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Baker, Cpl. Milton

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BakerM

Cpl. Milton Baker
Born: 14 December 1911 – Kansas City, Missouri
Parents: Jacob & Dora Baker
Siblings: 2 sisters, 3 brothers
Education: elementary school
Married: Margaret Baker
Home: 1308 Benton Boulevard – Kansas City, Missouri
Occupation: insurance agent
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 1941
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
Units:
– 194th Tank Battalion
Note: The decision for this move – which had been made on August 15, 1941 – was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance. 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 which was hundreds of miles away. The island had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat – with a tarp on its deck – which was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Transport:
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason north of San Francisco
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe took the battalion to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island
– medical detachment gave physicals and men with medical issues were replaced
Overseas Duty:
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: Monday – 8 September 1941 – 3:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M. – same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – 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
– Philippines
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– The morning of December 8, December 7 in the United States, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield.
– 12:45 P.M. – the airfield was bombed destroying the Army Air Corps
– tankers were receiving lunch from food trucks when the attack came
– HQ Company members remained in the 194th command area
– could do little more than take cover during attack
– As the members of HQ Company watched, the wounded and dying carried to hospital on anything that would carry them
– most had missing arms or legs
– when the hospital ran out of the room, wounded put under the hospital
– Next day, members of the company walked around the airfield and saw the dead lying everywhere
– 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
– 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
– 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 – 9 April 1942
– HQ Company serviced tanks and supplied crews with ammunition, gas, and food
– January 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
– tanks were given to D Company
– 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
– 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 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
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out gun
– cleared roadblock with 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 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
– gasoline rations cut to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks
– Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that one platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor
– Wainwright rejected idea
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop 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 junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up 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
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 blown up
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– received 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
– 7:00 P.M. – started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
– 3:00 A.M. – halted and rested for an hour
– 4:00 A.M. – resume march
– at times slipped on remains of dead who had been killed by Japanese shelling
– 11 April 1942
– 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
– allowed to forage for food
– 9:00 A.M. – resumed march
– Noon – reached Limay and main road
– officers, majors and up, separated from lower-ranking officers and enlisted men
– Death March
– 4:00 P.M officers put on trucks
– officers arrived at Balanga
– Japanese find handgun in 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. – officers reached Orani
– herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
– in 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 – lower-ranking officers and enlisted men arrive at Orani
– 6:30 P.M. – ordered to form 100 men detachments
– POWs marched at faster pace
– fewer breaks
– when given break, the POWs sat on road
– North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
– made march easier
– 13 April 1942
– 2:00 A.M. – POWs given an hour rest on 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 floor as living left boxcars
– as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
– also gave them water
– POWs walked last 8 kilometers 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 next the 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
– 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 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 cover with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover 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
– Milton volunteered to go out on a work detail to rebuild a bridge to get out of camp
– Work Detail:
– went out on bridge building detail to Calumpit
– 120 POWs on the detail
– lived in a schoolhouse near the bridge
– as many as 100 POWs were ill at one point
– suffered from beriberi, malaria, and dysentery
– ill POWs were returned to Cabanatuan
– POW diet was fish and rice
– seventeen POWs died on the detail
– 1 July 1942 – sent to Cabanatuan area to rebuild a bridge
