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Alberg, Sgt. Lawrence R.

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Sgt. Lawrence Robert Alberg
Born: 21 October 1918 – Minnesota
Parents: Emil R. Alberg & Clara Tollefson-Alberg
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 half-brother
Hometown: 312 5th Avenue Northwest – Brainerd, Minnesota
Occupation: automotive mechanic
Enlisted: Minnesota National Guard
Inducted:
– U.S. Army
– 10 February 1941 – Brainerd, Minnesota
– 82 men passed Army physicals
– remained at Armory until 19 February 1941
– 20 February 1941 – left by train – 12:19 A.M.
– arrived Fort Lewis, Washington
– equipment: two tanks, one reconnaissance car, six trucks
– designated: A Company, 194th Tank Battalion
Training:
– Ft. Lewis, Washington
– assigned to reconnaissance section of the battalion
– 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
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 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 a 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: S.S. President Calvin 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, the U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke was seen several times on the horizon
– cruiser intercepted ships which were from friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
Stationed:
– Philippines
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded north end of the airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– 10 December 1941
– the battalion sent to Mabalcat
– C Company was sent to Southern Luzon to support troops
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 14 December 1941
– A Co. & D Co., 192nd moved to just north of Muntinlupa
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– Bren gun carriers used to test ground to see if it could support tanks
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24 December 1941
– operating in Hacienda Road area
– 24/25 December 1941
– sent to Carmen Area on Agno River – arrived 7:00 P.M.
– 5th Columnists sent up flares
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 25/26 December 1941
– held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 1 platoon of D Co., 192nd held are west of Highway 13
– 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw – 7:00 A.M.
– Lt. Costigan’s platoon forced its way through Carmen
– lost two tanks
– one tank belonged to company commander – Captain Edward Burke
– believed dead, but was actually captured
– one tank crew rescued
– new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
– rest of battalion made a dash out
– lost one tank at Bayambang
– another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
– Lt. Petree’s platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
– D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
– the tank commander found a crossing
– Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
– 28 December 1941
– Tarlec Line
– most of the battalion withdrew from the line that night
– 29/30 December 1941
– the new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30/31 December 1941
– tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
– covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Porac Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate
– bright moonlight made them easy to see
– tanks opened fire
– Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 8 April 1942
– January 1942 – tank platoons reduced to three tanks
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.”
– 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 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 by 17th Ordnance
– 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
– tank platoons reduced to three tanks each
– D Co., 192nd, receives tanks
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– this was a 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
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– the highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by an antitank gun
– tanks knock out a gun
– cleared roadblock with the support of infantry
– 20 January 1942
– Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 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
– 26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
– 9:45 A.M. – warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– 10:30 A.M. – Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
– prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
– half-tracks patrolled roads
– maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
– 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
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched a major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 6 April 1942
– four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at the junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 8 April 1942
– fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– 7:00 A.M. – forces surrendered
– made way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan
– Death March
– Mariveles – POWs start the 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:
– Philippines:
– 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 the 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 the 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:
– original name: Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there
– Camp 2: four miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
– September 1942 – Camps 1 & 3 consolidated
– 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
– Barracks:
– each barracks built for 50 POWs
– 60 to 120 POWs were held in each one
– POWs slept on bamboo strips
– no showers
– Camp Hospital:
– 30 Wards
– each ward could hold 40 men
– frequently had 100 men in each
– two tiers of bunks
– sickest POWs on the bottom tier
– each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
– Zero Ward
– given the 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
– many deaths caused by malnutrition
– others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
– Las Pinas Detail – 12 December 1942
– POWs built runways at Nichols Field
– runway a mile long and 500 feet wide running southeastward
– POWs removed hills with picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows
– landfill used to fill-in swampland
– loaded mining cars with earth and four POWs pushed the car to the dumping area
– lived at the Pasay School
– 6:00 A.M.
– roll call
– breakfast: fish soup and rice
– marched mile and half to Nielsen Field
– arrived at 8:30 A.M.
