Altman, Capt. Jack C.

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Capt. Jack Cary Altman
Born: 1911 – Pitsburg County, Oklahoma
Parents: Abram Altman and Nellie Mumaw-Altman
– parents divorced
– father married Maud Allison
Residence: McAlister, Oklahoma
Siblings: 1 half-sister, 3 brothers
Education: Oklahoma Military Academy
– Class of 1927
Married: Ruth H. Putman
Home: 705 Northeast Eighth Street – Amarillo, Texas
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– Army Reserve
Note: Member of the Texas National Guard
– 142nd Infantry Division
Training:
– Louisiana Maneuvers – 1940
Unit:
– joined 194th Tank Battalion as it prepared to leave for the Philippine Islands
– 15 August 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, with a flag, in the water
– he came upon more flagged buoys that lined up – in a straight line – for 30 miles to the northwest
– the buoys lined up with a Japanese occupied island hundreds of miles away
– the island had a large radio transmitter
– the squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field
– the planes landed, but it was too late to do anything that day
– The next day – planes were sent to the area
– the buoys had been picked up
– a fishing boat was seen making with a tarp on its deck was seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the planes and the Navy was poor, nothing was done to intercept the boat
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
Overseas Duty:
– 4 September 1941 –
– battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: U.S.A.T. 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, U.S.S. Astoria, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked ship – 3:00 P.M.
Stationed: Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– received their meals from food trucks
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks were open three feet from the bottom of the exterior walls
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool” was used for this work time
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
Uniforms:
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms 
– they continued to wear fatigues in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– two tank crew members had to stay with the tanks at all time
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd Tank Battalion guarded the south end
– meals served to men at the tanks by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– During this time HQ Company supplied the tank companies as they fought to cover the withdrawal toward Bataan
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after the 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
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– 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
– 24/25 December 1941
– tank battalions make an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 25/26 December 1941
– held the south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 192nd held from Carmen to Route 3 to Tayug northeast of San Quintin
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1 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 the 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
– Altman’s tank D Company
– D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one tank
– the tank commander found a crossing
– Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
– 29/30 December 1941
– the new line at Banban 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 – 9 April 1942
– 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
– they were to prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for the night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance serviced tanks
– 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 the 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 the 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
– 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 the 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.”
– February 1942
– tank battalions on their own guarded airfields
– battalions also guarded beaches to prevent the Japanese from landing troops
– 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
– Japanese launched a new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 8 April 1942
– Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight
– he estimated they would last one more day
– In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared would be massacred
– His troops were on one-quarter rations, and even at that ration, he had two days of food left.
– 6:30 P.M. – order goes out to be prepared to destroy all equipment of use to the Japanese
– Company B, 192nd, D Company, and A Company, 194th, were preparing for a suicide attack
– 10:30 P.M. – the decision made to send a white flag across the battle line
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– midnight – B Company, D Company, and A Company, 194th, received an order from Gen. Weaver to stand down.
– At 2:oo A.M. April 9, Gen. King sent a jeep under a white flag carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier, and Major Marshall Hurt to meet
   with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender.
 – The white flag was bedding from A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M.
– 9 April 1942
– 6:45 A.M. – “crash”
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– Gen King went through the area held by B Company, 192nd, and spoke to the men
– he said to them, “Boys. I’m going to get us the best deal I can.”
– he also said, “When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say to you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Cothran and Captain Achille C. Tisdelle Jr. got into a jeep carrying a large white flag
– They were followed by another jeep – also flying another large white flag – with Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt in it
