Miller, Lt. Col. Ernest B.

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Miller E1

Lt. Col. Ernest Brumaghim Miller
Born: 15 September 1898 – Gloversville, New York
Parents: George Miller & Adelaide Brumaghim-Miller
Home: 523 Holly Street – Brainerd, Minnesota
World War I:
Married: Anna M. Hauber – 17 October 1921
Children: 2 daughters, 3 sons
– one son, James, while serving with a tank unit, was Killed in Action on Anzio Beach, Italy
Occupation: civil engineer – State of Minnesota
Enlisted: Minnesota National Guard
– 17 July 1913 – National Guard Bugler
– 15 years old
– 11 March 1922 – Second Lieutenant
– 19 February 1923 – First Lieutenant
– 26 May 1924 – Captain
– Fort Benning, Georgia – training
Mexican Border Campaign – 1916
World War I:
– 30 June 1916 – 17 April 1919
– October 1918 – wounded – Sommepy-Tahure, Argonne, France
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 1941 – Fort Snelling, Minnesota
– went to Fort Lewis, Washington
Promotions:
– 2 June 1941 – Major
– 24 December 1941 – Lieutenant Colonel
– 2 September 1945 – Colonel
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– 82 men passed Army physicals
– the company remained at armory until 19 February 41
– left by train at 12:19 A.M. – 20 February 1941
– arrived at Fort Lewis with two tanks, one reconnaissance car, and six trucks
– described as constantly raining during the winter
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis
– 6:00 A.M. – first call
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – mess
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – mess
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
Units:
– 194th Tank Battalion

Note: On August 15, 1941, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Miller received orders for his battalion 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, whose plane was at a lower altitude, noticed something odd in the water. 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 on it. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.

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

Overseas Duty:
– August 1941
– flew to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, to meet with General Jacob Devers
– Chief of Armored Forces of the United States
– 16 August 1941 – met in a closed meeting with Devers
– 17 August 1941 – flew to Minneapolis, Minnesota
– visited his family
– 18 August 1941
– left to return to Ft. Lewis by plane
– told the Brainerd Daily Dispatch:

“We’re leaving the United States and sailing from San Francisco on or around Sept. 5th — that’s definite. But where we will go, how we will get there and our purpose upon reaching our destination remains a secret I cannot disclose. In fact, there will be no official announcement on these points until our battalion safely reaches its destination.”

He also told the paper about rumors: “There will be countless rumors between now and Sept. 5 and not a single one will be from an official source. While one of the many stories many accidentally hit upon the true spot, it will merely be a coincidence. Our destination is a secret to all but a few and will remain so until we reach it.”

Overseas Duty:
– 4 September 1941
– the battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– Miller was at the station waiting for them
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: Monday – 8 September 1941 – 3:00 P.M.
– Sailed: 9:00 P.M. – same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – same day
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Astoria, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe – a fleet repleshment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Tuesday, 16 September 1941 – ships crossed International Dateline
– became Thursday, 18 September 1941
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– returned to Manila to help 17th Ordnance with the unloading of tanks
– Philippines
– Miller sent his wife this telegram which was dated September 28 and came from the War Department.  “Arrived O.K. Everything fine. Address: Fort Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands.”
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
Work Day:
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. and from 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. 
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
– 18 October 1941 – called wife from the Philippines for 20th wedding anniversary
– 14-hour time difference so it was 17 October 1941 in Brainerd
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
– 10 December 1941
– the battalion sent to Mabalcat
– C Company was sent to Southern Luzon to support troops
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 14 December 1941
– A Co. & D Co., 192nd moved to just north of Muntinlupa
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– Bren gun carriers used to test ground to see if it could support tanks
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24 December 1941
– operating in Hacienda Road area
– 25/26 December 1941
– held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 192nd held from Carmen to Route 3 to Tayug to the northeast of San Quintin
– the 192nd was ordered to withdraw but the 194th did not receive the message
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1st Lt. Harold Costigan informed the tankers they were behind enemy lines and would have to fight their way out
– 1 platoon forced its way through Carmen
– lost two tanks
– one tank belonged to company commander – Captain Edward Burke
– believed dead, but was actually captured
– one tank crew rescued
– new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
– rest of battalion made a dash out
– lost one tank at Bayambang
– another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
– 2nd Lt. Weeden Petree’s platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
– D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
– the tank commander found a crossing
– Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
– 28 December 1941
– Tarlac Line
– most of the battalion withdrew from the line that night
– 29/30 December 1941
– new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30/31 December 1941
– tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
– covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate
– bright moonlight made them easy to see
– tanks opened fire
– Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
– tanks were given to D Company
– nominated for Silver Star
– about the nomination he said:

“For certain things that happened in combat. I can’t tell you at this time just what for and where but it is a coveted thing to have and I’m glad and thank full I could hold up my end of it to that extent.” He continued, “I can’t tell you any news.” And finished the letter with, “I confess this separation and war has made us TRULY appreciative of our homes and loved ones. And with the knowledge that we’re right with God, nothing else matters.”

