Spornitz

 


Sgt. John C. Spornitz


    Sgt. John C. Spornitz was born in 1916 in North Dakota to Walter & Elizabeth Spornitz.  He grew up in Jenkins, Minnesota.  He worked as a carpenter in building construction.  At some point, he joined the Minnesota National Guard in Brainerd.  He was called to federal duty on February 10, 1941.

    John trained at Fort Lewis, Washington for seven months.  During this time, he became a tank commander.  It was late in the summer that the tank battalion received orders for duty overseas.

    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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning 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.
    In September 1941, the battalion, minus B Company, traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California. From there, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, they were ferried to  Fort McDowell on Angel Island and given physicals and inoculated.  Men who had medical conditions were held back and replaced.
    The tankers boarded the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge on September 8th at 3:00 P.M. and sailed at 9:00 P.M. for the Philippine Islands.  To get the tanks to fit in the ship's holds, the turrets had serial numbers spray painted on them and were removed from the tanks.  They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13th at 7:00 A.M., and most of the soldiers were allowed off ship to see the island but had to be back on board before the ship sailed at 5:00 P.M.
    After leaving Hawaii, the ship took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time that it was joined by the U.S.S. Astoria, a heavy cruiser, and an unknown destroyer that were its escorts.  During this part of the trip, on several occasions, smoke was seen on the horizon, and the Astoria took off in the direction of the smoke.  Each time it was found that the smoke was from a ship belonging to a friendly country.
    The Coolidge entered Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M. and reached Manila several hours later.  The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M., and were driven on buses to Clark Field.  The maintenance section of the battalion and members of 17th Ordnance remained at the dock to unload the battalion's tanks and reattach the turrets.
    On December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  Two members of each tank and half-track crew remained with their vehicles at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
    The morning of December 8, 1941, at 8:30, the planes of the the Army Air Corps took off and filled the sky.  At noon the planes landed to be refueled, line up in a straight line, and the pilots went to lunch in the mess hall.  At 12:45 in the afternoon, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Danny lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield.
    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and 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, most men slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their tents.  They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed.  They lived through two more attacks on December 10th.  The night of the 12/13, the battalion was ordered to bivouac south of San Fernando near the Calumpit Bridge.  Attempting to move the battalion at night was a nightmare, and they finally arrived at their new bivouac at 6:00 A.M. on December 13.
    The battalion received 15 Bren Gun carriers on the 15th, and gave some to the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts.  They used the carriers to test the ground to see if it was solid enough to support tanks.  They next were ordered to support the 71st Division in the area of Rosario on the 22nd, but the division's commanding officer ordered them out of the area, since he believed they would interfere with operations.
    The night of the 22/23, the battalions were operating north of the Agno River when it they found that the bridge they were suppose to use had been bombed.  On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta and found the bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed.  The tankers made an end run to get south of river and ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening, but they successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    Later on the 24, the battalions formed a defensive line along the southern bank of the Agno River with the tanks of the 192nd holding the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, and the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road.  The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th when they withdrew, following the Philippine Army, to the Tarlec-Cabanatuan Line and was near Santo Tomas and Cabanatuan on the 28 and 29.
    The tank battalions next covered the withdrawal of the Philippine Army at the Pampanga River.  The battalion's tanks were on both sides of the on December 31 at the Calumpit Bridge.
    On January 1, conflicting orders, about who was in command, were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5 and allowing the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was unaware of the orders, since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff.
    Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridge over the Pampanga River about withdrawing from the bridge with half of the defenders withdrawing.  Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted.  From January 2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
    At 2:30 A.M., on January 6th, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force using smoke which was an attempt by the Japanese to destroy the tank battalions. That night the tanks withdrew into the peninsula with the 192nd holding its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it, cross the bridge, and then cover the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge.  The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    The night of January 7, the tank battalions were covering the withdrawal of all troops around Hermosa.  Around 6:00 A.M., before the bridge had been destroyed by the engineers, the 192nd crossed the bridge.
    The next day, the battalion was between Culo and Hermosa and assigned a road to enter Bataan on which was worse than having no road.  The half-tracks kept throwing their rubber tracks and members of 17th Ordnance assigned to each battalion had to re-track them in dangerous situations.  After daylight, Japanese artillery fire was landing all around the tanks.
