Pvt. James W. Sallie was the son of Hez Sallee and Sarah Cunningham-Sallee. He was
born on May 18, 1916, in Mercer County, Kentucky. With his four brothers and one sister, he grew up in
James and his brother,
Heze, joined the Kentucky National Guard's 38th Division Tank Company in
Harrodsburg. When the company was federalized on November 25, 1940, he traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for
one year of military training as part of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
When Headquarters Company was created in January 1941, James was transferred from D Company to the new
A typical day for the soldiers started in 6:15 with reveille, but most of the soldiers
were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress. Breakfast was from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M., followed by
calisthenics at 8:00 to 8:30. Afterwards, the tankers went to various schools within the company. The
classes consisted of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistol, map reading, care of personal equipment, military
courtesy, and training in tactics.
At 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess which was
from noon to 1:00 P.M. Afterwards, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on
January 13, such as: mechanics, tank driving, radio operating. At 4:30, the soldiers called it a day
and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms and at five held retreat and followed by dinner at
5:30. After dinner, they were off duty and lights were out at 9:00 P.M., but they did not have to turn in
until 10:00 when Taps was played.
In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd
was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers from September 1 through 30. HQ Company did not actively
take part in the maneuvers but it supplied the tanks and did maintenance on the tanks during the maneuvers.
It was after the maneuvers that the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and
without being given a reason why. On the side of a hill, the men learned they were being sent over seas as
part of Operation PLUM. Most figured out they were being sent to the Philippines. Those men 29 years
old, or older, were given the opportunity to resign from federal service.
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 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. Since communication between the Air
Corps and Navy was poor, the boat escaped. 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. By train, along the Gulf
Coast, through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. At Yuma, Arizona the train stopped, and Native Americans
entered the train cars and sold beads to the soldiers. The soldiers knocked each other over attempting to
buy the beads. After the train pulled out of the station. someone noticed that the genuine Native
American beads were made in Japan. The soldiers arrived at Ft. Mason in San Francisco 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 from the battalion's medical detachment. Men found with minor
medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were
The 192nd boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27. During this part of the trip, many
tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine
guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2
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. President 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 Dateline. 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 that the men had
to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what
they needed and 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.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their
weapons. The grease had been put on the weapons to keep them from rusting while at sea. They also
loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance and prepared for maneuvers with the 194th Tank
Battalion. It was at this time the the process was begun to transfer D Company to the 194th Tank
Battalion which would give each battalion three tank companies.
On Monday, December 1, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against
paratroopers. The 194th Tank Battalion guarded the northern half of the airfield, while the 192nd guarded
the southern half. At all times, two members of every tank and half-track crew remained with their
vehicles. Meals were brought to them by food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, news of
the attack was reported to the tank platoon commanders. All the tankers were ordered the perimeter of the
airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. All morning long as they sat on their tanks, and half
tracks, they watched as American planes filled the sky. At noon, the planes
As the tankers were having lunch, 54 planes approached the airfield from the
north. When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. Since
they had few weapons that could be used against Japanese, they could do is watch.
On December 21, the 192nd was sent to Lingayen Gulf in an attempt to stop the Japanese
from landing troops. Lyle, along with the other members of HQ Company worked to keep the tank
companies supplied and fueled.
On December 8, 1941, James lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field just ten hours after Pearl
Harbor. That morning all the members of the tank crews were ordered to the perimeter of the airfield.
All morning, as they stood guard, and watched as American planes filled the sky. Around 12:15 in the
afternoon, the planes landed to be refueled and the pilots went to lunch. B-17's loaded with bombs to
attack Formosa were left sitting on the runway.
Around 12:45, the tankers saw a formation of planes approaching the airfield from the
north. At first, they thought the planes were American. It was only when they saw what looked like
confetti and saw bombs exploding did they know the planes were Japanese. This attack wiped out the Army
James spent the next four months fighting the Japanese as the Filipino and American
forces withdrew into the Bataan Peninsula. He most likely took part in the Battle of the
Pockets. This mopping up action completely wiped out Japanese forces trapped in the Tuol Pocket.