– 8 January 1942
– composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
– their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from
   driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– a forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– the highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out the gun
– cleared roadblock with support of infantry
– 20 January 1942
– Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching the road
– 26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
– 9:45 A.M. – warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– 10:30 A.M. – Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
– prevented new defensive line that was forming from being breached
– Miller called his tank commanders and radio operators to his half-track
– as he was talking to them they heard the whistling sound of a shell and hit the dirt
– the shell landed a few yards from them
– when they got up, Miller was standing there and said, “Those dirty sons of bitches.”
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
– half-tracks patrolled roads
– maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
– March 1942
– two tanks were bogged down in mud
– the tankers were working to get them out
– Japanese Regiment entered the area
– Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
– wiped out Japanese regiment

On fighting the Japanese, he stated:

“The sky was black with bombers and fighters, not ours. We didn’t have any.

“The Japs threw everything they had at us, and we had nothing to throw back.”

– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– Miller called his tank commanders and radio men together
– told them that they would lunch a counter attack
– When asked by Lt. Ray Bradford where they would form a second line, Miller said,

“There is no second position. We are going to stop the Japs and form a new line of defense.”

– 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. – Miller received this message from General Weaver commander of the Provisional Tank Group Headquarters:

“You will make plans, to be communicated to tank 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 possible thereafter.”

– 10:30 P.M. – decision made to send white flag across the battle line
– 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
– 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
– 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.” 
– King found no choice but to accept him at his word.

Miller would later say of the surrender:

“Finally with men riddle by disease, with no food but a handful of rice a day, suffering from malnutrition, dysentery, malaria, Bataan fell.”

He also said:
“Then Bataan fell and the human footballs of Bataan stumbled into the March of Death.

“Always inside us was the gnawing knowledge that ‘No help had come, No help had come.'”

Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
– Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
– Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
– 10 April 1942
– 7:00 P.M. – started the march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
– 3:00 A.M. – halted and rested for an hour
– 4:00 A.M. – resume march
– at times slipped on remains of the dead who had been killed by Japanese shelling
– 11 April 1942
– 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
– allowed to forage for food
– 9:00 A.M. – resumed march
– Noon – reached Limay and the main road
– officers, majors and up, separated from lower-ranking officers and enlisted men
– Death March
– 4:00 P.M officers put on trucks
– officers arrived at Balanga
– Japanese found a handgun in the field bag of an officer
– he was clubbed and bayoneted
– because of this, they were not fed
– Dusk – officers ordered to form ranks and marched
– marched through Abucay and Samal
– 12 April 1942
– 3:00 A.M. – officers reached Orani
– herded into a fenced-in area and ordered to lie down
– in the morning found they had been lying in human waste
– latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
– Noon – fed rice and salt
– first meal
– Afternoon – lower-ranking officers and enlisted men arrive at Orani
– 6:30 P.M. – ordered to form 100 men detachments
– POWs marched at a faster pace
– fewer breaks
– when given break, the POWs sat on the road
– North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
– made march easier
– 13 April 1942
– 2:00 A.M. – POWs were given an hour rest on the road
– those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
– POWs march through Layac and Lubao
– rains – POWs drank as much as they could
– 4:30 P.M. – reached San Fernando
– POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
– one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
– pottery jars of water given out the same way
– 14 April 1942
– 4:00 A.M. – POWs awakened
– formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
– POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– 100 POWs packed into each car
– POWs who died remained standing since they could not fall to the floors
– 9:00 A.M. – Capas – dead fell to the floors as living left boxcars
– as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
– also gave them water
– POWs walked last 8 kilometers to Camp O’Donnell
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. YoshioTsuneyoshi, 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 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 – 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 this area and the section 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
– to bury the dead, the POWs held the body down with a pole while it was covered with dirt
– the next day when they returned, the bodies often were sitting up in the graves or had been dug up by wild dogs
– 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
– only the sick remained behind at Camp O’Donnell
– May 1942 – His family received a message from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. A. Miller:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest B. Miller, O, 182,955, 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”
 

– Cabanatuan #1
– original name – Camp Panagatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– put into use by the Japanese as a POW camp
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell sent there in an attempt to lower the death rate
– Camp 2: two miles away
– all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
– later used for Naval POWs
– Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
– POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
– 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 since they
  didn’t like the way the POWs lined up
– Work 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 and driven 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 each 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 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
– Work: POWs grew their own food
– July 1942 – the War Department sent Anna Miller a follow-up 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, Lieutenant Colonel Ernest B. Miller 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.”

