Head, PFC Paul K.

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PFC Paul Kenneth Head
Born: 17 April 1922 – Owensboro, Kentucky
Parents: Forest H. Head and Mary M. Beavin-Head
Siblings: 4 sisters, 1 brother
Occupation: newspaper delivery
Home: 411 Cedar Street – Owensboro, Kentucky
– U.S. Army
– 16 January 1941 – Fort Knox, Kentucky
– Ft. Knox, Kentucky
– electrician
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
Training: Fort Knox, Kentucky
– first six weeks was the primary training
– Week 1: infantry drilling
– Week 2: manual arms and marching to music
– Week 3: machine gun
– Week 4: pistol
– Week 5: M1 rifle
– Week 6: field week – training with gas masks, gas attacks, pitching tents, and hikes
– Weeks 7,8,9: Time was spent learning the weapons, firing each one, learning the parts of the weapons and their functions, field stripping and caring
   for weapons, and the cleaning of weapons
– the company
– Classroom: courses lasted 3 months
– Weapons: soldiers assigned to ordnance issued a pistol, and possibly a machine gun or submachine gun
– Vehicle Training: soldiers attended different schools
– tank maintenance, truck maintenance, scout car maintenance, motorcycle maintenance, and carpentry
– Company’s machine shop, welding shop, and kitchen were all on trucks
– trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
Arkansas Maneuvers
– August 1941 
– A Company of the battalion was recalled to Ft. Knox
Overseas Duty:
– A Company inactivated
– 17 August 1941 – activated as 17th Ordnance Company
– received orders 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, with a flag, in the water. He came upon more flagged buoys that lined up – in a straight line – for 30 miles
   to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundreds of miles away.
– The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do
   anything that day.
– The next day – when planes were sent to the area – the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat – with a tarp covering something on its deck – was
    seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the Air Corps and the Navy was poor, so the boat escaped
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– tanks assigned to the 194th Tank Battalion were on the train
– Arrived: Thursday, 5 September 1941
– spent three days removing the turrets and painting the tanks’ serial numbers on the turrets
– put cosmoline on the guns to prevent rust
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: San Francisco, California – Monday – 8 September 1941
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers were given shore leave for the day
– Sailed: same day
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a fleet replenishment oiler
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– 16 September 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– the date became Thursday – 18 September 1941
– Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands – Friday – 26 September 1941
– Disembarked
– 17th Ordnance remained behind to unload tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– reattached turrets to tanks
– worked in shifts
– slept on ship
– turrets on tanks by 9:00 A.M. the next morning
– rode the bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1942
– that morning the soldiers were laying rocks for sidewalks by their barracks
– informed by their commanding officer, Major. Richard Kadel, about Pearl Harbor
– the company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
– the company set up a bivouac
– set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
– received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
– the alert had been canceled
– lunch had just been served so they remained at the thicket
He said, “We hurried to our barracks and were awaiting the next move of the Japs. We planned to wait until noon, and if there was any further sign of the enemy, we were going to back to our work. However, we hadn’t finished our meal, when we saw a V-formation of planes in the sky. We even saw them drop the bombs on a nearby field.” 
– 12:45 P.M. – Japanese attacked
– sauerkraut and hot dogs flew everywhere
– took cover under their trucks
– the Zeros banked and turned around over the thicket after strafing
– ordered not to fire at them
– one reason was the trucks had the only machines in the Philippines that could make parts for the tanks
– Japanese wiped out Army Air Corps
– dead and wounded were everywhere at the airfield
– after the attack on Clark Field, 17th Ordnance ordered to leave by General James R. N. Weaver to Pulilan
– the company moved as the tanks moved
– the company set up fuel dumps for tanks as they withdrew toward Bataan
– it also converted WWI anti-personnel shells for use by tanks
– the company was never on the front lines but lived with the bombings
– individuals did do tank repairs on the frontlines
– repaired disabled tanks
– converted shells into anti-personnel shells 
– 17th Ordnance was always in the same area where the tanks were fighting
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced tanks of the Provisional Tank Group
– headquartered in an abandoned ordnance depot building
– ammunition dumps surrounded the building
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launched a new offensive with troops brought in from Singapore
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 8 April 1942
– Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight
– he estimated they would last one more day
– In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who 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.
– 6:30 P.M. – order went out. “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.”
– 10:30 P.M. – decision made to send white flag across the battle line
– 11:00 P.M. – the company was given a half-hour to leave the ordnance building
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– 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 white flag was bedding from A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion
– the driver was also from the Provisional Tank Group
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M. – 9 April 1942
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– as King left to negotiate the surrender, he went through the tank group and spoke to them
– he told them he was going to get them the best deal he could get
– he also said, “When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. 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 the 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 inline 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 insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter
– he was accused 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.” 
– Gen. King had to take him at his word
He recalled, “Always there was the order to ‘move back.’ We kept going back, back, back. In the jungle on Bataan, in the humid atmosphere, we fought to the very last, until finally we were cornered. Our commanding officer, Capt. Kadel, told us the morning of April 9, 1942, that we had surrendered. There was nothing else we could do. So we cooked one more good meal. We cooked up everything we had and ate it. It wasn’t a lot for we were very short on food and water. Then we marched to a pass and waited for the Japanese. We waited and waited. Jap planes came over and bombed us, repeatedly. We’d have to run for the bushes. They bombed us for 24 hours after we surrendered and while we were waiting for the Japs to take us where they wanted.”