The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni, HQ Company's commanding officer,
gave his men the news of the surrender. While informing the members of the company of the surrender, he
waved his arm toward the tanks and told the men that they would no longer need them. As he spoke, his
voice choked. He turned away from the men for a moment, and when he turned back he continued. He
next told the sergeants what they should do to disable the tanks. During the announcement, Bruni
emphasized that they all were to surrender together. He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and
any supplies that could be used by the Japanese. The only thing they were told not to destroy were the
company's trucks. The men waited in their bivouac until ordered to move. Somehow, Bruni had
found enough bread and pineapple juice for what he called
"Their last supper."
The soldiers proceeded to pile up their guns and ammunition and set the pile on
fire. They stayed in their bivouac and waited for orders. At the same time that they were sad, they
were also kind of excited and wondered what was going to happen to them.
On April 9, 1942, James became a Prisoner Of War when the Filipino and American forces on
Bataan surrendered to the Japanese. Bill and the other tankers stripped their uniforms of anything that
identified them as tankers. They had heard that the Japanese were looking for them for what they had done
at the pockets. After getting rid of everything that identified them as tankers, the members of the
company remained in their bivouac for two days until a Japanese officer and soldiers appeared. They were
then ordered out to the road that ran by their encampment.
Once on the road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along the sides of the road with their
belongings in front of them. While they were kneeling, Japanese soldiers who were passing them took
anything they wanted from the Americans. They remained along the sides of the road for hours.
James and his company boarded their trucks and drove to outside of Mariveles and were ordered out of the
trucks. From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited. As they sat, the POWs
noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing
squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.
As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese
officer pulled up in a car in front of the soldiers. He got out of the car and spoke to the sergeant in
charge of the detail. The officer got back in the car and drove off, while the sergeant ordered the
soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, the POWs was moved to a school yard in Mariveles. The POWs were
left sitting in the sun for hours, and the Japanese did not feed them or give them water. Behind the POWs
were four Japanese artillery pieces which began firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum which had not
surrendered. Shells from these two American forts began landing among the POWs. The POWs could do
little since they had no place to hide, and some POWs were killed by incoming American shells. One group
that tried to hide in a small brick building died when it took a direct hit. The American guns did
succeed in knocking out three of the four Japanese guns.
The POWs were ordered to move again and had no idea that they had started what became
known as the death march. During the march they received no water and little food. At San Fernando,
they were put into a small wooden boxcars which could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed
100 men into each car and closed the doors. Those who died remained standing, since they could not fall,
until the living climbed out of the cars. From Capas, they walked the last miles to Camp O' Donnell.
The camp was an unfinished Filipino Army Training Base that the Japanese pressed into use
as a POW camp on April 1, 1942. When the POWs 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.
The Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, the
Japanese commandant refused to allow the truck into the camp. When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical
supplies 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
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 formerly known at 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
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
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
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.
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. The death rate still was 9 POWs a day into December when the Japanese
issued the POWs Red Cross Packages. Doing this and changes made to the camp by the POWs lowered the death
At some point he was went out on a work detail to build runways. It was while he
was on this detail that his mother learned he was a POW in June 1943. According to medical records kept
at the hospital ward at Bilibid Prison at Manila, the work detail was referred to as the "Army Air
Detail." This information was recorded when James was admitted to the ward, from the detail,
suffering from dengue fever. It is not known if he was released and readmitted, but records show he
was discharged on August 20, 1944, from the hospital ward, and readmitted the next day. A second
discharge date is not known. It should be mentioned that his family learned he was a POW on June 12,
On October 2, 1944, his POW detachment was taken to the Port Area of Manila. He and
the other POWs were s
ed to be boarded onto the
Hokusen Maru which was ready to depart, but not all the POWs scheduled to sail on the ship had
arrived. So that the ship could sail, the Japanese put another POW detachment - that was ready to sail -
on the ship. James and the rest of his POW detachment were boarded onto the
Arisan Maru on October 10
, and packed into the ship's number one hold.