– four POWs died
– detail ended and POWs were sent to Cabanatuan
– Cabanatuan
– 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
– 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 and from hospitals sent there
– POWs later moved to Camp 1
– Camp 1:
– “Blood Brother” rule implemented
– if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
– POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
– 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
– 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
– Work Details:
– Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– 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
– Meals:
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– most of the food the POWs grew went to the Japanese
– 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
Hell Ship:
– Interisland Steamer
– Sailed: Manila – 1 July 1942
– Arrived: Davao, Mindanao – 9 July 1942
POW Camp:
– Davao, Mindanao
– 6 June 1944 – Japanese began transferring POWs to other parts of the empire
– POWs returned to Manila
Hell Ship:
Yashu Maru
– POWs were taken by truck to Lasang – 6 June 1944
– hands tied and shoes removed to prevent escapes
– POWs put in forward holds
– remained in holds for six days
– Sailed: 12 June 1944
– the ship dropped anchor off Zamboanga, Mindanao – 14 June 1944
– Arrived: Cebu City, Cebu Island – 17 June 1944
– POWs disembark put in a warehouse
– Sailed: unnamed ship – 21 June 1944
– POWs called ship “Singoto Maru”
– Arrived: Manila – 24 June 1944
POW Camp:
– Bilibid Prison
Hell Ship:
Canadian Inventor
– Sailed: Manila – 4 July 1944
– 1eturned to Manila with boiler problems
– sailed again eleven days later
– Sailed: 16 July 1944
– left behind by convoy with more boiler problems
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 23 July 1944
– salt loaded onto the ship
– Sailed: 4 August 1944
– made its way up the west coast of Formosa
– Arrived: Keelung – 5 August 1944
– stayed 12 days
– Sailed: 17 August 1944
– additional boiler problems by the time it reached the Ryukyu Islands
– stopped at Naha, Okinawa
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 1 September 1944
POW Camp:
– Japan
Nagoya #5-B
– also known as Yokkaichi
– 11 August 1944 – camp opened
– Work:
– POWs manufactured sulfuric acid
– also worked at a smelter
– Barracks:
– recalled being so hungry that he picked up rice from a floor of warehouse to keep from starving to death
– weight while a POW dropped to 127 pounds and his hair turned white
– also had scars on his legs from beriberi
– he also suffered from malaria which hospitalized him
– Punishment:
– Japanese translator misinterpreted orders so the POWs were punished
– POWs were beaten with sticks, clubs, leather belts, shoes, ropes, belt buckles, bamboo poles
– salt rubbed into POWs wounds
– deprived a full rations
– forced to stand at attention for long periods of time
– held two weighted buckets with arms extended in front of them
– POWs were suspended from ladders for long periods of time
– made to kneel on rocks, bamboo poles, with heavy rocks behind their knees
– made to squat with a pole in the crock of their knees
– POWs taken to guardhouse were repeatedly beaten
– sick POWs were taken from the hospital and made to run in the cold
– Red Cross Boxes
– POWs received one full box
– one American POW who was known as “Muscleman” preyed on other POWs and lent money to other POWs before the surrender
– had been a boxer
– attempted to collect his debt and interest from the man’s Red Cross supplies
– started beating the man
– other Americans had, had enough of the man and jumped him
– knocked him out and threw him on his straw mat and Red Cross Box
– POWs lived through earthquakes
– had to rebuild a dike
– work caused some to later die
Note: Family learned he was a POW in January 1943
– Baker had three “good” moments in Nagoya #5-B. He wrote about them in the small diary he kept as a POW.
– ” 11 o’clock, August 29, 1945 – Six planes dropped twelve large canvas bags filled with food, cigarettes, clothes, and shoes on parachutes of different colors. Then they flew over the camp real low, giving us a ‘buzz job.’ The bags were dropped from the planes bomb bays. The food was from his majesty’s ship Indefatigable, largest in the British Navy, and been donated by the ship’s crew.”
– “10 o’clock, August 30, 1945 – Today a B-29 dropped food, tobacco, and clothes. It was Uncle Sam’s plane this time. Parachutes of all colors dropped out of the planes bomb bays. It was a sight to see. The Yanks had welded 55-gallon drums together and filled them with food and everything. We ate all night, sang, smoked, and cried – what a night it was – just like a wake or wedding.”
– “6 o’clock, September 2 – As we were on the beach this morning, standing reveille for what seemed the first time in ages, two B-29s dropped two loads of parachutes with everything in drums and wooden boxes. Later we got a note from a special plane that flew over at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It said,You are free men; the peace treaty was signed in Tokyo Harbor on the U.S.S. Missouri at 2 o’clock.'”
Liberated: 11 September 1945
– returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
U.S.S. Admiral C. F. Hughes
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 9 October 1945
Recovery:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– Fort Carson, Colorado
– Wadsworth Veterans Hospital
Discharged: February 1946
Married:
Occupation:
– policeman
– Baker Roofing Company
– the company owned by his nephew
– warehouseman
Died: 4 April 1961 – Kansas City, Missouri

 

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