    The next day, a composite tank company was formed under the command of Capt. Donald Haines, B Co., 192nd.  Its job was to protect the East Coast Road north of Hermosa open and to stop Japanese tanks attempting to use it to overrun the next defensive line that was forming. While in this position, the tanks were under constant enemy artillery fire.  The rest of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the Abucay-Hacienda Road.
    When word came that a bridge was going to be blow, all the tanks were ordered out of the area, which included the composite company.  This could have resulted in a catastrophe, but the Japanese did not take advantage of the situation.
    The tanks bivouacked south of the Pilar-Bagac Road and about two kilometers from the East Coast Road.  It had almost been one month since the tank crews had a rest and the tanks had maintenance work done on them by 17th Ordnance.  It was also on this day that the tank platoons were reduced to three tanks per tank platoon.  The men rested and the tanks received the required maintenance.  Most of the tank tracks had worn down to bare metal and the radial engines long past their 400 hour overhauls.
    The battalions were sent to cover the junctions of the Back Road and East Road with the Abucay-Heicienda Road on January 25.  While holding the position, the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, fought its way to the position at 3:00 A.M.  One platoon was sent to the front of the the column of trucks which were loading the troops.  The tanks provided heavy fire so that the infantry could withdraw and inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese.
    Later on January 25, both the 192nd and 194th held a defensive line on the Bakanga-Cardre-BaniBani Roads until the withdraw was completed at midnight.  They held the position until the night of January 26/27, when they dropped back to a new defensive line roughly along the Pilar-Bagac Roads.  When ordered to withdraw to the new line, the 192nd found that the bridge at Balanga, that they were suppose to use had been destroyed by enemy fire.  To withdraw, they had to use secondary roads to get around the barrio and tanks were still straggling in at noon.
    The tank battalions, on January 28, were given the job of protecting the beaches, while the battalion's half-tracks were used to patrol the roads.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
    The tank battalions, on their own, took up the job of protecting the airfields at Cabcaban, Bataan, and Mariveles, since Japanese paratroopers were known to be available.  The tanks and half-tracks were well hidden in the jungle around the airfields and different plans were in place to be used against Japanese forces.  There was only one major alert in March when 73 Japanese planes came over.
    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."
    In February, the tanks had the job of protecting beaches so that the Japanese could not land troops on them.  At the same time, the tank battalions took it upon themselves to protect three airfields from Japanese paratroopers.
    In March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks.  This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day.  At the same time, food rations were cut in half again.  Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor.
    The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3.  On April 7, the 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, supported by tanks, attempted to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators prevented this from happening.  During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks successfully withdrew.  C Company, 194th, which was attached to the 192nd, had only seven tanks left.
    The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while hidden in the jungle. and could not fight back.  The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a counter-attack.
    The tank battalion commanders received this order on April 8th, "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished."
    When it became apparent to Gen. Edward King that the situation was hopeless and he wanted to prevent a massacre since he only 25% of his troops were healthy enough to fight, while approximately 6,000 troops were hospitalized from wounds or disease.  In addition, there were approximately 40,000 civilians.  The night of April 8th, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms with the Japanese.
   The tankers received the order "crash" sometime between 6:30 and 6:45, in the morning, on April 9th, and destroyed anything that had military value for the Japanese.  To destroy their tanks, they circled them, fired an armor piercing shell into the engine of each tank, opened the gasoline cocks in the crew compartments, and dropped hand grenades into them.  Once this was done, they were ordered to Provisional Tank Group Headquarters and ordered to remain there.
    On April 10, the Japanese arrived and ordered the Prisoners of War to move out to the road and make their way to Mariveles.  The first thing the Japanese did was to separate the officers from the enlisted men.  The Prisoners of War were then left in the sun for the rest of the day.  That night they were ordered north.  The members of the 194th did receive orders to march until around 7:00 P.M. and were marched until 3:00 in the morning.  At that time, the marchers were given an one hour break.  At 4:00 A.M., they began to march again.  They reached the barrio of Lamao at around 8:00 A.M. the morning of April 11. There the POWs were allowed to try to find food, but little was found.
    The POWs again were ordered to move at 9:00 A.M. and reached Limay at noon.  It was at this time the Japanese put officers, with the rank of major and higher, in trucks and drove them to to Balanga. 
    As the enlisted men, and lower ranking officers, marched north through Orani and noticed they were being marched at a faster pace and that the guards seemed nervous.  The POWs made their way north to Hermosa, where the road went from gravel to pavement.  The change in surface made the march easier on the men.  When they were allowed to sit, those who attempted to lay down were jabbed with bayonets.
    When they were put in a bullpen, it was so the Japanese could change guards.  After this was done, the POWs resumed the march.  At some point it began to rain, and many of the POWs attempted to get drinks from the rain.  The POWs reached San Fernando amd were herded into a bullpen.  The ground was covered in human waste from previous POWs.  They next made their way to the train station.  The Japanese made them form detachment of 100 men and marched them to the train station, where they were packed into small wooden boxcars that could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese packed 100 POWs into each car and closed the doors.  The POWs rode the train to Capas, where they disembarked from the cars and walked the last eight kilometers to Camp O'Donnell. 

    Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino military camp that the Japanese put into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942.  The Japanese estimated that the camp could hold from 15,000 to 20,000 POWs.  When the men arrived at the camp they were searched and those found to have any Japanese items on them were separated from the other POWs and accused of looting the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers.  They were taken to the guardhouse and held there until they were taken to as area southeast of the camp and shot.
    The other POWs had any extra clothing taken away from them and the Japanese did not return it to them.  Since there was no water available for washing clothes, since the POWs could not bathe and their clothing became soiled, they threw it away.  They also stripped the dead of their clothing before they were buried.  Most of those who were ill and in the camp hospital had little to no clothing.  In addition, there was no water to wash the mess kits.
    The only water in the camp came from one spigot which the Japanese guards would arbitrarily turn off.  If it was turned off, the next man in line for a drink could wait as long as 4 hours for it to be turned on again.  The average wait for one drink of water was from 2 to 8 hours.  For cooking rice, the water was carried from a river located 3 miles from the camp.  The Japanese installed a second water spigot which made things better.
    The POW bathrooms were slit trenches which quickly overflowed since most of the POWs had dysentery or diarrhea.  Flies from the latrines where everywhere in the camp including the kitchens and on the food which caused disease to spread.
    The camp hospital had no soap or disinfectant.  When senior ranking American doctor wrote a letter to the Japanese commandant of the camp, Captain Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, stating the medical supplies he needed, he was told never to write another letter, and that the only thing that he wanted from the hospital were the names and serial numbers of the dead.
    When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross offered a 150 bed hospital for the POWs in the camp, a Japanese second lieutenant slapped him in the face.  When the Catholic Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medicine to the camp, the Japanese turned the truck away.  Medicine sent by the Philippine Red Cross was appropriated by the Japanese for use on their troops.  The medical staff at the hospital did surgery with mess kit knives since their were no medical supplies.  For every six medics assigned to work in the hospital, only one man was healthy enough to perform all his duties.
    The death rate in the camp rose to 50 men dying each day.  Each morning, the POWs collected the bodies of the dead, which were found all around the camp and carried them to the camp hospital.  There, the bodies were placed under the hospital awaiting burial which usually took two to three days.  To clean the dirt under the hospital, the POWs moved the dead, scrapped the ground and spread lime on the soil.  They moved the bodies back into the area and repeated the process where the bodies had lain while they were cleaning the other area.
    A burial detail worked daily to bury the dead.  Two POWs carried a body, in a sling to the camp cemetery and placed it in a shallow grave.  The graves were shallow because the water table was high, and as they dug the graves, the graves would quickly start to fill with water.  To hold the body down in the grave a POW used a pole while the other men threw dirt on the body.
    Daily work details left the camp to cut fire wood for the POW kitchen and to perform other duties for the Japanese.  Long term work details also were sent out, and many of the POWs volunteered to go out on them so that they could escape the camp.
    The Japanese finally acknowledged that they had to do something, so the opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.  The morning of June 1, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men and marched out of the camp to Capas.  As the POWs marched, the Filipinos gave them small bundles of food.  The Japanese guards did not stop the Filipinos.  At Capas, the POWs were put in steel boxcars and rode the train to Calumpit, where it was switched to the track to Cabanatuan.  
    The POWs disembarked the train and were put into a school yard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup.  Afterwards, they marched to Cabanatuan POW Camp.  The new camp had been the home of the 91st Philippine Army and was previously known as Camp Panagaian.
    The camp was actually three separate camps.  Camp #1 was were those men who had been POWs at Camp O'Donnell were sent.  Camp #2 was four miles away from Camp 1, and because of its water problem closed quickly.  It was later reopened and house Naval POWs.  Camp #3 was six miles from Camp 2 and later housed the POW from Corregidor, from the hospitals on Bataan, and those who had been at Camp 2.  These POWs were generally in better shape then the men who had taken part in the march.  Frank was assigned to Barracks 10 at Camp 1.
    Details at Camp 1 went out daily to cut wood for the camp kitchens, plant rice, and farm.   Each morning, when the POWs lined up for roll call, it was common practice, of the Japanese guards, to kick the POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots.  They also, for no apparent reason, frequently hit the POWs, as they stood at attention, with a pick handle as they counted off.
    The POWs who went out on the rice planting detail had to get their tools from a tool shed.  As they left the shed, it was the common practice of the guards, to hit the POWs, on the top of their heads.  If a guard on the detail decided that a POWs was not working hard enough, he was beaten.  They also would push the man's face into the mud and stepped on his head to force it down deeper.  The POWs returning from the details often were able to smuggle food, medicine, and tobacco into the camp.
    The POWs were underfed and typical meal was 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn.  This resulted in many becoming ill since they could not fight off illnesses.  The camp hospital consisted of 30 wards which each holding 40 men.  It was more common for them to have 100 men in them.  A ward had two tiers of bunks with the sickest POWs lying on the lower bunk.  Each man had approximately an area of 2 feet by 6 feet to lie in.  A hole was cut into the platforms so that those suffering from dysentery could relieve themselves without leaving the tier.
    Zero Ward, which is where those who had little or no hope of recovering, were sent.  It got its name because it was missed when the wards were being counted.  The Japanese were so afraid of becoming ill from being near the building that they put up a fence around it and would not go near it.