When asked about how he felt about surrendering, he said, “Well, when I saw the white flag go up, I just sat down and cried. I couldn’t help it. A lot of other guys did too.”
He recalled his last meal as a free man. “Well. We had intended to have hotcakes, and corned beef, and coffee. Then we lined up and waited for the Japs. Finally, near noon the next day, they came, and the march started.”
Prisoner of War
– 10 April 1942
– the March
He said this when asked to describe the march. “You know it’s more like a dream. It’s hard to remember everything. I know we started out walking, with Jap guards around us. We marched five days and during that time they didn’t give us a thing to eat. They changed guards every half hour Some of the guards were inhuman. Some were not so bad, and they would at least let us dip water out of the creeks. Other’s wouldn’t. On the third day, I was so hungry I couldn’t stand it anymore and when we passed a patch of sugar cane, some men and I made a dash for the patch, to break off a piece of cane and eat it. The Japs fired. I don’t know if any meant to kill us or scare us, but any
– POWs started the march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
He said, We didn’t get any food for three or four days, so we had to eat what we could find. We took the banana stalks and ate the inside, as it was sweet. I tried to do as I was told on the march, but the Filipinos caused the trouble. They were up in front, and would refuse to do what the Japs told them.”
– ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
– American artillery returned fire
– saw the bodies of the dead along the road
– when a man fell, the Japanese slapped him, if he did not get up, the bayoneted the man
“We couldn’t stop and help them either, for the Jap s would hit us if we did.”
– did the march with his two friends, Jerry Olson and his brother, Ed.
Recalling the march, he said, “Finally, Jerry’s brother was so weak, he couldn’t go any longer and dropped to the ground. Jerry didn’t dare stop. All he could do was quickly exchange canteens, leaving his full canteen for his brother, and take his brother’s empty one. He never heard any more of his brother.”
– San Fernando – POWs packed into small wooden boxcars
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– Capas – POWs leave boxcars – dead fall-out of cars
– POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O’Donnell
Asked to describe the march, he said, “You know it’s more like a dream. It’s hard to remember everything. I know we started out walking, with Jap guards around us. We marched for five days and during that time they didn’t give us anything to eat. They changed guards every half hour. Some of the guards were inhuman. Some were not so bad, and they would at least let us dip water out of the creeks. Others wouldn’t. On the third day, I was hungry, I could stand it any more and when we passed a patch of sugarcane, some men and I made a dash for the patch to break off a piece of cane and eat it. The Japs fired. I don’t know if they meant to kill us or scare us, but anyway I got back in line.”
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– Camp O’Donnell
– 1 April 1942 – put into use as a POW camp by Japanese
– Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
– POWs searched upon arrival at camp
– those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
– sent to guardhouse
– over several days, gunshots heard southeast of the camp
– POWs who had money on them had been executed
– Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
– since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
– clothing was taken from dead
– few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
– POWs were not allowed to bathe
– only one water spigot for the entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– POWs were not allowed to bathe
– only one water spigot for the entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and the next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for the water to be turned on again
– the Japanese always had a sufficient supply of water
– it was believed the water shortage was intentional
– the situation improved when a second spigot was added
– Breakfast – ½ cup of soupy rice and occasionally they got some sort of coffee
– Lunch – ½ mess kit of steamed rice and a ½ cup of sweet potato soup
– Dinner – the same as lunch
– mess kits could not be cleaned
– POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
– second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
– slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
– flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
– the camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
– the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never
  to write another letter
– Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs were their names and numbers when they died
– refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
– 95% of the medicine sent by the Philippine Red Cross in a truck was taken by the Japanese for their own use
– a second truck of medicine sent by the Red Cross was turned away
– the Japanese took what they wanted from the cookies and fruit brought by the Philippine Red Cross for the POWs and gave what was left to the POWs
– POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow
– the floor was covered in human waste
– there were only primitive supplies improvised by the POWs to clean the floor
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic out of six medics – assigned to care for 50 sick POWs in the hospital –  was well enough to work
– as many as 50 POWs died each day
– the floor was covered with human excrement 
– the POWs made improvised cleaners to clean it
– each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
– in an attempt to stop the spread of disease, the dead were moved to one area
– the ground under the hospital was scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had lain was scraped and covered with lime
– usually the dead were not buried for two or three days
– Barracks:
– inadequate number of barracks
– POWs slept under buildings and on the ground
– those who did sleep in a building slept as many as 80 POWs in buildings designed to house 40 men
– Work Details:
– if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
– the less sick from the hospital had to dig latrines
– given one canteen of water that was expected to last for three days
– on the details, they did road construction, loading, and unloading trucks, and carrying goods on their backs
– men returned to camp and died
Burial Detail:
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and/or malaria
– the next morning the dead were often sitting up in the graves
– wild dogs dug up the dead
– Bridge Detail:
– volunteered to go out on detail to get out of the camp
“I did this because I figured I would get better food if I worked for the Japs. The work was hard and I had to cut trees, carry cement, and do other hard work. The food was only a little better. Then my feet began to swell and I couldn’t work. They sent me to a small camp nearby where there were only 85 men. I was unable to work, all I could do is lie around. At night, other men and I would sneak out to huts of Filipinos and they would have gunny sacks of food ready for us. We’d take it back to the camp. In the camp, the only food the Japs gave us was rice and dried fish full of maggots. Of course, we ate it. For Breakfast, they gave us gourd soup.”

