Tuesday, October 13, 2015

American POWs in Japan

The following are profiles of the nine former POWs of Japan visiting Japan October 11-19, 2015 as guests of the Japanese government

All the men are in their 90s. One was captured in a hospital on Java after his U.S. Army Air Corps B-17 squadron evacuated in March 1942. Another fought on Corregidor AND the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in Korea. Four are “China Marines.” Another, survived the Bataan Death March, and became Rev. Jerry Falwell’s treasurer and has an award named after him at Liberty University. Three were slave laborers at POW camps at factories and mines that are now part of Japan's new UNESCO World Industrial Heritage sites.

DIALOGUE WITH FORMER US PRISONERS OF WAR IN JAPAN 2015. 10/14, 6:30pm, Tokyo, Japan. Sponsor: Temple University Japan. Speakers: Nine former US POWs - Leland Chandler, William Howard Chittenden, Carl Dyer, Arthur Gruenberg, George Hirschkamp, George Rogers, Jack Warner, Clifford Warren, Joseph Demott; Moderator: Robert Dujarric, Director, Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS), Temple University.

LELAND CHANDLER, 92, lives in Galesburg, Illinois. A farm boy from Table Grove, Illinois, he enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 4, 1941. He was 18. On April 1st , he boarded the USAT Republic at San Francisco with 2,200 other soldiers headed for Manila. Arriving on April 22nd, he was assigned to the 60th Coast Artillery at Fort Mills on Corregidor Island at the entrance to Manila Bay. There he was a member of “H” or “Harford Battery” on Herring Field, Middleside helping man 3-inch anti-aircraft guns under the command of Capt. Warren Starr. Starting on December 8th (December 7th in Hawaii), with the Japanese invasion, Corregidor was bombed four to five times a day during the six-month long siege. The Americans surrendered on May 6, 1942. Capt. Starr recorded that his “battery fired about 875 rounds of 3-inch ammunition, and obtained observed hits on 14 planes.” Like most of the 12,000 men on Corregidor, Chandler was crowded into a small open area, the 92nd Garage, to wait nearly three weeks in the tropical sun with little food or water to be sent by boat to Manila. The men were then made to wade ashore before being paraded six miles down Dewey Boulevard on a “Victory March" to the old Spanish-built prison of Bilibid. Within a few days they were moved by train and foot to the squalid Cabanatuan POW Camp. On November 7, 1942, Mr. Chandler and over 1,400 American POWs were transferred to Japan via Formosa by the Hellship Nagato Maru. Initially, Mr. Chandler was a slave laborer for Yodogawa Tekkojo (today’s Yodokawa Steel Works, Ltd.) at the Osaka 3-D Yodogawa POW Camp He was a steel cutter in the steel mill working 12 to 15 hours each day on only two small bowls of rice a day. He was transferred in mid-May 1945 to Osaka 3-B Oeyama POW Camp where he toiled as a stevedore for Nippon Yakin Kogyo (today’s Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., Ltd. or NYK) at Miyazu Harbor until the end of the war. After the Japanese guards disappeared and barrels of food descended from new B-29s, the prisoners decided to commandeer a Japanese train to Yokohama. There the POWs were deloused and fed and put on a ship to the Philippines and then back to San Francisco. The 5’11” Chandler weighed 185 pounds when captured, but only 85 pounds when liberated. He recalls “I made up my mind I was going to live, thank the good Lord,” and when “I broke my arm when a load of steel fell on it, I had another prisoner set it and I kept working. If you didn’t work you didn’t eat.” He spent seven months recuperating in hospitals before being discharged on April 7, 1946, at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. The next day he was hired by the Rock Island Arsenal and assigned to the Moline Airport (today’s Quad City International Airport) to provide fire protection for Army medical evacuations. After this service was discontinued, he joined the University of Illinois fire department. Two years later he joined the fire department at Chanute Air Force Base (decommissioned in 1993). He retired as Fire Chief from Chanute in 1974. For many years, Chandler and his wife enjoyed travel and RV camping. He likes woodworking and tinkering with projects in the shop/garage. He volunteers with the Care Committee at Church. He runs the CD player and sound system for the nursing home chapel services by his wife. He has been married to Ruth Chandler for 66 years.
POW# 389
Philippines POW# 1-10197

