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Faubion, Pvt. Robert E.

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Pvt. Robert Eugene Faubion
Born: 6 March 1918 – Lawrence County, Indiana
Parents: Thomas & Juanita Faubion
Nickname: Gene
Siblings: 1 sister
Home: 2411 E Street – Bedford, Indiana
Occupation: self-employed interior house painter
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
– 17th Ordnance Company
– 17 August 1941 A Company designated 17th Ordnance Company
– received overseas orders the same day
– motorcycle messenger
Note: In the late summer of 1941, 17th Ordnance received orders for duty in the Philippine Islands. 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:
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– arrived Thursday, 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
– removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– 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
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Tuesday, 16 September 1941 – ships crossed International Dateline
– became Thursday, 18 September 1941
– 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 attached turrets
– 27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
Provisional Tank Group:
– transferred to tank group when it was created
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– Faubion was also a motorcycle dispatch rider for General James Weaver
– 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
– captured at kilometer marker 181
– Death March
– POWs started the march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
– ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
– American artillery returned fire
– San Fernando – POWs packed into small wooden boxcars
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– Capas – POWs leave boxcars – dead fall-out of boxcars
– POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O’Donnell
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– 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 were 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 scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to this area and the section 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
– Cabanatuan #1
– 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
– 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
– Clark Field
– Work:
– POWs built a runway
– 6:00 A.M. – workday started
– screened gravel and cut long grass
– POWs had to dig the rock out of the ground
– worked long hours on inadequate rations
– work done with picks and shovels
– forced to work during typhoon season
– no days off
– Meals:
– fed twice a day
– one cup of steamed rice
– Medical Treatment:
– no medical supplies
– any they had were found by POWs
– sick forced to work because they weren’t “sick enough”
– those who wouldn’t or could not work were severely beaten
– POWs with malaria did not work because the Japanese could see they had it
– when one POW escaped, none of the POWs were fed
– Barracks:
– housed in the same barracks used before the war
– each POW had a bunk and mattress to sleep on
– Punishment:
– beaten for no reason
– one Japanese lieutenant frequently hit POWs over their heads with a saber
– POWs were beaten with a golf club for no reason
– Blood Brother Rule
– put in a metal shack without openings
– POW had to squat or curl up in it
– when POWs escaped, the remaining POWs remained at attention for hours
– on one occasion this lasted until 4:00 A.M.
– they then had to go to work
– Execution:
– when two Filipinos were caught stealing sheet metal, all the POWs had to watch the Japanese tie them to poles and use them for bayonet practice
– Bilibid Prison
– Hospital Ward
– Admitted: 10 May 1944
– varicose veins
Hell Ship:
Canadian Inventor
– Sailed: Manila – 4 July 1944
– Returned – 4 July 1944 – boiler problems
– POWs remained in holds for fifteen days
– Sailed: 16 July 1944
– additional 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
Of the trip, he said, “George Hadley and I were on the same ship which left Manila for Japan proper, taking 62 days for the trip because they were dodging American submarines.”
POW Camp:
– Japan
Omine Machi
– George Hadley of 17th Ordnance was with him
– Work: coal mining
– mine had been condemned as being unsafe before the war
– POWs who the Japanese believed were not working hard enough were beaten
– shifts were 9 hours 30 minutes long
Of this, he said, “Hadley and I were in a coal mining prison camp when liberated. We were paid 10 sen a day for working from 3 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
“If you didn’t work you got a half ration. The full ration was one bun or a dish of rice. If we were able to work all month the total pay was three yen, which I would trade for one cigarette.”

– Red Cross Boxes were mixed so that the POWs had no idea how much was sent in each box
– what little food given to the POWs had no nutritional value since so little was given to the POWs
– packages were withheld from POWs from three to seven months after arriving at the camp
– Punishment:
– Japanese beat POWs who they believed were not working hard enough
– February 1945
– Robert was slapped and punched in the face until he passed out
– he was already sick and weak
– meals – one bun and rice each meal
– sick POWs fed half rations
Liberated: 15 September 1945
Evacuated: 16 September 1945
– after his liberation, he learned of events at home. He said, “My father died while I was over there and I didn’t know anything about it until I came back. I only received one letter in the three and one-half years that I was a prisoner, although my mother and father wrote daily. Some of the boys would receive as high as 30 letters where others would receive none.”
– POWs were taken to Wakayama, Japan
– boarded the U.S.S. Consolation
– records from ship indicate he was malnourished
– arrived at Manila – 28 September 1945
Promoted: Sergeant
Reenlisted: 23 January 1946 – Cambridge, Ohio
– Army Recruiter
– Indianapolis, Indiana
– Rank: Sgt. 1st Class
War Crime Trials:
– gave testimony against the camp commander and guards from Camp #17
Died:
– 26 November 1964 – Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Buried:
– Beech Grove Cemetery – Bedford, Indiana

Default Gravesite 1

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