
    That night the soldiers had slept their last night in a bed.  For protection, they slept under their tanks or in them.
    After the attack, on December 12, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau to guard a highway and railroad against sabotage.   From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  The battalion had been ordered north to Lingayen Gulf to relieve the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts.
    On December 23/24, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where, the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th, held the position.  On December 25, the 192nd held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road.  The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
    The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line the night of December 27/28.  From there they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan River which they were suppose to hold for as long as possible.  The tanks were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28/29 serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.  That night, on a road east of Zaragoza, on December 30, the company was bivouacked for the night and posted sentries.  The sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on them.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion.  To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.
   As the Filipino and American forces fell back toward Bataan, A Company took up a position near the south bank of the Gumain River the night of December 31/January 1.  It was that night that the Japanese lunched an attack to cross the river.
As the Japanese attempted to advance they were cut down by the tankers.  The tankers created gaping holes in their ranks.  To lower their losses, the Japanese tried to cover their advance with a smoke screen.  Since the wind was blowing against them, the smoke blew into the Japanese line.  When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had lost about half their men.
    From January 2 to 4, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.  It was also in January 1942, that the food ration was cut in half.  It was not too long after this was done that malaria, dysentery, and dengue fever began hitting the soldiers. January that the food rations were cut in half.  Not long after this, malaria, dysentery, and dengue fever soon    spread among the soldiers.
    The tanks often were the last units to disengage from the enemy and form a new defensive line as Americans and Filipino forces withdrew toward Bataan.
    A Company was next sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese.  Somehow, the tanks were mistaken by the Filipinos to be Japanese, and the 11th Division accurately used mortars on them.  The result was the loss of three tanks.  The company rejoined the 194th west of Guagua.
    The company, on January 5, was near the Gumain River attached to the 194th Tank Battalion.  It was evening and they believed they were in a relatively safe place. Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield told his men to get some sleep.  Their sleep was interrupted by the sound of a gun shot.  The tankers had no idea that they were about to engage the Japanese who had lunched a major offensive.  There was a great deal of confusion and the battle lasted until 3:00 A.M., when the Japanese broke off the attack.  Around this time, the company returned to the command of the 192nd.
   A Company was next sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese.  Somehow, the tanks were mistaken by the Filipinos to be Japanese, and the 11th Division accurately used mortars on them.  The result was the loss of three tanks.  The company rejoined the 194th west of Guagua.
    On January 5, while attached to the 194th Tank Battalion, the company withdrew from the line.  Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield received orders to launch a counter-attack against the Japanese on a tail picked by Provisional Tank Group command. Bloomfield, while attempting to attack, radioed the tank group that the trail did not exit.
   It was evening and the tankers believed they were in a relatively safe place near Lubao along a dried up creek bed.  Bloomfield told his men to get some sleep.  Their sleep was interrupted by the sound of a gun shot at about 1:50 A.M.  The tankers had no idea that they were about to engage the Japanese who had lunched a major offensive across an open field wearing white shirts which made them easy targets.  There was a great deal of confusion and the battle lasted until 3:00 A.M., when the Japanese broke off the attack.  Within days of this action, the company returned to the command of the 192nd.
    The night of January 7, A Company was awaiting orders to cross the last bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek.  The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge, but the battalion's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until he had looked to see if they were anywhere in sight.  He found the company, asleep in their tanks, because they had not received the order to withdraw across the bridge.  After they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed.   
    The next day the tanks received maintenance.  It was the first rest that the two tank battalions had since December 24.
    On January 24, the tank battalions were ordered to cover all forces withdrawing to the Pilar-Bigac Line in the Abucay Area.  This withdrawal was suppose to take place the night of January 24/25.  The tank battalions prevented the Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting off the withdrawing troops. 
    The morning of January 27, a new battle line had been formed and all units were suppose to be beyond it.  That morning, the tanks were still holding their position six hours after they were suppose to have withdrawn.  While holding the position, the tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at point blank range, three Japanese units causing 50 percent casualties.
    A Company, was sent in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  At Guagua,  A Company with the 11th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese.  Somehow, the Filipinos mistook the tanks as Japanese and accurately used mortars on them knocking out three tanks.  A Company rejoined the 194th east of Guagua.
    On April 9, 1942, he became a Prisoner of War and started the march out of Bataan at Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  On the march, he stayed with the members of A Company.  For the marchers the worst thing was the heat and lack of water.  Those men who fell out were killed.  Prisoners became so desperate that they often risked their lives to get a drink of water.  The Filipino civilians along the route risked their lives, and often gave their lives, to give the soldiers a drink of water.  The soldiers often drank water in the ditches alongside the road. This water was filled with bacteria.  Often, the bodies soldiers who were killed by the Japanese were floating in the water.  Those who drank this water came down with dysentery.

