On April 4, 1943, ten US service personnel outwitted their Japanese guards and escaped from a work camp in the Davao Region of the Philippines. One of those escapees, Lt. Commander Melvyn Harvey McCoy, kept a journal during his imprisonment. After his escape, he gave a detailed report of the brutal treatment of POWs and his remarkable escape. Using his account and other records, we’ve pieced together this amazing WWII story of escape and survival.
Melvyn H. McCoy served as a Radio Material Officer in the 16th Naval District and was stationed in the Philippines. On Christmas Day, 1941, a week before the Japanese entered Manila, McCoy and other personnel evacuated to Corregidor, where they held off Japanese troops until May 6th, when Corregidor fell. McCoy sent the final radio message marking the fall of the island. Along with more than 10,000 Americans and Filipino soldiers, McCoy was taken POW. The men were herded into an enclosed concrete square, where they remained for seven days. There were no toilets and just one water spigot. It was brutally hot. Next, they were packed on merchant vessels and transported to Manila. Just meters from the shore, the men were dunked in the bay and made to swim ashore, then marched through the streets, soaking wet. Some fell, physically unable to make the arduous trek.
McCoy wound up in Bilibid prison. He described unbearable work detail. One group of 300 prisoners captured at Bataan saw their numbers reduced to 30 after 270 died on the job. McCoy was later transferred to Cabanatuan prison camp where he found more deplorable conditions. He described dead prisoners lying in the barracks and daily fatalities. Prisoners were tortured and starved to death. They also suffered from disease and sickness. Malaria, dysentery, and diphtheria took thousands of lives and there was no medicine available. Some tried to escape but were recaptured and executed. McCoy estimated that 3,400 prisoners died during his time at Cabanatuan.
After six months, McCoy was transferred to Davao Penal Colony. The trip took 11 days on an overcrowded boat. There wasn’t room for all the prisoners, so some stayed topside even though it rained each night. After arriving on land, the prisoners marched 17 miles to the prison. Prison officials were angry when they saw the weakened and diseased condition of the new arrivals, as they expected new workers. After spending several difficult months at Davao, McCoy began plotting an escape.
In January 1943, McCoy and nine other enlisted men and officers and began to steal small amounts of food. They needed to build up their strength for the escape. They secreted stolen equipment and supplies in the jungle. On the morning of April 4, 1943, the group left the prison as if they were going on work detail. Instead, they snuck into the jungle, assembled their gear, and began to run.
The escapees, along with two Filipino guides, were pursued by patrols but managed to elude them. For the next five weeks, they traveled mountain paths, swamps, and rivers while playing hide-and-seek with Japanese troops. Along the way, they contended with hunger, sickness, leeches, crocodiles, and exhaustion. They also encountered kindness and hospitality from Filipinos who shared food and lodging.
The escapees linked up with friendly guerilla forces who helped them along the way. With the help of a guerilla radio, they sent messages to officials in Australia and made plans to rendezvous with an American submarine. The sub transported them to Australia where Gen. Douglas MacArthur greeted them and awarded them the Distinguished Service Cross. McCoy and his fellow escapees brought back the first eye-witness account of the atrocities inflicted upon American POWs by Japanese soldiers in the Philippines. Their accounts shocked and infuriated Americans.
To read McCoy’s full report of the escape, click here. To see other records from WWII, search Fold3® today.
Thank you. It meant so much to me to be able to read this.
I long to understand fully, then write the story of Brigadier General Fort, whose decades of service in the Philippines ended with his capture, torture and death by execution in a Prisoner of War camp. His body has never been recovered.
My cousin was one of the escapees. Known as Shifty Shofner. A Marine during the fall of Corrigedor. There are a few books about this. AC Shofner was told to not tell anyone about their treatment. U S wanted to concentrate on Europe first. I’m in touch with his son. He still owns part of the original farm in Shelbyville TN near the Shofner Chapel where he is buried. AC did return to the Philippines with McArthur to fight against the Japanese
My dad was one of the group. It’s very nice to hear other points of view on the situation. Truly, they were forbidden to speak about the escape or conditions. Ed Dyess broke their silence, then died in a plane crash.
Mary, your father was such a hero. Thank you for your comment.
We are so thankful for the bravery and heroic service of your cousin.
I met General Austin Shofner on a couple of occasions. One of his sons in Nashville is a friend of mine although I have not seen him in years.
In the late 80’s or early 90’s, General Shofner was introduced at a historical banquet that I attended and asked to stand at his table as a distinguished guest. As General Shofner stood, the head table speaker concluded his summation of Shofner’s career by noting “he was captured by the Japanese.” In a few seconds, when it became clear the speaker was going to end on that note, General Shofner bellowed out, loudly and clearly, “BY GOD I’ll HAVE YOU KNOW I ESCAPED!” The room broke out in laughter and cheers.
Love that story. Martin or his brother are his sons whom you met. Really nice people. I stay in touch with Martin
My dad, J. E. “Frenchy” Dupont played football under Gen. Schofner while he was stationed in Shanghai before they were sent to the Philippines. He was a pow of Japs also and was liberated in Bilibid prison. He would often get phone calls from Gen. Schofner and it meant a great deal to him.