– As the jeeps made their way north, they were strafed and small bombs were dropped by a Japanese plane
– the drivers of both jeeps managed to avoid the bullets and bombs
– The strafing ended when a Japanese reconnaissance plane ordered the fighter pilot to stop strafing
– About 10:00 A.M. the jeeps reached Lamao where they were received by a Japanese Major General who informed King that he reported his coming to
   negotiate a surrender and that an officer from the Japanese command would arrive to do the negotiations
– The Japanese officer also told him that his troops would no attack for thirty minutes while King decided what he would do
– After a half-hour, no Japanese officer had arrived from their headquarters and the Japanese attack had resumed. King sent Col. Collier and Maj. Hunt back
   to his command with instructions that any unit inline with the Japanese advance should fly white flags
– shortly after this was done a Japanese colonel and interpreter arrived
– King was told the officer was Homma’s Chief of Staff and he had come to discuss
   King’s surrender
– King attempted to get insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter
– he was accused of declining to surrender unconditionally
– At one point King stated he had enough trucks and gasoline to carry his troops out of Bataan
– He was told that the Japanese would handle the movement of the prisoners
– The two men talked back and forth until the colonel said through the interpreter, “The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians.”
– Gen. King had no choice but to take him at his word
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– received the order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
– Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
– Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
– 10 April 1942
– Japanese made contact with tankers
– 7:00 P.M. – started the march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
– 3:00 A.M. – halted and rested for an hour
– 4:00 A.M. – resume march
– 11 April 1942
– 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
– allowed to forage for food
– 9:00 A.M. – resumed march
– Noon – reached Limay and the main road
– officers separated from enlisted men
– 4:00 P.M put on trucks
– officers arrived at Balanga
– Japanese found a handgun in a field bag of an officer
– he was clubbed and bayoneted
– because of this, they were not fed
– Dusk – officers ordered to form ranks and marched
– marched through Abucay and Samal
– 12 April 1942
– 3:00 A.M. – reached Orani
– herded into a fenced-in area and ordered to lie down
– in the morning found they had been lying in human waste
– latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
– Noon – fed rice and salt
– first meal
– Afternoon – enlisted men rejoin officers
– 6:30 P.M. – ordered to form 100 men detachments
– POWs marched at a faster pace
– fewer breaks
– when given break, the POWs sat on the road
– North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
– made the march easier
– 13 April 1942
– 2:00 A.M. – POWs were given an hour rest on the road
– those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
– POWs march through Layac and Lubao
– rains – POWs drank as much as they could
– 4:30 P.M. – reached San Fernando
– POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
– one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
– pottery jars of water given out the same way
– 14 April 1942
– 4:00 A.M. – POWs awakened
– formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
– POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– 100 POWs packed into each car
– POWs who died remained standing
– 9:00 A.M. – Capas – dead fell to the floor as living left boxcars
– as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
– also gave them water
– POWs walked the last 8 kilometers 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 the 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 washing 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
– Japanese turned the water off when they wanted more water
– the POWs could turn the water on without the guards knowing it
– slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
– flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
Food
– three meals a day
– breakfast – a half cup of soupy rice and occasionally some type of coffee
– lunch – a half of a mess kit of steamed rice and a half cup of sweet potato soup
– dinner – the same as lunch
– all meals were served outside regardless of the weather
– food had improved a little with the issuing of a little wheat flour, some native beans, and a small issue of coconut oil by May 1
– about once every ten days, 3 or 4 small calves were brought into the camp
Barracks
– not enough housing for the POWs
– most slept under buildings or on the ground
– the barracks were designed for 40 men
– those who did sleep in one slept in one with as many 80 to 120 men
– there was no netting to protect the men from malaria-carrying mosquitos 
– many men soon became ill with malaria. 
Hospital
– 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 were 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 the Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
– a second truck sent by the Red Cross was turned away at the gate
– 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 medics 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
– at one point there were 80 bodies under the hospital waiting to be buried
– to stop the spread of disease, the bodies were moved to one area and the ground under the hospital was scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had lain was scraped and covered with lime
– the dead were usually not buried for two or three days
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower the death rate
– It was in May that his wife received a message from the War Department.

