Colvin, Pvt. Wayne W.

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Pvt. Wayne Wilbur Colvin
Born: 17 January 1908 – Waterloo, Iowa
Parents: Archie B. Colvin & Maude McIntyre-Colvin
Siblings: 1 brother
– the family moved to Wyoming in 1917
Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming
– father died in 1930
– U.S. Army
– 21 October 1940
– Fort 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
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 this time the decision was made to build up military forces in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: Monday – 8 September 1941 – 3:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M. – same day
– sailed south away from main shipping lanes
– 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
– ships from friendly countries
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – same day
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship
– 17th Ordnance remained behind at the pier to unload tanks and reattach turrets
– completed job at 7:00 A.M. the next morning
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– ordnance converted shells into anti-personnel shells for tanks
– created fuel dumps for the tanks as they withdrew toward Bataan
– converted WWI shells for use in the tanks
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– manufactured and scavenged spare parts for the tanks
– repaired tanks on the frontlines while under fire
Prisoner of War:
– January 1942
– no information available about how, when, and where he was captured
– he was reported Missing in Action in January 1942
– 28 April 1943 – family learned he was a POW
– Cabanatuan:
– original name: Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell
– Camp 2: four miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
– POWs later moved to Camp 1
– Camp 1:
– Japanese implement “Blood Brother” rule
– five POWs to left and right of escaped POW executed
– POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
– no one successfully escaped from 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
– 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
– 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
– when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their shins with their
  hobnailed boots
– they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
– POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on to drive them deeper into the mud
– 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
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– most of the food grown 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
– many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
– 28 Septmber 1943 – family learned he was a POW
– July 1944 – selected for transport to Japan
– 15 July 1944
– 25 to 30 trucks arrived at camp to transport POWs to Manila
– POWs left at 8:00 P.M.
– Bilibid Prison
– arrived at 2:00 A.M. – 16 July 1944
– the only food the POWs received was rotten sweet potatoes
Hell Ship:
Nissyo Maru
– Friday – 13 July 1944 – POWs left Cabanatuan
– rode trucks to Cabanatuan City
– boarded train to Manila
– the train made stops and the POWs were allowed out and purchased food
– arrived in Manila and marched to Bilibid
– lived in an empty warehouse building in the prison
-17 July 1944
– Japanese issued POWs new clothes and coats
– POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M. and marched to Pier 7
– POWs returned clothes but allowed to keep coats
– Boarded ship: same day
– Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
– when they couldn’t, they put 900 POWs in the forward hold
– hold smelled like horses
– 600 POWs held in the rear hold
– Sailed: Manila – same day
– POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in the ship’s hold
– POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of water each day
– the first time the POWs were fed, the POWs fought each other for the food and water
– many of the POWs were not fed
– the ranking American officer was a Catholic chaplain
– he organized the POWs into groups so that every man was fed
– 23 July 1944 – 8:00 A.M. – ship moved to an area off Corregidor and dropped anchor
– Sailed: Monday – 24 July 1944 – as part of a convoy
– some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
– convoy attacked by American submarines
– the ship rode high in the water so torpedoes went under it and hit other ships
– four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
– a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – Friday – 28 July 1944 – 9:00 A.M.
– POWs brought on deck, stripped off clothing, and sprayed water from fire horses
– Sailed: same day – 7:00 P.M.
– 30 July 1944 – 2 August 1944 – sailed through the storm
– the food ration was increased as the ship got closer to Japan
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – Thursday night – 3 August 1944 – midnight
– POWs issued new clothing
– Disembarked: 4 August 1944 – 8:00 A.M.
– POWs disembarked and taken to a movie theater
– sat in the dark
– later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
– taken by train to POW camps along train lines
– POWs arrived at Fukuoka Train Station
POW Camp:
– Japan:
– POWs used as slave labor nickel mine owned by Nippon Yakin Kogyo
– POWs loaded and unloaded supplies from ships
– Medical Treatment:
– Japanese orderly overruled American doctors on who was sick
– Red Cross
– packages were misappropriated by Japanese
– Japanese were seen with American cigarettes, chocolate bars, milk, raisins, jam, cheese, ham
– Red Cross clothing never issued to POWs
– Punishment:
– POWs were beaten for not saluting Japanese
– hit with sticks, fists, shoes, and kicked
– stood in the cold nude in sleet and snow
– other POWs forced to hit the POW being punished
– forced to kneel while holding a log over their heads
– 2 September 1945
– returned to the Philippine Islands
– family received a POW postcard in September 1945
U.S.S. General R. L. Howze
– Sailed: Manila – 23 September 1945
– Arrived: San Francisco – 16 October 1945
– sent to Letterman General Hospital
– learned that his mother had died in October 1944
Stationed: Fort Carson, Colorado
Discharged: 10 January 1946
– 11 September 1963
– Bethel Cemetery – Cheyenne, Wyoming
– Section: F Lot: 192 Sp. A

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