Owens, Cpl. Harlin

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Cpl. Harlin Owens
Born: 26 July 1915 – Potlatch, Idaho
Parents: Reece E. Owens and Effie McKinney-Owens
Siblings: 2 sisters, 4 brothers
Nickname: Curly
Home: 665 Larch Street Potlatch, Idaho
Occupation: lumber yard worker
Enlisted: Idaho National Guard
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 16 September 1940 – Pullman, Washington
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
Units:
– 41st Infantry Division
– transferred to 194th Tank Battalion as it prepared to go overseas
– 194th Tank Battalion
– most likely joined battalion as it was preparing for overseas duty
– had never trained in a tank
– old tanks and scout cars were left at Ft. Lewis

Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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 noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water. 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, 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. By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.

The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which 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:
– 4 September 1941
– the battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– 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 an unknown destroyer,  and, the U.S.S. Guadalupe, a replenishment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippines
– lived in tents upon arriving
– received their meals from food trucks
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks were open three feet from the bottom of the exterior walls
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
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” 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
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– received their meals from food trucks
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks were open three feet from the bottom of the exterior walls
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
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” 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
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Uniforms:
– 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
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
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the 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
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– During this time HQ Company supplied the tank companies as they fought to cover the the withdrawal toward Bataan
– wherever the letter companies of the battalion where fighting, HQ Company was nearby
– 8 December 1941
– 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.
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– 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
– 24/25 December 1941
– tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
– 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 (northeast of San Quintin)
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1 platoon forced its way through 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
– Lt. 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
– 29/30 December 1941
– new line at Bamban River established
– tank battalions held 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-Porac 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 engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established new line along 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
– 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
– 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
– highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out 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 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 being formed from being breached
– 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
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 Japanese from landing troops
– 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
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 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
– Midnight – A Company and B and D Companies, 192nd, received orders to stand down
– the companies had been ordered to make a suicide attack the morning of April 9 in an attempt to stop the Japanese advance
– 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.” 
– 6:45 A.M. – the order “CRASH” was sent for equipment to be destroyed
– King found no choice but to accept him at his word.
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– battalion was bivouacked near Cabcaban
– 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
– made their way to Mariveles
– 7:00 P.M. – started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
– 3:00 A.M. – halted and rested for an hour
– 4:00 A.M. – resume march
– 11 April 1942
– 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
– allowed to forage for food
– 9:00 A.M. – resumed march
– Noon – reached Limay and main road
– officers, majors and up, separated from enlisted men
– Death March
– 4:00 P.M officers put on trucks
– officers arrived at Balanga
– Japanese find handgun in 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
– reached Orani
– herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
– in morning found they had been lying in human waste
– latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
– Afternoon – enlisted men joined by officers
– 6:30 P.M. – ordered to form 100 men detachments
– POWs marched at faster pace
– fewer breaks
– when given break, the POWs sat on road
– North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
– made march easier
– 13 April 1942
– 2:00 A.M. – POWs given an hour rest on 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
– 9:00 A.M. – Capas – dead fell to floor 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 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
– 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 camp hospital lay on 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 dead were moved to one area and 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 the dead were not buried for two or three days
– work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
– Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
– During May, his family received a letter from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. E. Owens:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Corporal Harlin Owens, 20,943,480, 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 gate and marched toward Capas
– Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
– the guards did not stop them
– At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
– train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
– POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a schoolyard
– fed rice and onion soup
– Cabanatuan #1
– Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
“Blood Brother” rule implemented
– if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
– work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
– when POWs lined up, 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, they lined up
– POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on to drive their faces deeper into the mud
– the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools and as they came out, they were hit in the head
– many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
– men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
– daily POW meal – 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
– hospitalized – 27 March 1943
– discharged – no date was given
– Bilibid Prison
– his family received a second message from the War Department during July 1942. This 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, Corporal Harlin Owens 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.”

