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Dunn, PFC Frederick C. Jr.

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PFC Frederick Courtright Dunn Jr.
Born: 18 January 1916 – Toledo, Ohio
Parents: Fred C. Dunn Sr. & Helen V. Baird-Dunn
Siblings: 1 brother
Hometown: 26 Broad Street – Columbus, Ohio
Inducted:
– U.S. Army
– 21 April 1941 – Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio
Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
– 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
– Company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– August 1941 – maneuvers in Arkansas
– A Company ordered to Ft. Knox
– 17 August 1941 – A Company designated 17th Ordnance Company
– received overseas orders the same day
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.
Overseas Duty:
– The company rode a train to 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 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, and an unknown destroyer
– 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
– rode a bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– 15 November 1941 – lived in tents until barracks were completed
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– the company set up fuel dumps for tanks to use during withdrawal toward Bataan
– the company manufactured spare tank parts or scavangered them from other tanks
– converted WWI anti-personnel ammunition for use by the tanks
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
– repaired tanks of 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions on the front lines in combat conditions
– manufactured and salvaged spare tank parts
– 8 April 1942
– 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 were blown up
– 9 April 1942 -escaped to Corregidor
Prisoner of War:
– 6 May 1942
– Prisoner of War
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– Corregidor
– 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

“According to War Department records you have been designated as the emergency addressee of PFC Frederick C. Dunn Jr., who according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
“We deeply regret that it is impossible for us to give you more information. 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 of other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese government has indicated its intentions of conforming to the terms of the Geneva convention with respects 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 the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received. It is hoped that the Japanese government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At this time you will be notified by this office in the event his name (Frederick C. Dunn Jr.) is contained in the list of prisoners of war.”

– 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 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 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
– 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 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 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, PFC 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.”
– 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 worked as an orderly at the prison
– nursed Dunn back to health
– Myron Dolk did not survive the war
Liberated: 4 February 1945
– 37th Infantry Division – U.S. Army
– assigned to 12th Replacement Battalion
Transport:
– 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
Died:
– 12 June 1986 – Riverside Methodist Hospital
Buried:
– Union Cemetery – Columbus, Ohio

 

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