    At San Fernando, the POWs boarded a train and were crammed into boxcars.  With the Filipino sun beating down on the roofs of the boxcars, the journey by train was unbearable.  The prisoners were packed in so tightly that when a man died, he could not fall down.  There were no provisions for water or toilets, so the floors of the boxcars became a sea of diarrhea, vomit and urine.  The prisoners disembarked from the train at Capas and marched the final few miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    The camp was an unfinished Filipino training base which the Japanese pressed the camp into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942.  When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them.  They searched the POWs and if a man was found to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse.  Over the next several days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of the camp.  These POWs had been executed for looting.
    There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to eight hours waiting for a drink.  The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again.  This situation improved when a second faucet was added.
    There was no water for washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it had been soiled.  In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and mess kits could not be washed.  The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery.  The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
    The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant.  When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter.  When the Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, Tsuneyoshi refused to allow the truck into the camp.  When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies to the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
    The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them.  When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
    Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the hospital and placed underneath it.  The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria.  To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it.  The bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
    Work details were sent out on a daily basis.  Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work.  If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to work.  The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day.  The Japanese finally acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
    On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to Capas.  There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards.  At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan.  The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup.  From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and was known as Camp Panagaian.
    The camp was actually three camps.  Camp 1 was where the men who captured on Bataan and taken part in the death march where held.  Camp 2 did not have an adequate water supply and was closed.  It later reopened and housed Naval POWs.  Camp 3 was where those men captured when Corregidor surrender were taken.  In addition, men from Bataan who had been hospitalized when the surrender came were sent to the camp.  Camp 3 was later consolidated into Camp 1.
    Once in the camp, the POWs were allowed to run the camp.  The Japanese only entered if they had an issue they wanted to deal with.  To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the camp.  The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch.  It is believed that no POW successfully escaped from the camp.
    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 barracks in the camp were built to house 50 POWs, but most had between 60 to 120 POWs in them.  The POWs slept on bamboo slats, without mattresses, bedding, or mosquito netting.  Many quickly became ill.  The POWs were assigned to barracks which meant that the members of their group lived together, went out on work details together, and would be executed together since they were Blood Brothers.
    The POWs were sent out on work details one was to cut wood for the POW kitchens.  The two major details were the farm detail and the airfield detail which lasted for years.  A typical day on any detail lasted from 7:00 A.M. until  5:00 P.M.  The POWs on the farm detail would have to go to a shed each morning to get tools.  As they left the shed, the Japanese guards thought it was great fun to hit them over their heads.
    The detail was under the command of "Big Speedo" who spoke very little English.  When he wanted the POWs to work faster, he told the POWs "Speedo."  Although he was known to have a temper, the POWs thought he was fair.  Another guard was "Little Speedo" who was smaller and also used "speedo" when he wanted the POWs to work faster.  The POWs also felt he was pretty fair in his treatment of them.  "Smiley" was another guard who always had a smile on his face but could not be trusted.  He was the meanest of the guards and beat men up for no reason.  He liked to hit the POWs with the club.  Any prisoner who he believed was not working hard enough got knocked over with it.  Any prisoner who he believed was not working hard enough got knocked over with it.  Each morning, after arriving at the farm, the POWs went into a tool shed to get their tools.  As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their heads.
    Other POWs worked in rice paddies.  While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies was to have their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard to drive their faces deeper into the mud.  Returning from a detail the POWs 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.
    Rice was the main food given to the POWs fed to them as "lugow" which meant "wet rice."  During their time in the camp, they received few vegetables and almost no fruit.  Once in awhile, they received bread.
    The camp hospital was known as "Zero Ward" because it was missed by the Japanese when they counted barracks.  The sickest POWs were sent there to die.  The Japanese put a fence up around the building to protect themselves, and they would not go into the building.  There were two rolls of wooden platforms around the perimeter of the building.  The sickest POWs were put on the lower platform which had holes cut into it so the they could relieve themselves.  Most of those who entered the ward died. 
    According to records kept by the medical staff at the camp, Emerson was admitted to the camp's hospital on Sunday, August 2, 1942, suffering from cerebral malaria.  The records also indicate that he was released from the hospital on Thursday, September 10.
    The POWs had the job of burying the dead.  To do this, they worked in teams of four men.  Each team carried a litter of four to six dead men to the cemetery where they were buried in graves containing 15 to 20 bodies 