“Dear Mrs. R. Altman:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Captain Jack C. Altman, O,324,003, who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the  Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender. 

        “I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter.  In the last days before the surrender of Bataan, there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department.  Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly other islands of the Philippines.  The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war.  At some future date, this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been taken prisoners of war.  Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information. 

        “The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received.  It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date.  At that time you will be notified by this office in the event that his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war.   In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action” in the absence of information to the contrary, until twelve months have expired.  At the expiration of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.

        “Recent legislation makes provision to continue the pay and allowances of persons carried in a “missing” status for a period not to exceed twelve months;  to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments or increase allotments made by persons by the enemy during the time they are so held;  to make new allotments or increase allotments to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress.  The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as having been designated in official records.  Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.

                                                                                                                                                                    “Very Truly yours

                                                                                                                                                                            J. A. Ulio (signed) 
                                                                                                                                                                       Major General
                                                                                                                                                                   The Adjutant General”
 

– 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
– put into use by the Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in an attempt to lower the death rate among the POWs
– Camp 2: two 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 held there
– camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
– Corregidor POWs were in better shape
– 30 October 1943 – POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
– Camp Administration:
– the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
– Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
– June 1942
– four POWs escaped and recaptured
– tied to posts outside of the camp’s main gate and beaten 
– after three days they were cut loose from the posts
– the POWs dug their own graves
– they stood in their graves facing a Japanese firing squad and were shot
– a Japanese officer used his pistol and fired a shot into each grave
– Blood Brother Rule
– POWs put into groups of ten
– if one escaped the others would be executed
– housed in same barracks
– worked on details together
– ate mels together
– Barracks:
– each barracks held 50 men
– often held between 60 and 120 men
– slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
– diseases spread easily
– no showers
Meals:
– POWs fed “lugow” which meant “wet rice.”
– they received few vegetables and almost no fruit
– once in a while, they received bread
– if they received fish it was rotten and covered with maggots
– Morning Roll Call:
– stood at attention
– frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
– 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 because they didn’t like the way the POWs looked
Work Details:
– Airfield Detail:
– Japanese built an airfield for fighters
– POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
– at first moved dirt in wheelbarrows
– later pushed mining cars
Guards:
– Air Raid
– in charge
– usually fair but unpredictable
– had to watch him
– Donald Duck
– always talking
– sounded like the cartoon character
– unpredictable – beat POWs
– POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
– at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
– POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
– Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
– worked 6 days a week
– had Sunday off
– Other Details:
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
– 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
– Burial Detail
– POWs worked in teams of four
– carried 4 to 6 dead to the cemetery at a time in litters
– a grave contained from 15 to 20 bodies
– daily POW meal
– 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– rice was the main staple, few vegetables or fruits
– 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
– medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
– many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
– Burial Detail
– POWs worked in teams of four
– carried 4 to 6 dead to the cemetery at a time in a litter
– a grave contained from 15 to 20 bodies
– daily POW meal
– 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– rice was the main staple, few vegetables or fruits
– 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
– medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
– many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
– assigned to Barracks 1-2A
– During July 1942, his wife received a second message from the War Department. The following is an excerpt from it.

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Capt. Jack C. Altman had not been reported as a casualty. The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, until definite information to the contrary is received.

“Efforts to secure prisoner of war lists from the Philippines have not been successful to this date due to the lack of communication and the fact that the Japanese Government has not yet given permission for the Swiss representative and the International Red Cross delegates to make visits to prisoner of war camps in the islands. When the lists of prisoners are received, we will clear the name of your son and send you any additional information that we may have.”    

