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Alves, Cpl. John F. Jr.

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Cpl. John F. Alves Jr. 
Born: 12 June 1918 – Fresno County, California  
Parents: John F. Alves Sr. & Amelia Alves 
Siblings: 2 sisters 
Home: Fresno County, California 
Occupation: farmer 
Enlisted: California National Guard 
Inducted: 
– U. S. Army 
– 10 February 1941 – Salinas, California 
Units: 
– 194th Tank Battalion 
Training: 
– Fort Lewis, Washington 
– described as constantly raining during the winter 
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds 
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis 
– 6:00 A.M. – first call 
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – mess
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – mess
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs

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 a Japanese occupied island, hundreds 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:
– rode the train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Angel Island
– given physicals and inoculated by battalion’s medical detachment
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: U.S.S. President Coolidge
– Boarded: Monday – 8 September 1941 – 3:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M. – the same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – the same day
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– Clark Field – watched attack from inside his tank
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– C Company ordered to Southern Luzon
– 15 December 1941
– the battalion received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– used Bren gun carriers to see if the ground could support tanks
– C Company took the position at Tagaytay Ridge
– attempted to catch fifth columnists who sent up flares at night
– 24 December 1941
– the company moved over Taal Road to Santo Tomas
– bivouacked near San Paolo
– 26/27 December 1941
– defended in Southern Luzon near Lucban
– supported Philippine Army
– 29/30 December 1941
– the new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30 December 1941
– at Bocaue covered withdraw of Philippine Divisions
– it was around this time that the company rejoined the battalion
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– rejoined rest of 194th at Guagua
– took a position on the road between Sexmoan and Lubao with five SPMs
– ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 attempting to cut the highway
– Japanese lost half their force
– Labao was burning when tanks left the area
– 6 January 1942
– Remedios new defensive line established along a dry creek bed
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate the line
– bright moon made them easy to see
– tanks opened up on them
– Japanese laid down smoke which blew back into them
– Carl’s tank knocks out a Japanese tank
– his tank is hit and abandoned
– tank recovered the next day
– 3:00 A.M.
– Japanese broke off the attack
– 6/7 January 1942 – that night the 194th crossed the bridge into Bataan
– withdraw covered by 192nd Tank Battalion
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
General Weaver also issued the following orders to the tank battalions around this time: “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.”
– 8 January 1942
– composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
– their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main the battle line had been
  formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942 – Bagac
– sent to open Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could move south
– at the Moron Road and Road Junction 59, the tanks moved forward knocking out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks were lost to landmines but towed out
– mission abandoned
– Segunda’s forces escaped along beach losing its heavy equipment
– 20 January 1942
-west of Bani Bani Road – tanks were sent to save the 31st Infantry command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching the road
– 25/26 January 1942
– battalion holding a position a kilometer north of Pilar-Bagac Road
– four SPMs with the battalion
– warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– Japanese withdraw
– estimated they lost 500 of 1800 men
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
– maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
– 31 January 1942
– half-tracks patrol roads
– 1 February 1942
– tank battalions on their own initiative guarded airfields at Cabcaban, Bataan, and Mariveles
– tanks well hidden and airfields were never attacked
– believed the Japanese planned to use them
– gas rations cut for all vehicles except tanks to 10 gallons a day
– Gen. Weaver suggests a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor
– Gen. Wainwright disapproved
– March 1942
– two tanks were bogged down in mud
– the tankers were working to get them out
– Japanese Regiment entered the area
– Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
– wiped out Japanese regiment
– 3 April 1942
– C Company ordered to support counterattack in Pangilinan corridor
– tanks received fire from three sides
– one side firing on them was from I Corps troops
– the company covered withdraw of 45th Infantry to Trail 8
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched the major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 7 April 1942
– C Company supporting 45th Infantry attempted to aide 57th Infantry,
Philippine Scouts
– Anti-tank guns at the junction of Trails 8 & 6 blasted lead tank off road
– tank hit five times
– tank commander knocked out
– units withdraw
– C Company attached to 192nd Tank Battalion
– 8 April 1942
Tank battalion commanders received this order: “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.”
– 10:30 P.M. – Gen. King announced that further resistance would result in the massacre of 6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000 civilians
– less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
– he estimated they could hold out one more day
– sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– 6:45 A.M. – heard order “crash” and destroyed tanks
– 10 April 1942
– Japanese made contact with the battalion
– Death March
– Mariveles – POWs start march at the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
– Americans on Corregidor returned fire
– San Fernando – POWs put into small wooden boxcars
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– 100 POWs packed into each car
– POWs who died remained standing
– Capas – dead fell to the floor as living left boxcars
– POWs 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, gunshots 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 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and the 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
– the 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 the camp hospital lay on the 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
– the ground under hospital was scrapped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had lain 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 a new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out the 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
