Miller, Pvt. John B.

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Pvt. John Bergene Miller
Born: 18 August 1918 – Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas
Parents: Thomas B. Miller and Ida D. Scott-Miller
Siblings: 5 brothers, 1 sister
Nickname: “J.B.”
Hometown: Brownwood, Texas
– U. S. Army
– 5 January 1941 – Torrent Airfield – Fort Worth, Texas
– Ft. Knox, Kentucky
– Basic Training
– the training was done with First Armored Division
– soldiers rushed through basic 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 
– trained with gas masks and for gas attacks
– pitched tents
– took hikes
– Weeks 7: Time was spent learning the weapons
– fired each one
– learned the parts of the weapons and their functions
– field stripped weapons
– learned how to care for weapons
– learned how to clean the weapons
– Typical Day 
– 6:15 with reveille
– most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress 
– 7:00 to 8:00 – Breakfast 
– 8:00 to 8:30 – calisthenics 
– Afterward, the tankers went to various schools within the company 
– medics received training from Army doctors since it believed in hands-on training
– some classes were available, but it is not known if he took any
– 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess –
– Noon to 1:00 P.M. – mess 
– Afterward, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13, such as mechanics, tank driving, radio operating. 
– 4:30 – the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms 
– 5:00 – retreat
– 5:30 – dinner 
– After dinner, they were off duty 
– 9:00 P.M. – lights were out 
– soldiers but did not have to turn in 
– 10:00 P.M. – Taps was played 
– Camp Polk, Louisiana
– 753rd Tank Battalion
– assigned to the battalion as a medic
– 192nd Tank Battalion
– volunteered or had his name drawn to replace a man released from federal service 
Overseas Duty:
– 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 was seen making its way toward shore.
– the buoys were on the boat’s deck covered by a tarp
– communication between the planes and the Navy was poor
– nothing was done to intercept the boat
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
– ferried to Ft. McDowell at Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– received physicals from medical detachment – 25 October 1941 – 26 October 1941
– men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
– other men simply replaced
– Ship: U.S.A.T Gen. Hugh L. Scott
– Boarded: San Francisco – Monday – 27 October 1941
– Sailed: same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Sunday – 2 November 1941
– soldiers were given shore leave to see the sights
– Sailed: Tuesday – 4 November 1941
– joined by U.S.S. Louisville and 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 which was from a neutral country. Two other intercepted ships
   were Japanese freighters carrying scrap metal to Japan.
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– soldiers woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– at about this time the convoy stopped at Wake Island and dropped off B-17 ground crews
– Arrived: Guam – Sunday 16 November 1941
– the ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
– Sailed: next day
– passed Japanese held island in total blackout
– Arrived: Thursday – 20 November 1941 – Manila Bay – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers disembarked the ship three hours after arrival
– boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
– maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from the ship
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– General Edward P. King met the soldiers when they arrived
– apologized to soldiers about living conditions
– lived in tents along the main road between fort and Clark Airfield
– made sure they all had dinner before he had his dinner
– the dinner was a stew thrown into their mess kits
– they pitched the ragged World War I tents in an open field
– the field was halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort
– the tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.
– there were two supply tents
–  meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
– the area was near the end of a runway used by B-17s for takeoffs.
– the planes flew over the tents at about 100 feet
– dirt was blown everywhere and the noise was unbelievable.
– at night, they heard the sounds of planes flying over the airfield
– the planes were Japanese reconnaissance planes.
– the khaki uniforms they had been issued were a heavy material
– they were uncomfortable to wear in the tropical heat 
Radio Communications:
– the 192nd had a large number of ham radio operators
– a radio communications tent was set up within hours of arriving at Ft. Stotsenburg
– men radioed home that they had arrived safely
– the radio monitoring station in Manila picked up the new radio traffic
– they had no idea where it was coming from
– when they learned it was the 192nd, they issued the battalion two radio channels
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool,” from the 194th Tank Battalion – was used for this work time
Tank Crews:
– during this time, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– learned about the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition which had been
requested by Gen. King but not released by Gen. MacArthur
– the medics attended classes taught by the battalion’s two medical officers
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms 
– they continued to wear fatigues in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms
– this included going to the PX
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield with 192nd guarded the south end
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1941
– lived through the attack on Clark Field
– took cover since the medical detachment had no weapons to fight planes
– 14 December 1941
– the medical detachment left Clark Field
– set up an aid station in a dried river bed
– 21 December 1941
– medical detachment moved north toward Lingayen Gulf with the rest of the battalion
– 23 December 1941
– detachment at Sison while it was being shelled
– withdrew with battalion down Route 3
– the detachment bivouac-ed
– heard tanks
– the tanks were Japanese
– packed up and went south through Urdaneta
– crossed over Agno River bridge and passed through Carmen
– 25 December 1941
– set up aid station south of Rosales
– medics checked letter companies
– bivouac bombed and strafed
– 27 December 1941
– located at Santo Tomas
