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Kubly, PFC Robert C.

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Kublyr

PFC Robert C. Kubly
Born: 31 March 1913 – Monticello, Wisconsin
Parents: Conrad & Emma Kubly
– father died during the 1920s
– moved to Center, Wisconsin
– living in Portage, Wisconsin – when he was inducted
Siblings: 4 sisters
Hometown: Evansville, Wisconsin
Occupation: farm hand
Enlisted: Wisconsin National Guard
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 25 November 1940 – Janesville, Wisconsin
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– attended cook’s school
– A Company’s mess sergeant
– Camp Polk, Louisiana
Overseas Duty:
– battalion travels by train, over four different train routes to San Francisco, California
– taken to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay by the ferry the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– October 25 & 26 – physicals were given by battalion’s medical detachment
– some men released and replaced
– others held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
– Boarded: U.S.S. General H. L. Scott – Monday – 27 October 1941
– Sailed: same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Sunday – Sunday – 2 November 1941
– arrived in the morning
– soldiers receive shore leave
– Sailed: Wednesday – 5 November 1941
– took a southern route away from main shipping lanes
– joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the transport, S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– smoke was seen on the horizon
– Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it intercepted the ship
– the ship was from a neutral country
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– soldiers woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– Arrived: Guam
– shiploads vegetables, bananas, water, coconuts put on the ship
– Sailed: next day
– Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands – Thursday – 20 November 1941
– entered bay – 8:00 A.M.
– disembarked in the afternoon
– battalion rode buses to Fort Stotsenburg
– tanks unloaded by 17th Ordnance
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– 12 December 1941 – Barrio of Dau
– guarded a road and railway
– 23/24 December 1941
– Urdaneta. Pangatian Province
– while outside barrio the company’s commander Captain Walter Write was killed
– because the tanks were not allowed to withdraw, they almost were captured
– tanks made an end run to a bridge in the Bayambang Province over the Agno River
– 25 December 1941 – tanks held south bank of Agno River from Carmen to Tayong
– asked to hold the position for six hours
– held the position until 5:30 A.M. until December 27
– prevented Japanese from crossing river
– A Company attached to 194th – east of Pampanga
– 30 December 1941
– bivouacked on the road east of Zaragoza
– Japanese bicycle battalion rode into bivouac
– when the last bicycle goes past tanks, the tankers fired
– tankers wiped out the Japanese
– 2nd Lt. William Read killed in action during withdraw from the area
– 1 January 1942
– tanks held the bridge which allowed troops from southern Luzon to escape toward Bataan
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– 23 January 1942 – 17 February 1942
– Battle of the Pockets
– wiped out Japanese troops cut off behind the main line of defense after a failed Japanese offensive
– Two methods used to do this:
– one method had three Filipinos riding on the back of the tanks
– each had a sack of hand grenades
– as tank went over each foxhole, they drop three grenades into it
– since the grenades were from WWI, one out three usually exploded
– the second method was for the tank to park with one track over the foxhole
– the driver gave power to the opposite track which caused the tank to go in a circle and dug lower into the ground
– the tankers slept upwind from their tanks because of rotting flesh in the tracks
– the Japanese attempted to knock out the tanks with gasoline
– a soldier attempted to board the tank and dump the gasoline in its vents to light on fire
– tank crews machine-gunned them before they reached the tank
– those who made it to a tank were shot by the crew of another tank
– the tank crews did not like to do this because it caused the rivets in the hauls to pop wounding the crew members
– 27 January 1942
– tanks held the position for six hours to allow a new line of defense to form
– tanks and self-propelled mounts inflict 50% casualties on three Japanese units
– 28 January 1942 – beach duty
– March 1942
– gasoline ration cut
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched a major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 7 April 1942
– Japanese breakthrough line east of Mount Samat
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 8 April 1942
– General Edward King
– had 6,000 wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared would be slaughtered
– had enough troops to fight for one more day
– made the decision to negotiate surrender terms
-issued 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.”
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– approximately 6:45 A.M. – received “crash” order
– Prisoner of War
– Death March
POW Camps:
– Philippine Islands:
– Camp O’Donnell
– 1 April 1942 – unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
– Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
– POWs searched upon arrival at camp
– those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
– sent to guardhouse
– over several days, gunshots heard southeast of the camp
– POWs who had money on them had been executed
– Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
– since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
– clothing was taken from dead
– few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
– POWs were not allowed to bathe
– only one water spigot for the entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and the next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for the water to be turned on again
– mess kits could not be cleaned
– POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
– second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
– slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
– flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
– the camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
– the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never to
  write another letter
– Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
– refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
– 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
– POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic out of six medics – assigned to care for 50 sick POWs in the hospital – was well enough to work
– as many as 50 POWs died each day
– each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
– the ground under hospital was 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 not buried for two or three days
– work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out the gate and marched toward Capas
– Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
– the guards did not stop them
– At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
– the train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembarked the train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
Scrap Metal Detail – San Fernando
– POWs tied disabled vehicles together with ropes and tied a rope to an operating vehicle
– POWs steered each vehicle as they were pulled to San Fernando
– from San Fernando, the vehicles were taken to Manila to be sent to Japan as scrap metal
– became ill and sent to the hospital
– Pampanga Provincial Hospital suffering from dysentery & malaria
– discharged – 10 October 1942
– admitted to Ward 8 – Bilibid Prison
– malaria
– sent to Cabanatuan
In May 1942, his family received this letter from the War Department.

