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Broussard, Pvt. Albert G.

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Pvt. Albert Gray Broussard
Born: 25 May 1915 – Bunkie, Louisana
Parents: Louis Broussard & Sallie Meadows-Broussard
– mother died in 1927
– father remarried
– father also passed away
Home: 1922 Levin Street – Alexandria, Louisiana
– 1940 – residing in Moss Point, Mississippi
Siblings: 1 sister, 3 brothers, 3 half-brothers, 5 half-sisters
Occupation: painter- paper mill
Inducted:
– 22 February 1941 – Camp Shelby, Mississippi
– U.S. Army
Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– trained alongside 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
– learned to repair the 57 different vehicles used by the Army
– first six weeks was the primary training
– Week 1: infantry drilling
– Week 2: manual arms and marching to music
– Week 3: machine gun
– Week 4: pistol
– Week 5: M1 rifle
– Week 6: field week – training with gas masks, gas attacks, pitching tents, and hikes
– Weeks 7,8,9: Time was spent learning the weapons, firing each one, learning the parts of the weapons and their functions, field stripping and caring for
   weapons, and the cleaning of weapons
– the classroom: courses lasted 3 months
– Weapons: soldiers assigned to ordnance issued a pistol, and possibly a machine gun or submachine gun
– Vehicle Training: soldiers attended different schools
– tank maintenance, truck maintenance, scout car maintenance, motorcycle maintenance, and carpentry
– Company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– August 1941 – maneuvers in Arkansas
– A Company ordered to Ft. Knox
– 17th Ordnance Company
– 17 August 1941 A Company designated 17th Ordnance Company
– received overseas orders the same day
Note: On August 15, 1941, orders were issued to the company, 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, with a large radio transmitter, hundreds of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed, 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:
– 1 September 1941 – the company traveled by train to California
– while on train informed they were being sent to the Philippines
– Arrived: 5 September 1941 – Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– 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: S.S. President 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
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Tuesday – 16 September 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– date changed – Thursday – 18 September 1941
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked ship – 3:00 P.M.
– the maintenance section of the 194th Tank Battalion remained on pier with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and reattached turrets
-27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions
– headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
– 10 January 1942 – wounded
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– Death March
– POWs started the march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery shelling Corregidor
– American artillery returned fire
– San Fernando – POWs put in small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
– each boxcar could hold eight horses of forty men
– 100 POWs were packed into each boxcar
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– Capas – POWs left boxcars – those who died fell out of boxcars
– POWs walked the 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 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
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
– to bury the dead, the POWs held the body down with a pole while it was covered with dirt
– the next day when they returned, the bodies often were sitting up in the graves or had been dug up by wild dogs
– POWs volunteered to go out on work details to get out of camp
– Cabcaben Work Detail – 19 May 1942
– POWs rebuilt destroyed bridge over Tarlac River at the Barrio of Carangian in Tarlac City
– first bridge when it was almost finished was destroyed by a flood
– built second bridge
– there were some beatings, but overall the POWs were treated reasonably well
– Cabanatuan
– original name – Camp Pangatian
– the camp had been opened to lower death rate among POWs
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– Japanese put the base into use as POW camp
– “Blood Brother” rule implemented
– if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– when POWs lined up, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots
– POWs hit across the top of their heads as they stood in line for roll call
– if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn’t doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
– POWs on rice planting details went to a tool shed to get tools
– as they exited, the guards would hit them over their heads
– if a guard decided a POW was not working hard enough, he would shove the man’s face into the mud and step on his head driving the man’s face deeper
  into the mud
– 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
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– 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
Hell Ship:
Tottori Maru
– POWs housed in a warehouse on Pier 7 – 6 October 1942
– POWs boarded the ship – 7 October 1942
– 1961 POWs put on the ship
– 500 POWs put in front hold
– the remainder of POWs put in the rear hold
– Sailed: Manila – 8 October 1942 – 10:00 A.M.
– passed Corregidor at noon
– 9 October 1942 – two torpedoes fired at the ship by an American submarine
– ship misses mine laid by submarine
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 11 October 1942
– Sailed: 16 October 1942 – 7:30 A.M.
– because of submarines, the ship returned to Takao – 10:30 P.M.
– Sailed: 18 October 1942
– Arrived: Pescadores Islands – same day
– anchored off islands for several days
– two POWs died
– Sailed: 27 October 1942
– POWs were taken ashore and bathed with a fire hose
– ship also cleaned
– foodstuffs loaded onto the ship
– Arrived: 30 October 1942 – Maku, Pescadores Islands
– dropped anchor 5:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 31 October 1942
– sailed as part of seven-ship convoy
– ships sailed through a typhoon for five days
– one ship sunk by an American submarine – 5 November 1942
– other ships scattered
– Arrived: Fusan, Korea – 9 November 1942
– POWs disembark and issued new clothes and fur-lined overcoats
– rode a train for two days to Manchuria
– sick POWs left at Fusan
– ashes of those who died put in white boxes and sent to Manchuria
– Arrived: Mukden, Manchuria – 11 November 1942
POW Camp:
– Mukden, Manchuria
– Shenyang Camp
– POW Number: 167
– lived in dugouts until they were moved into two-story barracks
– each enlisted man received two thin blankets to cover himself with
– Meals the same every day
– Breakfast – cornmeal mush and a bun
– Lunch – maze and soybeans
– Dinner – soybeans and a bun
– trapped wild dogs to supplement meals
– this ended when they saw a dog eating a dead Chinese
– POWs worked in a factory or at a lumber mill
– walked 3 miles to factories
– 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
– committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
– Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too stupid to commit the sabotage
– When Japanese searched for contraband in barracks, the POWs had to stand in the cold and snow
– Japanese made them strip
– stood there until all 700 POWs had been searched
– Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
– on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
– A Japanese lieutenant, Murado, beat each man with that man shoes
Work:
– POWs worked in a machine shop or sawmill
Liberated:
– Russian Army
– 20 August 1945
– evacuated by train to Darien, China
– returned to Philippine Islands
Transport:
S.S. Simon Bolivar
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 20 October 1945
– taken to Letterman General Hospital
Married: Bessie Kay Wilson
Children: 1 son
Died:
– 2 June 1991 – Moss Point, Mississippi
Buried:
– Machpelah Cemetery – Pascagoula, Mississippi

Default Gravesite 1

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