Nevarez, Pvt. Manuel G.

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Nevarez

Pvt. Manuel Gutierrez Nevarez
Born: 12 May 1918 – Mexico
– Arrived in the United States – 1920
Parents: Alfredo & Alexandra Nevarez
Siblings: 5 sisters, 1 brother
Home: Williams Road – Alisal, California
Education: Salinas High School – Class of 1939
Occupation: sugar factory worker
Enlisted: California National Guard
– Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
– he did not have to register since he was in the National Guard
– military documents show his last name as “Nevarez” while other documents have his name spelled “Nevares”
Inducted:
– U.S. Army
– 10 February 1941 – Salinas Army Airfield
Unit:
– C Company, 194th Tank Battalion
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– 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
Training:
– the battalion went on long reconnaissance with trucks and tanks
– drove all over reservation following maps and learned from observation what the land surrounding the fort looked like
– the purpose was to collect tank data which they would use later
– often had to live off the land
– 30 April 1941 – battalion went on an all-day march
– ate dinner in woods brought to them by the cooks in trucks
– march was two hours one way and covered about 10 miles total
– stopped in an abandoned apple orchard in bloom
– Motorcycles:
– first motorcycles arrived in May 1941
– all battalion members had to learn to ride them
– in early May 1941, the battalion, except men who had been drafted, went on its first overnight bivouac
– the new men did not have shelter halves
– left around noon and returned around noon the next day
Specialized Training:
– some members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– he attended tank mechanic’s school at Ft. Knox
– those men who remained at Ft. Lewis often found themselves policing the base collecting garbage and distributing coal for the base during the week
– the battalion did most of its tank training on weekends

Note: The decision for this move – which had been made in August 1941 – 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:
– rode the train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
– given physicals and inoculated by battalion’s medical detachment
– 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, U.S.S. Astoria, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– smoke seen on horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
– 27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
– Stationed:
– Ft. 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 of the wall to the floor
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing facilities seemed to be limited with the lucky man being able to wash 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
– on the base, the soldiers were not expected to work in the heat
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the afternoon was described as “recreation in the motor pool”
– 5:10 – dinner
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling and 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
Uniforms:
– the battalion wore coveralls to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms while working
– they continued to wear coveralls in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms; including going to the PX
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded north end of the airfield and the 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
– 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived 6:00 A.M.
– C Company ordered to Southern Luzon
– 15 December 1941
– C Company holding Tagaytay Bridge – South Luzon
– spent most of time chasing down Fifth Columnists
– 24 December 1941
– company moved over Taal Road to Santo Tomas
– bivouacked near San Paolo
– 25 December 1941
– sent to assist in operations around Lucena, Pagbilao, and Lucban
– 26/27 December 1941
– defended in Southern Luzon near Lucban
– supported Philippine Army
– 29/30 December 1941
– new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
– 30 December 1941
– at Bocaue covered withdraw of Philippine Divisions
– it was around this time that the company rejoined the battalion
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– rejoined rest of 194th at Guagua
– took position on the road between Sexmoan and Lubao with five SPMs
– ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 attempting to cut the highway
– Japanese lost half their force
– Labao was burning when tanks left area
– 6 January 1942
– Remedios new defensive line established along dry creek bed
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate line
– bright moon made them easy to see
– tanks opened up on them
– Japanese laid down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M.
– Japanese broke off attack
– 6/7 January 1942 – tank battalions withdraw across the bridge at Culis Creek at night
– 194th withdraw across bridge covered by 192nd
– bridge destroyed after 192nd crossed bridge
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– January 1942
– tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon

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.”