Then you know how he got the nickname Shifty Shofner. For the football move not procuring provisions. Wish I had met him. Maybe did when we visited the family in TN in the 50s.
The best book about the escape and its impact on the resources (or lack thereof) sent to Pacific vs Europe is “Escape from Davao” by Lukacs. One of the best WW2 books I have read.
Yes I loved that book. I also have news articles of AC Shofner returning home from TN papers
Thanks for the name of this book. It may provide me with knowledge of my Ancestor, Horace McElderry, whom I have learned was in the Phillipines. A list of names of the escapees would have been beneficial in this announcement to me.
We always hear of the Nazi atrocities it time we hear of the Japanese atrocities. I personally knew a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He told of the horrors he and others suffered.
My father said the that the there was a secret Holocaust was never discussed . He meant the Pacific Theatre . His brother never came home and no one really knew what happened.
Too bad that Harry did not drop a few more on them.
My step-father, Virgil Hood, also was on the Bataan March, Bilibid, & Cabanatuan. He was then at Las Pinas, Kosaka (Sendai #8) & Tokyo POW camp Shinjuku.
My uncle Doyle Murphy survived Bataan was a pow 1329 days liberated from Japan
do you know more details about his birth and death dates and his wife name I am trying to do some genealogy about him
Which man are you researching? If it is Virgil Hood, I have LOTS of information because I am a huge genealogy buff. Message me on Ancestry, CbadRoots.
My maternal uncle Luther G Prunty was a POW who helped build the railroad to the Bridge Over the River Kwai in Burma. They were captured on the Dutch island of Java when fell to the Japanese about 2 months after Pearl Harbor The Lost Battalion (Pacific, World War II) was the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, 36th Infantry Division (Texas National Guard) of the U.S. Army.
Family members still attend a yearly reunion in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Texas area to celebrate their liberation each August. Sadly most members of this heroic group have passed away.
My father, Lt. Raymond Teborek, a B-17 pilot, was also captured in Java. He, like your uncle, was among the 60,000 Allied POW’s forced to build the Railway of Death – the Thai-Burma Railroad. Dad was in the camps with the men of the Lost Battalion and the survivors of the USS Houston.
Of the 60,000 POW’s, between 13-14,000 of them died from starvation, disease and the brutal treatment by the Japanese. Fortunately, Dad survived and remained in the Air Force, retiring as a Lt. Col. in 1961.
Carolyn thanks for your reply my cousins are still active in the Lost Battalion group mostly children, grandchildren of the POW group in fact their annual meeting is in a few weeks in early August to remember their Liberation. If you have not watched Railway Man with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman try to see it, it’s a wonderful movie about this group that examines their lives during enslavement afterwards and forgiveness
I know my grandfather Ed Crum was a POW and from field artillery division in Texas National Guard. He survived and retired later from Air Force. I am trying to find out more info about his time as a POW. Can you tell me how I can find out more? I have found all I can on ancestry. Thank you.
Sarah , Google Texas National Guard Lost Battalion. There is a museum in Decatur, Wise Co. TX that many artifacts. Also Univ of North Texas has a digital oral history of many members. You might also ask to join their private Facebook group. Phyllis
My father -in-law Anthony Rivera was a Marine POW captured in Corrigador P.I..
During my years of knowing him he spoke little of his years as a POW in Japan. until the last few years when I would run him to the VA hospital in Prescott AZ.
He talked only to me about his experiences the hardships the starvation, the work that he and the others were forced to do . He spoke of the tragedies of fellow Marines dying of hunger and lack of medical attention for illnesses that happen as a result of the poor conditions they were in.
He also spoke of certain Japanese guards who would come in the barracks and rough them up after a days work, one fellow in particular would put on a show in front of his fellow guards and would return later and toss a fish and other supplies into the barracks for them to eat.
He would say to me that there is good people everywhere.
Tony passed away in 2001 at the VA hospital in Prescott.
It is my honor to have known him and to have had him share this period in his life with me.
It’s hard to comprehend what your father-in-law endured. We are so grateful for his service.
I’m sorry for your loss. It was very special that your relative shared with you. Do you happen to know the name of the prison camp in Japan that he was in? My mother’s brother was captured in Manila, was on the death March, and a POW in Japan. To know the names of the prison camps may help in my genealogy. Thank you.
My father was a tanker in the 44th Tank Battalion and participated in the rush to Manila to liberate Santo Tomas prison.
Any one know of books, articles etc. for this operation? Like others, he spoke little of his time and experiences during the war. I only realized now (at 74) what a horrific was the Battle of Manila.
My father was in the 40th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troup and didn’t participate in that particular operation. Like others have said, he never said much about his time there. After he retired he took up writing and wrote a lengthy story (small book?) about his Army day from enlistment through the end of the war. I didn’t know he had written that until after he passed away in 2001. I had heard a little about a couple of operations he was on that were published in Crisis In The Pacific by Gerald Astor for which he had sent contributions. (Astor used contributions by over 75 participants in the Pacific Theater for his book.)
This book does cover the liberation of Camp Santo Tomas from one soldier ‘s and one Internee’s perspective as well as the Battle of Manila.