– June 1943
– his family learned he was a Prisoner of War

“REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON CORPORAL HARLIN OWENS 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. Effie Owens
665 Larch Street
Potlatch Idaho

“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:

“Cpl. Harlin Owens, 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”

Hell Ship:
Clyde Maru
– Sailed: Manila – 23 July 1943
– Arrived: Santa Cruz, Zambales, Philippines – same day
– loaded manganese ore
– remained in port for three days
– Sailed: 26 July 1943
– 100 POWs permitted on deck at a time from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM
– Arrived: Takao, Formosa – 28 July 1943
– Sailed: 5 August 1942 – at 8:00 AM
– part of a nine-ship convoy
– Arrived: Moji, Japan – 7 August 1943
– POWs lined up on dock – 8 August 1943
– marched to the rail station and boarded a train
– 9:30 AM – train departed
– the trip took two days
– 7:30 PM arrived at Omuta
– POWs marched 18 miles
– eighteen rode truck because they could not walk
POW Camp:
– Japan
– Fukuoka #17
– POWs arrived: 10 August 1943
– Camp:
– the camp was surrounded by a 12-foot wooden fence
– had three heavy gauge electrified wires attached to it
– the first wire was attached at six feet with the others higher up
– Barracks:
– the POWs lived in 33 one-story barracks
– 120 feet long and 16 feet wide
– divided into ten rooms
– officers slept four men to a room
– enlisted men slept from four to six men in a room
– each room was lit by a 15-watt bulb
– at the end of each building was a latrine with three stools and a urinal
– the POWs slept on beds that were 5 feet 8 inches long by 2 feet wide
– made of a tissue paper and cotton batting covered with a cotton pad
– three heavy cotton blankets were issued to each POW plus a comfortable made of tissue paper, scrap rags, and scrap cotton
– Washroom:
– bathing rooms with two bathing tanks that were 30 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 4 feet deep
– the tubs were heated with very hot water
– the POWs working in the mine bathed during the winter after cleaning themselves before entering the tubs
– they did not bathe during the summer months to prevent skin diseases.
– Kitchen:
– The kitchen had 11 cauldrons, 2 electric baking ovens, 2 kitchen ranges, 4 storerooms, and an icebox.
– to supplement their diets, the prisoners also ate dog meat, radishes, potato greens, and seaweed
– Meals:
– as they entered the mess hall, they would say their POW number to a POW standing by a wooden board.
– he took a nail and placed it in the hole in front of the man’s number
– after all the POWs had been fed, the board was cleared for the next meal
– meals consisted of rice and vegetable soup three times a day
– seven spoonfuls of water and one fourth a cup of very poor quality watery rice a day
– those POWs working in the mine received 700 grams a day
– camp workers received 450 grams a day
– officers, since they were not required to work, received 300 grams a day
– those working in the mine received three buns every second day since they did not return to camp for lunch
– The meals were cooked in the camp kitchen which was manned by 15 POWs
– Seven of the POWs were professional cooks.
– Air Raid Shelters:
– 120 feet long
– 6 feet deep
– Work: 
– Mitsui Coal Mining Company
– POWs worked in a condemned coal mine
– each team of POWs was expected to load three cars of coal a day
– worked 12-hour workdays with the constant threat of rocks falling on them.
– worked bent over since they were taller than the average Japanese miner
– the mine had cracks in the ceiling indicating a cave-in might take place
– POWs that the Japanese believed were not working hard enough were beaten
– worked in three shifts with a 30-minute lunch and one day off every ten days
– one seam was known as the “hotbox” because of its temperatures
– to get out of working, the POWs would intentionally have their arms broken by other POWs
– Punishment:
– corporal punishment was an everyday occurrence
– the guards beat the POWs for the slightest reason and continued until the POW was unconscious
– The man was then taken to the guardhouse and put in solitary confinement
– not given food or water for a long period of time
– during the winter, the POWs were made to stand at attention in the cold and had water thrown on them
– they were forced to kneel on bamboo poles
