T/4 Frank Goldstein was born in Chicago on October 24, 1915, to Max and Sarah Goldstein. With his sisters, he grew up at 1958 West Henry Court, 4433 North St. Louis Avenue, and later at 2030 West Montrose Avenue. He graduated from Roosevelt High School where he became interested in amateur radio operations. As an amateur radio operator, he became good friends with Charles Corr, who also was an amateur radio operator. While he was still in high school, Frank signed up with the Illinois National Guard to practice army communication. Doing this meant that he was slated to be a radioman with an Illinois National Guard unit. The Selective Service Act went into effect on October 16, 1940, and Frank registered for the draft on that date and named his father as his contact person. He also indicated he was unemployed. Frank was drafted in April 1941 and went to the Madison Street Armory, of the Illinois National Guard, in Maywood, Illinois, for induction. It was there that he was selected to join Company B, 192nd Tank Company as a radio operator. He was sent to Camp Grant, in Rockford, Illinois, and then to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to join his new company. Frank was with his friend Charles Corr.
When the two soldiers arrived at Fort Knox, at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, they were met by Sgt. Albert McArthur, who was the sergeant in charge of communications. Sgt. McArthur gave Frank a choice of jobs. He could either repair the radio equipment or train other men to operate radio equipment and use Morse Code. Frank ended up repairing the equipment while his friend, Charlie, taught high-speed Morse Code.
Frank was also assigned to one of the two barracks of the company. Most of the members of B Company were assigned to Barracks 53. The bunks were set up along the walls and alternated so that the head of one bunk was next to the foot of another bunk allowing for more bunks to be placed in the least amount of space. The one problem they had was that the barracks had four, two-way speakers in it. One speaker was in the main room of each floor of the barracks, one was in the sergeant’s office, and one was in the Lt. Donald Hanes’ office. Since by flipping a switch the speaker became a microphone, the men watched what they said.
Frank said, “I had a small Hallcrafter ham radio receiver in my footlocker which I used when we were at Ft. Knox. My buddy, W9KRK, was stationed at West Point teaching the cadets to use radio equipment. In the evening he would tow the transmitter up to a hill, throw a wire antenna over a high tree limb and send me the news of the day – I couldn’t answer of course. He would get home (Chicago) on occasion, visit my folks, and relay info to me. Unfortunately, when we got to Manila and unloaded, that was the last time I saw my footlocker and my receiver.”
The 192nd Tank Battalion was sent to Louisiana, in the late summer of 1941, to take part in maneuvers. About half of the battalion left Ft. Knox on September 1st in trucks and other wheeled vehicles and spent the night in Clarksville, Tennessee, where they spent the night. By 7:00 A.M. the next morning, the detachment was on the move. On the second day, the soldiers saw their first cotton fields which they found fascinating. They spent the night in Brownsville, Tennessee, and were again on the move the following morning at 7:00 A.M. At noon, the convoy crossed the Mississippi River which they found amazing, and spent the night in Clarksdale, Mississippi. At noon the next day, the convoy crossed the lower part of Arkansas and arrived at Tallulah, Louisiana, where, they washed, relaxed, and played baseball against the locals. It also gave them a break from sitting on wooden benches in the trucks. The remaining soldiers, the tanks, and other equipment were sent by train and left the base on September 3rd. When they arrived at Tremont, Lousiana, the men, and trucks who had driven to Louisiana were waiting for them at the train station.
The battalion was assigned to the Red Army, attached to the Fourth Cavalry, and stationed at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. Two days later it made a two-day move, as a neutral unit, to Ragley, Louisiana, and was assigned to the Blue Army. The battalion’s bivouac was in the Kisatchi Forest where the soldiers dealt with mosquitoes, snakes, wood ticks, snakes, and alligators.
During the maneuvers, tanks held defensive positions and usually were held in reserve by the higher headquarters. For the first time, the tanks were used to counter-attack, in support of infantry, and held defensive positions. Some men felt that the tanks were finally being used like they should be used and not as “mobile pillboxes.” The maneuvers were described by other men as being awakened at 4:30 A.M. and sent to an area to engage an imaginary enemy. After engaging the enemy, the tanks withdrew to another area. The crews had no idea what they were doing most of the time because they were never told anything by the higher-ups. A number of men felt that they just rode around in their tanks a lot.
While training at Ft. Knox, the tankers were taught that they should never attack an anti-tank gun head-on. One day during the maneuvers, their commanding general threw away the entire battalion doing just that. After sitting out a period of time, the battalion resumed the maneuvers. The major problem for the tanks was the sandy soil. On several occasions, tanks were parked and the crews walked away from them. When they returned, the tanks had sunk into the sandy soil up to their hauls. To get them out, other tanks were brought in and attempted to pull them out. If that didn’t work, the tankers brought in a wrecker from Camp Polk to pull the tank out.
It was not uncommon for the tankers to receive orders to move at night. On October 1st at 2:30 A.M., they were awakened by the sound of a whistle which meant they had to get the tanks ready to move. Those assigned to other duties loaded trucks with equipment. Once they had assembled into formations, they received the order to move, without headlights, to make a surprise attack on the Red Army. By 5:30 that morning – after traveling 40 miles in 2½ hours from their original bivouac in the dark – they had established a new bivouac and set up their equipment. They camouflaged their tanks and trucks and set up sentries to look for paratroopers or enemy troops. At 11:30, they received orders and 80 tanks and armored vehicles moved out into enemy territory. They engaged the enemy at 2:38 in the afternoon and an umpire with a white flag determined who was awarded points or penalized. At 7:30 P.M., the battle was over and the tanks limped back to the bivouac where they were fueled and oiled for the next day.