WILLIAM HOWARD CHITTENDEN, 95, resides in Wheaton, Illinois. Mr. Chittenden grew up in Chillicothe, Missouri. He enlisted in United States Marine Corps in1939 and started his basic training on October 30, 1939 at Twentynine Palms, San Diego. He was sent to China on May 5, 1940 aboard the USS Henderson (AP-1) with the 4th Regiment of the United States Marine Corp—also known as the China Marines—to be a guard at the U.S. Embassy in Peking (Beijing). Chittenden was captured with the 203 other Embassy Marine guards on December 8, 1941. He was first sent with all that were now called the North China Marines to Tientsin, and then on to the Woosung POW Camp outside Shanghai. In December 1942, he was moved to Kiangwan POW Camp, another suburb of Shanghai. There the POWs repaired roads and built a huge mountain for a military firing range that they referred to as Mt Fuji. On August 20, 1943, he was transferred from Kiangwan in Shanghai to Japan with 524 POWs to Osaka. He was taken to the POW Camp Tokyo 5-D Kawasaki, which was across from the main gate of a steel mill owned by Nippon Steel Tube & Mining Company (Nippon Kokan, today’s JFE Engineering Corporation). In this primitive and hazardous facility, he worked as a lathe operator and grinder operator. In June 1945, following the American bombings of the Kawasaki area, the POWs were moved to Niigata. Chittenden found himself at POW Camp Tokyo 5-B Niigata as a slave laborer loading and unloading cargo for Niigata Sea and Land Transportation Company or Niigata Kairiku Unso (today’s Rinko Corporation) until the end of the war. He was liberated on September 4, 1945, and put on a train to Yokohama. He was flown across the Pacific to Oakland, California arriving September 12th. Mr. Chittendan was discharged from the Marines Corps on February 16, 1946, as a Platoon Sergeant. He used the GI Bill to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in 1949, from the University of Notre Dame and where he met his wife, Peggy, who was a student at the neighboring St. Mary’s. He went to work after graduation at the national headquarters of Sears, Roebuck & Company in downtown Chicago. He was quality assurance manager for the company until he retired in 1980. In retirement, he wrote and published his autobiography, From China Marine to JAP POW: My 1,346 Day Journey Through Hell. In retirement he enjoys travel, golf, tennis, scuba diving, and spending time with his family. Mr. Chittenden, a widower, was married for 59 years and had three children, two sons and a daughter
POW# 233

JOSEPH DEMOTT, 97, lives in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on August 29, 1939 at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois. He trained as a radio operator with the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group 22nd Squadron. Mr. DeMott was part of the 22nd Squadron that flew on the Dec 17-18, 1941 from Hamilton Field, California to Hickam Field, Hawaii. As part of Major Kenneth Hobson’s B-17 crew, he helped pioneer the “Pacific route” from Hawaii on January 2, 1942 down through the South Pacific to Australia. Form there, they went to Malang, Java to join the rest of the 22nd on January 14th to reinforce Allied forces in the Netherlands East Indies. On the 15th, the ABDACOM (Australian British Dutch American Command) was formed with the mission to defend the Malay Barrier, which was defined as a line connecting the Malay Peninsula-Sumatra-Java-North Australia. On February 3rd, during a mission over Balikpapan (today’s Jakarta), Mr. DeMott was severely wounded in his leg and sent to a Dutch military hospital in Malang. Confined to hospital bed, he was unable to evacuate with his squadron at the end of February to Australia. The invading Japanese captured him on March 8, 1942. After several months when he was able to walk without crutches, he was sent to the western mountains of Java to a large POW camp for Dutch and British near Bandoeng (today’s Bandung), near Tjimahi that sent details out to do farming. This camp was possibly the Baros 5 Camp near the plantations of Lewigadjah. In late 1943, he was sent to “Bicycle Camp” in Batavia, Java. This camp had housed the Dutch 10th Infantry Battalion in Batavia, and took its name from the battalion’s use of bicycles for transportation. There he helped build fences and dig ditches as well as work on the docks. The prisoners never received official word that the war had ended. They simply realized something had changed when their treatment improved, they were allowed to go outside the Camp, and the Japanese officers no longer carried swords. On September 19, 1945, US Army Special Forces liberated the Camp. Mr. DeMott, starved, beaten and having temporarily lost his eyesight, never lost hope. He flew back to the States via Calcutta, Egypt, the Azores Islands, and Canada. In late October 1945, he arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York. He was hospitalized on Staten Island, New York before going to Fletcher General Hospital in Cambridge, Ohio. He was discharged from the U.S. Army on May 20, 1946 with two Purple Hearts. Returning home, he used the GI Bill to obtain a BS in Engineering in 1949, from Pennsylvania State University and became an electrical engineer. After graduation, he worked at Sylvania Electric Products Inc. as a production engineer and then in telemetry for the Applied Science Corporation of Princeton (ASCOP). He retired from RCA as design developer, but went on to work as a plant manager in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for Champion Blower & Forge Co. (today’s Champion Fan) for an additional five years. In July 1979, he took full retirement. A Ham radio operator most of his life, he also enjoyed gardening. His wife of 67 years, Kate, died in August 2015.
POW# - unknown

