Cabanatuan Bilibid POWs Ship Home


The former POWs boarded the U.S.A.T Gen. Fred C. Ainsworth and sailed for the United States and arrived in San Francisco on May 29, 1945. Outside the Golden Gate Bridge, it was greeted by the harbor boat, Catalina, with a 75-foot sign that had on it in capital letters, “WELCOME HOME.” It was then escorted by other harbor craft into San Franciso Bay. Twenty WACS (Women Auxiliary Corps) went on board and gave out accumulated messages and wishes sent to the former POWs. Two Army bands played at the pier as the ship docked. The POWs were classified as “ambulatory patients” and how much of the celebration they took part in was determined by their medical condition. Some of the relatives had been waiting for the arrival of the former POWs since the day after they learned their relative had been liberated.

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