Elliott, T/Sgt. Jack L.

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T/Sgt. Jack L. Elliott
Born: 22 December 1919 – West Virginia
Parents: William J. Elliott & Mollie L. Elliott
Siblings: 1 sister, 2 brothers
Home: 1631 East Weber Road – Columbus, Ohio
Enlisted:
– U.S. Army
– 1941
Trained:
– 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
– the company designated 17th Ordnance Company
– trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
– received orders for overseas duty
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:
– 4 September 1941
– battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– 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: 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 – 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.
– maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
– 27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
– Philippines
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– Disembark
– 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– reattached turrets to tanks
– rode a bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced the tanks of the 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions
– at one point he used dynamite to fish for food
– loaded the fish into a half ton truck to feed company
– 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
Prisoner of War
– 9 April 1942
– According to records, Jack was hospitalized on Bataan when the surrender came
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– Bilibid Prison
– POWs marched there from Bataan Hospital #1
– 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
– 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
– 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
Hell Ship:
Tottori Maru
– Boarded: 7 October 1942
– Sailed: Manila – 8 October 1942
– 9 October 1942 – American submarine fired two torpedoes at the ship
– the ship maneuvered away from torpedoes
– the ship also avoided mine laid by submarine
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 12 October 1942
– Sailed: 16 October 1942
– returned to Takao
– Sailed: 18 October 1942
– Arrived: Pescadores Islands – same day
– anchored off islands for several days
– two POWs died
– Sailed: 27 October 1942
– Arrived: Takao – same day
– 28 October 1942 – POWs disembarked
– showered with saltwater
– Sailed: 30 October 1942
– Arrived: Makou, Pescadores Islands -same day
– Sailed: 31 October 1942
– Arrived: Fusan, Korea – 7 November 1942
– Disembark: 8 November 1942
– POWs boarded a train for a two-day ride to Mukden, Manchuria
– those POWs too sick to travel left behind
– those who died cremated
– those who recovered sent to Mukden with ashes of the dead
– Arrived: Mukden, Manchuria – 11 November 1942
POW Camp:
– Manchuria
– Mukden
– Hoten Camp
– Barracks:
– two story brick buildings
– buildings had electricity and cold running water
– heated with “petchka” stoves
– provided adequate heat
– building infested with fleas, bedbugs, and lice
– divided into ten sections
– five on the first floor and five on the second floor
– each section divided into four double-decked sleeping bays
– 8 POWs slept in a bay
– 48 POWs slept in a section
– Meals:
– Breakfast: cornmeal mush, beans, bun
– Lunch: maize and beans
– Supper: beans and a bun
– POWs made snares to catch wild dogs that roamed into camp
– stopped catching dogs when one was seen eating the body of a dead Chinese civilian
– Hospital:
– many of POWs who died in the camp died due to illnesses caused by malnutrition
– sick forced to work
– Deaths:
– over 200 POWs died the first winter in the camp
– most died from diseases which were the result of malnutrition
– POWs who died during winter were stored in a building until the ground thawed
   and they could be buried
– Work:
– POWs worked in machine shop and lumber mill
– Japanese wanted POWs to produce guns
– POWs sabotaged machines by dropping sand in oiling holes
– while pouring cement, the POWs would drop pieces of machines into the
   cement to sabotage them
– Punishment:
– POWs kicked, hit with clubs, sticks, bamboo poles, shoe heals, sabers, and fists
– any reason used to beat them
– Collective Punishment:
– when the Japanese suspected some POWs had smuggled cigarettes into their barracks, all the POWs were ordered outside and stood at attention
– POWs ordered to strip and stood nude in the code
– stood in snow barefooted for hours as the barracks and the 700 POWs, who lived in it were searched
– Eiichai Nada – guard
– was considered the worse abuser of POWs
– born, raised, and educated in Berkley, California
– frequently beat POWs at morning assembly
– when they fell to the ground he screamed at them
– “Get up, you yellow, white son of a bitch!”
– Lt. Mikki – walked through the barracks with a 3 foot and hit the POWs with it
– Red Cross clothing withheld from POWs
– Chinese told them there was a warehouse full of Red Cross clothing
– Unit 731:
– POWs from camp selected to be used in Japanese germ warfare experiments
– injected with deadly diseases
– some of these men were dissected while alive
Air Raids:
– B-29s start bombing Mukden late 1944
– camp bombed because it was lined up with military targets
Note: Japanese medical officer, Jeichi Kuwashima, asked the POWs, wounded from bombings, to write letters asking the Allies to stop the bombing of Mukden. The POWs did write the letters but told the Allies that they wouldn’t mind more frequent bombings.
Extermination Order:
– The camp commander received the order to march the POWs into the forest and execute them
– 16 August 1945 – Four American OSS officers parachuted into camp and told
    the commander the war was over
– the team was held as POWs for one night and sent to Sian Camp
– this was the camp where high ranking officers were imprisoned
Liberated: 20 August 1945 – Russian Army
– B-29s appeared over the area where the POWs lit oil drums to signal planes with smoke
– the lead plane came down and saw the POWs
– circle and dropped medical supplies, food, and clothing to POWs
– American planes dropped walkie-talkies to POWs
– allowed POWs to talk to aircrews
– POWs told the crews what they wanted
– planes dropped them ice cream to now fiddle strings
– 29 August 1945 – American Recovery Team enters the camp
– POWs were taken by train to Dalian, China
– taken by ship to Okinawa
– returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
U.S.S. Joseph T. Dychman
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 16 October 1945
Died:
– 18 May 1978 – Columbus, Ohio

 

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