    In late June 1942, John with other POWs were taken to Manila and boarded onto the Interisland Steamer.  On July 1st, the ship sailed for Davao, Mindanao arriving there on July 9th.  His parents learned he was a POW on January 2, 1943, and on August 13th received a POW postcard saying he was a POW at Cabanatuan #1.

    As the American forces got closer to the Philippine Islands the Japanese began to send as many POWs to Japan or other occupied countries as possible.  On June 6, 1944, the Japanese sent the POWs to Lasang, Mindano, by truck.  Once there, the POWs were boarded onto the Yashu Maru and held in the ship's front holds for six days before it sailed.  The ship sailed on the 12th and dropped anchor off Zamboanga, Mindano, for two days before sailing for Cebu City arriving on June 17th.  The POWs were taken off the ship and held in a warehouse.  The POWs were returned to the dock and boarded an unnamed ship and arrived at Manila on June 25th.   He was returned to Canbanatuan. 
    In late 1944, when it became apparent to the Japanese that the invasion of the Philippines was near, most of the POWs on this detail were sent to the Port Area of Manila.  The Japanese were attempting to send the healthy POWs to Japan, and other countries, to work as slave labor and prevent them from being liberated by advancing American forces.
    In early October 1944, 1775 POWs were marched to the Port Area of Manila.  When his POW group arrived at the pier, the ship they where scheduled to sail on, the Hokusen Maru, was ready to sail, but some of the POWs in the detachment had not arrived at the pier.  Another POW detachment, scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru, had completely arrived, but their ship was not ready to sail.  It was at that time that the Japanese made the decision that they switch POW detachments so the Hokusen Maru could sail.
    On October 10, the POWs boarded the Arisan Maru and 1775 prisoners were crammed into the first hold of the Arisan Maru which could hold 400 men.  They were packed in so tightly that they could not move.  Those POWs who had lain down in the wooden bunks along the haul could not sit up because the bunks were so close together.  Eight large cans served as the washroom facilities for the POWs.
    Later in the day on October 11, the ship set sail but took a southerly route away from Formosa.  The ship anchored in a cove off Palawan Island where it remained for ten days.  The Japanese covered the hatch with a tarp so during the night, the POWs were in total darkness.  Within the first 48 hours, five POWs had died.  Being in the cove resulted in the ship missing an air raid by American planes, but the ship was attacked once by American planes while there.
    Each day, each POW was given three ounces of water and two half mess kits of raw rice.  Although the Japanese had removed the lights in the hold, they had not turned off the power to the lights.  Some of the prisoners were able to hot-wire the ship's blowers into the light power lines.  This allowed fresh air into the hold, until the power was disconnected, two days later, when the Japanese discovered what had been done.
    After this was done, the POWs began to develop heat blisters.  The Japanese realized that if they did not do something many of the POWs would die.  To prevent this, they opened the ship's number two hold and transferred 600 POWs into it.  At this point, one POW was shot while attempting to escape.
