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McKenzie, Pfc. Charles D.

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Pfc. Charles Doyle McKenzie

Born: 10 February 1924 – Greenup County, Kentucky
Parents: Ray McKenzie & Virgie Clark-McKenzie
Education:
– left high school after one year
Enlisted:
– 13 January 1941 – Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky
– lied about his age – claimed his birthday was 10 February 1922
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– serviced tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions
Training:
– 19th Ordnance Battalion
– trained alongside the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox
– taught how to maintain 57 vehicles in use by the Army
– learned to repair and maintain guns
– 17th Ordnance Company
– 17 August 1941 – the company was created from A Company of 19th Ordnance
– received orders for overseas duty the same day
Note: The decision for this move – which had been made on August 15, 1941, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky – was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance. He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island which was hundreds of miles away. The island had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day. The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat – with a tarp on its deck – which was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
– traveled by train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: Thursday, 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– removed turrets from tanks of the 194th Tank Battalion
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: San Francisco, California – Monday – 8 September 1941
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M.
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers given shore leave for the day
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M.
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke seen on horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– 16 September 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– 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 that night
– finished attaching turrets at 9:00 A.M. the next day
– rode bus to Ft. Stotsenburg
– serviced tanks of Provisional Tank Group
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 8 December 1942 – lived through Japanese attack on Clark Field
– company went to a bamboo thicket where they could disperse vehicles
– company set up bivouac
– set up machine shop trucks, half-tracks, and trucks
– received orders to return to Ft. Stotsenburg
– 12:45 P.M. – Japanese attacked
– Japanese wipe out Army Air Corps
– dead and wounded were everywhere
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1942 – 6 January 1942
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– 17th Ordnance worked to keep the tanks of the 192nd & 194th Tank Battalions running
– company headquartered in ordnance depot building which was empty
– repaired tanks damaged by Japanese or tank crews
– 8 April 1942
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.”
– 10:30 P.M. – Gen. King announced that further resistance would result in the massacre of
    6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000 civilians
– less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
– he estimated they could hold out one more day
– sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps blown up
Prisoner of War
– 9 April 1942
– Death March
– started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor
– American Artillery returned fire
– knocked out three Japanese guns
– San Fernando – POWs put into small wooden boxcars
– each car could hold eight horses or forty men
– Japanese packed 100 POWs into each boxcar
– POWs who died remained standing
– Capas – POWs leave boxcars – dead fall-out of cars
– walked last ten miles to Camp O’Donnell
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– Camp O’Donnell
– 1 April 1942 – unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
– Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
– POWs searched upon arrival at camp
– those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
– sent to guardhouse
– over several days, gunshots heard southeast of the camp
– POWs who had money on them had been executed
– Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused
   to return it
– since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
– clothing was taken from dead
– few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
– POWs were not allowed to bathe
– only one water spigot for entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as
   4 hours for 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
– 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 camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough
   to work
– as many as 50 POWs died each day
– each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
– ground under hospital was scrapped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was
   scrapped 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 new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out 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
– train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– Cabanatuan #1
– original name – Camp Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– put into use by Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in attempt to lower 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 detail
– fair in 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
– fair in treatment of POWs
– 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
– 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 cemetery at a time in litter
– 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 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 bottom tier
– each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
– Zero Ward
– given 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
Hell Ship:
Nissyo Maru
– Friday – 17 July 1944 – POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M.
– Boarded ship: same day
– Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
– when they couldn’t, they put 900 POWs in the forward hold
– 600 POWs held in rear hold
– Sailed: Manila – same day
– dropped anchor at breakwater until 23 July 1944
– POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in the ship’s
   hold
– POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of water each
   day
– 23 July 1944 – 8:00 A.M. – ship moved to area off Corregidor and dropped anchor
– Sailed: Monday – 24 July 1944 – as part of a convoy
– some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
– convoy attacked by American submarines
– four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
– a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – Friday – 28 July 1944 – 9:00 A.M.
– Sailed: same day – 7:00 P.M.
– 30 July 1944 – 2 August 1944 – sailed through storm
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – Thursday night – 3 August 1944 – midnight
– POWs issued new clothing
– Disembarked: 4 August 1944 – 8:00 A.M.
– POWs disembarked and taken to movie theater
– sat in the dark
– later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
– taken by train to POW camps along train lines
– POWs arrived at Fukuoka Train Station
POW Camp:
– Japan:
Nagoya #2
– also known as Narumi Camp
– POW: 161
– Work: Daido Electric Steel Company
– Nippon Wheel Manufacturing Company
– manufactured steel wheels
– most did common labor
– those with machinist skills went to work in machine shop
– work day 6 to 8 hours
– many of the Japanese workers were former Japanese Army
– most were considered too ill to continue fighting
– POWs rode electric train to and from mill
-1945 – mill destroyed in air raid
– POWs put to work cleaning up debris
– Clothing:
– POWs issued uniforms, raincoats, and canvas shoes when they arrived at the camp
– later no additional clothing would be given to the POWs
– Japanese misappropriated Red Cross clothing and shoes
– Food:
– decent when POWs arrived at camp
– as war went on, the POWs received less food
– sat around and talked about food
– insufficient clean water supply was always an issue in the camp
– Barracks:
– 40 feet long and 25 feet wide
– poorly built
– no insulation and cold during winter
– 3 charcoal pits for heat and two broken stoves which could not be used
– platform for sleeping
– each POW had a 6 foot long by 3 foot wide area to sleep in on a straw mat
– to meet number of POWs needed to meet the work quota, the sick POWs
   who could walk were forced to work
– barracks damaged in December 1944 air raid
– Japanese refused to repair roof
– Punishment:
– at first, the Japanese appeared to be pretty tolerant of POWs
– December 1944 – air raid on area killed civilians and one guard
– general treatment of POWs changed
– Japanese became extremely brutal
– especially beatings of POWs caught stealing food
– punishment consisted of the POWs being beaten, kicked, stripped of clothing, standing
   at attention for long periods of time
– POWs tied with rope in a crouching position and left for as long as 24 hours
– POWs who stole food received extreme beatings
– one POW who had attempted to steal food from the camp kitchen was caught
– he attempted to kill himself
– the Japanese treated him until he recovered
– they tortured him to death
– four POWs were caught stealing food
– beaten with broom handles
– Collective Punishment:
– Japanese wanted POWs to sign letter to International Red Cross condemning bombings
– majority of POWs refused
– Japanese slapped every POW in the face with a rubber sole shoe
– still refused to sign letter
– Medical Treatment:
– inadequate supplies
– Red Cross medicine misappropriated
Liberated: 4 September 1945
– returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
U.S.S. Gospar
– Sailed: Manila – 24 September 1945
-Arrived: Seattle, Washington – 12 October 1945
– sent to Madigan General Hospital – Ft. Lewis, Washington
Discharged: 28 May 1946
Married: Patricia Jean Perry
Residence: Kentucky
Died: 16 March 1977
Buried:
– Bellefonte Memorial Gardens – Flatwoods, Kentucky

 

McKenzie, Pfc. Charles D. 1 - Bataan Project

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