My brother Fred A Luc was very young when captured. He endured the death march but died in the prison camp. I have been unable to get anymore information than that. My mother was told by the mother of another prisoner he survived the March but died in the prison camp.
Ann, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I see Fred A. Luc was buried in the Manila American Cemetery. There is a hospital admission record here that shows him being hospitalized for malaria the same month he died. https://www.fold3.com/record/703060698
I knew an American couple in Nevada County, California; who had met in one of the prisoner camps in The Philippines. The woman I knew, her first husband and 3-year-old son were living in The Philippines, where the husband worked for an American company. The Japanese overran the country a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack. The family and hundreds of other American civilians were rounded up. They were first taken to a camp that had been created at a former university. Later the man was sent to one camp, the woman and child to another, where they lived for the entire years of WWII. The husband and wife never saw each other again. Not many know that American civilians suffered atrocities in Japanese camps in The Philippines.
My great uncle PVT. Zaragoza C. Zamora of Penitas,Texas was a POW in the Phillippines captured in 1942. I knew this from my father because he was his first cousin and grew up together. When I started working at Texas Employment Commission back in 1978 in McAllen , Texas, I met a WW2 Vet named Mr. Aguilar from Pharr, Texas whom had also been a POW at the same camp held by the Japanese. He said to me ‘Are you a Zamora from Penitas ‘ ? I said yes I am. He said if I had heard about Zaragoza being held as a POW during WW2. I said yes. Well, I was there with him. He was a courageous, outgoing person that would make music with pots and pans and sing us Mexican songs and help us forget of the horrific situation we were in. He finally died due to a bad leg wound. He faught till the end but never lost his humor and hope.
That is such a sad story, but such heroism by your great uncle.
Scecina Memorial High School , in Indianapolis, IN, proudly bears the name of this Indiana priest who gave his life in the service of his God and his country. On October 5,1939 Fr. Thomas Scecina enlisted in the Chaplains’ Reserve Corps. Eventually he was assigned to the 57th Infantry Division at Fort McKinley on Luzon in the Philippine Islands. He participated in the infamous Bataan “Death March” after the Americans had been captured by the Japanese in April, 1942. Following two years of imprisonment he freely elected to accompany the men when they were transported by the Japanese from Manila to Formosa on October 1, 1944. Father Tom was in the first convoy which was mistakenly torpedoed by a U.S. Navy submarine on October 24, 1944. While the ship, Arisan Maru sank slowly beneath the water, Fr. Tom gave general absolution to all the men, then heard confessions over a three-hour period until the ship was completely submerged. At the age of 34, Fr. Thomas Scecina went to his death with his men that day.
The first graduating class of SMHS was 1958….and Fr. Tom still is a mighty HERO to all Scecina students and graduates. I was in the Class of 1964.
Just curious – how did Father Tom’s story survive the sinking of the Arisan Maru?
There were many survivors who were pick up by Americans when they realized that the ship they bombed was carrying American POW’s. Fr. Scecina refused to leave men who could not get out due to their injuries. He was a priest first….a soldier second.
Thank you for that information, my great-grandfather Howard Guffin Craig was captured at Bataan and on that group of ships that were torpedoed in Manila Harbor. He did not survive and went down with the ship. I appreciate the story of this priest helping the men aboard.
Thank you for this information. There was a WWII veteran who survived the Bataan Death March from Danville, IL
I’m so tired of hearing propped up accomplicements from every group on earth. So glad to hear about real Americans enduring under unbearable conditions For us.
My father in law, Wesley W. Wilson was a signalman 1st class and captured on Corregidor. He eventually made it to Japan on a hell ship, and was a slave coal miner near Nagasaki when bomb #2 was dropped from Bock’s Car. He retired from the Navy as a Chief in 1956. Long time member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. Died in 1993 and is buried at Barrancas Natl Cemetery, Pensacola, FL.
Corp. Edward J. Wisz , USAAF, survived the Bataan Death March and the Cabanatuan POW Camp and died in the sinking of the Arisan Maru on Oct 24 1944. Several years ago we were able to obtain a memorial marker for him in Arlington National Cemetery.
My uncle, Richard Aust was a brand new 17 year old Marine aboard the USS Houston when it was sunk by the Japanese. He fortunately was able to swim, but lost his shoes and spent the war in a Japanese concentration camp. He was a giant of a man but was skin and bones when he was patriated by American troops. He was so thin that my grandmother didn’t recognize him at first. I loved my uncle. He died in Depot Bay Oregon several years ago. He was my grandmother’s youngest son.
Andrea, the Lost Battalion and the USS Houston survivors and families celebrated their liberation each August in the Dallas-Ft Worth, TX area. The families still carry on this tradition. They have a Facebook page you might want to investigate.
My Uncle Gene was interred in the camp at Osaka Japan.
Area Served: Southwest Pacific
Theatre: Philippine Islands
Detaining Country: Japan
Camp: Osaka Main Camp Chikko Osaka 34-135
Status: Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
Eugene Dayton was captured in the fall of Corregidor and spent the next 3-1/2 years as a POW
He survived the Bataan death march.
I have read many renditions of similar events. However this one is just as bad if not worse. It seems very hard to understand how one human can inflict such a punishment to another human.