CARL DYER, 91, resides in Oglesby, Illinois. He grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Not a fan of schoolwork, Mr. Dyer at 16 convinced the U.S. Army recruiter that he was 18 and enlisted. Sworn in on March 17, 1941 at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Little Rock, he was sent immediately to California and Fort McDowell (Angel Island). Barely a month later he was on a troop transport to Manila, arriving May 12, 1941. He was stationed with at Fort William McKinley as a member of the 12th Quartermaster Regiment Philippine Scouts supplying gasoline to the troops on Bataan. After Bataan was surrendered on April 9, 1942, he escaped the next day to Corregidor aboard a fresh water barge from Sisiman Cove near Mariveles—where most of the surrendered troops on Bataan began the Bataan Death March. On Corregidor, he was assigned to the defense of Monkey Point. After surrender on May 6th, he joined thousands of other POW on a small open area, the 92nd Garage, to wait nearly three weeks in the tropical sun with little food or water to be sent by boat to Manila. The men were then made to wade ashore before being paraded six miles down Dewey Boulevard on a “Victory March" to the old Spanish-built prison of Bilibid. Within a few days they were moved by train and foot to the squalid Cabanatuan #3 POW Camp. On November 7, 1942, Mr. Dyer and over 1,400 American POWs were transferred to Japan via Formosa by the Hellship Nagato Maruto. After arriving at the Port of Moji, Mr. Dyer was sent to POW Camp Osaka 4-B Tanagawa where he was a slave laborer for Tobishima-gumi (today’s Tobishima Corporation). There he helped build breakwater for a primitive dry-dock and submarine base. This camp was noted for the severe malnutrition of its prisonsers and an excessive death rate. It was closed March 20, 1945, and he was then moved to Osaka 8-D Naruo a POW camp to provide slave labor for Showa Denkyoku (Showa Electrode Company, Ltd., today’s SEC Carbon, Ltd.) for a graphite factory. This camp was closed in May and he was transferred Osaka 5-B Tsuruga on the Sea of Japan to be a slave stevedore for Tsuruga Harbor Transportation Company (company no longer exists). After the docks were bombed in June, the POWs were shifted between a brickyard and the port. It was at the dock that he listened with the Japanese workers to the Emperor say that the war had ended. After the first food airdrops into his POW camp, he and a number of fellow POWs walked out of the camp and commandeered a train to Tokyo. From there they were flown to Manila on August 29th and then boarded USS Rodman to San Francisco arriving there October 3, 1946. After a check up at Letterman Army Hospital, he was sent home to Fort Smith, Arkansas. He spent several more months at the Hot Springs Army-Navy General Hospital before he was discharged from the Army on March 15, 1946. He took advantage of the GI Bill by taking courses on mechanics at the Fort Smith High School. Mr. Dyer first worked at the Lowell Brickyard in Chicago and then as a tractor operator at the Caterpillar plant in Aurora, Illinois. After retiring in 1985, he and his wife moved to Hawaii, but returned to Illinois in September of 2000. Mr. Dyer was widowed in 2009 after 63 years of marriage to Jean, an Army nurse he met at the Letterman Army Hospital.
POW# 459
Philippines POW# 1-9778

