Garcia, Cpl. Ernest

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Cpl. Ernest Garcia
Born: 7 November 1915 – Monterrey, Mexico
Parents: Mike and Mary Garcia
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 step-brother
Home:
– 227 West 17th Street – Port Arthur, Texas
Occupation: lumberyard worker
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 18 March 1941 – Houston, Texas
Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
Basic Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– Arrived: 28 November 1940
– 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
– Week 7: 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
Typical Day
– 6:15 with reveille
– most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress.
– 7:00 to 8:00 – Breakfast
– 8:00 to 8:30 – calisthenics
– Afterward, the tankers went to various schools within the company.
– training in using and maintaining 30 and 50 caliber machine guns and pistols
– training in map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.
– 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess – – Noon to 1:00 P.M. – mess
– Afterward, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13, such as mechanics, tank driving, radio operating.
– 4:30 – the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms
– 5:00 – retreat
– 5:30 – dinner
– After dinner, they were off duty
– 9:00 P.M. – lights were out
– soldiers but did not have to turn in
– 10:00 P.M. – Taps was played.
– after basic training, he attended a specific tank school for training
– sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana,
– assigned to 753rd Tank Battalion
– Louisiana Maneuvers
– 192nd Tank Battalion took part in maneuvers
– sent to Camp Polk
– National Guardsmen who were 29 years old or married were allowed to resign from federal service
– replacements for these men came from 753rd Tank Battalion
– Ernest was one of the replacements
– he volunteered or had his name pulled from a hat to join the battalion
– the 192nd also got the tanks of the 753rd and some came from the Third Armored Division

Note: On August 15, 1941, the decision was made to send the 192nd overseas 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 in the water. 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, hundreds of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.

The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

Transit:
– road train to San Francisco, California
– Fort McDowell, Angel Island, California
– ferried to island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– received physicals from medical detachment – 25 October 1941 – 26 October 1941
– men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
– other men simply replaced
Overseas Duty:
– U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott
– Sailed: San Francisco – Monday – 27 October 1941
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Sunday – 2 November 1941
– remained in Hawaii until other ships in convoy arrived
– Sailed: Wednesday – 5 November 1941
– took a southern route away from main shipping lanes
– joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the transport,
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge

– smoke was seen on the horizon
– Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it intercepted the ship which was from a neutral country. Two other intercepted ships
   were Japanese freighters carrying scrap metal to Japan.
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– at about this time the convoy stopped at Wake Island and dropped off B-17 ground crews
– soldiers woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– Arrived: Guam – Sunday 16 November 1941
– the ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
– Sailed: next day
– passed Japanese held island in total blackout
– Arrived: Thursday – 20 November 1941 – Manila Bay – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers disembark ship three hours after arrival
– boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
– maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from ship
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– Colonel Edward P. King met the soldiers when they arrived
– apologized to soldiers about living conditions
– lived in tents along the main road between fort and Clark Airfield
– made sure they all had Thanksgiving Dinner before he had his dinner
– the dinner was a stew thrown into their mess kits
– The members of the battalion pitched the ragged World War I tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort
   Stotsenburg.
– The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.
– There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
– unlike the other companies, D Company moved into barracks that were almost finished
– the company was scheduled to be transferred to the 194th Tank Battalion
– the 194th had arrived in the Philippines in September
– In addition, the khaki uniforms they had been issued also turned out to be a heavy material which made them uncomfortable to wear in the tropical heat.
– D Company was attached to 194th Tank Battalion
– the transfer to the 194th was suspended indefinitely when the war started
– the company remained part of 192nd Tank Battalion
– the company was listed on Presidential Unit Citations for the 192nd
Work Day:
– 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. – worked
– 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, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– studied the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– 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
– 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
Recreation:
– 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
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small numbers
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd guarded the south end
– two crew members of each tank crew remained with the tanks at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– D Company attached to 194th Tank Battalion
– remained part of the 192nd Tank Battalion
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24/25 December 1941
– tank battalions made an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 25/26 December 1941
– held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 192nd held from Carmen to Route 3 to Tayug to the northeast of San Quintin
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1 platoon forced its way through Carmen
– lost two tanks
– one tank belonged to company commander – Captain Edward Burke
– believed dead, but was actually captured
– one tank crew rescued
– new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
– rest of battalion made a dash out
– lost one tank at Bayambang
– another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
Lt. Weeden Petree’s platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
– D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
– the tank commander found a crossing
– Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
– 29/30 December 1941
– new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30/31 December 1941
– tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
– covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Porac Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate
– bright moonlight made them easy to see
– tanks opened fire
– Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– January 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver: “Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay.”
– 8 January 1942
– composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
– their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been
  formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– a forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– the highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out the gun
– cleared roadblock with support of infantry
– 20 January 1942
– Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching the road
– 26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
– 9:45 A.M. – warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– 10:30 A.M. – Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
– prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
– half-tracks patrolled roads
– maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
– March 1942
– two tanks were bogged down in mud
– the tankers were working to get them out
– Japanese Regiment entered the area
Lt. Col. Ernest Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
– wiped out Japanese regiment
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launched a major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 6 April 1942
– four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at the junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mt. Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 8 April 1942
– fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
– 9 April 1942 – escaped to Corregidor
– assigned to Ft. Drum
Prisoner of War:
– 6 May 1942
– returned to Corregidor
– taken by barge to Luzon
– marched to Manila and Bilibid Prison
– sent to Cabanatuan
– During May, his parents received a message from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. M. Garcia:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee if Corporal Ernest Garcia, 38,054,390, 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) 
                                                                                                                                                                       Major General
                                                                                                                                                                   The Adjutant General”
   