These comments are so heart-wrenching—it makes my tears fall now! My father, Stanley F Holden, was in the Army and a communications officer during the war. He got captured near or outside of Manilla, but escaped ??? He lived to come home in 1945-46 with malaria, marry, and have me in 1948. He was from Vermont. Does anyone have any recollections of him? Thank you and God bless ALL of you!
My uncle P W Whitley was stationed in the Philippines when it fell . He went into the jungle and eventually was sheltered by the Mindinaou guerrillas for the duration of the war . He never talked much about his experiences except to say he never could learn to eat raw monkey
My Dad was with the 6th Ing.Div.and was involved in the re-taking of the Phillipines. He landed on Leyte , 20Oct.1944. He didn’t speak of the war except to express his disdain for the Japanese military. They were EXTREAMLY inhumain. God Bless those souls that endured that horrific time. No human being should be treated less than an animal.
My dad was in the battle of the Leyte Gulf. He never spoke of it, but my mom said he fought the Japanese every night in his sleep. Nightmares almost every knight reliving the war. He became an alcoholic and died in an accident at 42, I was only 11 years old.
Lt. Greenwood U S Marine Corps. Survived the death March, was taken to a prison camp near Tokyo. He died 3 days before liberation. He was my great uncle.
Linda Smith Wilson
My father was also a POW for 3-1/2 years in Japan. He was 19 years old when he earned his first Purple Heart in the Philippines the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He typed a Biography of his days in the Army and the years he spent during the war. He was also on Bataan and Corregidor and taken to Cabanatuan in 1942. His story is well known and is in a small room at Andersonville, Georgia in the War Museum, plus the art work he did. Dad developed malaria also and also a second Purple Heart. He tells the name of each camp, each place, and even names of some of his buddies in his biography. He will also be my #1 hero.
Wow! Thank you for sharing!
I was six going on seven when the Japanese soldiers marched into the city of Manila…..We were a few days of embarking a ship to Spain ( according to my mother) ……My father was either in Coregidor of Bataan building housing for McArthur and US soldiers stationed there……and was taken along with the U.S. soldiers in what was later on described as the death march. The March which were captives by Japanese sodiers( were taken to either Pampanga or Tarlac ). The march was described as the death march as hundreds died from dehydration….I also recall my mother mentioning that her only brother who along with a Philippine aviator, took to the air in what was an only aircraft the Philippine army or air force had at that time, only to get shot down and captured…..because my uncle was fair haired, he was tied to a tree and beaten to death…..my father witnessed this execution and related it to my mother…..I have nightmares of the horrible conditions we endured during the years of the occupation.
I just read all the replies. I knew very well one of our ministers who was interred in a Japanese concentration camp during WWll. He kept a diary, and now many of those diaries are online.
Just recently I found a book in a used bookstore in Nehalem, OR, titled, “ I Saw The Fall Of the Philippines” by Carlos P. Romulo. I read it in one day,so sad, and so riveting. We visited the PI for 3 weeks several years ago. I don’t know of any other group of people who are more compassionate than a Filipino!
How beautiful of a statement you made about the Filipino people being so compassionate.
My sister’s oldest son married a young woman from the Philippines and she is a sweetheart.
My sister has met all of her daughter-in-law’s family and in emails mentions how much Rosalina’s family feels like another family to her.
WWII Pacific was so horrible, for all captured by the Japanese, and those who died at sea after ships were torpedoed and ships sank. I knew a Naval survivor of two separate ships, spending a great deal of time floating at sea when USN didn’t know ship was missing. As a sidelight, a cousin of mine a Bombardier in the AAF died off Tinian, Marianas Islands, when their plane went down no survivors. Never recovered. WWII was not a picnic in Europe. But nothing matches the war in the Phillippines.
Robert W. Sullivan died in the bottom of a Japanese ship being sent back to U.S. and US fired and sunk the ship which had a Japanese flag flying and they didn’t know our soldiers were onboard. He was from Braxton, Simpson County, MS and his parents were William Arch and Fannie Arena Sullivan.
He has an empty grave because his remains were never found. The tombstone is at Jupiter Baptist Church in Braxton, MS.
He was my uncle. My mother, (deceased) Leatha Ann Sullivan Crawford, was his sister and she mourned his death and prayed his remains would be found.
Ready for this! A genealogist representing the U.S. Army Past Conflict Repatriations Branch surprised with me with a phone call in April. The caller said the Army’s program includes locating relatives of military personnel from past past wars with incomplete records. I was called as the oldest relative of a PFC, who was in the 66-mile Bataan March and died of disease a few months later at Cabanatuan. He was a 2nd cousin to me and 1st cousin to my mother. I did ancestry.com a few years ago and couldn’t find much on my mother’s side. Turns out some relatives from another state had a last name spelling I didn’t know of. So with knowledge of a different spelling I found more relatives through ancestry.com. Thank you U.S. Army!
An amazing story of the strength and willpower to not only survive, but lived to tell their story.
I had a great-uncle , on my mother’s side. He was a merchant marine working as a cook on the Holland to Indonesia trade ships. He and many others were captured by the Japanese and put in prisoner of war camps. The Japanese believed they were actually soldiers, not civilians and they were tortured in order to extract information. My great-uncle did not talk about his experience, but the many stripes on his back told it all. They were starved and beaten every day, and I believe they were waterboarded as well. My great-uncle survived thru sheer willpower. The atrocities of war should never be forgotten. Man’s inhumanity to man is unconciable, but repeated over and over.