– the POWs were made to stand in water and shocked with electrical current
– At some point, two POWs were tied to a post and left to die
– they had violated a camp rule.
– brutally beaten and kicked while working in a mine
– hit with miner’s lamps and pick handles
– POWs were known to have been hit with clubs
– on one occasion POWs were made to beat each other for four hours
– the POWs were made to crouch with a broom handle behind their knees
– food and medical care were withheld from the POWs as punishment
– in November 1944, shirts had been stolen from a bundle sent by the British Red Cross
– the Japanese ordered all the POWs to assemble
– told them that they would not be fed until the shirts were returned
– the men who stole the shirts returned the shirts anonymously, and the POWs received their meal at 10:00 P.M.
– Preditors:
– POWs stole from each other with the stronger preying on the weaker POWs
– clothing was the most frequently stolen item
– to prevent theft, the POWs “buddied up” with a POW who worked on the opposite shift
– Red Cross Boxes:
– the boxes were misappropriated by the Japanese
– when they arrived, they were locked in a storeroom
– issued 3 to 7 months after they arrived
– the Japanese intentionally mixed up the contents
– this way the POWs had no idea what had been taken from the boxes
– food in boxes was given out in small quantities
– this way it had no nutritional value
– the POWs who worked in the mine received larger quantities in their boxes
– Japanese ate the food and made the POWs watch
– Medical Treatment:
– the Japanese doctor made the sick who could walk go to work in the mine
– men who had one good arm were made to lift heavy loads
– he also misappropriated the medicine for Japanese use
– The American doctor was put in “cooler” after requesting medical supplies
– Hospital:
– 10 rooms
– each held 30 men
– isolation ward – held 15 men
– some medical supplies and medicine supplied starting in late 1944
– during his time at the camp, he suffered from beriberi
Air Raids:
– the shelters were 120 feet long and6 feet deep
– the camp was hit by bombs from American planes
– The American section of the camp was badly damaged
– they moved in with the British and Dutch POWs.
– 9 August 1945 – some POWs saw the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
– described that it was a sunny day and that the explosion still lit up the sky
– the pillar of smoke that rose from the bomb was described as having all the colors of the rainbow
– afterward, the POWs saw what they described as a fog blanketing Nagasaki
– Nagasaki seemed to have vanished.
– at work the Japanese civilians spoke about how those, who had survived the blast, would touch their heads and pull out their hair.
– stated these Japanese died within days
– told of how they heard about a detachment of Japanese soldiers sent into Nagasaki to recover victims suffered the same fate
– the POWs came out of the mine and found that the next shift of POWs was not waiting to go to work
– that night, the POWs were made to stand at attention for two hours.
– they all had their blankets because they believed they were going to be moved 
– they were returned to their barracks
– the next day, when it was their turn to go to work, they were told it was a holiday
and they had the day off
– they knew something was up because they had never had a holiday
– the POWs were gathered in the camp and told that Japan and the United States were now friends
– they were also told to stay in the camp
– went to the warehouse with Red Cross packages and distributed the packages to the camp
– George Weller, a reporter for the Chicago Daily News entered the camp
– He told the POWs that there were American troops on Honshu.
Liberated:
– 13 September 1945 – by a POW Recovery Team
– 17 September – 7:09 A.M., the POWs left the camp
– taken to the Dejima Docks at Nagasaki
– given medical examinations on a hospital ship
– they boarded a ship and were returned to the Philippines.
Transport:
U.S.S. Admiral C. F. Hughes
– Sailed: Manila – not known
– Arrived: Seattle, Washington – 9 October 1945
– taken to Madigan General Hospital – Ft. Lewis, Washington
Discharged: 18 March 1946
Married: Helen – 22 February 1946
Children:
Occupation: mill worker
Died: 6 December 1991 – Princeton, Idaho
– Mendenhall Cemetery -Latah County, Idaho

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