– 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
– 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 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 – Bagac
– sent to open Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could move south
– at the Moron Road and Road Junction 59 the tanks moved forward knocking out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks were lost to landmines but towed out
– mission abandoned
– Segunda’s forces escaped along beach losing its heavy equipment
– 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
– 25/26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four Self-Propelled Mounts with the battalion
– warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1800 men
– 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
– gasoline rations cut to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks
– Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that one platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor
– Wainwright rejected idea
– April 1942
– tanks sent into various sectors in an attempt to stop the Japanese advance
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 6 April 1942
– C Company was attached to 192d Tank Battalion
– 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
– 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
– the driver was also from the Provisional Tank Group
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M. – 9 April 1942
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Cothran and Captain Achille C. Tisdelle Jr. got into a jeep carrying a large white flag
– They were followed by another jeep – also flying another large white flag – with Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt in it
– As the jeeps made their way north they were strafed and small bombs were dropped by a Japanese plane
– The drivers of both jeeps and the jeeps were provided by the tank group and both men managed to avoid the bullets
– The strafing ended when a Japanese reconnaissance plane ordered the fighter pilot to stop strafing
– About 10:00 A.M. the jeeps reached Lamao where they were received by a Japanese Major General who informed King that he reported his coming to
   negotiate a surrender and that an officer from the Japanese command would arrive to do the negotiations
– The Japanese officer also told him that his troops would no attack for thirty minutes while King decided what he would do
– After a half-hour, no Japanese officer had arrived from their headquarters and the Japanese attack had resumed. King sent Col. Collier and Maj. Hunt back
   to his command with instructions that any unit inline with the Japanese advance should fly white flags
– Shortly after this was done a Japanese colonel and interpreter arrived. King was told the officer was Homma’s Chief of Staff and he had come to discuss
   King’s surrender
– King attempted to get insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter
– he was accused of declining to surrender unconditionally
– At one point King stated he had enough trucks and gasoline to carry his troops out of Bataan
– He was told that the Japanese would handle the movement of the prisoners
– The two men talked back and forth until the colonel said through the interpreter, “The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians.” 
– Gen. King had to take him at his word
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
– lower-ranking officers and enlisted men joined the main march
– marched through Abucay and Samal
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– held there for two weeks
– worked on a POW detail that cleaned out a warehouse
– found a small notebook and two pencils
– this would become his first diary
– marched 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. 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 Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
– POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic – out of six medics assigned to care for 50 sick POWs in the hospital – was well enough to work
– as many as 50 POWs died each day
– each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
– the ground under hospital was scraped and covered with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to the cleaned area and the area where they had lain was scraped and covered with lime
– usually not buried for two or three days
– work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out the gate and marched toward Capas
– Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
– the guards did not stop them
– At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
– the train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembarked the train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– In May or early June 1942, his family received a message from the War Department:

“Dear Mrs. A. Nevarez:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private Manuel G. Nevarez, 20, 900, 737, 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 Pangatian
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
– actually three camps
– Camp 1: POWs from Camp O’Donnell held there
– Camp 2: four 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
– at some point, the POWs were sent to Camp 1
– Camp 1:
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– 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
– they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
– POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on their heads to drive their faces deeper in 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
– to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp’s fence
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
– the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– Japanese discovered a second diary he was keeping, he was beaten
– the diary contained detailed information on the death march
– 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
– his family received another message from the War Department. The following is an excerpt from it.

“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Private Manuel G. Nevarez 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.”