– in May, his family received a letter from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. M. Head:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee if Private First Class Paul K. Head, 15,047,661, 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”

– sent to Cabanatuan when detail ended
– Cabanatuan #1
– original name – Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– put into use by the Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in an attempt to lower the death rate
– Camp 2: two miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor sent there
– camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
– Corregidor POWs were in better shape
– POWs from Camp 3 later consolidated into Camp 1
– Camp Administration:
– the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
– Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
– 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
– bunked with Jerry Olson and Walter Vaughn
– Morning Roll Call:
– stood at attention
– frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
– 26 May 1942 until November 1942
– when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards to kick the POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots
– did this if they didn’t like how the line looked
– they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
– Meals:
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– Work Details:
– Two main details
– the farm and airfield
– farm detail
– POWs cleared land and grew camotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
– Japanese took what was grown
– Guards:
– Big Speedo – spoke little English
– in charge of the detail
– fair in the treatment of POWs
– spoke little English
– to get POWs to work faster said, “speedo”
– Little Speedo
– also used “speedo” when he wanted POWs to work faster
– punished the POWs by making them kneel on stones
– Smiley
– always smiling
– could not be trusted
– meanest of guards
– Airfield Detail:
– Japanese built an airfield for fighters
– POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
– at first moved dirt in wheelbarrows
– later pushed mining cars
– Guards:
– Air Raid
– in charge
– usually fair but unpredictable
– had to watch him
– Donald Duck
– always talking
– sounded like the cartoon character
– unpredictable – beat POWs
– POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
– at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
– POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
– Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
– worked 6 days a week
– had Sunday off
– Other Details:
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
– 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 their heads to drive their faces deeper into the
– 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
– selected for a work detail to move houses
– POWs had to move 15 houses up a hill
– hit by a guard
He said about it, “I had been put to work helping move houses up to a hill. It took 100 men to move a house up a hill and across a road. There were 15 houses. I had worked so hard, I could hardly go on and one of the Japs in charge of us thought I was not lifting as much as I should, so he just hit me. He hit me with a whip that had a spur on the end of it. By that time I got to the point that I didn’t care what happened to me.”
– Burial Detail:
– volunteered to work detail
– the cemetery had a high water table
– the graves flooded and the dead were pushed down into the graves with poles 
– another POW covered them with dirt
Of this, he said, “Someone had to do it. We tried to be careful and took all sorts of precautions about identification. We’d have to dig graves and put as many as 8 to 12 in one grave. The places where we’d dig the graves were half full of water. It was so wet and swampy that many times we’d have to go back and keep filling in the graves, as the bodies would gradually work to the top through the water and mud.” One day his friend Gerald Olson, came down with dysentery. Of this, he said, “Yes, I helped bury Jerry.”
– July 1942 – diphtheria spread throughout the camp
– 130 POWs died before the Japanese released any anti-toxin for treatment
– July 1942 – his parents received a second letter from the War Department. 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, Private First Class Paul K. Head 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.”