– detachment slept in the churchyard
– 28 December 1941
– General MacArthur ordered medics not to carry guns
– kept their guns
– 28/29 December 1941
– located near San Isidro
– area shelled for three hours
– one tank crew injured when a shell caused it to turn over
– medics noted that tank crews were in poor condition from lack of sleep and food
– 30 December 1941
– the detachment did not receive the order to pull out
– ordered out by Capt. John Morley
– drover trucks through Gapan
–  the barrio was occupied by Japanese
– went through so fast Japanese could not stop them
– 1 January 1942
– detachment bivouac-ed north of Luog
– 2 January 1942
– treated S/Sgt. Joseph Wierzchon, C Company, who had been wounded by mortar fire
– also treated PFC Frank Byars while delivering a message and was shot by a Filipino who mistook him for a German
– died from his wounds
– 4 January 1942
– medical detachment at Culis
– treated wounded of the 194th Tank Battalion
– 2nd Lt Weeden Petree shot in the abdomen
– tank shot down Zero which was strafing
– 6 January 1942
– the shelling destroyed the 194th Medical Detachment truck
– shared what they had with 194th
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– 7 January 1942
– Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. James Weaver visit tankers
– MacArthur asked why the men were not in the hospital
– Dr. Alvin Poweleit replied, “Who would man the tanks?”
– later in the day Japanese bombed and strafed the area
– 10 January 1942
– A and B Companies, and companies of 194th assigned beach duty
– from Abucay to Lamao
– 18 January 1942
– moved back to Pilar and Balanga which were burning when they went through
– tanks inflicted heavy damage to Japanese infantry
– 19 January 1942
– dropped back to Orion
– caught a wild pig, roasted it
– food truck arrived and medics ate first American food in two days
– 20 January 1942
– bivouac at the 147-kilometer marker (from Manila)
– Japanese attempted landing
– 29 January 1942
– ordered to West Coast of Bataan
– start of Battle of the Points
– 31 January 1942
– Quinauan Point cleared
– a Japanese diary said the Japanese were more afraid of being hit by a grenade than it exploding
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver: “Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay.”
– February 1942
– tank battalions on their own guarded airfields
– battalions also guarded beaches to prevent the Japanese from landing troops
– 3/8 February 1942
– Battle of the Pockets
– several tanks disabled
– attempted to recover them
– several members of the battalion wounded or killed
– 9 February 1942
– medical detachment at 218 Kilometer on West Road
– medics report tank crews in bad shape
– 11 February 1942
– moved to kilometer 205, West Road
– bombed and shelled
– March 1942
– treated tank crews for various sicknesses
– food rations were cut quarter rations
– Wainwright wanted to make pillboxes out of the tanks
– Weaver pointed out that they did not have enough tanks to do so effectively
– he also pointed out that if this was done, they would have no tanks
– self-propelled mounts joined the tanks and were used like medium tanks
– tankers did not like having them near since they drew artillery fire
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launched a new offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 6 April 1942
– four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at the junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mt. Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 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 goes out to be prepared to destroy all equipment of use to the Japanese
– Company B, 192nd, D Company, and A Company, 194th, were preparing for a suicide attack
– 10:30 P.M. – the decision made to send a white flag across the battle line
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– midnight – B Company, D Company, and A Company, 194th, received an order from Gen. Weaver to stand down.
– At 2:oo A.M. April 9, Gen. King sent a jeep under a white flag carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier and Major Marshall Hurt to meet
   with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender.
 – the 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
– 6:45 A.M. – “crash”
– 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 went through the area held by B Company, 192nd, and spoke to the men
– he said to them, “Boys. I’m going to get us the best deal I can.”
– he also said, “When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say to you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. 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 managed to avoid the bullets and bombs
– 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 no choice but to take him at his word
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– Capt. Alvin Poweleit stated the detachment was at kilometer 192 on West Road on Bataan
– remained in bivouac for two days
– Japanese arrived and ordered them to move
– Mariveles
– Japanese searched and took anything they wanted from Prisoners of War
– the March
– Mariveles – POWs started the march at the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
– Americans on Corregidor returned fire
– San Fernando – POWs put into small wooden boxcars
– 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
– Capas – dead fell to the floor as living left boxcars
– POWs walked the last ten miles 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 the 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 to 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
– this was done so that the Japanese could bathe
– 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
– the POWs found the pipe and dug the trench
– Japanese turned the water off when they wanted
– the POWs had the ability to turn it on again without the Japanese knowing it
– slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
– flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
– POWs set up two details
– one dug slit trenches during the day
– POWs convinced the Japanese to allow them to keep shovels
– the second detachment dug the slit trenches at night
– 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 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 the hospital was scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid 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 the death rate
– It was during May that his family received a letter from the War Department. 

