Sanchez, Pvt. Joe M.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Share on print
SanchezJoseph

Pvt. Joe M. Sanchez
Born: 15 November 1907 – El Paso, Texas
Parents: Gregorio Sanchez & Justa Sanchez
Siblings: 2 sisters, 5 brothers
Home: 1161 Townsend Avenue – Los Angeles, California
Married:
Wife: Lillian
Children: four children 
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
– Next of Kin: Lillian Sanchez – wife
Inducted: 
– U.S. Army 
– 29 March 1941 – Los Angeles, California 
Training: 
– Cook 
Units:
– 194th Tank Battalion
– joined A Company – Angel Island, California
Deployment:
– 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 – with a tarp covering something on its deck – was
    seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the Air Corps and the Navy was poor, so the boat escaped
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
Overseas Duty
– 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
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Tuesday, 16 September 1941 – ships crossed International Dateline
– became Thursday, 18 September 1941
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– returned to Manila to help 17th Ordnance with the unloading of tanks
– Philippines
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
Work Day:
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. and from 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. 
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
– repeated got into trouble
– thrown in the guardhouse
– Sgt. Ken Porwoll would get him a beer to drink
– reassigned to Headquarters, Provisional Tank Group
– cooked for General James Weaver
Engagements:
1 December 1941
– the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– guarded against Japanese paratroopers
– two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times
– they were fed from food trucks
– the men manning the radios in the 192nd’s communications tent who were the first to learn of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
– 8 December 1941 – Major Ted Wickord, the 192nd’s commanding officer, Gen. James Weaver, and Major Ernest Miller, the CO, 194th, read the messages
   of the attack
– The 194th’s officers were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
– all the members of the tank and half-track crews were ordered to the north end of Clark Field
– Provisional Tank Group Headquarters remained behind in their bivouac 
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– During this time Hq, PTG, coordinated tank movements
– ordered them where they were needed
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after the 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 at 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 made an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the 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 to the northeast of San Quintin
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1 platoon forced its way through Carmen
– lost two tanks
– one tank belonged to company commander – Captain Edward Burke
– believed dead, but was actually captured
– one tank crew rescued
– new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
– rest of battalion made a dash out
– lost one tank at Bayambang
– another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
– 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 the line until ordered to withdraw
– 30/31 December 1941
– tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
– covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-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 the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
– their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been
  formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three tanks per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment
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.”
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– a forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942
– C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
– the highway had been cut by Japanese
– Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
– tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
– tanks knock out the gun
– cleared roadblock with support of infantry
– 20 January 1942
– Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching the road
– 26 January 1942
– the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
– four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
– 9:45 A.M. – warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– 10:30 A.M. – Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
– prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
– hit by shrapnel from a shell in the knee during an engagement
– left at Hospital #2, Bataan
– 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
– 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
– did not do death march because he was hospitalized
– in Hospital #2 when the surrender took place
– reason not known
– 22 April 1942 – the Japanese had set up artillery next to the hospital to use POWs as a human shield
– shells from Corregidor and Ft. Drum hit a building killing 22 POWs
– 29 April 1942 – the hospital was shelled again
– Ward 14 hit and five POWs died
– Gen Wainwright learned what the Japanese had done and ordered Corregidor and Ft. Drum not to return fire.
– 12 May 1942 – hospital closed and the POWs marched to Hospital #1 at Little Baguio
– since Joe had had part of his leg amputated, other POWs helped him
– as they marched they saw the dead still lying along the road
– 19 May 1942 – identified as in the Cabcaben Detachment
– 20 May 1942 – POWs were taken by a truck convoy to Bilibid Prison
– remained there for three days
– POWs slept in the prison hospital on the concrete floor
– 30 May 1942 – rode the train to the barrio of Cabanatuan
– 75 to 100 men in each steel boxcar
– marched about 1¼ miles to a schoolyard and spent the night there
– the ground was covered with human waste 
– 31 May 1942 – the POWs were told they would  be shot if they fell, but those men who did were beaten with canes until they got back up
– POWs were marched 8.7 miles to Cabanatuan Camp #2
– At the camp, the POWs were given showers
– 1 June 1942 – they were marched back to Cabanatuan #1
– not too long after their arrival, the POWs from Camp O’Donnell arrived
– His wife received this message from the War Department

“Dear Mrs. Sanchez:

        “According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private Joe M. Sanchez, 39,214,85, 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”
 