ARTHUR GRUENBERG, 94, lives in Camano Island, Washington State. Mr. Gruenberg grew up on Long Island, New York and Colorado. He enlisted in the Marine Corps August 1, 1940, in Denver, Colorado and took his training at San Diego’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot. He was soon sent aboard the USS Chaumont (AP-5) via Manila to Shanghai to be part of A Company 1st Battalion of the 4th Marines—best known as the China Marines—that provided security for the Americans in the international settlement. As with most of the China Marines he was evacuated (either SS President Harrison or SS President Madison) November 27-28 to the Philippines to reinforce the defenses of the Islands. Prior to boarding the ship, he volunteered to test a new typhus vaccine with the result he arrived in the Philippines sick with typhus. Sent directly to Corregidor, he recovered in Malinta Tunnel and then was assigned to the 1st Battalion as a runner and telephone messenger through the siege of Corregidor. On May 6th, he delivered the surrender message from Major General Jonathan Wainwright to Lt Colonel Curtis T Beecher who commanded the 1st Battalion on East Sector-From Malinta Hill (inclusive) to the tail of the island. Like most of the 12,000 men on Corregidor, Mr. Gruenberg was crowded into a small open area, the 92nd Garage, to wait nearly three weeks in the tropical sun with little food or water to be sent by boat to Manila. The men were then made to wade ashore before being paraded six miles down Dewey Boulevard on a “Victory March" to the old Spanish-built prison of Bilibid. Within a few days they were moved by train and foot to the squalid Cabanatuan POW Camp #1. He arrived blind due to a vitamin A deficiency. US Army Dr Samuel Bloom was able to save his right eye’s site (this eye remains 20/20), but not the left. Mr. Gruenberg was eventually able to be sent to do farm work and other labor until he contracted malaria. In July 1944, Mr. Gruenberg, along with 1,540 other POWs, was taken aboard the Hellship Nissyo Maru via Formosa to Japan. After arriving at the port of Moji, Japan, he was sent to the POW Camp Fukuoka 7-B Futase (known as Shin-Iizuka) to be a slave laborer for Japan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd, (Nippon Seitetsu, today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation. The camp is associated with the Fukuoka-Yamaguichi area awarded UNESCO World Industrial Heritage status this past July, albeit without mention of the hundreds of POW slave laborers who toiled there. At first assigned to build air raid shelters, he eventually ended up mining coal. His camp was liberated on September 16, 1945, and the POWs were put on trains to Nagasaki where many boarded Navy transport ships to San Francisco. Returning to the U.S., he spent approximately one year in three military hospitals: Oak Knoll, California; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; and St Albans Military Hospital, New York where they operated, ultimately, unsuccessfully on his left eye. Now a staff sergeant, he was able to reenlist in the Marine Corps under a waiver in September 1946. He was first sent to Washington, DC as a guard at the Naval Shipyard’s Naval Communications Annex. In Washington, he married and had two daughters. He was eventually assigned to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard graves registration to escort WWII dead home. In the summer of 1950, he was transferred to Camp Pendleton and then to Korea. He arrived in time to participate in the legendary battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He was one of the handful of survivors of Fox Company’s (2n Battalion 7 Marine Rgt 1st ) bitter battle from November 27 through December 2, 1950 to protect, at all costs, a thin Toktong Pass escape route through the steep Nang­nim Mountains(See: The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat).Wounded shortly after this battle, he returned to the front in May until August 1951. Discharged September 10, 1952, he eventually went to work for the Denver water department and in 1954 founded his own excavating company. Moving to Seattle in 1966, he joined the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 working on construction project throughout the fast-growing region. He retired in 1980, to travel, fish, and enjoy life. Mr. Gruenberg oral history can be found as part of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
POW# 599
Philippines PO# 1-9596

