Polakowski
Pvt. Marion John Polakowski
Born: 6 October 1918 - Hamtramck, Michigan
Parents: John & Angeline Polakowski
Siblings: 1 sister, 3 brothers
Nickname: "Mike"
Home: 2658 Trowbridge Avenue - Hamtramck, Michigan
Education: High School graduate
Occupation: die maker's helper - automobile plant
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 1941
Units:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - A Company reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company
Note: On August 15, 1941, 17th Ordnance received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  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 buoy in the water.  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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
    -  September  1941 -
        - company traveled by train to San Francisco, California
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced

    - U.S.S. Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: San Francisco, California - Monday - 8 September 1941
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 9:00 A.M.
            - soldiers given shore leave for the day
        - Sailed: same day - 5:00 P.M.
           - took southerly route away from main shipping lanes
           - joined by heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria
           - on several occasions cruiser intercepted ships when smoke was seen on the
             horizon
        - Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands - Friday - 26 September 1941
        - Disembark: 3:00 P.M.
            - 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
                - reattached the turrets to the tanks.
        - rode bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents at Ft. Stotsenburg
           -barracks completed - 15 November 1941
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
       - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942
          - 8 December 1941
              - during Japanese attack on Clark Field, the members of the company took cover
                since they had no weapons that could be used against planes
           - 17th Ordnance was in the general area where the two tank battalions where
              located
    - Battle of Bataan
       - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
           - parents received letter from him dated March 1942
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - POWs started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American artillery returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars

                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - POWs leave boxcars - dead fall out of cars
            - POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
POW Camps:
    - Philippines:
        - Camp O'Donnell
            - unfinished Filipino Army training base
            - Japanese put it into use as a POW camp
            - one water spigot for the entire camp
            - as many as fifty POWs died each day
        - Cabanatuan

Hell Ship:
    - Taga Maru (also known as Coral Maru)
        - Sailed: Manila - 20 September 1943
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 23 September 1943
        - Sailed: Unknown
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 5 October 1943

POW Camp:
    - Japan
        - Hirohata Camp
            - Work: POWs worked at Seitetsu Steel Mills
                - POWs worked on docks, in blast furnaces, clearing slag
Liberated: 4 September 1945
    - returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
    - U.S.S. Tryon
        - Sailed: not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco, California - 24 October 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital, San Francesco
        - returned to Michigan
Promoted: Staff Sergeant
Married: Eleanore
Children: 2 daughters, 2 sons
Occupation: Tool & Die Maker - Ford Motor Company
    - Retired after 40 years
Died: 7 May 2013 - Royal Oak, Michigan
Buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery - Detroit Michigan

 

 

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