LtCom McCoy was also from Indianapolis and attended Arsenal Tech High School. You can read about his escape and about six other Hoosiers, including a woman who was a nurse on Bataan and Corregidor, who were POWs during the war in my book Profiles in Survival available at Amazon.com.
Jack… my grandfather Captain Richard E Long was a member of the 6th as well. He died in action at the air strip at Maffin Bay in Sansapour Oct 2, 1944. My dad was a baby and never knew his father.
I’m always looking for information about the 6th. If you or anyone else can share.
My uncle William A Dudley, from Broughton, Illinois, was captured in the Philippines, survived the Bataan Death March, and was killed on the hell ship Enoura Maru, as it was an unmarked pow ship, and was sunk by American forces. There is an article on the internet that names him and others, and pictures. “ The Marines: From the Philippines to Corrigidor”.
My mother’s first husband, Darrell Shawan Staley, 1st sergeant, was on that ship. His nickname was Jimmy. He also died in the harbor off “Formosa”. Until recently, no one knew his body had been extracted from the mass grave he was “cremated” in. His remains are supposed to be at the Pacific memorial in Punch Bowl. Here are 400 sets of remains there but they are lumped into 20-21 individual caskets. Not much else they could do at the time. Identification was impossible under those circumstances. He died 8 Jan 1945 although he US government said it was Dec 31, 44.
The Punch Bowl is a beautiful location. Went there for Easter service when I was a military wife.
On the right side of Punch Bowl there are the 21 graves. I have been told they now have a special marker outlining the fate of those 21 graves and the near 400 “bodies” entombed there. They are all listed as “unknowns”. It is pretty somber to think about. My mother never knew where he was buried. I only found out because I spent a lot of time searching for his remains. I still don’t have a clear picture from his exhumation in 1946 and the reburial in 1948 when they opened up Punch Bowl.
The Marines: From Shanghai to Corregidor
. My uncle my mums brother uncle Morgan Calder was captured at the surrender he had been in the army since 1936 they were shipped to Singapore two weeks before the surrender – they were confined to barracks on arrival. A few brave men disobeyed orders and got out to fight the Japs. I do not know what happened but the rest of the soldiers got captured without a shot. Morgan survived the railway and other forced labour. He ended up in the hotorious Changi prison. Mum always spoke softly saying how Morgan came home completely broken in spirit and body. I was to young when we visited Mintlaw to know how Morgan had suffered. He died early in the early 60’s. Bless him one day I hope to visit Mintlaw and pay homage to him.
Hi Jim my Grandfather Peter McLean was also in Singapore and Changi. He came from Peterhead and suffered greatly physically and mentally due to his treatment as a POW. He died in 1979. Have you read the Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart?
I will never own a jap car and people complain about americans . I forgive but I dont forget.
My “jap car” (Toyota Camry hybrid) was manufactured in a plant in Kentucky. Many things have changed in 75+ years.
My husband was born in the Japanese POW camp in Bagio. He along with his family spent 1941-July of 1945 in various POW camps including Bilibid. Having endured the same conditions mentioned in this article, so it range very close to home. He died as a result of another war, Vietnam, from Agent Orange exposure.
Trying to figure out who to reply to is quite tough. All these stories are heart rending.
My Father , Captain EHA Grassi ( OSS) , in Jan 1945 was parachuted in alone at night into Siam in order to train Siamese guerrilla forces to free Japanese prison camps. The war ended before they actually went into action, but he was part of the group who got a hold of the log of The Houston ( mentioned elsewhere) . This was the first anybody had heard what happened to The Houston. He actually stayed on in Bangkok for several months after the war in order to decide which Japanese prison camp officers should be prosecuted. He stayed in the Royal Palace of the King of Siam and became friends with Jim Thompson and attending many of his lavish parties . For his service to Siam, he received The Order of the White Elephant( the highest award the Siamese could give a foreigner.). He also received a Bronze Star- he nominated himself! He was the epitome of OSS ! ( also in on the inception of The CIA!)
My father, JT Mallory, of Weatherford, Texas was in the OSS too. He was mainly in Detachment 101, Burma, but also served in China,303, and India, 202. They rescued downed American flyers in Burma, among other things, mostly kept secret. He worked behind enemy lines, assassinating Japanese officers while they slept. The Japanese patrols moved around at night, and slept in the day. It was as frightening work, and he had bad dreams for years. He hated crowds, and always stood near the back of an event. There’s an OSS Society, of which I am a life member. There’s a plan to create a beautiful museum honoring the Office of Strategic Services. Land has been bought for it already, near Washington DC. If you’d like to find out more about the OSS Society, there’s a website you can Google.
Half of this country have no idea of the sacrifices of our brave men during WWII and (women) subsequent to WWII. While they defeated our enemies from without, we are now in a battle against enemies from within, an entirely different struggle. God bless and keep our service members, and the citizens of this country, through the next trial and tribulation.