GEORGE HIRSCHKAMP, 95, resides in Sandpoint, Idaho. Born in Germany, he came to the U.S. with his mother in 1928, and settled in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn. At 18, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 1938, and took his basic training at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot. He was sent to the San Francisco Naval Station for instruction on becoming a radio communications operator. He was assigned mid-1940 to the 4th Marines as part of a detachment to the U.S. Embassy in Peking to work as a radio operator—part of a small, 130-man support unit stationed there before the war. December 8, 1941, they were all taken prisoner on what was the first day of the war. They were then transferred to Tientsin, followed by Woosung and then Kiangwan, the later two suburbs of Shanghai. At Woosung, Hirschkamp repaired Japanese vehicles and helped build a huge mountain for a military firing range that the POWs referred to as Mt Fuji. In July 1945, he was transferred to Japan via Manchuria and Pusan to northern Japan. He was fist sent to Hokodate #2 Akahira to be a slave laborer for an Asano coal mine owned by Sumitomo Mining (today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation) and then to Hakodate 3-B Utashinai, he also mined coal, this time for the Sorachi Office of Hokkaido Shipping and Mining Company, Ltd., which is today’s Hokkaido Colliery & Steamship Co., Ltd. He was liberated from this camp on September 15, 1945. The POWs at this camp learned of the end of the war when the camp commander “ lined us up on the parade ground and informed us that hostilities had ceased,” Hirschkamp recalled. “Then we all had a drink of sake. The war had ended. The next morning, we woke up and - lo and behold - they were all gone,” he continued. They had abandoned us. From then on, everything became sweet.” The POWs left the camp on September 17th, and were put aboard a British destroyer and taken to Tokyo for processing before a long ship voyage to the States. After returning from Japan, he used the GI Bill to complete his GED and study mathematics at Morton College in Cicero, Illinois. He also married the woman who waited seven years for him to return from the Marines. Mr. Hirschkamp likes to recount that “When I got home, we dated a couple times and she had the brass to ask me, ‘When are we going to get married, George?’ “I stammered and stuttered and she finally said, ‘It’s June 1 [1946] or never.’ So we got married.” He worked for International Harvester in Illinois and eventually at Ford Aerospace’s plant in Newport Beach, California. He retired in 1980 and traveled the country until his wife of 62 years, Lorraine, passed away.
POW# unknown

GEORGE W. ROGERS, 96, resides in Lynchburg, Virginia. Mr. Rogers grew up in St Louis, Missouri and enlisted in the U.S. Army August 20, 1941, at Jefferson Barracks. He arrived on the Philippines October 1 and was assigned to 4th Chemical Company. At first a clerk/typist at Fort McKinley, he was soon fighting in the defense of Bataan with L Company of the 31st Infantry Regiment (US) after Japan’s December 8 invasion. American forces were short of food, ammunition, and reinforcements throughout the campaign against the better equipped and trained Japanese. All forces on Bataan were surrendered on April 9, 1942, and most were forced on the infamous Bataan Death March. Mr. Rogers endured the 65-mile trek up the Bataan Peninsula experiencing starvation, exhaustion, and beatings while witnessing merciless murders and torture. At the Camp O’Donnell where 1,500 Americans died over four months, he was a gravedigger. In August, he was moved to Cabanatuan #3 to farm rice and vegetables as well as duty building an airfield. On top of the beatings he received from the camp guards, Mr. Rogers and his fellow soldiers suffered through extreme pain in their feet and legs due primarily to dry or dry beriberi, a disease affecting the nerves and muscles. He also survived malaria and spent six months quarantined for what was thought to be amoebic dysentery. On July 17, 1944, he was one of 1541 POWs taken to Japan via Formosa aboard the Hellship Nissyo Maru. During the 18-day trip with barely any food or clean drinking water, extreme heat, rampant illness — both physical and mental—he said,  “I almost lost it, and then … I got a peace that came over me, and I just felt everything is going to be alright, just relax”; Rogers said. “As far as I’m concerned, God was at work again.” After arriving at the port of Moji, Japan, he was sent to POW Camp Fukuoka 3-B Yawata Japan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. (Nippon Seitetsu; today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation) to work in the Yawata steel mill for the rest of the war. Yawata featured Japan’s first blast furnace and was one the Empire’s most important armament makers. It was the primary target for the second atomic bomb. Cloud cover from aerial bombing on August 8, 1945, prevented this, but succeed in destroying key production facilities and ending prisoner work at the mill. In July 2015, the site was given UNESCO World Industrial Heritage status, albeit without mention of the hundreds of POW slave laborers—American, British, Australian, Dutch, Portuguese, Jamaican, Indian, Malay, Chinese, and Arabians at the site. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the facilities of Yawata Steel Works in July 2014, to encourage the UNESCO application. On August 15, 1945, the camp commander announced that the war had ended and the guards disappear. The camp was liberated on September 13th. Mr. Rogers returned to the U.S. a gaunt, 6-foot-3, 85 pounds. Military doctors told him that it was unlikely that he would live past 45 or 50, keep his teeth, or have children. At 96, he retains his teeth, has five children, and displays “a contagious joy.” Mr. Rogers used the G.I. Bill to obtain an accounting degree from St. Louis University. Starting in 1973, Mr. Rogers was the CFO for Reverend Jerry Falwell (founder of the Moral Majority) overseeing his Old Time Gospel Hour television ministry and the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He became Liberty University’s vice president of finance and administration in 1999, through to Rev Falwell’s death in 2007. In 2010, Liberty University named an award in Rogers' honor. The George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award is given annually to a man or woman who served in the United States Armed Forces and went above the call of duty, displaying extraordinary heroism while serving. The award is presented at a Flames football game during Liberty's Military Emphasis Week, held near Veterans Day. A bust of Rogers stands at the gate of Williams Stadium, the home of the Liberty Flames football team, as a tribute to Rogers for his sacrifices. Mr. Rogers was married 67 year to Barbara,who passed away this August.
POW# unknown
Philippines POW# 1-06096