The one good thing that came out of the maneuvers was that the tank crews learned how to move at night. At Ft. Knox this was never done. Without knowing it, the night movements were preparing them for what they would do in the Philippines since most of the battalion’s movements there were made at night. The drivers learned how to drive at night and to take instructions from their tank commanders who had a better view from the turret. A number of motorcycle riders from other tank units were killed because they were riding their bikes without headlights on which meant they could not see obstacles in front of their bikes. When they hit something they fell to the ground and the tanks following them went over them. This happened several times before the motorcycle riders were ordered to turn on their headlights.
Another major problem was snake bites. It appeared that every other man was bitten at some point by a snake. The platoon commanders carried a snakebit kit that was used to create a vacuum to suck the poison out of the bite. The bites were the result of the nights cooling down and snakes crawling under the soldiers’ bedrolls for warmth while the soldiers were sleeping on them. There was one multicolored snake – about eight inches long – that was beautiful to look at, but if it bit a man he was dead. The good thing was that these snakes would not just strike at the man but only struck if the man forced himself on it. When the soldiers woke up in the morning they would carefully pick up their bedrolls to see if there were any snakes under them. To avoid being bitten, men slept on the two and a half-ton trucks or on or in the tanks. Another trick the soldiers learned was to dig a small trench around their tents and lay rope in the trench. The burs on the rope kept the snakes from entering the tents. The snakes were not a problem if the night was warm. They also had a problem with the wild hogs in the area. In the middle of the night while the men were sleeping in their tents they would suddenly hear hogs squealing. The hogs would run into the tents pushing on them until they took them down and dragged them away.
The food was also not very good since the air was always damp which made it hard to get a fire started. Many of their meals were C ration meals of beans or chili that they choked down. Washing clothes was done when the men had a chance. They did this by finding a creek, looking for alligators, and if there were none, taking a bar of soap and scrubbing whatever they were washing. Clothes were usually washed once a week or once every two weeks.
After these maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox as they had expected. On the side of a hill, the battalion learned it was being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM. Within hours, the tankers believed they had figured out that PLUM stood for the Philippines, Luzon, and Manila. There is no proof this was true. Those men 29 years old, or older, who were married, or whose enlistments in the National Guard were about to end, were allowed to resign from federal service and were replaced by men of the 753rd Tank Battalion. Officers too old for their rank, including the 192nd’s commanding officer, were also released and some were replaced with officers from the 753rd. Both the new men and the old members of the battalion were given leave home to say their goodbyes. When they returned to Camp Polk and prepared for duty overseas. They were given M3A1 tanks – from the 753rd and the 3rd Armor Division – to replace their M2A2 tanks. They also received half-tracks to replace their reconnaissance cars.
The decision to send the battalion overseas appeared to have been made well before the maneuvers. According to one story, 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 Taiwan which 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 covering the buoys – which was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped. It appears the decision was made to speed up the build-up of the American military presence in the Philippines.
Many of the men believed that the reason they were selected to be sent overseas was that they had performed well on the maneuvers. The story was that they were personally selected by General George S. Patton – who had commanded the tanks of the Blue Army during the maneuvers – to go overseas. There is no evidence that this was true.
The fact was that the battalion was part of the First Tank Group which was headquartered at Ft. Knox and operational by June 1941. During the maneuvers, they even fought as part of the First Tank Group. Available information suggests that the tank group had been selected to be sent to the Philippines early in 1941. Besides the 192nd, the group was made up of the 70th and 191st Tank Battalions – the 191st had been a National Guard medium tank battalion while the 70th was a Regular Army medium tank battalion – at Ft. Meade, Maryland. The 193rd was at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and the 194th was at Ft. Lewis, Washington. The 192nd, 193rd, and 194th had been National Guard light tank battalions. It is known that the military presence in the Philippines was being built up at the time, so in all likelihood, the entire tank group had been scheduled to be sent to the Philippines. The buoys being spotted by the pilot may have sped up the transfer of the tank battalions to the Philippines with only the 192nd and 194th reaching the islands but it was not the reason the tank battalions were sent there. It is known that the 193rd was on its way to the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the battalion was held in Hawaii after arriving there. The 70th and 191st never received orders for the Philippines because the war with Japan had started.
At 8:30 A.M. on October 20, over different train routes, the companies were sent to San Francisco, California. Most of the soldiers of each company rode on one train that was followed by a second train that carried the company’s tanks. At the end of the second train was a boxcar followed by a passenger car that carried some soldiers. The company took the central route along through Northern Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. When they arrived in San Francisco, they were ferried, by the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. When they got near Alcatraz, a soldier on the boat said to them, “I’d rather be here than going where you all are going.” On the island, they were given physicals by the battalion’s medical detachment. Men found to have minor health issues were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced. The soldiers spent their time putting cosmoline on anything that they thought would rust.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27. During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2, and had a four-day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island. On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville, and, another transport, the U.S.A.T. President Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Dateline.
On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country, while two other intercepted ships were Japanese freighters hauling scrap metal to Japan. When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm’s way.
The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning. One thing that was different about their arrival was that instead of a band and a welcoming committee waiting at the pier to tell them to enjoy their stay in the Philippines and see as much of the island as they could, a party came aboard the ship – carrying guns – and told the soldiers, “Draw your firearms immediately; we’re under alert. We expect a war with Japan at any moment. Your destination is Fort Stotsenburg, Clark Field.” At 3:00 P.M., as the enlisted men left the ship, a Marine was checking off their names. When someone said his name, the Marine responded with, “Hello sucker.” Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King Jr. who apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that had what they needed and that they all received dinner – which was stew thrown into their mess kits – before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20 was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
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. The area was near the end of a runway used by B-17s for takeoffs. The planes flew over the tents at about 100 feet blowing dirt everywhere and the noise from the engines as they flew over was unbelievable. At night, they heard the sounds of planes flying over the airfield which turned out to be Japanese reconnaissance planes. 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.