    800 POWs gathered at 2:00 A.M. on October 6, and were given rice coffee, lugow rice, and a big rice ball.  After eating and packing their kits, the POWs marched out of the camp at 2:30 A.M. and received two buns as they marched through the gate to the barrio of Cabanatuan which they reached at 6:00 A.M.  There, 50 men were boarded onto each of the small wooden boxcars waiting for them at about 9:00 A.M.  The trip to Manila lasted until 4:00 P.M. and because of the heat in the cars, many POWs passed out.
    From the train station, the men were marched to pier 7 in the Port Area of Manila.  Some of the Filipinos flashed the "V" for victory sign as they made their war to the pier.  The detachment arrived at 5:00 P.M and were tired and hungry and were housed in a warehouse for two days.  The Japanese fed them rice and salted fish and let them eat as much as they wanted.  They also were allowed to wash.
    Almost 1700 POWs were boarded onto the Tottori Maru on October 7, but the ship did not sail until 10:00 A.M. the next day and passed Corregidor at noon.  In addition, there were sick Japanese and soldiers on the ship.  That night some POWs slept in the holds, but a large number slept on the deck.  Each day, the POWs were given bread for meals which most ate in one meal, but the men rationed their water.  The ship was at sea, when torpedoes fired at by an American submarine but the torpedoes missed the ship because of the captain's ability at maneuvering the ship.  Both the Japanese and Americans cheered him.  The ship fired a couple of shots where it thought the sub was, but these also missed.  A while later, the ship passed a mine that had been laid by the submarine.  The POWs were fed bags of buns biscuits, with some candy, and received water daily.

    On October 9 the ships in the convoy were attacked by an American submarine.  Two torpedoes were fired at the ship but missed.  The ship also passed a mine that had been laid by the submarine.  This resulted in the convoy being held up for two days in the South China Sea.  During this time, the prisoners were locked in the holds of the ship.

    The Tottori Maru arrived at Takao, Formosa, on October 12th, where it remained in harbor until October 16, when it sailed, at 7:30 A.M., but returned to Takao, at 10:30 P.M., because the Japanese believed submarines were in the area.  At this time, the POWs were receiving two bags of hardtack and a meal of rice and soup each day.  The ship sailed again on October 18 and arrived at the Pescadores Islands at 5:00 P.M., where it remained anchored until October 27 when it returned to Takao. 

    The ship remained anchor off the islands until October 27.  During that time two POWs died and their bodies were thrown into the sea.  The ship sailed back to Takao arriving the same day.  The next day, the POWs were taken ashore and sprayed with fire hoses and the holds were sprayed down.   Afterwards, they boarded the ship and were put back into the holds.

    The ship sailed again on October 28 for Makou, Pescadores Islands.  It arrived there the same day.  It remained in the harbor until October 31 when it sailed for Pusan, Korea, as part of a seven ship convoy.   During this part of the voyage, it rode out a typhoon for five days on its way to Fusan, Korea.  On November 5, one of the ships was sunk by an American submarine and the other ships scattered.   When it arrived at Pusan, a contingent of 1700 POWs disembarked.  The ship sailed again, this time for Moji, Japan.  It arrived there on November 11th.

    The Tottori Maru arrived at Fusan on November 7, but the POWs did not disembark until November 8.  Most of the POWs were disembarked, but 400 remained on the ship since they was going to Japan.  The ship sailed and arrived at Osaka, Japan, on November 11.    The POWs disembarked and were taken to the train station where they boarded a train at 8:30 P.M.  The trip was enjoyable because the cars were heated and comfortable and the POWs were dropped off in camps along the way.
    Upon arriving in Japan, Emerson was sent to an unknown camp that was bombed out by American B-29s.  He was transferred to Osaka 5-B at Tsuruga, Honshu, where he and Leo Dorsey, who had also been a member of A Company, became bunk mates.  This meant that they watched out for each other's possessions while the other man worked.  The POWs lived in the former customs building which had been condemned because it could be hit by bombs during an air raid. 