– Hospital:
– hospitalized – Friday, 17 July 1942 – dysentery and malaria
– discharged – 2 October 1942
– he said he was fortunate because he was healthy enough to recover
His other good friend, Walter Vaughn also became ill. “He smoked a pipe and wanted some tobacco. I traded some of my possessions for two packages of cigarettes and put them under my pillow, one for Walter and one for me. When I went to get them, to take one to Walter, they were gone, they were gone. Someone had taken them.”
– 12 September 1942 – three POWs escaped
– 21 September 1942 – recaptured and brought back to the camp
–  their feet were tied together
– their hands were crossed behind their backs and tied with ropes
– a long rope was tied around their wrists and they were suspended from a rafter
–  their toes barely touched the ground
– their arms bore all the weight of their bodies
– they were subjected to severe beatings by the Japanese guards
– the punishment lasted three days
– tied hand and foot and placed in the cooler for 30 days
– the diet was rice and water
– one of the three POWs was severely beaten by a Japanese lieutenant
– 29 September 1942 – three POWs executed by the Japanese
– stopped by American security guards
– the guards were to stop escapes so other POWs would no be executed
– the Japanese heard the commotion
– during questioning, the POWs were severely beaten for two and a half hours
– one man’s jaw was broken
– taken to the main gate and tied to posts
– their clothing was torn off them
– beaten for the next 48 hours
– at the end of three days, they were cut down and thrown into a truck
– POWs were shot in a clearing in sight of the camp
– Port Area Detail – Manila
– POWs worked on docks as stevedores
– on detail for 14 months
– one POW built a radio in his canteen so that they could get news
– first American planes
Of this, he said, “It was on Sept. 22, 1944, we were standing outside when we saw planes fly overhead, and some anti-aircraft fire. We were told it was just anti-aircraft practice. Then we saw the planes bank and drop bombs. We really shouted. By that time the Japanese herded us back on our barracks and locked us in. After that, there were frequent bombings and we saw fires. We knew that the Americans were not so very far away.”
– suffered from beriberi
– had trouble walking and seeing
– sent to Fort McKinley
– Ft. McKinley
– October 1944
– weighed 85 pounds when he got there
– POWs kept a garden to supplement their diet
– the POWs were sent to Bilibid before they harvested the garden
He said, “We had a large garden, and the vegetables were just beginning to come through the ground when the Japs moved us back to Bilibid. We began to suspect something and had a feeling all was not going well with the Japs and their war. Once in a while some of our boys would find a Japanese paper in the garbage, and in that way, we learned that the Americans had landed on Luzon.”
– Bilibid Prison
– POWs left behind were “too ill” to be sent to Japan
– one night the POWs heard the distance rumbling of guns
– the sound got closer and closer
– the Japanese guards quickly left and told POWs not to leave the prison
– Port Area
– loaded and unloaded ships
About the detail, he said, “Sometimes we worked all day and all night loading and unloading ships. Then we would get half a day off.”
– detail ended and he was returned to Bilibid
– he was considered “too ill” to be sent to Japan
– the POWs had heard rumors that Cabanatuan had been liberated
– 2 February 1945 – the last POW died of dysentery
– 10:30 P.M. – the POWs heard small and large dentations to the southeast that lasted over an hour
– the men began to believe it was just a matter of days until they were liberated
– 3 February 1945 – was a normal day
– POWs went about the prison performing their chores
– told each other the latest rumors as they ate their evening meal
– It was at that time that six American planes flew over the compound
– the planes flew over very low and very slow
– 6:00 P.M. –  evening roll call
– 6:30 P.M. – they heard the sound of artillery in the distance
– next, they heard heavy machine-gun fire
– the sound got closer and closer and closer
– All hell broke loose
– there was light artillery fire or fire from tanks
– there also was heavy machine-gun and light machine-gun fire, rifle fire, and pistol fire all coming from the north and east of the prison.
– At 10:30 P.M., the electricity went out
– The POWs heard the sound of guns and the ammunition dumps going up.
– They heard the sound of moving tanks, artillery fire, and small arms explosions
– lasted until 2:00 A.M.
– everything got quiet except for heavy artillery that could be heard in the distance
 – 4 February 1945
– the POWs talked about what they had heard
– They also noticed that the Japanese guards seemed to be getting ready to leave.
– The senior American medical officer was called to the Japanese commanding officer’s office 
– he was told that they were freeing the POWs.
– he also told them to stay inside the prison
– a typed document stating the Japanese were releasing the POWs was posted

“1. The Japanese army is now going to release all prisoners of war and internees here on its own accord.