– Hospitalized – no date was given – malaria
– Discharged: no date was given
– 17 September 1942 – a POW was recaptured
– he had escaped on August 7
– he was placed in solitary confinement
– during his time there, he was beaten over the head with an iron bar
– the camp commandant, Col. Mori, would parade him around the camp
– used the man as an example as he lectured the POW
– he wore a sign that read, “Example of an Escaped Prisoner.”
– 21 September 1942 – three POWs recaptured
– they escaped on 12 September 1942
– brought back to the camp
– their feet were tied together and their hands were crossed behind their backs
– they were tied with ropes
– a long rope was tied around their wrists
– they were suspended from a rafter with their toes barely touched the ground
– this caused their arms to bear all the weight of their bodies
– they were subjected to severe beatings by the Japanese guards while hanging 
– the punishment lasted three days
– they were cut from the rafter
– they were tied hand and foot and placed in the cooler for 30 days
– their diet was rice and water
– one of the three POWs was severely beaten by a Japanese lieutenant 
– all were later released
– 27 September 1942 – a POW recaptured
– he had escaped on August 7
– he was placed in solitary confinement
– during his time there, he was beaten over the head with an iron bar
– the camp commandant, Col. Mori, paraded him around the camp
– used the man as an example as he lectured the POWs
– the man wore a sign that read, “Example of an Escaped Prisoner.” 
– 29 September 1942 – Three POWs were executed
– they were stopped by American security guards while attempting to escape
– the American guards were there to prevent escapes
– the noise made during the event made the Japanese aware of the situation
– they came to the area and beat the three men who had tried to escape.
– one was beaten so badly that his jaw was broken
– after two and a half hours, the three were tied to posts by the main gate
– their clothes were torn off them
– hey were beaten on and off for the next 48 hours
– anyone passing them was expected to urinate on them
– after three days they were cut down and thrown into a truck
– they were taken to a clearing in sight of the camp and shot
– Hospitalized – 1 October 1942 – malaria
– Discharged – 15 October 1942
– 14 October 1942 – Japanese claimed that food rations improved
– 550 grams of rice, 100 grams of meat, 330 grams of vegetables, 20 grams of fat, 20 grams of sugar, 15 grams of salt, and 1 gram of tea
– at some point, 50 grams of mongo beans replaced some of the rice
– sick POWs also received an additional 50 grams of meat
– Meals were actually
– wet rice and rice coffee for breakfast
– Pechi green soup and rice for lunch
– Mongo bean soup, Carabao meat, and rice for dinner
– 4 November 1942 – 1300 POWs selected to be sent to Japan
– Japanese issued each man 1 pair of shoes, 1 undershirt, and 1 blue denim uniform
– told to put on their best clothing
– marched to a ball field
– told to remove clothing and issued Japanese clothing
– 11 November 1942 – deep latrines dug in camp
– at least 18 feet deep
– 12 November 1942 – Fr. Bruttenbruck – a German Catholic priest brought packages for POWs and medicine
– 15 November 1942 – 100 POWs worked in the hospital area of the camp
– cut grass, dug drainage ditches, dug latrines, dug sump holes
– 16 November 1942 – Cpl. Peter Lanianuskas shot while attempting to escape
– POWs believed he was really executed
– 20 November 1942 – Pvt. Donald K. Russell – left camp at 9:30 P.M.
– got past guards
– at 12:30 A.M. – caught trying to reenter the camp
– had a large bag of canned goods
– 21 November 1942 -12:30 P.M. – he was shot
– 23 November 1942 – Japanese wanted 750 healthy POWs for farm work detail
– wanted to get the farm started
– there were only 603 healthy officers and enlisted men in the camp
– from this time on, they wanted 1000 men daily for the details
– 26 November 1942 – Thanksgiving Day
– POWs did not work because the guards had been out all night chasing guerrillas
– meal – double meat ration and mongo beans
– 28 November 1942 – it was noted the POWs were receiving carabao meat every day
– 850 blankets were also issued, but a large number of men still did not have blankets
– 1 December 1942 – meals:
– breakfast – wet rice and rice coffee for breakfast
– lunch – pichi green soup and rice
– dinner – mongo bean soup with carabao meat and rice
– 12 December 1942 to 19 December 1942 – only 20 POWs died in the camp that week
– 14 December 1942 – Fr. Bruttenbruck – a German Catholic priest brought a truckload of medicine to camp
– turned away because he did not have the correct paperwork
– 19 December 1942 – Red Cross packages arrived in the camp
– POWs were told it was for two months
– 21 December 1942 – 1000 POWs put to work on farm detail and other details
– 200 worked on the farm