The 192nd had a large number of ham radio operators and shortly after arriving at Ft. Stotsenburg, they set up a communications tent that was in contact with the United States within hours. The communications monitoring station in Manila went crazy attempting to figure out where all these new radio messages were coming from. When they were informed it was the 192nd, they gave them frequencies to use. Men were able to send messages home to their families that they had arrived safely. It is known Frank was one of these men.
The day started at 5:15 with reveille and anyone who washed near a faucet with running water was considered lucky. At 6:00 A.M. they ate breakfast followed by work – on the tanks and other equipment – from 7:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. Lunch was from 11:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. when the soldiers returned to work until 2:30 P.M. The shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that it was too hot to work in the climate. The term “recreation in the motor pool,” which they borrowed from the 194th, meant they actually worked until 4:30 in the afternoon.
At Ft. Stotsenburg, the soldiers were expected to wear their dress uniforms. Since working on the tanks was a dirty job, the battalion members wore coveralls to do the work on the tanks. The 192nd followed the example of the 194th and wore coveralls in their barracks area to do work on their tanks, but if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they wore dress uniforms everywhere; including going to the PX. For recreation, the soldiers spent their free time bowling or going to the movies on the base. They also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw footballs around during their free time. On Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming. Men were given the opportunity to be allowed to go to Manila in small groups.
Ten days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the reconnaissance pilots reported that Japanese transports were milling around in a large circle in the South China Sea. On December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers. From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times and were fed from food trucks.
It was the men manning the radios in the 192nd’s communications tent who were the first to learn of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 8. Major Ted Wickord, the battalion’s commanding officer, Gen. James Weaver, and Major Ernest Miller, the CO of the 194th Tank Battalion, read the messages of the attack. The officers of the 192nd were called to the tent and informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. All the members of the tank and half-track crews were ordered to the south end of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.
All morning long on December 8, the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed to be refueled and the pilots went to lunch. The planes were parked in a straight line outside the pilots’ mess hall to make refueling easier. The men were having lunch when at 12:45, two formations of planes totaling 54 planes, approached the airfield from the north. Many of the tankers wondered if the planes were American or Japanese. As they watched, what appeared to be raindrops – because they shimmered in the sun – appeared under the planes. With the thunderous explosions of the bombs exploding on the runways, the tankers knew that the planes were Japanese. The smoke and dust from the bombs blotted out the sun and made it impossible for the tankers to see more than a few feet. One bomb hit the mess hall where the pilots were eating. The bombers were quickly followed by Japanese fighters that sounded like angry bees to the tankers as they strafed the airfield.
The planes did this by following a figure eight and would turn around behind Mount Arayat. According to members of the half-track’s crew, Zenon Baardowski picked up on the pattern and fired at a Japanese plane as it approached. Dirt flew in two tracks from the plane’s bullets. Bardowski stayed at his gun firing at the plane as it approached until he hit it. The plane fell from the sky with a smoke trail following it. Bardowski said of Frank that he was extremely afraid during the bombing but never left his post. After the attack, the battalion members found the plane. The pilot was missing both his arms and a leg. None of them had any feelings for the pilot. When a chaplain tried to get them to bury the pilot, one man urinated on him to show his contempt.
It was after the attack, Sgt. Robert Bronge took the half-track to the non-com club. During the three weeks, the 192nd had been in the Philippines Bronge had spent three months of his pay on credit at the club. When they got to the club they found one side was collapsed from an explosion of a bomb nearby. Bud and Bronge entered the club and found it empty because the Aircorpsmen were putting out fires or trying to get the few planes that were left into the air. Bronge found the book with the names of those who owed the club money and destroyed it. The two also loaded the half-track with cases of beer and booze. When they returned to their bivouac, they radio the tanks they had salvaged needed supplies from the club.
A few days later, his half-track was in the battalion area watching the airfield. A formation of Japanese bombers bombed the area. As the crew sat in the half-track a 500 bomb exploded about 500 feet from them. The bombs fell in a straight line toward the half-track. One bomb fell 25 feet from the half-track. The eighteenth and final bomb fell about 250 feet behind the half-track. The shriek of the bombs falling scared the hell out of the men. Frank radioed HQ and told them about the unexploded bombs. A bomb disposal squad was sent to the area. Later, a jeep pulled up and an officer and enlisted man marked where the sixteen unexploded bombs were located. The crew could see the smoke rising from the fuses of the unexploded bombs. Another jeep and a bulldozer arrived and dirt was pushed over the bombs. It was at that time the half-track radioed HQ and told them they were moving to the old tank park away from the bombs.
After several days, the half-track crew was told they were being moved to O’Donnell Field a hidden dirt airfield where the fighters were supposed to have been before the attack. The field was stocked with fuel and ammunition. Their job was to provide anti-aircraft coverage. The crew was told that Japanese gliders were expected to hit the airfield which never happened. The half-track returned to Clark Field on December 24 and discovered that everything at the PX was free. The same was true for the Officer’s Club and the Quartermaster. The reason was the airfield was being abandoned and anything not taken was going to be blown up. There were tons of ammunition, fuel, and medicine that could have been taken to Bataan that were destroyed.
The half-track crew was told they would escort the 21st Pursuit Squadron’s supply trucks and personnel to Pilar Field. They spent Christmas Eve drinking ice-cold Cokes, Napoleon Brandy, and Cutty Sark, and eating steaks, ham, bacon, eggs, chicken, and turkey. On the trip to the airfield at Pilar, the convoy wasn’t strafed or bombed, but others had been. Every little barrio they went through was burning. Trucks, busses, and cars were wrecked and some were burning along the road. The half-track carried 50 gallons of gas and at slow speed in low gear to give the half-track enough power to push anything reasonably large off the road.