– July 1942 – the War Department sent his wife a follow-up letter. The following is an excerpt from it

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

– Bilibid Prison
– most of the POWs from the hospitals were taken to Cabanatuan
– Joe remained behind at Bilibid because of his amputation
– Meals consisted of a half to three-quarters of a mess kit of rice twice a day
– food was often contaminated which resulted in the prisoners getting dysentery
– POWs often ate garbage from scrap cans and pig troughs
– slept on the concrete floors
– no mosquito netting
– many POWs came down with malaria
– clothing
– each man had two g-strings and two pairs of socks
– medical supplies
– never enough to treat sick
– seemed there was just enough to prolong the suffering
– Admitted: October 1942 – Hospital
– right leg amputated
– assigned to Ward 9
– Discharged: not known
– remained at Bilibid because he was unfit to work
– Admitted: 13 November 1943
– from hospital census
– Discharged: 1 January 1944
– to “Well Cripples”
– made himself a peg leg to walk on
– Admitted: 1 January 1944
– Discharged: 8 April 1944
– medical records show he was discharged to the Well Cripples
– Joseph saved the life of Sgt. Ken Porwoll who had been taken to the prison after being left behind when his POW detachment was sent to Japan
– paid another POW to care for Porwoll
Liberated:
– 4 February 1945 – Bilibid Prison

– the POWs talked about what they had heard
– They also noticed that the Japanese guards seemed to be getting ready to leave.
– The senior American medical officer was called to the Japanese commanding officer’s office 
– he was told that they were freeing the POWs
– he also told them to stay inside the prison
– a typed document stating the Japanese were releasing the POWs 

“1. The Japanese army is now going to release all prisoners of war and internees here on its own accord.

”2. We are assigned to another duty and shell be here no more.

“3. You are at liberty to act and live as free persons but you must be aware of probable dangers if you go out.

“4. We shall leave here foodstuffs, medicines, and other necessities of which you may avail yourselves for the time being.

“5. We have arranged to put signboard at the front gate bearing the following context: ‘Lawfully released prisoners of war and interests are
     quartered here. Please do not molest them unless they make positive resistance.’”

– At 11:45 A.M., the Japanese left, and the POWs posted their own guards and waited for the American to arrive.
– The POWs had three good meals that day and noted that a small American plane flew over the prisoner repeatedly that day.
– 6:00 P.M. – A wooden shutter on one of the walls was knocked down by a rifle butt.
– soldiers in funny-looking uniforms entered the prison
– American troops who had completely surrounded the prison and had been trying to get in to see what was inside.
– at first, the POWs thought the soldiers were Germans
– they had strange their helmets and uniforms
– when the soldiers spoke to them in English the POWs knew that they had been liberated
– after being liberated it was discovered the Japanese had wired the prison with bombs with timers
– the power being knocked out which stopped the timers from working
– The POWs remained in the prison
– the belief was that the Japanese may attempt to retake the prison
– The 37th Infantry Division from Ohio came to the compound and visited the POWs. – followed by 148th Infantry, 7th Division.
– The Americans gave their cigarettes and K rations to the former POWs and seemed unable to do enough for them.
– They even gave the former POWs their whiskey, beer, and cigars that the Filipinos had given them
– 5 February – 9:00 P.M. – there was gunfire on three sides of the prison
– the decision was made to move the former POWs to the Ang Tibay shoe factory on the outskirts of Manila
– The members of the 148th Infantry carried POWs out on litters
– they were evacuated in ambulances and on jeeps.
– The soldiers also helped the weak onto trucks
– they made sure that all the POWs were out of Bilibid
– the evacuation was completed by 11:35  P.M.
– the former POWs were moved to a brewery and drank beer at the brewery
– 6 February – the former POWs were ordered back to Bilibid since it had better sanitary facilities.
–  they found it had been looted and much of their personnel effects were gone.
– They received their first American food that morning which was canned ham and eggs, cereal milk, K biscuits, butter, jam, and coffee with milk and sugar.
– 9 February – The seriously ill who needed better medical treatment were sent to Santo Tomas
– 10 February – more men were sent there
– those men not able to make the trip were sent to Quezon Institute
– assigned to 12th Replacement Battalion
Promoted: Corporal
Note: After his artificial leg was replaced, the one he had at Bilibid ended up in a medical museum
Died: February 1986 – Castroville, California

Default Gravesite 1

Leave a Reply