– Initially, the POWs worked until 11:30 and did not work again until 1:30
– the workday ended at 4:15
– workday got longer
– the death rate among POWs extremely high
– dying sent to Bilibid Prison to die
– POWs were beaten for breaking rules
– 21 September 1944 – American planes bomb and strafe airfield
– detail ends – POWs sent to Bilibid Prison
– 1 January 1943 -family received word he was a POW
– Bilibid Prison
– Admitted: 23 August 1943 – hospital ward
– abdomen dermatitis
– Discharged: 30 August 1943
– medical records show he was suffering from pellagra, beriberi, dysentery, and amblyopia (lazy eye)
– Admitted: Not known
– Discharged: 12 January 1944 – returned to the airfield work detail
– Admitted; 21 January 1944
– dermatitis
– Discharged: 2 February 1944 – returned to the airfield work detail
– Admitted: 17 March 1944
– contusion
– Discharged: 19 March 1944
– Army Air Detail
– Admitted: 5 April 1944
– dengue fever
– Discharged: 14 April 1944
– Army Air Detail
– Admitted: 14 May 1944
– contusion – big left toe
– Discharged: 18 May 1944
– Army Air Detail
– Admitted: not known
– ingrown nail – big left toe
– Discharged: 20 June 1944
– sent out on the Army Air Detail
– Admitted: 9 July 1944
– acute enteritis
– Discharged: 13 July 1944
– Army Air Detail
Hell Ship:
Nissyo Maru
– Friday – 17 July 1944 – POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M.
– Boarded ship: Friday – same day
– Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
– when they couldn’t, they put 900 the POWs in the forward hold
– 600 POWs held in the rear hold
– Sailed: Manila – same day
– dropped anchor at breakwater until 23 July 1944
– POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in the ship’s hold
– POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of water each day
– 23 July 1944 – 8:00 A.M. – ship moved to an area off Corregidor and dropped anchor
– Sailed: Monday – 24 July 1944 – as part of a convoy
– some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
– convoy attacked by American submarines
– four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
– a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – Friday – 28 July 1944 – 9:00 A.M.
– Sailed: same day – 7:00 P.M.
– 30 July 1944 – 2 August 1944 – sailed through a storm
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – Thursday – 3 August 1944 – midnight
– Thursday – 3 August 1944 – POWs issued new clothing
– Friday – 4 August 1944 – 8:00 A.M. – POWs disembarked and taken to a theater
– POWs put into a movie theater
– later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
– taken by train to POW camps along train lines
– POWs arrived at Narumi Camp – Saturday – 5 August 1944
POW Camps:
– Japan:
– Nagoya #2
– POW: 161
– Work: Daido Electric Steel Company
– Nippon Wheel Manufacturing Company
– manufactured steel wheels
– most did common labor
– those with machinist skills went to work in a machine shop
– work day 6 to 8 hours
– many of the Japanese workers were former Japanese Army
– most were considered too ill to continue fighting
– POWs rode an electric train to and from the mill
-1945 – mill destroyed in an air raid
– POWs put to work cleaning up debris
– Clothing :
– POWs issued uniforms, raincoats, and canvas shoes when they arrived at the camp
– later no additional clothing would be given to the POWs
– Japanese misappropriated Red Cross clothing and shoes
– Food:
– decent when POWs arrived at camp
– as the war went on, the POWs received less food
– sat around and talked about food
– insufficient clean water supply was always an issue in the camp
– Barracks:
– 40 feet long and 25 feet wide
– poorly built
– no insulation and cold during winter
– 3 charcoal pits for heat and two broken stoves which could not be used
– platform for sleeping
– each POW had a 6 foot long by 3-foot wide area to sleep in on a straw mat
– to meet the number of POWs needed to meet the work quota, the sick POWs who could walk were forced to work
– barracks damaged in December 1944 air raid
– Japanese refused to repair the roof
– Punishment:
– appeared that the Japanese were pretty tolerant of POWs
– December 1944 – air raid on area killed civilians and one guard
– general treatment of POWs changed
– Japanese became extremely brutal
– especially beatings of POWs caught stealing food
– punishment consisted of the POWs being beaten, kicked, stripped of clothing, standing at attention for long periods of time
– POWs tied with rope in a crouching position and left for as long as 24 hours
– POWs who stole food received extreme beatings
– one POW who had attempted to steal food from the camp kitchen was caught
– he attempted to kill himself
– the Japanese treated him until he recovered
– they tortured him to death
– four POWs were caught stealing food
– beaten with broom handles
– Collective Punishment:
– Japanese wanted POWs to sign a letter to International Red Cross condemning bombings
– majority of POWs refused
– Japanese slapped every POW in the face with a rubber sole shoe
– still refused to sign the letter
– Medical Treatment:
– inadequate supplies
– Red Cross medicine misappropriated
Liberated: 9 September 1945
Transport: not known
Hospital:
– Schick General Hospital – Clinton, Iowa
– 5 November 1945- returned home
Occupation: attended school in Chicago, Illinois
– employed by Gray Van Transportation
Married:
– Grace Randolph Mohr – 13 August 1953
– Died: December 1991
Children: 1 daughter
Employed:
– Southern Pacific Railroad – Modesto, California
– mechanic
Residence: 254 East Emerson – Tracy, California
– later resided in Franklin, Washington
Died: 22 September 1994 – Veterans Administration Hospital
– Spokane, Washington

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