Col. Larry P. Cornwell, USAF-Ret. (1968-1996)
You are very correct Col.sir. I agree 100%. Thank you for serving from one veteran to another. Vietnam 68/69.. U.S.Navy Take care sir..
I read the book and saw the movie “Unbroken”. It was so disturbing what they endured but to find out the perpetrators who were found and jailed were absolved of any wrong doing because the US Government needed Japan as an ally. Talk about adding insult to injury!
Thank you for this true story. We owe so much to these brave men, and to Americans who fought during World War II (and other wars)! At the assisted living community where I reside, there are several World War II Veterans. I try to thank them often. I had the privilege of meeting Louie Zamparini – the American Olympic Champion Runner, who was a prisoner in a Japanese prison camp. GOD bless all of the families of those who gave their lives, and to our Veterans who were able to return home!
My Great Uncle on my mothers Taylor family, served as a Chaplain in the Philippines and went on the Bataan March and soon there after on the hell ships he was captured, wounded, tortured, and humiliated striped of his possessions, dignity & almost his will to live. There is a book about his time there called Days of Anguish Days of Hope by Billy Keith (Chaplain Major General Robert Preston Taylor) My inspiration in life. When my life is hard I think of Uncle Preston and all he endured and life is not so bad. If all of us had as much faith, what a world we would be. God Bless
My family members that survived WWII never forgave the Japanese and was appalled by some of the US leniency given them after the war. A few were tried and a few executed but justice was never served our military who suffered at their hands. My family said they were not human. That no human could do what they did and sleep at night. Or they often said they had no soul.
My Dad went to the Philippine’s in late 1943 until the wars end. He fought the Jap’s to free our boys who were enslaved. He was Oakley McCoy of the US Army and served 1940 thru 1945. I told this story because he was another McCoy that fought there. I don’t know about Melvyn H. McCoy but my Dad was an ancestor of the McCoy’s from the Hatfield and McCoy’s feud. That war and the Jap’s left him with some mental scars as it did many a good men. RIP to all American Soldiers and thank you for your service. God Bless
My dad was in the battle of the Layte Gulf. He had nightmares fighting the Japanese most nights, my mom said. He became an alcoholic and was killed in an accident at 42. She said he never spoke about what happened, but knew it had to be very bad.
This story is an example of white racism against the innocent Japanese race. You whites hate and envy the Japanese because of their political, cultural, and technological advances, their work ethic, productivity, economic prosperity, and most of all because destiny has ordained that they lead Asia to greater peace and prosperity than Europe and America could ever hope for. Because of their success in the community of nations, you do all you can to make them look like evil monsters. According to critical race theory, the historical events that you report no longer happened; you need to construct an alternate reality.
You are greatly mistaken! We are talking about the Japanese Imperial Army before and during WWII. It has nothing to do with current Japan and Japanese people of today.
The Japanese Imperial Army and their service counterparts in the Navy were loyal to the death to the Emperor. They committed many atrocities; murdered innocent civilians, took their food, their animals, and took if not just raped their women. Read about the Battle of Manila! Read “Crisis in The Pacific” that I mentioned earlier in the thread, read what they did in Korea, China, SE Asia, and the Philippines!
From my dad’s written story of his Army days in the Philippines:
We would hear the same story many tines without much variation.
They would say, “For three long years we have waited for you. Under the
Japanese we suffered very much. They took our rice, they took our pigs,
they took our chickens, they took our cows and they took our wives.”
We heard many stories of atrocities perpetrated by the brutal
Japanese. There were stories of tongues being cut out, water treatments,
hanging by thumbs and beheadings.
Our parish priest where I grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon was one of those who was captured in the Philippines and tortured. He was hung by his thumbs and his hands were pretty crippled from that. God only knows what else they did to him! A patrol from the 40th Recon Troup my dad was in rescued him on the Island of Panay.
Do some research and get rethink your statement! These events DID HAPPEN and many of us knew service members who experienced them. Have some respect for those who served and those who suffered!
I see you posted searching for 731 on google. If your rant was an attempt at sarcasm, it was way off base!
You can find out all you need to know about Japanese character by going to Google, entering the number 731, and hitting return.
My Great Aunt, Elizabeth Rahe, was a nurse in Honolulu where she met Ethan Allen who fought in the Philippines during the Spanish American war and the Philippine insurrection. They were married in Manila in 1913 and lived in the Philippines owning a Hemp Plantation. He died in 1930, but she was captured by the Japs and was in a prison camp for the war’s duration. My Mom said she never spoke about her imprisonment. She had some Philippine and even some Jap workers. She made it seem like they were held against their will when the Japs got there so they would not punish them.
My Dad was Marine lieutenant during the war. His job was to install the new technology of radar stations after areas were liberated and was in the Philippines for a while.
When I was in graduate school at the University of North Texas, I worked as a transcriber for the history department’s oral history program. One of our projects involved interviewing American service men who had survived Japanese prison camps. Every one of those accounts left me gasping. They have been preserved in the university library and are readily available for reading and research.
for a bit of context … Sandakan (Borneo) and the death marches to Ranau are probably the greatest act of cruelty against Australians during WW2, even when compared to the losses and brutaliry of the Burma Railway..