– Las Pinas Detail – 12 December 1942
– POWs lived at the Pasay School
– the detail had already been created when he arrived
– 3 miles from Nichols Field
– POW housed in school rooms
– each room was 20 feet by 30 feet and accommodated 28 to 30 men
– men slept so close together, on thin mattresses, and could hardly turn over
– each POW had two small blankets
– room infested with bedbugs, ants, and mosquitoes
– Cherry Blossom
– got the name from floral insignia he wore on his shoulder pieces
– Japanese civilian in command of barracks
– temperamental and described as terribly, terribly stupid
– roll calls took forever since he could not count over 100
– American officers had to correct roll call
– Latrines:
– two toilets for 500 men
– cans also were put in rooms
– 300 POWs shared seven showers
– 500 POWs shared four showers
– waited in line for up to an hour to take a shower
– Meals:
– the main diet was boiled rice which was from sweepings of a warehouse floor
– nails, worms, dust, glass, bottle caps, were often in it
– POWs picked the rice to eat it
– each POW received 240 grams of rice
– later cut to 120 grams
– POWs grew squash, gourds, green beans, eggplant, and sweet potatoes
– did not meet their nutritional needs since they got scraps from Japanese mess
– the meat was in the form of a fish used as fertilizer
– fish usually rotten
– POWs also received 250 pounds of potatoes each day for 500 POWs
– Japanese would let potatoes rot before giving them to POWs
– 80 pounds of flour given to POWs each week
– 20 pounds of meat a week for 800 POWs
– although they worked where fruit grew, the POWs were not allowed to eat any
– when Red Cross packages were given to POWs the Japanese cut the food rations by one fourth for 15 days
– beriberi spread among POWs because of diet
– Clothing:
– Philippine Red Cross gave clothing for POWs
– Japanese did not give it to them
– also kept Red Cross packages containing clothing
– every 3 months, the Japanese gave 18 shirts and 18 trousers for 500 POWs
– there was enough clothing in a warehouse to furnish each POW with two sets of clothes including shoes
– Camp Commander:
– Capt. Kenji Iwataka
– called the “White Angel”
– wore a spotless naval uniform
– commanded camp for 13 months
– Beatings:
– a daily event
– POWs were beaten on their way to the airfield, at the airfield, at lunch, and on their way
   from the airfield at the end of the day
– one POW collapsed while working and the White Angel ordered him to get up
– four other POWs took the man back to the school
– Japanese guards gave the man a shower and straightened his clothes
– the rest of the Americans were ordered to Pasay School
– the White Angel took an American officer behind the school with him where the man was
– the other POWs heard two shots
– the White Angel told the remaining POWs this was what was going to happen to anyone
   who would not work for the Japanese Empire
– later the American officer told the POWs what the White Angel had done to the man
– Yakota – second in command and looked like a wolf
– “The Wolf”
– civilian that wore a naval uniform
– each morning The Wolf selected POWs who looked the sickest and lines them up
– the POWs had to put one leg on each side of a slit trench and next do 50 push-ups
– if the man collapsed and touched the ground, he was beaten with pick handles
– A POW collapsed while working
– The Wolf had him taken to the school
– that evening the Wolf came to the barracks and the man was still unconscious
– he took the man and banged his head into the concrete floor and kicked him in the head
– the man was taken to the showers where The Wolf drowned him in the basin
– a third POW tried to walk away from the detail
– told the Japanese guards to shoot him
– he was taken back to the school by the guards
– he was strung up by his thumbs outside the doorway of the school
– a bottle of beer and sandwich were placed in front of him
– he was dead by that evening
– Ikegami
– second in command behind the Wolf
– compared to The Wolf, he was good to the men
– he let them smoke, gave the sick breaks but told them to work if The Wolf or the captain showed up
– bought cigarettes, rice cakes, and sugar for POWs with their money
– he also would give a POW his shoes and exchange their shoes for another pair that he gave to another POW for his shoes
– did this repeatedly
– Work Day:
– Reveille: 6:00 A.M.
– 6:15 A.M. – roll call was taken
– breakfast: fish soup and rice
– roll call was taken again
– both healthy and sick POWs were counted
– POWs marched a mile and a half to airfield
– arrived at 8:30 A.M.
– Roll Call – after arriving at the airfield
– tools handed out at tool shed
– Initially, the POWs worked until 11:30 A.M. and did not work again until 1:30 P.M.
– the workday ended at 4:15
– Japanese took roll call
– POWs arrived at school at about 5:50 P.M.
– roll call was taken again
– rush to showers
– supper
– roll call was taken again
– lights out at 9:00 P.M.
– workday got longer the detail went on
– Japanese wanted a runway 500 yards wide and approximately a mile long
– the runway would go through swamp ground southeastward and straight through the hills
– plans for runway came from Americans who had planned to build it with construction equipment
– Japanese had no plans to use construction equipment
– POWs built runway with picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows
– most had dysentery, malaria, beriberi, diarrhea, and were malnourished
– POWs worked under the 103rd Construction Unit by order of the Southern Third Fleet
– work was easy at first because the ground was almost level
– about 400 yards from start, the runway hit the foothills as tall as 80 feet had to be leveled with picks and shovels
– work got harder
– literally removed the side of a mountain by hand
– called “The Cut”
– POWs worked barefooted on gravel, rocks, and sun-baked mud and left bloody footprints
– many only had g-strings for clothing
– others worked nude
– dirt carried to the swamp in wheelbarrows and dumped as landfill to fill-in swampland
– Japanese bring in old mine cars and rail
– laid four sets of tracks
– four POWs assigned to each mine car to keep them moving
– POWs loaded mining cars with earth and two POWs pushed cars to the dumping area
– car returned to the loading area where two of the POWs had another load waiting
– all four of the POWs loaded mine car
– as tracks got longer, loading pushing, dumping, unloading took longer to do
– each track had a quota which had to be met before POWs before the POWs could stop working
– Medical Supplies:
– Japanese issued little of the Red Cross medical supplies that came into the camp
– POW doctors said there was not enough medicine to cure an ailment but just enough to prolong the ailment
– there was a lack of quinine and carborine
– there was no emetine to cure amoebic dysentery
– request for medicines was repeatedly turned down
– operations performed without anesthetics or proper medical equipment
– only 80 POWs were allowed to be on sick call each day
– Japanese determined which men were sick enough not to work
– POWs who brought the dead to Bilibid for burial
– most died of exhaustion or beatings
– POW medical staff told to write “malaria,” or other diseases, as the cause of death on death certificates
– POWs on detail would not talk about the detail
– attempts were made to open boxes containing dead to take fingerprints
– Japanese would not allow the boxes to be opened
– 12 February 1943  – his sister received word from the War Department that he was a Prisoner of War

REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON PRIVATE MANUEL G NEVAREZ 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 of receiving the first message, they received a second message:

“Mrs. A. Nevarez
532 Williams
Salinas

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

“It is suggested that you address him as follows:

Pvt. Manuel G. Nevarez, 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

– October 1943 – 4 February 1945
– 200 to 300 POWs were sent to the hospital at Bilibid Prison
– most of the sick POWs were from Pasay School
– many died after arriving at Bilibid
– it was then that the POWs at Bilibid learned what the Las Pinas detail was like
– 21 September 1944 – American planes bomb and strafe airfield
– 22 September 1944 – detail ends
– POWs sent to Bilibid Prison
Hell Ship:
Hokusen Maru
– Boarded: 1 October 1944
– 600 POWs put into both holds
– moved
– dropped anchor in harbor remained for three days
– POWs start going insane from the heat in hold
– Japanese threaten to shoot POWs if they don’t stop the screamers
– POWs strangle and beat the screaming men to death with canteens
– Sailed: 4 October 1944
– convoy hugged the coast to avoid submarines
– stopped at Cabcaban and San Fernando, La Union – 5 October 1944
– Sailed:
– 6 October 1944 – attacked by American submarines
– dropped anchor in the bay
– Sailed: 7 October 1944
– 9 October 1944 – false air raid caused ships to change course and head for Hong Kong
– ran into American Wolf Pack
– two ships sunk
– Arrived: Hong Kong – 11 October 1944
– the ship attacked by American planes – 16 October 1944
– Sailed: 21 October 1944
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 24 October 1944
– Disembarked: 8 November 1944
– Note: POWs were scheduled to sail on Arisan Maru but were switched to Hokusen Maru since the other POW group was not ready to sail. Arisan Maru was
  sunk by an American submarine. Only nine POWs, of 1803 POWs, survived the sinking.
POW Camp:
– Formosa:
Inrin Temporary
Hell Ship:
Melbourne Maru
– Sailed: Takao, Formosa – 14 January 1945
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 23 January 1945
POW Camp:
– Japan
– unknown camp
Sendai #7
– Arrived 17 May 1945
– POWs worked in a copper mine
– collective punishment practiced at camp when a camp rule was broken
– POWs stood at attention for hours
– denied water and food
– a POW had to be near death to receive medical treatment
– when it was given, it was often too late
Liberated:
– September 1945
– former POWs were taken by train to Yokohama
– 12 September 1945 –  processed on the U.S.S. Rescue
– Sailed: taken to Okinawa on the U.S.S. San Juan which was a light cruiser 
– Arrived: Manila – many POWs transferred to the S.S. Simon Bolivar
– Sailed: 29 or 30 September 1945
– Arrived: 21 October 1945 – San Francisco
– sent to Letterman General Hospital
– while he was on his way home, his parents received this message from him
“Be home soon. Received letter. Good health. Don’t worry. Answer. Love Manuel”
Discharged: December 1945
Married: Erma Navarro
Children: 3 daughters, 1 son
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
Battled Alcoholism
– in and out of hospitals
– decided to stop drinking
Resided:
– Salinas, California
– Sparks, Nevada
Died: 25 June 2013 – Sparks, Nevada

 

Default Gravesite 1

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