– 24 December 1942 – Fr. Bruttenbruck arrived with two trucks of presents for the POWs individual men
– each POW received a gift bag
– Christmas
– each POW received the POWs received 2½ Red Cross boxes
– each box milk in some form, corn beef, fish, stew beef, sugar, meat and vegetable, tea, and chocolate
– the POWs also received bulk corn beef, sugar, meat and vegetables, stew, raisins, dried fruit, and cocoa which they believed would last them three months
– POWs also received packages from Fr. Bruttenbruck
– contained: fish, soap, cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco
– they were given four days off of work
– 11 January 1943 – POWs watched Japanese dive bombers attack a barrio
– it was located 30 kilometers from the camp
– some of the explosions were loud
– heard scuttlebutt that 102 Filipino men, women, and children had been killed during the attack
– also heard a rumor that half of an area on Cabanatuan that had warehouses had been burned down by guerrillas
– in retaliation for the attack
– 18 January 1943 – the same area bombed again
– 24 January 1943 – Red Cross boxes issued
– shared by 2 POWs
– 27 January 1943 – 1200 POWs left camp on work detail
– February 1943 – multiple details left camp
– some details were small while others had 1255 to 1450 POWs on them
– 7 February 1943 – POWs received Christmas telegrams
– 11 February 1943 – POWs watched movies
– Japanese propaganda newsreels and the Marx Brothers movie “Room Service”
– 12 February 1943 – noted that no POW had died in 8 days
– three POWs died the next day
– also ordered all POWs to turn in illegal radios
– 22 February 1943 – Japanese issued blankets to POWs who did not have one
– 3 March 1943 – program started to stop the spread of dysentery
– POWs received two biscuits and some cigarettes for catching flies and rodents
– POWs had caught 320 rats and 12 million flies
– 6 April 1943- two POWs escaped
– had an hour headstart on guards
– other POWs punished by having movies night taken away that night
– the two men were recaptured
– both men were shot outside the POWs’ barracks
– 11 April 1943
– work schedule changed
– 5:30 A.M. – revelle
– 6:00 A.M. – 7:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 10:30 A.M. – returned to camp
– Noon – lunch
– 1:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. – work
– 6:30 P.M. – dinner
– 7:00 P.M. – roll call
– 9:00 P.M. – lol call again – lights out
– 14 April 1943 – another POW attempted to escape
– he was on the guard detail to prevent escapes
– caught by Japanese 
– 15 April 1943
– 9:00 A.M. – he was taken to a schoolyard north of camp and executed
– 11 July 1943 – a POW named Conley escaped
– 11:00 PM, POWs heard a lot of noise
– the next morning the POWs saw his body in the camp morgue
– Conley’s jaw had been crushed as was the top of his skull, his teeth had all been knocked out
– his left leg had been crushed
– he had been bayoneted in the eyes and scrotum
– July 1943 – 500 names posted of men to be transferred to Japan
– 22 July 1943 – the POWs were issued new shoes, a suit of “Philippine Blues”
– also received – 2 cans of corn beef and 3 cans of milk
– informed they would be taking a 21-day trip
– the detachment left the camp that night
– when they arrived in Manila, they were used in the Japanese propaganda film The Dawn of Freedom
– film supposedly showed how Americans mistreated the Filipinos
– POWS sent to Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Clyde Maru
– 14 August 1943 – his wife learned he was a Prisoner of War
– 15 August 1943 – his wife was one of four people killed in a car accident
– his wife was buried in McAlister, Oklahoma
– Hospitalized – September 1944
– 21 September 1944
– POWs were at the end of the workday
– they heard airplanes
– the sound of the planes was different from Japanese planes
– watched a formation of 80 planes flew over at a high altitude
– planes were too high to see insignias on them
– by the Japanese reaction the POWs concluded they must be American
– POWs arrived at camp
– after they were in the camp, they watched a dog fight take place above the camp
– some of the planes flew low over the camp
– POWs saw U.S. Navy Insiginas on the planes
– several thousand POWs broke into a cheer 
– a Japanese plane was shot down and crashed into the ground in flames
– the POWs cheered even louder
– they listened to explosions as Clark Field was bombed
– many men believed that the Japanese could no longer send detachments of men to Japan
– many men openly sobbed
– October 7 and 8 – Names poster of men being sent to Japan
– Jack’s name was on the list
– October 9, 1944 – trucks arrived at the camp and POWs rode them to Pier 7 at Manila
– spent the night at Bilibid Prison
Hell Ship:
– 10 October 1944 – POWs arrived at Pier 7
– Boarded: Arisan Maru – 10 October 1944
– five POWs died in the first 24 hours
– Sailed: Manila -11 October 1944
– Arrived: Palawan Island – 11 October 1944