JACK DOYLE WARNER, 94, lives in Elk City, Oklahoma. Mr. Warner grew up in western Oklahoma and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on October 18, 1939. After basic training at San Diego’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot his first duty was at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 25 miles north of San Francisco. In the summer of 1940, he was on a 148-day voyage to Shanghai to be part of A Company 1st Battalion of the 4th Marines—best known as the China Marines—that provided security for the Americans in the international settlement. In late November 1941, Mr. Warner thinking he was returning to the U.S. found instead that he and the regiment were being sent to the Philippines to defend the island of Corregidor from a potential Japanese invasion. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese bombed Corregidor. He was stationed at Kindley Airstrip as a rifleman with the 2nd Marine Battalion. With the fall of Corregidor on May 6th, he and most of the 12,000 men on Corregidor were crowded into a small open area, the 92nd Garage, to wait nearly three weeks in the tropical sun with little food or water to be sent by boat to Manila. The men were then made to wade ashore before being paraded six miles down Dewey Boulevard on a “Victory March" to the old Spanish-built prison of Bilibid. Within a few days they were moved by train and foot to the squalid Cabanatuan POW Camp. In August 1942, his Japanese captors forced him and hundreds of surviving American troops to strip naked to be examined by Japanese military doctors. Warner and 300 Americans picked to be the first group of POWs to go to Japan. On September 21, the POWs were sent to Formosa aboard the Hellship Lima Maru. They spent two months there, ostensibly to learn Japanese. From Taiwan, the POWs were shipped aboard the Dainichi Maru arriving in Moji, Japan on November 25th. At first, Mr. Warner was a slave laborer at POW Camp Tokyo 1-D Yokohama, providing riveter labor for shipyard and ship construction. He was also forced to repair German ships that docked outside the Yokohama harbor. However, he said the Germans fed him better than the Japanese, who limited the POW diet to small amounts of rice and fish heads. “When we went out and riveted on a German ship, we always liked that because they carried hogs on their ships and they fed us two meals,” said Warner, “We got our ration plus what they gave us and we usually carried ours back to give to our buddies.” After the docks were bombed by in May 1945, he was sent to POW Camp Sendai 5-B Kamaishi, and toiled as a mechanic repairing slag cars at iron mill works owned by Japan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd, (today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation). At the camp, Warner volunteered to take a beating for a Navy sailor who he said was in bad shape. “I don’t know what he had done, but he was a good kid and I knew him,” said Warner. “We knew he couldn’t take it if they give him a real beating.” In August 1945, he twice escaped from the camp. Miraculously, Camp Commander Makoto Inaki (from April 1944) did not have the escapees executed, but instead had them beaten and confined to the guardhouse. The second time he escaped, the war ended and he was advised by local Japanese to return to the camp for repatriation. He and a buddy jumped the evacuation team to Sendai and made their way to Yokohama. After a series of adventures included a tour of the city sanctioned by the commanding general, they flew out of Tokyo and island hopped to Oakland. On May 24, 1946 he returned to civilian life. After returning to his home, Mr. Warner used the G.I. Bill education benefits to take vocational agricultural classes at Hammon, Oklahoma’s high school. For 17 years he farmed until 1961 when his property became part of Foss Lake reservoir. He joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retiring in 1982, he travelled with his wife, June, to all 50 states and many foreign countries. Married 68 years, he was widowed in 2014.
POW# 4463
Taiwan POW# 972