Transfer:
– 1 November 1942
– 1500 POW names drawn by Japanese
– POWs selected were sent to Japan
– POWs never were told this, they figured it out on their own
– 5 November 1942
– 3:00 A.M. – POWs left camp and marched to the Barrio of Cabanatuan
– before they left camp, they were given their breakfast to take with them
– rice and what the Japanese called a “large piece of meat”
– the piece of meat was two inches square and a quarter-inch thick
– it was large compared to a piece of meat they usually received
– Barrio of Cabanatuan
– boarded train
– 98 POWs were put into each car
– the POWs could move if they worked together
– rode a train to Manila
– arrived at 5:00 P.M.
– marched to Pier 7
– slept on a concrete floor inside a building
Hell Ship:
Nagato Maru
– Boarded: Manila – 6 November 1942 – 5:00 P.M.
– Japanese attempted to put 600 POWs into one hold
– settled for somewhere between 550 and 560
– 9 POWs had to share a 4 foot 9 inch, by 6 foot 2 inch, space
– to sit, POWs had to draw their knees under their chins
– Sailed: 7 November 1942
– two latrines were supposed to service 1500 POWs
– the POWs had to stand in line to use them
– extremely sick could not reach latrines
– tubs put in holds for the sick
– to reach them, they had to walk on other POWs
– floor quickly became covered in human waste
– hold infested with lice, fleas, and roaches
– Meals: no system in place for distribution of food
– the sickest POWs did not eat
– water was almost non-existent
– holds were extremely hot
– POWs were rotated on deck
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 11 November 1942
– stayed three days in the harbor
– POWs were not allowed on deck for short periods of time
– Sailed: 15 November 1942
– Arrived: Mako, Pescadores Islands
– same day
– Sailed: 18 November 1942
– Arrived: Keelung, Formosa – same day
– Sailed: 20 November 1942
– POWs felt explosions from depth charges
– Arrived: Moji – 24 November 1942
– stayed on the ship until 5:00 P.M. the next day
– as they left the ship, POWs received a piece of colored wood
– the color determined what camp the POW was sent to
– POWs deloused and showered after coming ashore
– inoculated
– given new clothing
– POWs ferried to Shimonoseki, Honshu
– boarded train and rode along the northern side of the Inland Sea to Osaka-Kobe Area
– divided into detachments, according to colored wood chips, and sent to camps
– December 1942 – his wife received a message from the War Department that he was a Prisoner of War

“REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR HUSBAND LIEUTENANT COLONEL ERNEST B MILLER IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN PHILIPPINE ISLANDS LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST MARSHALL GENERAL=
        “ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL=”

– within days his wife received this letter from the War Department

“Mrs. Adelaide Miller
523 Holly Street
Brainerd

“The Provost Marshal General directs me to inform you that you may communicate with your husband, postage free, by following the inclosed instructions:

“It is suggested that you address him as follows:

“Lt. Col. Ernest B. Miller, 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.

                                                                                                                                                “Sincerely

                                                                                                                                               Howard F. Bresee
                                                                                                                                               Colonel, CMP
                                                                                                                                               Chief Information Bureau”

POW Camps:
– Japan- Tanagawa Camp
– also known as Osaka #4-B
– Arrived: November 1942
– Work: regardless of rank, the POWs were required to work at removing the side of a mountain for a Japanese Navy dry dock
– in violation of the Geneva Convention.
– Punishment:
– subjected to daily beatings during morning and evening musters
– during many of the beatings, they were forced to stand at attention from 2 to 2½ hours
– sometimes resulting in them not receiving their next meal
– shoes, rifle butts, belts, sticks, shovels, clubs, fists, and even furniture were used in the beatings
– no real reason was needed for the beatings, but a violation of some camp rule usually was the given reason
– POWs were beaten if their detail did not remove their quota a material from the work site
– they failed to meet the quota because they were too hungry and weak to meat the quota
– while being beaten, the POWs were forced to hold a heavy log or rock above their heads.
– January 1943 -selected to be sent to Zentsuji Camp
– also known as Hiroshima #1-B
– Arrived: 15 January 1943
– POWs worked as stevedores
– Sakaide Rail Yards
– Port of Takamatsu
– poor diet resulted in deaths of POWs
– medicine and medical supplies were available to POWs
– Worked at Sakaide Rail Yards and Port of Takamatsu
– POWs worked as stevedores loading and unloading boxcars
– when American planes bombed rail yard, the POWs were locked inside boxcars
– 23 August 1943 – his wife learned he was a Prisoner of War in Osaka, Japan

“REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR HUSBAND LIEUTENANT COLONEL ERNST B MILLER IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN OSAKA JAPAN LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST MARSHALL GENERAL=
        ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL=”

– 25 June 1945 – a large group of POWs transferred from cam
– during the trip, American planes were everywhere
– the Japanese believing the train was going to be strafed, uncouple the engine and left the baggage cars and boxcars the POWs were in as targets
– did this several times
Note: In the camp, two guards were known for their mistreatment of the POWs. One was called “Leatherwrist” and the other was known as “Clubfist” because both men had their right hands injured. The two hit POWs, but since their right hands were of little use, they usually knocked them to the ground and kicked them with hobnail boots. In addition, POWs were often beaten for no apparent reason with kendo sticks, bayonets, and rifle butts.
– of conditions in the camp, he said:
“We slept on the floor in cramped quarters.”
– Red Cross Packages:
“It came through, but the Japs would hold it away from us until the food had spoiled.”
– Mail:
“We did not get much mail. However, it seems that the most important messages from home got through to me.”
Osaka #10-B
– also known as Rokuroshi
– 25 June 1945 – transferred to a new camp
– during the trip, American planes roamed the skies
– when the Japanese believed the train was going to be strafed, they uncoupled the train cars and
– left them sitting on tracks as targets for the planes
– POW food by the end of the war consisted of raw root soup, snakes, cats, and rats
“and cat is not bad food. Surprising how good it was. The cat made the mistake of coming into our prison yard.”
– Japanese got tough when the first atomic bomb was dropped
“They attempted to force officers to perform menial tasks at the point of a bayonet. We sent them a protest. Later, however, just before the surrender, the Nips increased our food supply. Then the B-29 bombers came to fly over and drop food. It was wonderful the boys gorged themselves on fruit. The Japs sent in 14 pounds of fruit for each officer. The boys ate so much food that their stomachs swelled. All looked  – funny.”

– his wife knew that he was in the Hiroshima area and feared he had been a victim of the atomic bomb
– liberated: 7 September 1945
– 8 September 1945 – POWs evacuated from the camp
– rode a train to Yokohama
– 18 September 1945 – his wife received a telegram from the War Department.

“=MRS A MILLER: THE SECRETARY OF WAR HAS ASKED ME TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR HUSBAND, LT COL ERNEST B MILLER WAS RETURNED TO MILITARY CONTROL SEPT 7 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”

– returned to the Philippine Islands
-Transport: U.S.S. Storm King
– Sailed: 2 October 1945
– Arrived: Pearl Harbor: 15 October 1945
– Sailed: 16 October 1945
– Arrived: 20 October 1945 – San Francisco, California
– when the former POWs arrived, a U.S. Army band was playing, “California, Here I Come.”
– the song got many of the POWs emotional
– taken down to the docks and had a meal of hotcakes, jam, butter, and coffee
– returned to Philippine Islands
Transport:
U.S.S. Storm King
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: San Francisco – 15 October 1945
– arrived in San Francisco – 15 October 1945
– taken to Letterman General Hospital
– when the ship sailed his wife received a telegram from the War Department

“Mrs. Ernest Miller
Brainerd Mn

“THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR HUSBAND COLONEL  MILLER ERNEST WAS EVACUATED TO THE UNITED STATES ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL AT SAN FRANCISCO CALIF 15-OCT-45 PERIOD HE WILL BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU UPON ARRIVAL

                                                                                                                                “WITSELL ACTING THE ADJUTANT GENERAL”
Military Career:
– remained in National Guard
– promoted to Brigadier General
Occupation:
– assistant director of the State Department of Aeronautics
– state director of civilian defense – 1950 – 1955
Book: 1949 – Bataan Uncensored
– Miller’s book on the 194th Tank Battalion
Home: White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Died:
– 20 February 1959 – Saint Cloud, Minnesota
– cause of death: cerebral arteriosclerosis
Buried: Fort Snelling National Cemetery
– Plot: B Grave: 373-1
– his grave is near the grave of his son, James, who was killed in WWII

Default Gravesite 1

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