– Anton Cichy said, “For the first few days, there were 1800 of us together in one hold. I don’t know how big the hold was but we had to take turns to sit down. We were just kind of stuck together.”

– Calvin Graef said, “We were packed in so tight most men couldn’t get near the cans. And, of course, it was a physical impossibility for the sick in the back of the hold, the men suffering the tortures of diarrhea and dysentery. We waded in fecal matter. Most of the men went naked. The place was alive with lice, bedbugs, and roaches; the filth and stench were beyond description.”

– ship hid in a cove to avoid American planes that were attacking Manila at this time

– Calvin Graef said, “As we moved through the tropical waters, the heat down in the steel-encased hell hole was maddening. We were allowed three ounces of water per man every 24 hours. Quarts were needed under these conditions, to keep a man from dehydrating.
“While men were dying of thirst, Jap guards–heaping insults on us–would empty five-gallon tins of freshwater into the hold. Men caught the water in pieces of clothing and sucked the cloth dry. Men licked their wet skins. It was hell all right. Men went mad.”

– 8 steel drums served as toilets

– Anton Cichy said, “For the first few days, there were 1800 of us together in one hold. I don’t know how big the hold was but we had to take turns to sit down. We were just kind of stuck together.”

– Graef said about the conditions in the hold, “We were packed in so tight most men couldn’t get near the cans. And, of course, it was a physical impossibility for the sick in the back of the hold, the men suffering the tortures of diarrhea and dysentery. We waded in fecal matter. Most of the men went naked. The place was alive with lice, bedbugs, and roaches; the filth and stench were beyond description.”

– POWs hot-wired ventilation system into the lighting system
– Japanese had removed lights but did not turn off the power
– had fresh air for two days
– when the Japanese discovered what had been done, they turned power off
– heat in hold rises and the POWs developed heat blisters
– Japanese acknowledged they had to do something or the POWs would die
– transfer POWs into the second hold

– Graef described conditions in the hold. “There were so many (that died ) out of 1800. The condition in that hold…..men were just dying in a continuous stream. Men, holding their bellies in interlocked arms, stood up, screamed and died. You were being starved men were dying at such a pace we had to pile them up. It was like you were choking to death. Burial consisted of two men throwing another overboard.”

– Sailed: 20 October 1944 to Manila
– Arrived: Manila – 20 October 1944
– Sailed: 21 October 1944
– Sunk: Tuesday – 24 October 1944

– Cichy said, “The Japs told us that they’d be in Formosa the next day to pick up some cargo. They had to make room on deck so they tossed a whole bunch of life preservers down into the hold. I held onto one but didn’t think anything about it.”

– 4:00 P.M. – American submarines spotted in the Bashi Channel of South China Sea
– about 4:40 P.M.
– POWs on deck prepared dinner for POWs in holds
– each POW received 2 half mess kit of rice each day and 3 ounces of water
– about half of the POWs had been fed
– POWs on deck hear bells and sirens
– watched as Japanese ran to the bow of the ship
– the torpedo passed in front of the ship
– Japanese ran to the stern
– the torpedo passed behind the ship
– the ship hit by two torpedoes amidships
– it is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was either the U.S.S. Shook or the U.S.S. Shark

– Cichy recalled, “When the torpedo hit everybody in the hold hollered ‘Hit her again!’ We wanted to get it over with.”

– Lt. Robert S. Overbeck said, “When the torpedoing happened, most of the Americans didn’t care a bit–they were tired and weak and sick.”

– He also said, “The third torpedo struck squarely amidships and buckled the vessel but it didn’t break in two.”

– the ship came to a dead stop
– the POWs cheered wildly until they realized they were facing death
 

Lt. Robert S. Overbeck said of the incident: “The third torpedo struck squarely amidships and buckled the vessel but it didn’t break in two. For about five seconds there was panic among us, but there were five or six chaplains who prayed fervently and quieted the men. By then the Nips — 300 of them on deck — were scurrying about, scared as hell. The boilers exploded. I don’t think any of us got hurt in the torpedoing or the explosion. Most of the prisoners were American, with a few British. The Japs took the two lifeboats aboard as all 300 abandoned ship. That was about 5:00 P.M.”

– Japanese guards used guns as clubs to chase POWs on deck into holds
– cover hatches but did not tie hatch covers down
– cut rope ladders into holds
– abandoned ship

– Cichy recalled, “The Japs closed the hatches and left the ship in lifeboats. They must have forgot about the prisoners on deck who had been cooking. When the Japs were off the boat, the cooks opened the hatches and told us to come up. I was just under the deck, but there were a lot of guys down below. One of them escaped by simply walking into the water from a hole in the bulkhead. He was Lt. Robert S. Overbeck, Baltimore.” Cichy added, “The Japs had already evacuated ship. They had a destroyer off the side, and they were saving their own.”