Mrs. I. Miller:

“According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private John B. Miller, o6,658,095, 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

– 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 the cars 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
– 4 June 1942 – transfer of POWs completed
– only sick POWs remained at Camp O’Donnell
– Cabanatuan
– 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
– 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 the 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
– rice the main food
– fed to them as “lugow” which meant “wet rice”
– received few vegetables and almost no fruit
– once in a while, they received bread
– if they received fish it was rotten and covered with maggots
– the POWs were allowed to purchase a little food
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:
– main detail
– airfield detail
– the field had been the home of a unit of the Philippine Army Air Corps
– also known as Maniqius Airfield
– POWs built a runway and revetments at Cabanatuan Airfield
– 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 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
– June – first cases of diphtheria appeared in the camp
– 130 POWs died from diphtheria by August
– Japanese released medicine to deal with the outbreak
– hospital conditions improved when Hospital #2 from Little Baguio was sent to the camp – October 1942
– the unit had some medical supplies, beds, and hospital equipment, included an x-ray machine
– 26 June 1942 – six POWs were executed by the Japanese after they had left the camp to buy food
– they were caught returning to camp
– they were tied to posts in a manner that they could not stand up or sit down
– no one was allowed to give them food or water
– they were not permitted to give them hats to protect them from the sun
– they were left tied to the posts for 48 hours when their ropes were cut
– four of the POWs were executed on the duty side of the camp
– the other two were executed on the hospital side of the camp.
– 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, Private John 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.”          

– 7 August 1942 – one POW escaped from the camp
– 17 September 1942 – recaptured
– he was placed in solitary confinement
– during his time there, he was beaten over the head with an iron bar by a Japanese sergeant
– the camp commandant, Col. Mori paraded him around the camp
– used the man as an example as he lectured the POWs
– the man wore a sign that read, “Example of an Escaped Prisoner”
– 12 September 1942 – three POWs escaped
– 21 September 1942 – recaptured
– feet tied together
– hands tied behind their backs
– a long rope was tied around their wrists 
– they were suspended from a rafter with their toes barely touched the ground
– caused their arms to bear all the weight of their bodies
– severely beaten by guards
– punishment lasted three days
– they were cut from the rafter and they were tied hand and foot
– they were placed in the cooler for 30 days
– their diet was rice and water
– POWs was severely beaten by a Japanese lieutenant but later released
– 29 September 1942 – three POWs executed by the Japanese
– they had been stopped by POW patrol that prevented escapes
– the noise made the Japanese aware of the situation
– came to the area and beat the three men for two and a half hours
– one so badly that his jaw was broken
– the three were tied to posts by the main gate
– their clothes were torn off them
– they were beaten on and off for the next 48 hours
– anyone passing them was expected to urinate on them
– after three days they were cut down and thrown into a truck
– they were taken to a clearing in sight of the camp and shot
– it is not known when Hugh’s parents learned he was a Prisoner of War
– while he was a POW, he kept a diary
– recorded deaths of members of his company
– 14 October 1942 -POWs daily rations improved
– 550 grams  of rice
– 100 grams of meat
– 330 grams of vegetables
– 20 grams of fat
– 20 grams of sugar
– 15 grams of salt
– 1 gram of tea
– 50 grams of mongo beans replaced some of the rice
–  sick POWs also received an additional 50 grams of meat
– also had food from Red Cross
– Meals were actually
– wet rice and rice coffee for breakfast
– Pechi green soup and rice for lunch
– Mongo bean soup, Carabao meat, and rice for dinner
– 1 April 1943 – the War Department released a list of names of men who were known to be Japanese Prisoners of War
– John’s name was on  it
– his parents had learned he was a POW weeks earlier


Within days of receiving the first message, they received a second message:

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

“It is suggested that you address him as follows:

“Pvt. John 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.


                                                                                                                                               Howard F. Bresee
                                                                                                                                               Colonel, CMP
                                                                                                                                               Chief Information Bureau”