After arriving at the airfield, they took a position under some trees. Suddenly, there were three gunshots which were the signal that an air raid was about to take place. The bombers came over and dropped their bombs indicating they knew the Americans were there. While this was going on, a P-35 was attempting to land. It was fired on by every gun on the ground except the half-track. Its hydraulics were shot out so the pilot landed on its belly, got out, and ran for cover. The plane was blocking the landing strip so Bardowski was asked if the half-track could move it. He asked if it was junk and was told it was. He told Frank to take cover, engaged the front wheels, and pushed it off the airstrip. After doing this, he returned to where he had left Frank. Another set of bombs landed and exploded. According to Bardowski, Frank was completely covered in dirt.
Sometime around January 5, the half-track rejoined the 192nd. In the Philippines, Frank’s job was to keep in touch with every tank of the 192nd. To do this he had a jeep and a half-track, with a 100-watt transmitter, at his disposal. If he could not reach a tank, he would have to take the jeep, which was driven by Sgt. Zenon Bardowski, and try to find out why he could not make contact with the tank. In his opinion, the tanks were useless in the Philippines since they could only be used along the main highway and not in the fields where they would get stuck.
Of his job, Frank said, “I was chasing tanks all over Bataan and reporting their location to Hq, Charlie Corr and I never had any problem with ‘blind spots.’ Our 100 watt transmitters, together with resonant vertical whip antennas worked very well.”
About his half-track, he said, “My communication half-track was equipped with a Western Electric all-band receiver and I tweaked one of the unused bands so it would receive the shortwave transmissions from KGEI atop the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. This is where we heard about the attack on Pearl.”
While doing his job, Frank was assigned to the half-track of Sgt. Zenon Barowski. Bardowski stated that Frank was extremely afraid of the bombings. But according to Bardowski, “Who wasn’t?” In his opinion, Frank should receive more praise than men who never showed fear because Frank never left his post and did his job.
Although Frank was not involved in any major engagements, Frank did find himself fighting a personal one. Like everyone else on Bataan, Frank was always hungry. One day he took the jeep and his Tommy gun and went scrounging for food. In the town of Pilar, he found an abandoned candy store that supposedly had some food. It turned out that the store had been stripped bare. As he left the store he heard the voices of Japanese soldiers. Since he was near a sugar cane field, Frank jumped into the field with his Tommy gun and hid hoping that he hadn’t been seen. As it turned out, the Japanese soldiers apparently heard him enter the field and followed him. He wound up playing hide-and-seek in the sugar cane field with the Japanese soldiers. He tried to kill them before they killed him. As far as Frank knew, only he came out of the sugar cane field.
The tank battalions, on January 28, were given the job of protecting the beaches. The 192nd was assigned the coastline from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan’s east coast, while the battalion’s half-tracks were used to patrol the roads. B Company was defending a beach, along the east coast of Bataan, where the Japanese could land troops. One night while on this duty, the company engaged the Japanese in a firefight as they attempted to land troops on the beach. When morning came, not one Japanese soldier had successfully landed on the beach. The Japanese later told the tankers that their presence on the beach stopped them from attempting landings.
While doing this job, the tankers noticed that each morning when the PT boats were off the coast they were attacked by Japanese Zeros. The tank crews made arrangements with the PT boats to be at a certain place at a certain time and waited for the Zeros to arrive and attack. This time they were met by fire from the boats but also from the machine guns of the tanks and half-tracks. When the Zeros broke off the attack, they had lost nine of twelve planes.
Frank also was present when Japanese planes bombed the area where B Company tanks were bivouacked on February 3, 1942. According to Frank, the tankers guarded the beach each night to prevent the Japanese from landing troops. Every morning “Recon Joe” flew over attempting to locate the tanks. The jungle canopy hid the tanks from the plane. Walter Cigoi aggravated about being woken up, pulled his half-track on the beach and took a “pot shot” at the plane. He missed. Twenty minutes later, Japanese planes appeared and bombed the position. Frank took cover under a tank.
About this event, Frank said, “About Walter Cigoi … Toward the end of our activities on Bataan, my half-track was placed on beach defense since there were not too many tanks left to worry about. Cigoi joined our platoon at that time. We were positioned onshore of Manila Bay in case the Japs beach after darkness and pulled back under the bamboo groves before dawn to keep them hidden from ‘Photo Joe,’ a small recon plane the Japs used to spot enemy positions.
“On this particular day, Joe hung around for quite a while – he knew we were there somewhere – and his engine noise kept us from sleeping. Cigoi became annoyed, so he grabbed my half-track, drove it out from under the trees, and using twin 50 caliber guns Bardowski and had welded to the back wall, he attempted to shoot down photo Joe. He missed and Joe took off. About 20 minutes later, four Jap diver bombers approached our area from out of the sun, and really laid it on us. Result … Privates Graff, Heuel, and Peppers lay dead and six others injured. I felt particularly bad because Heuel’s sister had visited him at Ft. Knox before we left the States and I had promised her I would keep an eye on him – he was 18, I was 25.”
After the attack, the tankers found Pvt. Richard Graff, Pvt. Clemath Peppers, were dead. Pvt. Charles Heuel was severely wounded and had his leg partially blown off. To get him into the jeep, Frank cut off his leg. Pvt. Francis McGuire was also wounded in the attack and so were a few other men. Frank felt guilty about Heuel’s death because he had promised his sister to watch out for him.
On another occasion, Frank added, “He (Heuel) had been living with a sister and he entered the service more to find a home rather than any other reason. After I became acquainted with him, we discovered we discovered he lived right around the corner from me. In Chicago, I lived on Montrose Avenue near Damen Avenue and he lived on Damen Avenue near Montrose! Our back porches were within view of each other. I met his sister once when she visited Chuck at Fort Knox. As you know, the bombing when we were on beach defense caught him out in the open and killed him instantly.”