– POWs left holds

– On the ship’s deck, an American major spoke to the POWs, “Boys, we’re in a helluva 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.”

– Overbeck also stated, ” We broke into the ship’s stores to get food, cigarettes, and water — mainly water, we were so thirsty. All of us figured we were going to die anyway. The Japs ships, except for the destroyers, had disappeared. All we had were life belts which the Japanese had fortunately thrown down the hold the day before.”
“But as darkness settled and our hopes for life flickered, we felt absolutely no resentment for the Allied submarine that had sent the torpedo crashing in. We knew they could not tell who was aboard the freighter, and as far as the Navy could have known the ship could have been carrying Jap troops. The men were brave and none complained.
“Some slipped off their life preservers and with a cherry ‘so long’ disappeared.”

– according to surviving POWs, the ship stayed afloat for hours but got lower in the water.
– some POWs walked back to see the damage caused by the torpedo
– the deck was peeled back and water was inside the hold washing back and forth
– when waves went under the ship the stern would wobble up and down and the sound of steel tearing was heard
– the stern finally tore off and sunk quickly and the rest of the ship began to take on water quickly.

– Graef said, “Men without any fear at all, just stayed where they were. They sat down, got water to drink, got rice to eat…they couldn’t swim. The majority went down with the ship.”Oliver recalled, ” I could see people still on the ship when it went down. I could see people against the skyline, just standing there.”

– many POWs swam to a nearby Japanese destroyer but were pushed underwater with long poles.

– Of this, Glenn Oliver said, “They weren’t picking up Americans. A lot of the prisoners were swimming for the destroyer, but the Japanese were pushing them back into the water.”

– In the water, he recalled. “I kept getting bumped by guys wearing life jackets. Nobody wanted to share my planks. I didn’t ask them.”

– three POWs found an abandoned lifeboat 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

– Oliver – who was not in the boat – stated he heard men using what he called “GI whistles” to contact each other. “They were blowing these GI whistles in the night. This weird moaning sound. I can’t describe it.”

– men were heard calling the names of other men in the dark.
– the next morning there were just waves.
– Oliver and three other men were picked up by a Japanese destroyer and taken to Formosa and finally sent to Japan.
– The next day the three men in the boat picked up two more survivors and later made it to China and freedom.
– Only nine POWs of 1775 POWs survived the sinking
– Altman was not one of these men
Died: 24 October 1944
– Capt. Jack C. Altman died in the sinking of the Arisan Maru
– his parents learned of his death in July 1945
– they were informed of his death because his wife had been killed in a car accident, in Texas, on August 15, 1943

“Dear Mr. Altman,

“The International Red Cross has transmitted to this government an official list obtained from the Japanese government, after long delay, of American prisoners of war who were lost while being transported northward from the Philippine islands on a Japanese ship which was sunk on Oct. 24, 1944.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that your son was among those lost when the sinking occurred and, in the absence of any probability of survival, must be considered to have lost his life. He will be carried on records of the war department as killed in action Oct. 24, 1944. The evidence of his death was received June 16, 1945.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that your son, Capt. Jack C. Altman, O, 324, 003, 194th Tank Battalion, was among those lost when that sinking occurred and, in the absence of any probability of survival, must be considered to have lost his life. He will be carried on the records of the War Department as Killed in Action 24 October 1944. The evidence of this death was received 16 June 1945, the date upon which his pay will terminate and accounts will be closed.

“The information available to the war department is that the vessel sailed from Manila on October 11, 1944, with 1775 prisoners of war aboard. On October 24 the vessel was sunk by submarine action in the south China Sea over 200 miles from the Chinese coast which was the nearest land. Five of the prisoners escaped in a small boat and reached the coast. Four others have been reported as picked up by the Japanese by whom all others aboard are reported lost. Absence of detailed information as to what happened to the other individual prisoners and known circumstances of the incident lead to a conclusion that all other prisoners listed by the Japanese as aboard the vessel perished.

“It is with deep regret that I must notify you of this unhappy culmination of the long period of anxiety and suffering you have experienced. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

“Sincerely yours,

“J. A. Ulio
“Maj. Gen., The Adjutant General of the Army”

Memorial:
– Tablets of the Missing
– American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands

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