Of the 800 Aussie soldiers forced to march – only six survived. No one survived the Sandakan Camp in Borneo.
MACARTHUR cut off these Australians by going into re-take the Philippines..He perhaps had no choice but he knowingly cut them off from any hope..
Thank so very much for providing this information to those that are extremely interested in the Prisoner of War Camps.
My brother, Harlow E. Tainter was held prisoner in BILLIBID, CABANATUAN, and other Prisoner of War Camps for three and one half years. Harlow did survive the POW camps but died at a young are after he came back to the states.
It’s always hard to read stories about the Bataan Death March. My uncle died after making the march and while a POW in the Philippines. He was just 25 years old. His father had died during the pandemic of the 1918 Spanish flu when my uncle was just two. All the time I spent with my grandmother, I never knew of these two terrible events in her life. I’ve always wished I could see her now and talk about them. How difficult it must have been for her. I never knew much about it until later in life and wish I had asked more questions before all the siblings had died. The conditions were just unfathomable for anyone to exist in.
This story, and those of others are why people like me get so angry about athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem. The soldiers suffered immensely for the flag and the anthem that honors the flag. Movies like Saving Private Ryan accurately portray the carnage inflicted on our brave soldiers during D-Day. Unfortunately, young school athletes are allowed and encouraged to “take a knee”. I thought sports were to build character, not destroy it. As a Viet Nam era veteran, I no longer watch or follow sports, and I do not patronize companies that declared these selfish and disrespectful protesters as heroes.
You are not alone.
I have many family members who served…and some were killed in service to this country. They all served to protect the Constitutional right of free speech and protest, including taking a knee. Apparently you must also disagree with the 1968 Olympics when 2 black athletes on the podium after winning a race raised a fist in protest…including protesting the killing of 3,000 peacefully protesting students 10 days earlier by the host country Mexico. Followed 2 years later by the Kent State shootings of peacefully protesting students by the Ohio National Guard. I guess you also forget that this country was founded by protests…like dumping tea into Boston Harbor or the women who were arrested and jailed for protesting for the right to vote. In fact, it could be said that the right to protest and free speech – including using body language like raising a fist or taking a knee…is about American as it gets. It’s certainly one of the reasons I served.
As a Vietnam era veteran, I am disgusted by those trying to deny certain groups their Constitutional rights of peaceful protest and silent free speech like taking a knee, at the urging of a man who sent crowds of violent insurrectionists to attack our capitol, using our flag to beat and spear capitol police, break windows, jimmy doors, and seek to destroy our system by trying to overturn an election that didn’t go his way.
Raising a fist, taking a knee, and peaceful protests are the American way. Violent attempted insurrections are about as anti-American as it gets.
These new generations will not have a will power to survive. Too sensitive to words and will easily break down. War is inevitable. A proper education about the history of the world should be use to prepare for the future.
I agree totally with you. Thank you for your service.
I was agreeing with Floyd K. He is right on!!
I’m from Viet Nam era also and to your remarks would like to add, can’t stand Hanoi Jane (Fonda).
I agree with you about “taking a knee.” While others here are saying it is a form of protest, and Constitutionally allowed as a form of free speech, I disagree.
Protests listed – the silent fist raised at the Olympics, women being arrested for protesting – those were done in a manner that got the point across, WITHOUT being disrespectful. I feel that “taking a knee” is disrespectful – of the country (of which the flag & anthems are symbols of), of those who served, of those who died while serving – to PROTECT the right to protest.
As a military dependent, son of a servicemen, I’m with you sir. It hurts to see players in an outfit, not a uniform but in a program where they are led to believe that its ok to kneel for the national anthem because the white race is too oppressive. The white race elected a black president two times.
The white race said No to the oppression of our black brothers.
Floyd, I too am a Viet Nam vet but our thought process is not the same. That conflict should never have been fought. The USA should not have been there. Politicians instigated that conflict but young soldiers had to fight and die in it. Do not fall into the trap that simply because our government tells us that a conflict is just that it is.
The taking of the knee by pro athletes was not about disrespecting the flag. Please do some research and perhaps you will understand that.
You are right on with your comments Floyd. It perturbs me to no end that these guys got to be millionaires living here in the U.S. and all they do is play sports and yet they don’t appreciate the country that gave them the opportunity to do so. They disrespect our country and our flag and all who had to fight and die for it. I am a Viet Nam war veteran who had to do two tours over there. What have these guys done for their country? A big fat nothing they disrespect the country and flag that has given them so much. I also don’t watch any sports at all or buy any of their sports products. They are not my heroes my heroes are my friends who died in Viet Nam.
God bless you. I do agree with you. My husband was a Marine in Viet Nam. He had a lot of pent up anger that came out during his dying days. We cried together when seeing the disrespect that is shown by ignorant people who have no clue what sacrifices have been made in the previous generations that made our country great! Our school systems have taken over our children’s minds & are being taught to hate.
What you don’t get is that these acts of heroism give Americans the right to protest. It is false patriotism to deny later generations the right to protest.