    The Arisan Maru returned to Manila on October 20, where it joined a twelve ship convoy.  On October 21, the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea.  The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with red crosses to indicate they were carrying POWs making them targets for American submarines.  In addition, U.S. military intelligence was reading the Japanese messages as fast as the Japanese.  To protect this secret, they did not tell the submarine crews that ships were carrying POWs which made the ships targets for the submarines.  The POWs in the hold became so desperate that they prayed for the ship to be hit by torpedoes.
    According to the survivors of the Arisan Maru, on Tuesday, October 24, 1944, about 5:00 pm, some of the POWs were on deck preparing dinner for the POWs in the ship's two holds.  The ship was, off the coast of China, in the Bashi Channel.  Suddenly, sirens and other alarms were heard.  The men inside the holds knew this meant that American submarines had been spotted and began to chant for the submarines to sink the ship.
    The waves were high since a storm had just passed.  At about 5:50 P.M., as the POWs watched, the Japanese ran to the bow of the ship and a torpedo passed in front of the ship.  Moments later, the Japanese ran to the ship's stern and watched as a second torpedo passed behind the ship.  There was a sudden jar and the ship stopped dead in the water.  It had been hit by two torpedoes amidships in its third hold where there were no POWs, but it still killed some POWs.  It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was the U.S.S. Snook.
    The Japanese guards took their guns and used them as clubs on the POWs who were on deck.  To escape, the POWs dove back into the holds.  After they were in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders and put the hatch covers on the holds, but they did not tie them down.  They then abandoned the ship.
    Some of the POWs from the first hold climbed out and reattached the ladders and dropped them to the men in the holds.  The POWs left the holds but made no attempt to abandon ship.  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 script."  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."  The ship 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.  It was about this time that about 35 POWs swam to the nearest Japanese ship.  When the Japanese realized that they were POWs, they pushed them underwater with poles and drowned them or hit them with clubs.  Those POWs who could not swim raided the food lockers for a last meal, because they wanted to die with full stomachs.  Other POWs took to the water with anything that would float.  
    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 survivors, the Arisan Maru and sank sometime after dark on Tuesday, October 24, 1944.  The men in the boat heard cries for help, which became fewer and fewer, until there was silence.  The next day they picked up two more survivors.  Four other men were picked up by a Japanese ship and taken to Formosa.

    Sgt. John C. Spornitz lost his life when the Arisan Maru was torpedoed in the South China Sea.  Of the 1803 POWs on the ship, only nine survived the sinking.  Eight of these men would survive the war.  Since he was lost at sea, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.
    On January 30, 1945, his parents received a POW postcard from him which was written at Cabanatuan.  In it he said, "I am in good health and hope all is well at home. Give my regards to all."  When his parents received the card, they had no idea that their son had been dead for over three months.
    His parents held a memorial service for Sgt. John C. Spornitz on July 1. 1945, at the Union Church in Brainerd.


 

 

 

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