Frank spoke about Richard Graff, “Bob (used the wrong name) Graff was one of the few married men prior to enlistment. I believe had been a newspaperman in civilian life – I believe the Chicago Tribune – and he enlisted to get his ‘one year’ over with so he could get back to work. We found him hiding behind a tank but he had picked the wrong side. Actually, no side would be good because most of the bombs exploded on contact with the bamboo branches above our heads.
“You’re probably wondering where I was during this time? Our area had previously been occupied by a Philippine Army kitchen. They had created a slight overhang about ten yards from us. When I heard the screech of the bombs coming down, I did the first five yards on foot and at least airborne right into that hole! Other than a bunch of red ants blown up my overall legs, I was ok.”
On Clemath Peppers, Frank stated, “I wasn’t acquainted with Peppers. He was not from ‘B’ Co. and I don’t recall seeing him on the Louisiana maneuvers. He may have been one of the fellows we picked up as replacements as we came thru San Francisco on the way west. In any case on that fateful day we’re discussing, he was sleeping on the top deck of his tank and never knew what hit him.”
Frank also said about one of the wounded. “One of the fellows lost a leg and I had to cut it loose so we could get him to an aid station. He died on the way. I can’t seem to remember who it was.” After saying this, Frank said he had to stop or the dreams would start all over again.
The soldiers were hungry and began to eat everything they could get their hands on to eat. The Carabao were tough but if they were cooked long enough they could be eaten. They also began to eat horse meat provided by the 26th U.S. Cavalry. To make things worse, the soldiers’ rations were cut in half again on March 1, 1942. This meant that they only ate two meals a day.
The Japanese also were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantily clad blond on them. The Japanese would have been more successful at getting the Americans to surrender if the picture had been a hamburger since the men were so hungry that they most likely would have surrendered for a good meal.
In March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks. This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day. At the same time, food rations were cut in half again. Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor.
On April 3, 1942, the Japanese launched an attack supported by artillery and aircraft. A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese. A counter-attack was launched – on April 7 – by the 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts which was supported by tanks. Its objective was to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators prevented this from happening. During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks successfully withdrew. C Company, 194th, was attached to the 192nd and had only seven tanks left.
It was the evening of April 8 that Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile, since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last one more day. In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who were 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. He also believed his troops could fight for one more day. Companies B and D, 192nd, and A Company, 194th, were preparing for a suicide attack on the Japanese in an attempt to stop the advance. At 6:00 P.M. the tank battalion commanders received this order: “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.” At about 11:40 P.M. the Americans began blowing up the ammunition dumps so that the ordinance could not be used by the Japanese. The soldiers heard a loud thud and flames shot into the sky as the ammunition dumps went up in flames. At midnight Companies B and D, and A Company, 194th, received an order from Gen. Weaver to stand down.
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 driver was from the tank group.) Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment. It was at about 6:45 A.M. that tank battalion commanders received the order “crash.” Capt. Robert Sorenson, the company commander, ordered the crews to destroy their tanks. They cut the gas lines and threw torches into the tanks. Within minutes, the ammunition inside the tanks began exploding. After this was done, Sorenson and Major John Morley got into his jeep and made their way to Bayakaguin Point which was the command post for the tank group. Behind them in half-tracks were the tank crews of B Company. After arriving there, a number of men attempted to reach Corregidor.
As Gen. King left to negotiate the surrender, he went through the area held by B Company and spoke to the men. He said to them, “Boys. I’m going to get us the best deal I can. When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say to you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Wade R. 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 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 in line 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 assurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter – accused him 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.” King found no choice but to accept him at his word.
Unknown to Gen. King, an order attributed to Gen. Masaharu Homma – but in all likelihood from one of his subordinates – had been given. It stated, “Every troop which fought against our army on Bataan should be wiped out thoroughly, whether he surrendered or not, and any American captive who is unable to continue marching all the way to the concentration camp should be put to death in the area of 200 meters off the road.”
On April 9, 1942, Frank received word that the Filipino-American Forces were to destroy their equipment and surrender to the Japanese. Frank and the men with him destroyed their equipment but decided they would try to escape to Corregidor. They found a Filipino boat that was used to carry water. Since the approach to Corregidor was mined, the captain was not too willing to try to go there. At the point of Frank’s 45, the captain of the boat had a change of heart and took them to the island.
Since it was night and they did not want to be spotted by the Japanese, they approached the island in total darkness. Frank took his flashlight and wrapped it in a newspaper to prevent the Japanese from spotting their position. He kept signaling to the island that they were Americans. While he was doing this, they could hear the Japanese troops along the shore of Bataan. Finally, they received a response signal and were told to go to a buoy, then turn sharply to the right. This maneuver got them through the minefield.
On Corregidor, Frank was separated from the other men with whom he had gone to Corregidor. When the Japanese attacked the island, Frank was shot in his leg. He managed to make his way to a tunnel occupied by Navy personnel and according to medical records, was hospitalized the day of the surrender. Frank awoke to find the tunnel full of Japanese soldiers with bayonets attached to their guns. Being wounded he thought he was going to be killed, but to his surprise, the Japanese were actually very nice to him.
What he could do that they could not do was read the codes on the cans of food in the tunnel. The soldiers were looking for cans that contained fruit. They took Frank to another tunnel where Dr. Edwin Wade performed surgery on his leg which had been shattered by the bullet. Dr. Wade performed more surgeries on Frank’s leg and saved it. It should be noted that Dr. Wade did not survive the war.
From Corregidor, Frank was taken to Bilibid Prison in Manila, which was used by the Japanese as a hospital for American Prisoners of War. There, he spent the next thirteen months in bed. When he was healthier, Frank was sent to Cabanatuan for one year. By the time he arrived, Camps 1 & 3 had been consolidated into one camp.