– it appears he went out on a work detail
– how long he was on it is not known
– he ended up at Bilibid Prison working at the hospital
– 23 October 1943 – transferred from Bilibid Prison to Cabanatuan
– assigned to Group II
– Camp Hospital
– Admitted: 23 October 1943
– 10 August 1944 – transferred from Building 3 to Building 15
– POWs remaining in the camp were considered “too ill” to be sent to Japan
– 21 September 1944 
– the POWs were finishing working for the day
– they heard the sound of planes
– the sound of these planes was different from Japanese planes
– they looked up and saw a formation of 80 planes
– the planes were too high to see insignias
– the planes seemed to agitate the Japanese
– the POWs whispered to each other that they may be American
– after they entered the camp they got their answer
– a dogfight took place above the camp
– some of the planes flew low over the camp
– POWs saw U.S. Navy insignias on planes
– a loud wild cheer came from the mouths of thousands of POWs
– when a Japanese fighter went down in flames and crashed a second cheer was heard
– wave after wave of American planes flew over the camp
– the hospital patients crawled out of their beds to get a look at the planes
– they heard the explosions of anti-aircraft shells over Clark Field
– after the attack ended many of the POWs sobbed
– POWs believed this would end the transfer of the POWs to Japan
– not long after this, 150 guards left the camp by truck for duty at other places
– the POWs heard a rumor from guards Americans were on Mindanao Island
– the rumor was wrong
– POWs names posted to be sent to Bilibid Prison
– POWs were still being sent to Japan
– 29 October 1944 – POWs heard the heavy bombing of Clark Field
– 30 October 1944 – a map in a Japanese paper showed Americans on southern Luzon
– American planes flew over that night
– 2 November 1944 – Japanese admitted American troops were on Leyte and Mindoro
– 5 November 1944 – American bombers flew over the camp all-day
– POWs looked for land-based planes
– 6 November 1944 – POWs watch two planes circle the camp
– the POWs watched and saw the planes strafe and bomb Cabanatuan Airfield
– the airfield was bombed and stated three times that day
– 9 November 1944 – POWs learned from the Japanese that there are only about 1000 American POWs left in the Philippines
– approximately 500 at Cabanatuan
– 13 November 1944 – POWs no longer excited by American planes
– want to know where the troops and tanks are
– 24 November 1944 – a large convoy of Japanese trucks passed the camp at night heading north
– POWs also received mail that was postmarked May and June 1944
– during this time the meals got worse
– POWs received less rice and instead of fish, fish powder
– breakfast was plain lugao
– POWs ate dog soup
– November/December
– during this time food was the main focus of the POWs
– 14 December  1944 – American planes reappeared
– bombings took place to the north and west of the camp
– POWs believed the planes were land-based
– 15 December 1944 – before dawn American planes flew over on their way to Clark Field
– the POws heard and saw anti-aircraft fire 
– that day the planes returned during the day
– Cabanatuan Airfield bombed twice
– 16 December 1944
– 12:30 A.M. – An American plane dropped six bombs on a Japanese convoy on the road outside the camp
– awakened the POWs
– the POWs thought the camp was being bombed and took cover
– a few days later the POWs heard that 38 Japanese were killed and 20 wounded
– 8:00 P.M. – the Japanese moved some tanks, armored trucks, and small artillery pieces into the camp
– stored in old barracks and mess halls
– 18 December 1944 – the Japanese camouflaged the camp with nets, ropes, wires, and tree branches
– 19 December 1944 – POWs heard the news that Americans had landed on Mindoro Island south of Luzon
– two truckloads of Japanese troops and equipment entered the camp
– several truckloads of lumber and supplies were brought into the camp
– approximately 100 Japanese troops with full combat gear entered the camp after dark
– POWs noted their food was radish tops and some meat
– the dried fish issued to them was mostly scales and bones since worms had eaten the meat 
– 22 December 1944 – POWs watched heavy American bombers attacked by a Japanese plane
– one plane crashed
– the POWs hoped it was the Japanese plane
– 24 December 1944
– 21 American bombers fly over camp on their way to bomb Clark Field
– heard and saw ack ack fire
– on the way back the POWs counted the planes
– all 21 planes flew back over the camp
– 25 December 1944 – American fighter and bombers attack Clark Field
– 26 December 1944 – POWs heard a rumor that all POWs at Bilibid had been sent to Japan
– 28 December 1944 – that night the POWs awakened by Japanese Tanks and trucks
passing camp
– Japanese troops disguised as Filipinos also passed the camp 
– 9 January 1945
– POWs heard shelling from American invasion forces
– 28 January 1945
– 2:00 P.M. – Rangers crossed into Japanese territory
– 31 January 1945
– 5:45 P.M. – Rangers surround the camp
– 7:40 P.M. – Rangers fired on guardhouses
– 8:15 P.M. – camp secured
– rescued POWs without casualties
– two later died because of health issues
– 8:40 P.M. – forces who held the bridge and prevented the Japanese from reinforcing Cabanatuan
– The Rangers signaled all POWs had been rescued.
– 10:00 P.M. – Rangers and former POWs reached Plateros
– 11:00 P.M. – radio message sent that all POWs had been rescued
– 11:30 P.M. – left Plateros for American lines
– American planes protected group
– 1 February 1945 – reached American lines
– within a week, his parents were notified he had been freed
U.S.A.T. General A. E. Anderson
– Sailed: Manila
– Arrived: 8 March 1945 – San Francisco, California
– taken to Letterman General Hospital
Died: 4 October 2004 – Texas

Default Gravesite 1

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