PFC Frederick Courtright Dunn Jr.
Born: 18 January 1916 – Toledo, Ohio
Parents: Fred C. Dunn Sr. and Helen V. Baird-Dunn
Siblings: 1 brother
Hometown: 26 Broad Street – Columbus, Ohio
– U.S. Army
– 21 April 1941 – Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– 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
– the company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– Arkansas Maneuvers
– August 1941
– A Company of the battalion was recalled to Ft. Knox
– A Company inactivated
– activated as 17th Ordnance Company
– received orders 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, 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. When the planes landed, it was too late to do
anything that day.
– The next day – when planes were sent to the area – the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat – with a tarp covering something on its deck – was
seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the Air Corps and the Navy was poor, so the boat escaped
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
– the battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– on the flat cars of the train were the M3 tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – Thursday, 5 September 1941
– spent three days removing the turrets from the tanks
– painted the tank’s serial number on each turret to so it would be put on the same tank
– put cosmoline on the guns to prevent rust
– 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
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – same day
– sailed south away from main shipping lanes
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– ships from friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– Disembarked later the same day
– 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– reattached turrets to tanks
– worked in shifts
– soldiers slept on the ship
– job completed by 9:00 A.M. the next morning
– rode a bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents
– first night in tents a heavy rain caused the tents to flood
– 15 November 1941 – barracks completed
– followed the workday of 194th Tank Battalion
– 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. – work
– 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
– during this time, they learned about the M3A1 tanks
– read manuals on tanks
– studied the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns, and its 37-millimeter main gun
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– tank crews could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition
– the base commander was waiting for General MacArthur to release the ammunition
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
– 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 to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1942
– that morning the soldiers were laying rocks for sidewalks by their barracks
– informed by their commanding officer, Major. Richard Kadel, about Pearl Harbor
– the company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
– the company set up a bivouac
– set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
– received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
– the alert had been canceled
– lunch had just been served so they remained at the thicket
– 12:45 P.M. – Japanese attacked
– sauerkraut and hot dogs flew everywhere
– took cover under their trucks
– the Zeros banked and turned around over the thicket after strafing
– ordered not to fire at them
– one reason was the trucks had the only machines in the Philippines that could make parts for the tanks
– Japanese wiped out Army Air Corps
– dead and wounded were everywhere at the airfield
– after the attack on Clark Field, the 17th Ordnance ordered to leave by General James R. N. Weaver to Pulilan
– the company moved as the tanks moved
– the company set up fuel dumps for tanks as they withdrew toward Bataan
– it also converted WWI anti-personnel shells for use by tanks
– the company was never on the front lines but lived with the bombings
– individuals did do tank repairs on the frontlines
– repaired disabled tanks
– converted shells into anti-personnel shells
– 17th Ordnance was always in the same area where the tanks were fighting
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
– repaired tanks of 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions on the front lines in combat conditions
– manufactured and salvaged spare tank parts
– at some point, Fred was hospitalized at Hospital #2, Cabcaben
– it is not known if he had been wounded or suffering from malaria or dysentery
– when he was released from the hospital is not known
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launched a new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 7 April 1942 – Raymond sent to Medical Casual Hospital
– 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 went out. “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. – the decision was made to send a white flag across the battle line
– 11:00 P.M. – the company was given a half-hour to evacuate the ordnance building
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– 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
– the driver was also from the Provisional Tank Group
– 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
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– as King left to negotiate the surrender, he went through the tank group and spoke to them
– he told them he was going to get them the best deal he could get
– he also said to them that when they got 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 and the jeeps were provided by the tank group and both men managed to avoid the bullets
– 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 to take him at his word
– 9 April 1942 – Fred escaped to Corregidor
– it is not known what he did on the island
Prisoner of War:
– 6 May 1942
– Prisoner of War
– POWs remained on the beach for two weeks
– Japanese moved them, by barge, to a point off Luzon
– jumped into water swam ashore
– marched down Dewey Boulevard to Bilibid
– Bilibid Prison
– not known how long he remained there before he was transferred to Cabanatuan
– served as a driver for Japanese officers while there
– May 1942 – his family received a letter from the War Department
“Dear Mrs. H. Dunn:
“According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee if Private First Class Frederick C. Dunn Jr., 15,018,842, 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)
The Adjutant General”
– 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 who had been on the death march and held at Camp O’Donnell were 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 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
– 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
– During this time, he became friends with PFC Myron “Mickey” Dolk, 194th Tank Battalion
– 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
– 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 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
– 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
– 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
– Work Detail:
– went out on detail, but is not known which detail he was on
– July 1942 – the family received a second letter from the War Department. This is an excerpt from the letter.
“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Private First Class Frederick C. Dunn Jr. 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.”
– 28 June 1943 – his parents were told by the War Department he was a Prisoner of War
REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON PRIVATE FIRST CLASS FREDERICK C DUNN JR IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST
ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL.