During May or early June 1942, his parents received a message from the War Department.
Dear Mrs. S. Goldstein:
According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Technician Fourth Grade Frank Goldstein, 20,600,349, 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
To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the camp. The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught were tortured before being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch. It is believed that no POW successfully escaped from the camp.
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens. Meals on a daily basis consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn. The POWs were forced to work in the fields from 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. Most of the food they grew went to the Japanese not them. Other POWs worked in rice paddies. What details Joe took part in from the camp is not known.
The POW barracks were built to house 50 POWs, but most held between 60 and 120 men. The POWs slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, or mosquito netting. In addition, the lack of proper bathrooms contributed to many becoming ill.
Each morning, the POWs lined up for roll call. While they stood at attention, it wasn’t uncommon for them to be hit over the tops of their heads. In addition, one guard frequently kicked them in their shins with his hobnailed boots. after arriving at the farm, the POWs went into a tool shed to get their tools. As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their heads. While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies was to have their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard. Returning from a detail the POWs bought or were given, medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp even though they were searched when they returned.
The camp hospital was composed of 30 wards. The ward for the sickest POWs was known as “Zero Ward” which got its name because it had been missed when the wards were counted. The name soon meant the place where those who were extremely ill went to die. Each ward had two tiers of bunks and could hold 45 men but often had as many as 100 men in each. Each man had a two-foot-wide by six-foot-long area to lie in. The sickest men slept on the bottom tier since the platforms had holes cut in them so the sick could relieve themselves without having to leave the tier.
During his time at the camp, he worked on the camp farm tending the vegetables being grown there. The POWs were expected to water the crops by carrying the water in cans. The cans they were given to use had holes in them. These holes were, in most cases, intentionally made in the cans by the guards. When the prisoners got to the place where they were supposed to water, the guards would beat them for not having full cans.
While he was in the camp, his family received a second letter from the War Department in July 1942. 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, Tec 4 Frank Goldstein 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.
Next, Frank was sent to Clark Field, where he believed that he was one of the few members of the 192nd on the detail. Being on the detail without any friends actually had its benefits. Frank witnessed men beaten by the guards because they had tried to communicate with their friends. The beating was given because the men had violated the “no talking” while working rule.
On the Clark Field detail, Frank dug revetments to hide planes. The Japanese guards encouraged the POWs to take their time when digging. The guards didn’t care how much dirt the POWs moved all they had to do is look busy. The reason the guards did this was that they liked the detail and wanted to stretch it out as long as possible. The only time the POWs were expected to work hard was when big shots came around to expect the work.
At some point, Frank was injured and had a broken tibia in his right leg. He was admitted to Ward 2 at Bilibid Prison in October 1942. The medical staff did what they could, but medical supplies and medicine were never available in large quantities. Meals consisted of two meals per day which were in the form of half a mess kit to three-quarters of a canteen of rice. POWs often ate garbage from scrap cans and pig troughs. The POWs also concrete floors without mosquito nets which resulted in may having malaria. He remained hospitalized until February 10, 1943, when he was discharged and sent to Cabanatuan. How long he was at the camp is not known, but it is known he was returned to Clark Field.
Frank also had to dig out volcanic rock which was used in the construction of runways. He did this work until August 1944. How the POWs did this was to sift the sand through a screen trapping the rocks. The rocks were used as a base material for new runways for heavy bombers. When the rock ran out, the Japanese engineers told the POWs to use sand as the base material for the last half of the runway.
The first time a Japanese heavy bomber landed on the runway it sped across the first half of the runway. When it hit the second half of the runway, the bomber’s carriage suddenly sank out of sight and the bomber flipped over. Frank recalled that he and the other prisoners hid their laughter.
While working at Clark Field one of the jobs Frank had was to transport drums of coconut oil from the railhead to the airfield. Some of the POWs on the detail took the opportunity to fill their canteens with oil from the drums. They would take the oil and boil it until it was eatable and then pour the oil on their rice to add flavor to the rice.
One time as Frank and the other POWs were working the detail, the Japanese pulled a surprise inspection. The “gunso” in the guard tower a quarter of a mile away ordered the guards to have the POWs empty their canteens. When the guard got to Frank, Frank emptied his canteen and water came out of it. Frank still had water in the canteen from that morning.
The gunso knowing that Frank was involved in the stealing, ordered the guard to punish Frank. The guard grabbed Frank’s half-filled canteen and hit him squarely in the mouth with it, knocking out four of Frank’s teeth.
While Frank was on the detail, his family received a message from the War Department that the Japanese government had listed him as a Prisoner of War.
REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON TEC 4 FRANK GOLDSTEIN IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST
ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL.
Not long after receiving the telegram, they received another letter from the War Department.
2020 Montrose Avenue
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:
Tec 4 Frank Goldstein, 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
On August 8, 1944, Frank was then returned to Bilibid Prison in Manila where he had contact with Zenon Bardowski and James Griffin. This was the first time in over two years that he had contact with other members of Company B. To Frank, both men looked to be in bad shape. It was at this time that he received a red cross package that had not been raided containing vitamin pills and clothing. He gave each one of them a handful of vitamin pills. He also received winter clothing in the package which at the time seemed very funny since he was in the Philippines.
On August 15, 1944, Frank was sent to Pier 15 for transport to Japan. he remained there until August 25, when he was boarded onto the Noto Maru. They were packed in so tightly that the temperature inside the hold soon began to rise. Next to the ladder into the hold was a barrow cut in half that was supposed to serve as a bathroom. Since most of the POWs had diarrhea and dysentery, the floor of the hod was soon covered in human waste. The smell coming out of the hold was so bad that the Japanese covered the hatch which made the hold get hotter and made the smell worse. The ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, as part of a convoy, on August 27. After leaving Manila, the convoy stopped at Subic Bay for the night.