CLIFFORD WARREN, 91, resides in Shepherd, Texas. At 16, Mr. Warren left the family farm near Houston, Texas without his parent’s permission and enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1941. Leaving behind the family’s farm was an easy decision, considering they had already experienced three crop failures, including two floods and one fire. His parents did not know where he was until he arrived in the Philippines aboard the USAT Republic on April 22, 1941. There he immediately sent his parents a letter explaining where he was and how long he believed he would be there. He became a member of the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion Battery “D” or “Denver” manning 3”anti-aircraft guns near Kindley Field on Corregidor Island. This battery was the first confront Japanese invading amphibious forces in May 1944. Unfortunately, shelling from Bataan had killed their commanding officer in last part of April, which undermined their effectiveness. With the fall of Corregidor on May 6th, he and most of the 12,000 men on Corregidor were crowded into a small open area, the 92nd Garage, to wait nearly three weeks in the tropical sun with little food or water to be sent by boat to Manila. The men were then made to wade ashore before being paraded six miles down Dewey Boulevard on a “Victory March" to the old Spanish-built prison of Bilibid. Within a few days they were moved by train and foot to the squalid Cabanatuan POW Camp. He was placed at a work detail to build an airfield in Lipa City in Batangas Province for 18 months. Most of the men were transferred from here in March of 1944 to construct another runway at Camp Murphy. In the summer of 1944, he was shipped to Japan via the Hellship Nissyo Maru. Upon arrival he was sent to POW Camp Nagoya 1-B Kamioka, where he was a slave laborer to mine lead and zinc for Mitsui Mining Co., the predecessor of today’s Nippon Coke & Engineering Co., Ltd. In July 2015, the site was given UNESCO World Industrial Heritage status, albeit without mention of the hundreds of POW slave laborers who toiled there. The camp, reportedly was for “hard cases” who were difficult for the Japanese to manage. Mr. Warner recalls that the POWs were repeatedly told that they would be killed if and when the country was invaded. Twice, he said, the guards would take them out and have them sit on the roads alongside the mountain. Then set up machine guns at either end of the road. After awhile they would dismantle the guns and take them back to work. He thinks they were practicing what they would do if there had been a land invasion. Toward end of August the Japanese camp commander escorted the POWs south by train. On the middle of the third day they could go no further due to track damage, but American forces were waiting there to truck any POW's who arrived back to Tokyo. From there they were flown to Okinawa. He remembers being able to smell beef stew on the airfield there from the field kitchens near the beach. But the first thing he wanted was coffee as he had not had any in four years! Five days later they were flown on B-24s to the Philippines. In the Philippines he was actually able to connect with a brother, Willie Kelso Warren, who he had not seen since before the war. He went by troop ship from there to San Francisco. He turned 21 the day they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge October 15, 1945. After two days in San Francisco, he was sent by train to the McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas (today’s Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center in Temple, Texas). He was to be there for three months but was soon furloughed to spend the time at his parent's in Leggitt, Texas or in Beaumont, Texas courting, Ivene, his wife to be. He was discharged at Fort Sam Houston January 29, 1946, and married Ivene on October 6, 1946. Mr. Warren tried night school at the University of Houston and working days at Ford Motor Company. Severe PTSD made this difficult. He switched to working various positions operating machinery and in 1965 went to work for Brown & Root Engineering and Construction (today’s KBR Inc.) He helped run the engine rooms for the big offshore derrick barges. Later he was in the first group of Safety Officers Brown & Root trained to meet the new OSHA safety regulations. He in 1986 retired as the #2 Safety Man for Brown & Root construction of the nuclear power plant at Glen Rose, Texas, known as Comanche Peak. He was widowed in 1990 and remarried in 1997 to Myrtle Emmons.
POW# 488
Philippines POW# 1-11350

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