– Within days of receiving the first message, his wife received the following letter:
“The Provost Marshal General directs me to inform you that you may communicate with your son, postage free, by following the inclosed instructions:
“It is suggested that you address him as follows:
“PFC Frederick C. Dunn Jr., U.S. Army
Interned in the Philippine Islands
C/O Japanese Red Cross, Tokyo, Japan
Via New York, New York
“Packages cannot be sent to the Orient at this time. When transportation facilities are available a package permit will be issued you.
“Further information will be forwarded you as soon as it is received.
“Howard F. Bresee
“Chief Information Bureau
– Bilibid Prison
– sent from work detail because he was paralyzed in the lower part of his body
– he was put in the ward with those men who were not supposed to survive
– one of the orderlies at Bilibid was his friend PFC Myron “Mickey” Dolk, 194th Tank Battalion
– Dolk arrived in October 1944
– worked as an orderly at the prison
– nursed Dunn back to health
– Myron Dolk did not survive the war
– Dunn was given the job of driving the Japanese officers from the prison
– the POWs had heard rumors that Cabanatuan had been liberated
– 2 February 1945 – the last POW died of dysentery
– 10:30 P.M. – the POWs heard small and large dentations to the southeast that lasted over an hour
– the men began to believe it was just a matter of days until they were liberated
– 3 February 1945 – was a normal day
– POWs went about the prison performing their chores
– told each other the latest rumors as they ate their evening meal
– It was at that time that six American planes flew over the compound
– the planes flew over very low and very slow
– 6:00 P.M. – evening roll call
– 6:30 P.M. – they heard the sound of artillery in the distance
– next, they heard heavy machine-gun fire
– the sound got closer and closer and closer
– All hell broke loose
– there was light artillery fire or fire from tanks
– there also was heavy machine-gun and light machine-gun fire, rifle fire, and pistol fire all coming from the north and east of the prison.
– At 10:30 P.M., the electricity went out
– The POWs heard the sound of guns and the ammunition dumps going up.
– They heard the sound of moving tanks, artillery fire, and small arms explosions
– lasted until 2:00 A.M.
– everything got quiet except for heavy artillery that could be heard in the distance
– 4 February 1945
– the POWs talked about what they had heard
– They also noticed that the Japanese guards seemed to be getting ready to leave.
– The senior American medical officer was called to the Japanese commanding officer’s office
– he was told that they were freeing the POWs.
– He also told them to stay inside the prison.
– At 11:45 A.M., the Japanese left, and the POWs posted their own guards and waited for the American to arrive.
– The POWs had three good meals that day and noted that a small American plane flew over the prisoner repeatedly that day.
– 6:00 P.M. – A wooden shutter on one of the walls was knocked down by a rifle butt.
– soldiers in funny-looking uniforms entered the prison
– American troops who had completely surrounded the prison and had been trying to get in to see what was inside.
– At first, the POWs thought the soldiers were Germans
– they had strange their helmets and uniforms
– when the soldiers spoke to them in English the POWs knew that they had been liberated.
– after being liberated it was discovered the Japanese had wired the prison with bombs with timers
– the power being knocked out which stopped the timers from working
– The POWs remained in the prison
– the belief was that the Japanese may attempt to retake the prison
– The 37th Infantry Division from Ohio came to the compound and visited the POWs. – followed by 148th Infantry, 7th Division.
– The Americans gave their cigarettes and K rations to the former POWs and seemed unable to do enough for them.
– They even gave the former POWs their whiskey, beer, and cigars that the Filipinos had given them.
– 5 February – 9:00 P.M. – there was gunfire on three sides of the prison
– the decision was made to move the former POWs to the Ang Tibay shoe factory on the outskirts of Manila
– The members of the 148th Infantry carried POWs out on litters
– they were evacuated in ambulances and on jeeps.
– The soldiers also helped the weak onto trucks
– they made sure that all the POWs were out of Bilibid
– the evacuation was completed by 11:35 P.M.
– The former POWs were moved to a brewery and drank beer at the brewery.
– 6 February – the former POWs were ordered back to Bilibid since it had better sanitary facilities.
– they found it had been looted and much of their personnel effects were gone.
– They received their first American food that morning which was canned ham and eggs, cereal milk, K biscuits, butter, jam, and coffee with milk and sugar.
– 9 February – The seriously ill who needed better medical treatment were sent to Santo Tomas
– 10 February – more men were sent there
– those men not able to make the trip were sent to Quezon Institute
– the remainder transferred to the 12th Replacement Battalion
– arrived in San Francisco
– Letterman General Hospital
– while he was a patient there, he reached out to the parents of Myron Dolk and met with them
– Dunn told them about Mickey’s caring for him and said, “I wouldn’t be alive .”
– he said he was in such bad shape that at first Dolk did not recognize him …” but when he did, I really had some care.”
– he also told them a story about Thanksgiving 1944
– “Why do you know what he did Thanksgiving Day? The boy went out, and wonder of wonders came back with real food. beans, rice, greens, and vegetables. “And even some corn. That corn they ground and made us some cornbread. What a Thanksgiving. And Mickey never did tell us where he got it.”
Discharged: 16 September 1945
Married: 7 August 1953 – Ann McGuire
Children: 1 son
Residence: Upper Arlington, Ohio
– 12 June 1986 – Riverside Methodist Hospital
– Union Cemetery – Columbus, Ohio