Along the sides of the hold were shelves that served as bunks, but the bunks were so
close together that a man could not lift himself up when lying down. Those standing had no room to lie
down. The latrines for the prisoners were eight five gallon cans, but the POWs were packed in the hold so
tightly, many of the POWs could not get near the cans. Within the first 48 hours, five POWs had
died. Anton Cichy said
, "For the first few days, there were 1800 of us together in one hold. I don't know how big
the hold was but we had to take turns to sit down. We were just kind of stuck together."
Calvin Graef said about the conditions in the hold
, "We were packed in so tight most men couldn't get near the cans. And, of course, it was a
physical impossibility for the sick in the back of the hold, the men suffering the tortures of diarrhea and
dysentery. We waded in fecal matter. Most of the men went naked. The place was alive with lice,
bedbugs and roaches; the filth and stench were beyond description."
The ship sailed, but took a southerly route away from Taiwan and dropped anchor in a
cove off Palawan Island. During the first 48 hours off Palawan, five POWs died. The POWs realized
that the Japanese had removed the light bulbs from the lighting system, but that they had not turned off the
power. They figured out a way to hook the ventilation system into the lights and had fresh air for two
days. When the Japanese discovered what had been done, they turned off the power.
The POWs began developing heat blisters, and the Japanese conceded that more POWs
would die unless they did something. The Japanese transferred POWs from the first hold to its second
hold. This hold was partially filled with coal. During the transfer, one POW attempted to escape
and was shot.
Of this time, Graef said
, "As we moved through the tropical waters, the heat down in the steel-encased hell hole was
maddening. We were allowed three ounces of water per man every 24 hours. Quarts were needed under
these conditions, to keep a man from dehydrating.
"While men were dying of thirst, Jap guards--heaping insults on us--would empty five
gallon tins of fresh water into the hold. Men caught the water in pieces of clothing and sucked the cloth
dry. Men licked their wet skins. It was hell all right. Men went mad."
On October 20, the
Arisan Maru returned to Manila, where, it joined a twelve ship convoy bound for Taiwan. The convoy
sailed on October 21 after all the ships had been loaded. 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, U.S. Military Intelligence, was reading the Japanese code as fast as the Japanese. To protect
this secret, they did not tell the submarine crews which ships were carrying POWs.
Graef described conditions in the hold.
"There were so many (that died ) out of 1800. The condition in that hold.....men were just
dying in a continuous stream. Men, holding their bellies in interlocked arms, stood up, screamed and
died. You were being starved men were dying at such a pace we had to pile them up. It was like
you were choking to death. Burial consisted of two men throwing another overboard."
, "The Japs told us that they'd be in Formosa the next day to pick up some cargo. They had
to make room on deck so they tossed a whole bunch of life preservers down into the hold. I held onto one but
didn't think anything about it."
It was about
4:00 P.M. on October 24, and some of the POWs were on deck preparing dinner for
the POWs in the ship's holds and had fed about half the POWs. The waves were high since the ship had
been through a storm in the Bashi Channel of the South China Sea. Suddenly, bells and sirens sounded
warning of submarines. The POWs in the holds chanted for the submarine to sink the ship.
4:50 P.M. when the Japanese on deck ran to the bow of the ship and watched a
torpedo pass in front of the ship. They next ran to the stern of the ship and watched a second torpedo
pass behind the ship. The ship shook and came to a stop. It had been hit by two torpedoes,
amidships, killing some of the POWs. Those still alive began cheering wildly, but it stopped when they
realized they were facing death. Cichy recalled
, "When the torpedo hit everybody in the hold hollered 'Hit her again!' We wanted to get it
Lt. Robert S. Overbeck said
, "When the torpedoing happened, most of the Americans didn't care a bit--they
were tired and weak and sick."
