Sochacki

 

Tec 4 Eugene J. Sochacki


Born: 1921 - Ohio
Mother: John H. & Bessie Sochacki
    - parents divorced in 1930s
Siblings: 3 sisters, 2 brothers

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Education:  Scott High School

    - left before class graduated 

Enlisted: 11 January 41 -  Fort Benjamin Harrison
Training:
    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky

Unit:

    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion
        - learned to repair the 57 different vehicles used by the Army
        - August 1941 - took part in maneuvers in Arkansas
            - A Company ordered back to Ft. Knox

    - 17th Ordnance Company

        - 17 August 1941 - A Company dsignated 17th Ordnance
            - received overseas orders on the same day
Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, 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:
        - traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
            - arrived Thursday, 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
            - given physicals and inoculations
            - men with medical conditions replaced
            - spent next few days preparing equipment for transport to the Philippines
        - removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion

    - 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.

            - escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria,  and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships

       - Tuesday - 16 September 1941 - crossed the International Dateline
           - date became - Thursday - 18 September 1941
            - date changed to - Thursday - 18 September 1941
        - 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 the Philippines

        - 8 December 1942 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions
            - headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

            - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
                - American Artillery returned fire
                    - knocked out three Japanese guns
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden
boxcars
             
   - each car 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
                - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
 

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for water to be turned on
                      again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant,
              Capt. Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and covered with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
        - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
            - 1 June 1942 - POWs formed detachments of 100 men
                - POWs marched out gate and marched toward Capas
                    - Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
                        - the guards did not stop them
                - At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
                - train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
                    - POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a school yard
                    - fed rice and onion soup        
        - Cabanatuan #1
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division

                - original name - Camp Panagaian
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their
                  shins with their hobnailed boots

                - POWs hit across the top of their heads as they stood in line for roll call
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten

                - POWs on rice planting details went to a tool shed to get tools

                    - as they exited, the guards would hit them over their heads

                    - if a guard decided a POW was not working hard enough, he would shove the man's face into the mud and step on his head

                      driving the man's face deeper into the mud
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
            - hospitalized - date not known - dysentery, inanition & malaria

Died:

     - Monday - 12 June 1942 - dysentery

Buried:

    - Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery

        - remains could not be positively identified

        - buried as an "Unknown" at the new American cemetery 

Memorial:

    - Tablets of the Missing - American Military Cemetery - Manila, Philippine Islands


 




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