POW Camps:
– 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
– In July 1942, the family received a second letter. The following is an excerpt from it.

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Corporal Ernest Garcia 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.”          

– Batangas Detail
– on detail with Bland Moore, Grover Brummett
– POWs hunted water buffaloes
– used two eighteen ton wreckers
– hunted at night
– POWs set up a salt trap
– buffaloes came down from mountains
– lights turned on – Japanese shot them
– ate the hindquarters
– put spoiled meat out for wild boars
– shot them for food
– Bilibid Prison
Hell Ship:
Tottori Maru
– 1961 POWs put on the ship
– 500 in the front hold and 1461 in the rear hold
– 5 October 1942 – POWs left Cabanatuan for Manila
– housed in a warehouse on Pier 7
– 7 October 1942 – POWs boarded onto Tottori Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 8 October 1942 – 10:00 A.M.
– passed Corregidor – noon
– Note: 9 October 1942 – American submarine fired two torpedoes at the ship
– the ship passes a mine laid by an American submarine
– the captain maneuvered the ship and avoided torpedoes
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 11 October 1942
– POWs lined deck attempting to use
– Sailed: 16 October 1942 – 7:30 A.M.
– returned to Takao – 10:30 P.M.
– foodstuffs loaded onto a ship
– POWs received two bags of hardtack and rice and soup each day
– Sailed: 18 October 1942
– Arrived: Pescadores Islands
– anchored off the Islands – same day
– remained anchored for several days
– two POWs died – buried at sea
– Sailed: 27 October 1942
– Arrived: Takao – 27 October 1942
– 28 October 1942 – POWs were taken ashore and bathed with fire hoses
– the ship was also cleaned
– Sailed: 30 October 1942
– Arrived: 30 October 1942 – Mako, Pescadores Islands – 5:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 31 October 1942
– part of a seven-ship convoy
– POWs received two meals of rice and soup and one bag of hardtack each day
– 5 November 1942 – ships attacked by an American submarine
– one ship sunk
– the remaining ships scattered
– Arrived: Fusan, Korea – 7 November 1942- 8:00 A.M.
– 8 November 1942 – POWs disembarked the ship
– POWs issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats
– sick POWs left behind at Fusan
– those who recovered came to Mukden at a later date
– white boxes contained the ashes of POWs who died sent to Hoten Camp
– 11 November 1942 – arrived Hoten Camp, Mukden, Manchuria
POW Camp:
– Manchuria:
– Hoten Camp, Mukden
– lived in dugouts until they were moved into two-story barracks
– each enlisted man received two thin blankets to cover himself with
– Meals the same every day
– Breakfast – cornmeal mush and a bun
– Lunch – maze and soybeans
– Dinner – soybeans and a bun
– trapped wild dogs to supplement meals
– this ended when they saw a dog eating a dead Chinese
– POWs worked in a factory or at a lumber mill
– walked 3 miles to factories
– 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
– committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
– Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too
   stupid to commit the sabotage
– When Japanese searched for contraband in barracks, the POWs had to stand in the cold and snow
– Japanese made them strip
– stood there until all 700 POWs had been searched
– Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
– on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
– A Japanese lieutenant, Murado, beat each man with that man shoes
Liberated: September 1945 – Russian Army
– former POWs were taken to Darien, China
– returned to the Philippines
Discharged: 16 May 1946
Wife: Mary Rameriz
Children:
– 3 daughters, 4 sons
Occupation: railroad contractor
Died: 18 April 2003
Buried:
– Memory Gardens Cemetery of Jefferson County – Nederland, Texas

Default Gravesite 1

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