– the train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembarked the train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– Cabanatuan #1
– original name: Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– actually three camps
– POWs from Camp O’Donnell put in Camp 1
– Camp 2 was four miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3 was six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their shins with their
  hobnailed boots
– they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
– POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
– the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
– if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn’t doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
– many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
– to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp’s fence
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
– the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– Japanese discovered a second diary he was keeping – beaten
– diary contained detailed information on death march
– 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
– assigned to Barracks 5, Group 2
– hospitalized – 8 July 1942 – malaria
– discharged – 5 February 1943
Hell Ship:
Tottori Maru
– 1961 POWs put on ship
– 500 in front hold and 1461 in rear hold
– 5 October 1942 – POWs left Cabanatuan for Manila
– housed in warehouse on Pier 7
– 7 October 1942 – POWs boarded onto Tottori Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 8 October 1942- 10:00 A.M.
– 9 October 1942 – American submarine fired two torpedoes at ship
– ship’s captain maneuvered ship and avoided torpedoes
– ship passes a mine laid by an American submarine
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 11 October 1942
– Sailed: 16 October 194 2 – 7:30 A.M.
– reports of American submarines cause the ship to returned to Takao – 10:30 P.M.
– Sailed: 18 October 194
– Arrived: Pescadores Islands
– anchored off the Pescadores Islands the same day
– remained anchored for several days
– two POWs died and were buried at sea
– Sailed: 27 October 1942
– Arrived: Takao – 27 October 1942
– 28 October 1942 – POWs were taken ashore and bathed
– foodstuffs loaded onto the ship
– Sailed: 30 October 1942
– Arrived: 30 October 1942 – Makou, Pescadores Islands
– Sailed: 31 October 1942
– seven-ship convoy
– ships sailed through typhoon for five days
– 5 November 1942
– ships attacked by an American submarine
– one sunk
– other ships scattered
– Arrived: Fusan, Korea – 7 November 1942
– 9 November 1942 – POWs disembarked the ship
– issued new clothes and fur-lined overcoats
– sick POWs left behind at Fusan
– those who recovered came to Mukden at a later date
– white boxes contained the ashes of POWs who died
– 11 November 1942 – arrived Mukden
POW Camp:
Mukden, Manchuria
– Hoten Camp
– Barracks:
– two story brick buildings
– buildings had electricity and cold running water
– heated with “petchka” stoves
– provided adequate heat
– building infested with fleas, bedbugs, and lice
– divided into ten sections
– five on the first floor and five on the second floor
– each section divided into four double-decked sleeping bays
– 8 POWs slept in a bay
– 48 POWs slept in a section
– Meals:
– Breakfast: cornmeal mush, beans, bun
– Lunch: maize and beans
– Supper: beans and a bun
– POWs made snares to catch wild dogs that roamed into camp
– stopped catching dogs when one was seen eating the body of a dead Chinese civilian
– Hospital:
– many of POWs who died in the camp died due to illnesses caused by malnutrition
– many of those who died from illnesses that could be treated
– over 200 POWs died the first winter in the camp
– POWs who died during winter were stored in a building until the ground thawed and they could be buried
– Japanese doctor, Jiechi Kumashima, denied Red Cross medicine to the POWs
– overruled American doctors on who was ill
– sick forced to work
– later found guilty of war crimes and hanged
– Juro Oki, Japanese civilian doctor who smuggled medicine into the camp for POWs
– would have been shot if he had been caught
– Work:
– POWs worked in a machine shop and lumber mill
– Japanese wanted POWs to produce guns
– POWs sabotaged machines by dropping sand in oiling holes
– while pouring cement, the POWs would drop pieces of machines into the cement to sabotage them
– Punishment:
– POWs kicked, hit with clubs, sticks, bamboo poles, shoe heals, sabers, and fists
– any reason used to beat them
– Collective Punishment:
– when the Japanese suspected some POWs had smuggled cigarettes into their barracks, all the POWs were ordered outside and stood at attention
– POWs ordered to strip and stood nude in the code
– stood in snow barefooted for hours as the barracks and the 700 POWs, who lived in it were searched
– Eiichi Nada – guard
– was considered the worse abuser of POWs
– born, raised, and educated in Berkley, California
– frequently beat POWs at morning assembly
– when they fell to the ground he screamed at them
“Get up, you yellow, white, son of a bitch!”
– Lt. Mikki – walked through the barracks with a 3 foot and hit the POWs with it
– Red Cross clothing withheld from POWs
– Chinese told them there was a warehouse full of Red Cross clothing
– Unit 731:
– POWs from camp selected to be used in Japanese germ warfare experiments
– injected with deadly diseases
– some of these men were dissected while alive
Air Raids:
– B-29s start bombing Mukden late 1944
– camp bombed because it was lined up with military targets
– The Japanese medical officer, Jiechi Kuwashima, asked the POWs, wounded from the bombings, to write letters asking the Allies to stop the bombing of Mukden. The POWs did write the letters but told the Allies that they wouldn’t mind more frequent bombings.
Extermination Order:
– The camp commander received orders to march the POWs into the forest and execute them
– 16 August 1945 – three American OSS officers parachuted into camp and told the commander the war was over
– two were Japanese Americans and one was Chinese American
– the team was held as POWs for one night and sent to Sian Camp
– this was the camp where high ranking officers were imprisoned
Liberated: 20 August 1945 – Russian Army
– B-29s appeared over the area where the POWs lit oil drums to signal planes with smoke
– the lead plane came down and saw the POWs
– circle and dropped medical supplies, food, and clothing to POWs
– American planes dropped walkie-talkies to POWs
– allowed POWs to talk to aircrews
– POWs told the crews what they wanted
– planes dropped them ice cream to now fiddle strings
– 29 August 1945 – American Recovery Team entered the camp
– POWs were taken by train to Dalian, China
– taken by ship to Okinawa
– returned to the Philippine Islands
Liberated:
– 26 August 1945
– American Recovery Team parachutes into camp
– 28 August 1945 – Russian Army entered the camp
Discharged: 27 January 1946 – Camp Beale, Marysville, California
Enlisted: U.S. Air Force
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Died: 3 January 2003 – Austin, Texas
Buried: Cook-Walden Capital Parks Cemetery – Pflugerville, Texas

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