Next to where the ladder had been was a barrow cut in half that was supposed to serve as a latrine. Since most of the POWs had diarrhea and dysentery, the floor of the hold was soon covered in human waste. The smell coming out of the hold was so bad that the Japanese covered the hatch which made the hold get hotter and made the smell worse.
As the ship made its way to Japan men died of sickness and starvation. With each death, there was more room in the ship’s hold. The dead were hoisted from the hold by rope and thrown into the sea. The suction of the ship’s propellers pulled the bodies into them and resulted in the bodies being cut up. During the trip, the ship made it through a submarine attack and arrived at Takao on August 30.
While it was docked, the smell from the hold was so bad that the POWs who could walk were brought up on deck, taken ashore, and hosed down with saltwater. The Japanese also washed down the hold to clean out the waste on the floor. After the POWs went back into the hold, the temperature dried the water off them but left a layer of salt on their skin.
After the convoy left Taiwan, it came under attack by American submarines at night. The POWs heard the “thud” of depth charges. Although they did not see fire, they heard an explosion and saw the glare in the sky from it. The ship zigged zagged in an attempt to avoid the subs. Many of the POWs cheered. Some chanted for the ship to be hit by a torpedo. The Japanese covered the hatch with its cover until just before daylight.
The ship arrived in Moji, Japan on September 6, and the POWs disembarked the ship. Men were given a piece of colored wood that determined what camp they would be sent to in Japan. Probably the most amazing thing to happen to the POWs was that on the dock, each man received a potato and a ball of rice to eat. As they made their way from the docks, the Japanese civilians held their noses to show them how bad they smelled.
The detachment of 500 men that Frank was in was taken to a ferry at about 11:00 PM and were on it for about an hour and a half before reaching Honshu. There, they boarded a train. 125 to 135 men were packed into each train car, but compared to the ship, they had more than enough room. The POWs took turns sitting down. According to POWs they spent six days and nights on the train and were allowed to open the windows. When the train pulled into a town, the Japanese in the towns threw rocks at the POWs through the open windows. They also spit on them. This happened several times before the guards ordered the POWs to close the shutters. Even with the shutters closed in the towns, the rocks still were thrown at the train and broke through them. When they reached Tokyo, they left the train and rode streetcars and small trains for several hours into the mountains. Four hundred of the POWs were taken to Sendai #6, also known as Hanawa. It is not known where the remainder of the POWs were sent.
The camp was approximately 200 feet wide by 350 feet long and had a 12-foot high wooden fence around it and was located at 4,000 feet. The POWs were housed in wooden barracks, with 30-foot ceilings, two tiers of bunks, against each long wall, straw matting, and a mattress stuffed with straw for sleeping. They also had a 4″ by 4″ by 8″ block of wood for a pillow.
The floors of the barracks were packed with dirt with a center aisle. There were covered walkways, without sides, that connected the barracks. To heat the barracks, there was a small potbelly stove. If they were lucky, the Japanese gave them enough wood for an hour’s heat. The POWs – who worked in the foundry – stole coal knowing that if they were caught they would be beaten. The barracks were not insulated and the heavy snow – which was as deep as 10 feet – served as insulation.
Other buildings in the camp were two buildings that served as a hospital for the POWs and an “L” shaped building that was the kitchen and POW bath. The latrines were three low buildings, and there was one building that served as the camp office. The POWs spent several days setting up the camp.
The clothing issued to the POWs was a combination of Japanese clothing, made of thin cloth and shoes, and captured American clothing. For the winter the POWs received a uniform made of burlap and long socks. Those who needed shoes were issued Japanese canvas shoes with webbing between two toes. They also received grass shoe covers so they could get through the snow.
In the camp, 500 POWs worked in the copper mine owned by Mitsubishi Mining Company and worked under company supervision. The mine had been abandoned because it had become too expensive to extract the copper, but Mitsubishi believed it could make it profitable with the slave labor provided by the POWs. The POWs woke up at 5 A.M. and ate breakfast which was a small bowl of rice, barley or millet, and watery soup. Meals for the POWs were brought to the barracks, in buckets, and the POWs ate at tables in the barracks. After breakfast, at 5:30, roll call was taken and the POWs and the POWs left the camp. They arrived at the mine at 7 A.M., had a half-hour lunch, and worked until 5:00 P.M. before returning to camp, usually after dark, and having supper. Afterward, they went to bed.
In the camp, the Japanese withheld the Red Cross packages from the POWs and took the canned meats, canned fruit, canned milk, and cheese for themselves. Blankets and clothing intended for the POWs were used by the guards. If a POW violated a rule, the grain ration, for all the POWs, was reduced by 20 percent. At one point, 49 POWs were lined up – because one POW had broken a rule – and beaten with leather belts.
One POW stated that the food in the camp actually was worse than in the Philippines. It was so bad that the two POW doctors went to the camp commander and told him that unless it was changed the men would no longer be able to work and most would die. The meals were changed to 90 percent barley and 10% millet.
Work details were set up for POWs who were machinists, electricians, and mechanics. Those who did not have these skills were assigned to work at a foundry or mining. Each day, the POWs were marched up the side of a mountain to the top and then down into the mine. To their amazement, their guards always seemed to be waiting for them. It turned out there was a ground-level entrance into the mine which the guards used so they did not have to climb the mountain.
Each detail had a “honcho” who was employed by Mitsubishi and supervised the POWs. They carried a large stick which they used on the POWs when they felt they were not working hard enough. The POWs believed these supervisors wanted to work them to death. The POWs were divided among drillers, car loaders, and car pushers, with the miners having the worst job. The work in the mine was dirty, dangerous, and difficult. Each miner was given a carbide headlamp as his only lighting. A quota was set but the Japanese and the Japanese were always raising the quota. The number of carloads mined by the men was never enough. The POWs were beaten for not working hard enough or fast enough. Many shafts of the mine were so low that the miners had to crawl through to get to the ore. Some shafts had standing water with threats of sudden flooding. POWs stated that they worked in icy water two inches deep for 9 hours a day. To get out of working, POWs broke their own arms.
