StephensonMG

 


Pvt. Mayo Gadish Stephenson


Born: 26 October 1921 - Texas
Father: Charles Stephenson & Phoebe May McMahon-Stephenson
Siblings: 5 brothers, 1 sister
Hometown: De Ridder, Louisiana

Home: Harris County, Texas
    - living in Texas when inducted

Inducted:

    - U.S. Army 

        - Camp Shelby - Mississippi

Units: 

    - 753rd Tank Battalion

        - volunteered to replace a National Guardsman who was released

           from federal service 

    - 192nd Tank Battalion

Training: 

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana

Overseas Duty:
    - battalion travels by train, over four different train routes to San Francisco, California

    - taken to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay by ferry
    - October 25th & 26th - physicals given
        - some men released
        - others held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
        - replacements fill these positions
    - Boarded: U.S.S. General H. L. Scott - Monday - 27 October 1941
    - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
            - arrived in the morning
            - soldiers receive leave
    - Sailed: Wednesday - 5 November 1941
    - Arrived: Guam
        - ship loads vegetables, bananas, water, coconuts
    -Sailed: 
    Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands -  Thursday - 20 November 1941
        - entered bay - 8:00 A.M.
        - disembark: in the afternoon

    - battalion rides train to Fort Stotsenburg
    - tanks unloaded by 17th Ordnance

Stationed: Ft. Stotsenburg
        - soldiers lived in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon 

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
           
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 12:45 P.M. - 8 December 1941 - lived through Japanese attack on Clark Airfield
            - HQ Company took cover in bivouac

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

Prisoner of War: 

     - 9 April 1942 - Filipino and American forces surrendered to Japanese

        - HQ Company remained in bivouac for two days before Japanese made contact with
          them

     - 11 April 1942 - company ordered out on road that ran past their bivouac

         - the members of the company were ordered to kneel along both sides of the road

         - passing Japanese troops took whatever they wanted from the Americans possessions

         - Hq Company drove trucks to Mariveles at southern tip of Bataan

        - ordered out of the trucks and into a field

        - Japanese formed a firing squad to kill them

        - a Japanese officer drove up in a jeep and stops execution from happening

    - Death March

        - Mariveles - POWs start march at southern tip of Bataan

         - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor

        - American artillery on Corregidor returned fire

        - San Fernando -POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane

            - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men

            -  Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar

            - POWs who died remained standing

            - Capas - POWs left boxcars - dead POWs fell to the floor

            - POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell 

POW Camps: 

     - Philippine Islands: 

         - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
 

        - Cabanatuan
            - hospitalized - 10 July 1942 - tested for tuberculosis
                - discharged - no date given

        - Pasay School Detail

            - POWs built runways with picks and shovels

            - the detail was a death detail

            - POWs housed at Pasay School
            - to build runway the POWs had to remove hills with picks and shovels

            - ashes of dead taken to Bilibid in small boxes

                - POWs from detail would not talk about the detail

                - it was only when sick began being sent to Bilibid that the POWs there learned what was

                  going on, on the detail
            - detail ended when first American planes - 27 August 1944        
Hell Ship:

    - Hokusen Maru

        - Boarded: 21 September 1944

            - 500 POWs put in one hold
            - moved to buoy and dropped anchor
                - POWs start  going insane from heat in holds
               - Japanese threaten to shoot POWs unless they are silenced
               -POWs kill insane
        - Sailed: Manila - 4 October 1944

            - 18 ship convoy
            - stopped at Cabcaban, Philippine Islands
            - stopped 5 October 1944 - San Fernando, La Union, Philippine Islands
                - joined convoy
            - 6 October 1944 - convoy attacked by submarines
                - two ships sunk
            - 9 October 1944 - airplane scare - convoy broke up
                - sailed for Hong Kong
                - ran into wolf pack - ship sunk
        - Arrived: Hong Kong - 11 October 1944
            - attacked by American planes while in port
        - Sailed: 21 October 1944
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 24 October 1944
        - Disembark: 8 November 1944
            - POWs in such bad shape that Japanese decided to leave them on Formosa
POW Camp:

    - Formosa: 

        - Toroku Camp
            - POWs were in poor condition

            - Japanese did not make them do hard labor

            - POWs did light farming and gardening
Hell Ship:

    - Enoshima Maru

        - Departed: Formosa - 25 January 1945
            - ship was also carrying hemp
            - underneath was sugar and cans of tomatoes
            - POWs stole canned tomatoes

        - Arrived: Japan - 30 January 1945
            - POWs put in schoolhouse
            - forced to remove clothing in the cold because they were so louse infested
            - deloused

    - Japan: 

        - Maribara #10-B - 15 May 1945 

            - Work: steel mills and warehouse
            - also worked to drain lake

            - second camp commandant treated POWs better
                - rations increased near end of war
                - POWs also issued shoes and Japanese uniforms
                - when the Japanese gave them beer, they knew the war was over

Liberated:

    - 19 August 1945 - learned of surrender

        - POWs roamed area near camp
    - 1 September 1945

        - 7:30 P.M.
            - Mayo and seven other POWs left camp to find American troops

            - 300 mile ride to Tokyo on Japanese troop train
    - 2 September 1945 - taken to Imperial Hotel by U.S. Troops
        - spent night there
    - 3 September 1945 - sent to Yokahama
        - reported to U.S. Forces

Promoted: Corporal
    - flown to Hickam Field - Hawaii
    - flown to Hamilton Field north of San Francisco

Discharged: 15 August 1946
Occupation: truck driver
Never married
Residence: 822 West 31st Street - Houston, Texas

Died: Sunday - 4 September 1949 -  Liberty, Texas
    - cause of death - heart attack
    - found dead along highway 90 in Denton, Texas

Buried: Beauregard Cemetery, DeRidder, Louisiana


 

 

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