    The POWs in the camp worked as stevedores loading and unloading food from ships arriving from Manchuria and Korea.  While unloading food from the ships, the prisoners stole food for themselves to supplement their meager rations.  An average meal for the POWs was soybean and rice.  While working, the POWs carried 100 pound burlap sacks of soybeans.  To get extra food, the POWs would tear holes into the bags and drop beans into their pockets.  The pockets had holes to allow the beans to fall down their legs and settle in pouches around their ankles.  This prevented the Japanese from finding them when they searched them when they returned to camp.  If they were caught, they were severely beaten by the Japanese.

    One guard, Yukinaga Kimura, would use a club, that looked like a baseball bat, to beat the POWs.  He used it any time he believed a POW had disobeyed an order.  Sometimes, he forced the POWs to drop their pants and beat them until they were black and blue and began to bleed.  Most of the time, he beat them on the head and body and on one occasion broke a prisoner's ear drum.   One civilian member of the camp medical staff slapped POWs who reported themselves as being sick and unable to work.  The beatings were so common that the POWs could not recall them all.
    The Japanese did a search of the POW barracks one day and found hidden in the bunks of Emerson, Leo, and other POWs, salt, rice, beans, and corn meal.  Emerson, Leo, and other POWs were taken to the camp's administrative office.
    One at a time, the POWs were directed to enter the office.  As they did, they were met at the door and the beating started.  The POWs stood at attention and were beaten until they passed out.  Waterw thrown on them to revive them, and the beating started again.  The beatings lasted about two hours.  They were then taken outside and made to kneel on the ground.  As they knelt, each man was hit on his buttocks with a shovel as many as 25 times.

    One day the Japanese attempted to get the prisoners to unload munitions from ships, Emerson and the other prisoners went on strike.  Even though they were beaten, the prisoners would not unload the war materials from the ships.  The Japanese finally gave in and took the Americans off the detail.
    The Japanese also appropriated items from the Red Cross packages for their own use.  This included canned meats, canned fruit, canned soup, cheese, and cigarettes.  Clothing and blankets also meant for the POWs were used by the Japanese guards.

    Emerson and the other POWs were also used to build dry docks for the Japanese Navy.  The prisoners slowed down work by refusing to load more than four cars of dirt a day.  Even though they were beaten, the Japanese were never able to get them to load more than four cars.

    Showing how little respect the Japanese had for the POWs, as part of their diets, the Japanese served the prisoners barley or burnt wheat in place of rice to the prisoners.   The wheat had been in a warehouse fire and determined to be too badly burnt to be given to the Japanese civilians, but it was considered good enough for the prisoners.

    As time went on, Emerson became a witness to the bombing of Tsuruga by American planes.  The first air raid Emerson lived through took place in December of 1944.  During that month there were twenty air raids.  In January 1945, there were even more air raids causing greater destruction.
    On March 13, 1945, Osaka was hit hard by the B-29s.  The next day when the POWs took their places for roll call, every POW who was number 29 in his detachment was beaten.  This happened five of six times in the next several months.

    In August 1945, Emerson and the other prisoners noticed a change in the attitudes of the guards.  Soon American bombers appeared and dropped food to the prisoners.  Not too long later, he and the other men learned that the war was over. On September 10, 1945, Emerson was officially liberated and returned to the Philippines for medical treatment. 
    Being in better condition than most liberated POWs, he was on the U.S.S. Hugh Rodman,  the first ship to arrive in the United States with liberated POWs, which arrived at San Francisco on October 3, 1945.  The former POWs were taken to Letterman General Hospital before being sent to other hospitals closer to their homes.

    Emerson and Leo Dorsey would remain friends the rest of their lives.  Emerson transferred into the U. S. Army Air Corps on February 15, 1946, and remained in the U. S. Air Force when it was created.  He fought in the Korean War and rose in rank to Master Sergeant.  He returned to Junia, and they became the parents of two sons and a daughter. 

    Emerson returned to Oklahoma where he passed away on August 4, 1964, and was buried at Centrahoma Cemetery in Centrahoma, Oklahoma.


 

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