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Busby, Pvt. Frank D.

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Pvt. Frank David Busby
Born: 18 March 1921 – McComb, Mississippi
Parents: George Busby & Thelma E. Alexander-Busby
Siblings: 1 brother
Hometown: U.S. Route 45 – Paducah, Kentucky
Education: high school
Occupation: machinist
– Illinois Central Railroad Shops
Enlisted:
– U. S. Army
– 25 November 1940 – Fort Knox, Kentucky
– January 1941 – visited parents while on leave
Unit:
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– Company A detached and designated 17th Ordnance Company
– 17th Ordnance Company created August 1941
Training:
– Ft. Knox, Kentucky
– 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
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 – took part in maneuvers in Arkansas
– 17th Ordnance Company
– A Company, 19th Ordnance designated 17th Ordnance Company
– received orders to go overseas the same day
– tank mechanic
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
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:
– Arrived: 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
– removed turrets from all the tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion in three days
– spray painted serial numbers on turrets so they would be put on the correct tanks
– Ship: U.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, the U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and reattach the turrets
-27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– converted WWI anti-personnel shells for use by the tanks 
– set up fuel dumps for the tanks during the withdrawal toward Bataan
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced the tanks on the frontlines in combat conditions
– manufactured and scavenged spare parts for the tanks
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1941
– 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 – knocked out three of the Japanese guns
– San Fernando – POWs put in small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or 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:
– 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 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 scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had laid was scraped 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
– 4 June 1942 – transfer of POWs completed
– only sick POWs remained at Camp O’Donnell
– 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
– camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
– Corregidor POWs were in better shape
– 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
– POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
– Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
– Japanese beat them for days
– executed them
– 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 because they didn’t like the way the POWs lined up
– Work Details:
– Two main details
– the farm and airfield
– farm detail
– POWs cleared land and grew camotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
– Japanese took what was grown
– Guards:
– Big Speedo – spoke little English
– in charge of the detail
– fair in the treatment of POWs
– spoke little English
– to get POWs to work faster said, “speedo”
– Little Speedo
– also used the word when he wanted POWs to work faster
– fair in the treatment of POWs
– Smiley
– always smiling
– could not be trusted
– meanest of guards
– 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
– Meals:
– 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 men to bury dead
– carried as many as six dead POWs in slings to the cemetery
– buried in graves that contained 16 to 20 bodies
– 19 January 1943 – parents learned he was a POW 
– 10 September 1943 – family receive POW postcard
– 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
– many deaths caused by malnutrition since the men’s bodies could not fight illnesses they had
– others became ill because of lack of bedding, covers, and mosquito netting
– 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
– Davao, Mindanao 
– October 26, 1942 – selected for a work detail to be sent to Davao, Mindanao.
– The POWs were sent by train from Cabanatuan to Manila
– They were held in Bilibid Prison for two days before being boarded onto the Erie Maru
– The trip to Lasang took thirteen days because the ship made stops at Iloilo and Cebu, Mindanao
– 7 November 1942 – arrived on the island of Mindanao
– POWs were sent to a plantation and given the job of building roads.
– POWs did more damage than good and intentionally kept the roads impassable
– The Japanese decided that they were getting nowhere, so they sent the POWs to the ricefields to plant rice
– Beatings were common and usually the guards slapped the POWs in their faces
– On occasion, there were severe beatings
– these occurred if the Japanese suspected the POWs were planning an escape
– Meals:
– The POWs recceived three meals – which were measured down with a sardine tin – a day
– received one water buffalo a week but they were being worked harder and longer 
– At times, after the POWs had slaughtered the water buffalo and had it ready to cook, the Japanese made them bury it
– Trees at the experimental farm were loaded with bananas, oranges and other fruits which fell to the ground and rotted since the POWs nor the guards were not allowed to eat them
– September 1943 – parents received POW form postcard which said; “My health is good. I am undergoing treatment. I am well. Please see that farm is purchased for me. Hope to find you well. Am anticipating homecoming soon.”
– 6 June 1944, some of the POWs were sent to Manila
– outside men on each side of formation had their hands tied to each other with a string to prevent escapes
– POWs returned to Manila
Hell Ship:
Canadian Inventor
– Sailed: Manila – 4 July 1944
– returned to Manila – 5 July 1944
– Sailed: 16 July 1944
– boiler problems – left behind by convoy
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 23 July 1944
– salt loaded into the hold
– Sailed: 4 August 1944
– Arrived: Keelung, Formosa – 5 August 1944
– remained for twelve days for boiler repairs
– Sailed: 17 August 1944
– Arrived: Naha, Okinawa
– additional boiler problems
– stayed six days
– Sailed: Unknown
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 1 September 1944
POW Camp:
– Japan
Nagoya #5-B
– also known as Yokkaichi
– 11 August 1944 – camp opened
– Barracks:
– flimsy wooden barracks
– POWs slept on platforms on straw mats
– Japanese provided little fuel to heat barracks
– POWs slept together to keep warm
– Work: produce sulfuric acid
– POWs also worked at the smelter
– POWs manufactured sulfuric acid
– also worked at a smelter
– Punishment:
– 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
– camp interpreter intentionally misinterpreted what POWs said so they would be beaten
– 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 the dike
– work caused some to later die
Liberated:
– September 1945
– returned to the Philippine Islands
– learned his parents had moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi
Transport:
U.S.S. Yarmouth
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 8 October 1945
– taken to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco
– Fletcher General Hospital, Cambridge, Ohio
Married: Letha Jane Patterson
– 5 December 1945
Children: 1 daughter, 4 sons
Residence: Jayess, Mississippi
Died:
– 17 August 1972 – V.A. Hospital – Jackson, Mississippi
Buried:
– Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery – Pricedale, Mississippi – 26 August 1972

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