”2. We are assigned to another duty and shell be here no more.

“3. You are at liberty to act and live as free persons but you must be aware of probable dangers if you go out.

“4. We shall leave here foodstuffs, medicines, and other necessities of which you may avail yourselves for the time being.

“5. We have arranged to put signboard at the front gate bearing the following context: ‘Lawfully released prisoners of war and interests are
     quartered here. Please do not molest them unless they make positive resistance.’”

– At 11:45 A.M., the Japanese left, and the POWs posted their own guards and waited for the American to arrive.
– The POWs had three good meals that day and noted that a small American plane flew over the prisoner repeatedly that day.
– 6:00 P.M. – A wooden shutter on one of the walls was knocked down by a rifle butt.
– soldiers in funny-looking uniforms entered the prison
– American troops who had completely surrounded the prison and had been trying to get in to see what was inside.
– At first, the POWs thought the soldiers were Germans
– they had strange their helmets and uniforms
– when the soldiers spoke to them in English the POWs knew that they had been liberated.
– after being liberated it was discovered the Japanese had wired the prison with bombs with timers
– the power being knocked out which stopped the timers from working
– Paul recalled, “I was in bed when two American soldiers crept into our barracks and told us to be quiet, as there might be some shooting. We all gathered around them and began asking about things back in the states. But it didn’t take us long to learn the men didn’t know anything more than we did, for they hadn’t been in the States since 1941 and 1942. They had come up from New Guinea. “
– The POWs remained in the prison
– the belief was that the Japanese may attempt to retake the prison
– The 37th Infantry Division from Ohio came to the compound and visited the POWs.
– followed by 148th Infantry, 7th Division.
– The Americans gave their cigarettes and K rations to the former POWs and seemed unable to do enough for them.
– They even gave the former POWs their whiskey, beer, and cigars that the Filipinos had given them.
– 5 February – 9:00 P.M. – there was gunfire on three sides of the prison
– the decision was made to move the former POWs to the Ang Tibay shoe factory on the outskirts of Manila
– The members of the 148th Infantry carried POWs out on litters
– they were evacuated in ambulances and on jeeps.
– The soldiers also helped the weak onto trucks
– they made sure that all the POWs were out of Bilibid
– the evacuation was completed by 11:35  P.M.
– The former POWs were moved to a brewery and drank beer at the brewery 
– 6 February – the former POWs were ordered back to Bilibid since it had better sanitary facilities.
–  they found it had been looted and much of their personnel effects were gone.
– They received their first American food that morning which was canned ham and eggs, cereal milk, K biscuits, butter, jam, and coffee with milk and sugar.
– 9 February – The seriously ill who needed better medical treatment were sent to Santo Tomas
– 10 February – more men were sent there
– those men not able to make the trip were sent to Quezon Institute
– the remainder transferred to the 12th Replacement Battalion 
When asked how he felt, he said, “Well, we were happy, of course, after what we had been through from the time we surrendered, well there wasn’t much emotion left in us. I know the first night we were in the American camp, they kept the camp kitchen open all night so that we could eat any time we felt like it. That was the first taste of real food.”
– POWs were taken by plane to Leyte, Philippine Islands
– boarded a landing barge and taken to the ship that was taking them back to the States
“That was our first glimpse of a landing barge. You know they didn’t have landing barges when we were fighting. You know they didn’t have landing barges when we were fighting.”
S.S. Monterey
– Sailed – Manila – Saturday, 24 February 1945
– had a dance on the ship, but he could not dance because of the beriberi
– walking barefoot was the best he could do
– Arrived: San Francisco, California – Friday, 16 March 1945
– taken to Letterman General Hospital for further medical care
Home: Tuesday,25 March 1945
– 10-day furlough
– on being home he said, “Yes. things have changed, Mama’s hair is a little grayer. Papa looks older too, and the kids, my how they have grown.”
Discharged: October 1945
Selective Service Registration: 26 October 1945
– registered because he had not registered before the war
– registration indicated he had been discharged from the military
– 6 April 1988 – Daviess County, Kentucky
Buried: Rosehill Elwood Cemetery, Owensboro, Kentucky

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