He also said of the incident
, "The third torpedo struck squarely amidships and buckled the vessel but it
didn't break in two. For about five second there was panic among us, but there were five or six
chaplains who prayed fervently and quieted the men. By then the Nips -- 300 of them on deck -- were
scurrying about, scared as hell. The boilers exploded. I don't think any of us got hurt in
the torpedoing or the explosion. Most of the prisoners were American, with a few British. The Japs took
the two lifeboats aboard as all 300 abandoned ship. That was about 5:00 P.M."
It is believed the submarine that fired the torpedoes was either the
U.S.S. Snook or the
The guards took their rifles and used them as clubs to drive the POWs on deck into the
holds. Once in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders into the holds and put the hatch covers over
the holds, but they did not tie the hatch covers down. Cichy recalled
, "The Japs closed the hatches and left the ship in lifeboats. They must have forgot about the
prisoners on deck who had been cooking. When the Japs were off the boat, the cooks opened the hatches
and told us to come up. I was just under the deck, but there were a lot of guys down below. One
of them escaped by simply walking into the water from a hole in the bulkhead. He was Lt. Robert S.
Cichy also stated
, "The Japs had already evacuated ship. They had a destroyer off the side, and they were saving
The POWs were able to get onto the deck of the ship.
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
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 men."
, "We broke into the ship's stores to get food, cigarettes, and water -- mainly water, we were so
thirsty. All of us figured we were going to die anyway. The Japs ships, except for the
destroyers, had disappeared. All we had were life belts which the Japanese had fortunately thrown down
the hold the day before."
"But as darkness settled and our hopes for life flickered, we felt absolutely
no resentment for the Allied submarine that had sent the torpedo crashing in. We knew they could
not tell who was aboard the freighter, and as far as the Navy could have known the ship could have been
carrying Jap troops. The men were brave and none complained.
"Some slipped off their life preservers and with a cherry 'so long'
The ship slowly sank lower into the water.
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. Most of the POWs were still on deck even after it became apparent that the
ship was sinking. Some POWs attempted to escape by putting on lifebelts, clinging to hatch covers, rafts,
and other flotsam and jetsam. When they reached other Japanese ships, the Japanese pushed them away with
poles. Of this Glenn Oliver said
, "They weren't picking up Americans. A lot of the prisoners were swimming for the
destroyer, but the Japanese were pushing them back into the water."
, "I could see people still on the ship when it went down. I could see people against the
skyline, just standing there."
In the water he watched as the ship went under.
"I kept getting bumped by guys wearing life jackets. Nobody wanted to share my planks. I
didn't ask them."
Three POWs found an abandoned life boat and managed to climb in but found it had no
oars. With the rough seas, they could not maneuver it to help other POWs. According to the
Arisan Maru and sank sometime after dark on Tuesday, October 24, 1944. Oliver - who was not in the
boat - stated he heard men using what he called "GI whistles" to contact each other. "
They were blowing these GI whistles in the night. This weird moaning sound. I can't
The next morning there were just waves. Oliver and three other men were picked up by
a Japanese destroyer and taken to Formosa and finally sent to Japan. The next day the three men in the
boat picked up two more survivors and later made it to China and freedom.
In the end, only nine men out of the nearly 1775 men who boarded the Arisan Maru in
Manila survived the sinking. Only eight of the POWs would survive the war. Pvt. James W. Sallee was
not one of
In 1945, his family received this message:
"The information available to the war department is that the vessel sailed from Manila on October 11,
1944, with 1775 prisoners of war aboard. On October 24 the vessel was sunk by submarine action in the south
China Sea over 200 miles from the Chinese coast which was the nearest land. Five of the prisoners escaped
in a small boat and reached the coast. Four others have been reported as picked up by the Japanese by whom
all others aboard are reported lost. Absence of detailed information as to what happened to the other
individual prisoners and known circumstances of the incident lead to a conclusion that all other prisoners
listed by the Japanese as aboard the vessel perished."
Since he was lost at sea, Pvt. James W. Sallee's name is inscribed on the
Tablets of the Missing at the
American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.