Lighting was poor and most areas were not even shored up to prevent cave-ins. Accidents were frequent and many POWs were hurt. There was no gas detecting equipment and there was always the danger of setting off an explosion from the open burning carbide headlamps. The equipment given to the POWs was worn out and needed to be repaired frequently.
In the mine, Frank worked on a blasting crew whose job it was to blast ore lose. The Japanese engineer had a deal with the POWs that he would mark the walls with the amount of dynamite to blast. He would then leave the mine and leave the POWs alone. As it turned out he was deathly afraid of the dynamite because it was old and extremely volatile. Being alone, the POWs would perform “little acts of sabotage” like putting too large of a charge to make the vain of ore useless.
Mitsubishi expected the Japanese Army to supply a certain number of POWs to work in the mine each day so men too sick to work were sent to work. The sick had to be carried between two healthier POWs to the mine. Since the Japanese found that the sick were too ill to work, the company came up with work for them to do in the camp like making nails or rope. If a POW still could not work, his rations were cut in half.
At one point as a POW, Frank was so sick from pneumonia that he could not walk up the road to the mine. He fell in the snow and had to be carried the rest of the way. On the second day, he again was too weak to walk up the incline to get to the mine. This time, when he fell in the snow, he was left lying there for twelve hours while the other prisoners worked. On their way back to camp, the other POWs picked him up and carried him back. The Japanese decided that he was too ill to work in the mine so they had him make nails from copper wire in the camp.
While working in the mine from November 1944 until August 15, 1945, the POWs were abused by the civilian foreman, Hichiro Tsuchiya, who was known to the POWs as “Patches.” Tsuchiya used any excuse to abuse the POWs. He was known to hit the POWs for no reason in their faces and to also use a wooden club or pickaxe handle. He also used a sledgehammer to hit the POWs on their heads. His parents received a postcard from him in January 1945.
On August 16, the POWs noticed all the guards were gone, and only the camp commander who told them to paint the letters “POW” on the roofs of all the buildings so any planes flying over would know they were there. They were told the war was over on August 20 by the camp commandant in his broken English.
“Peace, peace comes to the world again. It is a great pleasure to me, to say nothing to you, to announce it for all of you now. The Japanese Empire acknowledges the terms of the suspension of hostilities given by the American Government even these two Nations do not still reach the best agreement of a truce. As a true friend from now, I am going to do my best in the future for the convenience of your life in this camp because of having been able to get friendly relations between them, and also the Japanese Government has decided her own Nations policy for your Nation.
“Therefore I hope you will keep as comfortable a daily life by the orders of your own officers from today, while you are here. All of you will surely get much gladness in returning to your lovely country. At the same one of my wishes for you is this: Your health and happiness calls upon you and your life henceforth and they will grow up happier and better than before by the honor of your country.
“In order to guard your life I have been endeavoring my ability, therefore you will please cooperate with me in any way more than usual, I hope.
“I close this statement in letting you know again how peace, the peace has already come.”
It should be noted that nowhere in his speech did the camp commander say that Japan had surrendered.
An American Naval plane flew over the camp on August 27. The pilot dropped a note to the POWs and told them to paint one stripe on the roof of a barrack if they needed medicine, two stripes if they needed food, and three stripes if they needed clothing. The POWs painted one stripe on one barrack, two stripes on another barrack, and three stripes on a third barrack.
When the plane returned. he dropped another note saying that there was no way for him to drop everything, so B -29s would have to drop the supplies. The POWs had no idea what the pilot was talking about. When the B-29s appeared over the camp, the POWs had never seen anything so large in the sky. The POWs received so much food and clothing that they shared it with the Japanese civilians who had been kind to them
On August 28, 29, and September 1, food was dropped near the camp by American planes. The Japanese civilians helped the POWs carry it into the camps. A great number of the former POWs gorged themselves on the food and became sick, but no one became seriously ill. The only thing the civilians were interested in was the silk from the parachutes so that they could make clothing.
A jeep with American Military Police arrived on September 2, 1945. The MPs patrolled the camp and kept the former POWs from leaving until arrangements were made to move the men. On September 11th, the prisoners were sent to Yokohama by train, where they boarded the American hospital ship the U.S.S. Rescue on the 14th. This date also became the date he was officially liberated. On the ship, they received physicals and were processed. In Frank’s case, he weighed 97 pounds when he was liberated. It was at that time that it was decided that he be returned to the Philippines. He was boarded onto the U.S.S. San Juan and taken to Okinawa. From there he was returned to Manila on another ship.
At some point during this time, his parents received a telegram from the War Department.
THE CHIEF OF STAFF DIRECTS ME TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR SON, TEC 4 FRANK GOLDSTEIN HAS BEEN RETURNED TO MILITARY CONTROL AND IS BEING RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE NEAR FUTURE AND WILL BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU UPON HIS ARRIVAL=
ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL.
After recovering in the Philippines, Frank and other former POWs were boarded onto the Dutch ship, the S.S. Klipfontein, and sailed for Seattle, Washington, on October 9. The ship arrived there on October 27, 1945, and the men were disembarked and taken to Ft. Lewis, Washington. It was there that he was sent to Madagan General Hospital for additional medical care. Later, he was sent to a veteran’s hospital closer to home.
Frank returned to Chicago where he worked in the radio industry. He married and became the father of two children and later moved to Monterey, California, where he resided for 25 years. He and his wife returned to the Chicago area to be near their children.
Frank Goldstein passed away on January 21, 2010, and was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.