“According to War Department records you have been designated as the emergency addressee of PFC Robert C. Kubly, who according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
“We deeply regret that it is impossible for us to give you more information. 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 of other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese government has indicated its intentions of conforming to the terms of the Geneva convention with respects 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 the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received. It is hoped that the Japanese government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At this time you will be notified by this office in the event his name (Robert C. Kubly) is contained in the list of prisoners of war.”

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

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, PFC Robert C. Kubly 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.”

– Cabanatuan #1
– original name – Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– 1 June 1941 – put into use by the Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in an attempt to lower the death rate
– Camp 2: two miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
– camp created to keep Corregidor POWs separated from Bataan POWs
– Corregidor POWs were in better shape
– January 1943 – POWs from Camp 3 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
– POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
– Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
– Japanese beat them for days
– executed them
– Blood Brother Rule
– POWs put into groups of ten
– if one escaped the others would be executed
– housed in same barracks
– worked on details together
– Barracks:
– each barracks held 50 men
– often held between 60 and 120 men
– slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
– diseases spread easily
– no showers
– Morning Roll Call:
– stood at attention
– frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
– when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their shins with their
  hobnailed boots because they didn’t like the way the POWs lined up
– 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
– fair in the treatment of POWs
– also used the word to get the POWs to work faster
– 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 to drive them deeper into the mud
– the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
– if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn’t doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
– many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
– Burial Detail
– POWs worked in teams of four
– carried 4 to 6 dead to the cemetery at a time in litters
– a grave contained from 15 to 20 bodies
– daily POW meal
– 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– rice was the main staple, few vegetables or fruits
– Camp Hospital:
– 30 Wards
– each ward could hold 40 men
– frequently had 100 men in each
– two tiers of bunks
– sickest POWs on the bottom tier
– each POW had a 2 foot by 6-foot area to lie in
– Zero Ward
– given the name because it had been missed when counting wards
– became ward where those who were going to die were sent
– fenced off from other wards
– Japanese guards would not go near it
– POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving
– medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
– many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
– went out on work detail
– Bilibid Prison
– Admitted: not known
– malaria
– Discharged: 17 May 1943
– Cabanatuan
– sent back to camp after he was discharged from the hospital
Hell Ship:
Taga Maru – ship was also known as Coral Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 20 September 1943
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 23 September 1943
– Sailed: Takao – 26 September 1943
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 5 October 1943
POW Camp:
– Japan:
Sakurajima
– Work: Osaka Iron Works
– the camp was destroyed in the air raid
Nagoya #9
– 29 May 1945 – 5 September 1945
– Work: Stevedores Iwase docks
– Camp had a ten-foot fence around it
– Work:
– POWs worked as stevedores on docks loading and unloading ships
– the workday went from 7:00 A.M.to 6:30 P.M.
– 1 hour for lunch and two half-hour breaks
– when docks were busy, 100 POWs returned at 8:00 P.M. and worked to midnight or 4:00 A.M.
– 100 POWs worked in the camp garden
– Barracks:
– 100 feet long by 24 feet wide
– two tiers of platforms around the perimeter for sleeping
– POWs slept on straw mats
– eight-foot wide aisle down the middle of barracks
– floors were dirt
– Meals:
– six POWs assigned to the kitchen
– primarily rice, wheat, and soybeans
– sometimes vegetables like onions or daikons a Japanese beet
– fish that was fried or in a soup
– Clothing:
– provided by the Japanese Army
– many POWs wore Japanese Army uniforms and the traditional Japanese shoe, the geta
– those who still had GI shoes were given leather to repair them
– Work Clothes: straw shoes, hats, raincoats that were used at work
– Work:
– most of the POWs walked three-quarters of a mile and worked on the docks loading and unloading coal, rice, and beans
– worked from 7:30 A.M. until 6:30 P.M.
– received an hour lunch and two half-hour breaks
– when the port was extremely busy, 100 POWs worked from 8:00 P.M. until midnight or 4:00 A.M.
– Punishment:
– collective punishment practiced toward the POWs
– usually involved stealing rice or beans at docks
– on occasion, the POWs were denied coal, during the winter, for 7 days because one POW broke a rule
– on another occasion, 15 POWs were accused of stealing rice from sacks they were unloading from a ship
– when they returned to camp, they were forced to kneel for 1½ to 5 hours to get them to confess
– six of the fifteen men confessed and the remainder were fed and sent to the barracks
– when the camp commandant left at 8:00 P.M. the men sent to their barracks were called outside
– they were ordered to stand at attention and were beaten with pickax handles, rope, that was about 3 inches round and 5 feet long, clubs, and farrison
  belts across their buttocks, faces, and legs
– one POW said he was hit 150 times on his face and 20 times on his buttocks
– POWs often were kicked with hobnailed boots
– POWs who passed out were thrown into a large tub of water – with their hands and feet
   bound – or they had water poured on them to revive them
– when they were revived, they were beaten again
– Red Cross Boxes:
– the Japanese misappropriated the canned meats, canned fruits, cigarettes, medicine, and medical supplies
– also used Red Cross clothing and shoes
– Hospital:
– 42-foot long by 24-foot wide area at the end of barracks was walled off to create one
– had beds for 20 patients
– on average 100 POWs were sick each day
– American doctor, four American medics, and a Japanese medical technician
– the American doctor was a dentist
– pneumonia killed many POWs
– men suffering from dysentery and diarrhea not considered ill and had to work
– beaten with shovels to get them to work
– meal rations cut
– 16 August 1945 – all medical records destroyed
– Burials:
– bodies put in a 4 foot square by two-foot-tall wooden box with handles
– carried to crematorium behind a Buddhist priest, wearing white and gold robes, from the
   local village
– ashes returned to camp in 4-inch square by 12-inch high wooden box
– man’s name and serial number on the box
– given to camp commandant who kept it in his office
Liberated: 5 September 1945
– returned to the Philippines

His parents received a telegram from the War Department:

“Mr. & Mrs. Kubly: The secretary of war has asked me to inform you that your son, PFC Robert C. Kubly was returned to military control Sept. 5 and is being returned to the United States within the near future. He will be given the opportunity to communicate with you upon his arrival if he has not already done so.

“E. F. Witsell

“Acting Adjutant General of the Army”

Promoted: Sergeant
Sailed: Manila – U.S.S. Yarmouth
Arrived: San Francisco – 8 October 1945
Discharged: 14 May 1946
Married: Josephine Soderstrom
– 27 November 1945 – Rockford, Illinois
Children:1 daughter
– died as infant
– 1 son
Residence:
– moved to California in 1948
Died:
– 7 December 2004 – Ontario, California

 

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