I agree with you. I also do not watch or support sports I do not purchase anything from companies who support this cowardly behavior. After this 2020 election farce and what happened whe Georgia tightened their election rules I quit Coke a cola and MLB. I don’t fly Delta and I don’t use ATT
Delta flies our military dead home, provides an honor guard, and posts an honor guard by the deceased until they are ready to be moved to a funeral home and/or their final resting place. They provide a respectful honorable accompaniment for family members arriving to meet their deceased loved one. People can boycott Delta all they want over stupid political b.s. because our military fought and died to protect that choice, just as they fought and died to protect the rights of those who protest by taking a knee. Those who try to take away the right to boycott, or to take a knee dishonor our veterans by trying to take away the rights they fought and died to protect. https://news.delta.com/delta-honor-guard-ceremony-2019
Thank you for sharing this story. My Great Uncle James Shimel was a Marine and was part of the death March. He was one of the prisoners rescued at Cabanatuan. He wrote about his time as a POW as well. I am always interested in someone else’s story about that time.
My father Priv 1st class Mike J Artukovich was also a POW of the Japanese during the war. I would really like to know more but I have no problem now to ask perhaps some one here will know. He was a tail gunner in a B52 bomber he was at the barracks on the air field at Scofield on Dec 7 he had a Purple Heart the first day and more later in the war it was horrific. If someone knows anything please write it here
Funny McArthur would greet them as he was the reason so many men lost their lives.
Read some history Angie. You couldn’t be more wrong.
Even if Halsey or Nimitz or even Dwight Eisenhower had been in charge, men still lost their lives. Look at how many men lost their lives on or around D Day in Europe.
PUBLICITY, nothing else.
Angie you are misinformed MacArthur loves his men and the Philippine people the problem was with TRUMAN FULL STOP!
The sharing of our memories of our father’s, brothers, uncles, grandparents , serve as a part of our past that still brings great pride to honor those that endured great hardships during times of war.
We all have a deep patriotic believe, many of us served in Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and other unpleasant places.
This page is to share memories of loved ones in hope of learning more about this brave group.
Let’s keep politics, and opinions on other forums.
Thank you Rene, I could not have expressed those views any better!
The liberation of Cabanatuan by Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts, & Philippine guerilla fighters was a great story. General MacArthur loved the people of the Philippines. And they loved him! It’s a little known fact that Mac had more boats under his command in the South Pacific than the U.S. Navy. He believed that if the Navy wouldn’t move his men & supplies when and where he needed them, then he would do it himself. Geoffrey Peret, wrote a great biography of Douglas MacArthur. True, he was a man of great ego with little patience. Pansies don’t wear 5 stars.
No pansies don’t but Ass Kissers do. His father’s power got him his positions plus his mother lived at a house next to West Point to “take care of her baby boy” during his time at the point.
I have the audiobook. Ghost Soldiers about that rescue. Really well written
Exactly my dad was there he told me same stories
Floyd: You’re entitled to your opinion, but I completely disagree with it. My father gave his life in the Philippines in 1945 for a whole lot more than “the flag” – for, among other things, the freedom of all Americans to express their views.. Those “taking a knee” to highlight issues that need to addressed in this country are doing us all a great service.
America’s role in the history of the Philippines was not always honorable. Our liberation of them from Spanish colonization in 1898 effectively made them an American colony until the Japanese conquest in 1941. And while some say General Douglas MacArthur was adored by the Filipino people and he showed an affinity for them (“I shall return”), many military veterans of WWII spoke with contempt for two of his Philippine actions: Leaving General Wainwright behind to surrender to the Japanese and, when personally escaping to Australia (per orders), taking his civilian domestic staff while leaving U.S. Navy nurses behind for eventual capture.
Gordon, you are Sop correct sir. My Dad was with the 6th Army and landed on Leyte 20, Oct.1944. He always has a disdain for Mc.Arthur. This nurses went thru hell at the hands of the JIA. I never had a liking for the arrogant general. He finally over stepped in Korea and received his comeuppance..
Gordon, I do not know how to contact you directly, but would be interested in finding a way to do so. There may very well be a genealogical connection that we might pursue.
There were 10 escapees in the party – one of them I got to know well, Col. Sam Grashio, from my hometown of Spokane. Several of the party, including Grashio, wrote accounts. The best book on the escape if John Lukacs’ “Escape From Davao”.
Thank you. I have not read that one yet.
There is so much controversy over the taking of a knee. I wish they could give the flag and anthem the honor it deserves, THEN take a knee.
I read that the Navy nurses would not depart Corrigador with McArthur and they chose to stay with the military patients,
My family is from New Mexico and dozens of them, Uncles and cousins were in the Artillery Unit sent to the Philippines in the summer of1941. Those who survived the fighting were imprisoned. Some died in the death march, POW camps and some were killed on ships when shipped to Japan. They suffered and died while McArthur was posing for photographs and he and his staff was telling everyone how great he was. He was a A-hole who even ordered troops to fire upon the WW1 veterans in DC during the demonstrations about 1930 for the back pay they had earned. He was a disgrace to this country and his desire for personal publicity allowed thousands of POW’s to be slaughtered at the end of WWII because of his inactions plus others that died due to his desire for publicity.
It never ceases to amaze me how you and people of your ilk sit in judgement over events and people you didn’t know you can’t relate to AND have zero KNOWLEDGE OF EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! This Covid business we have just come through should teach a lesson to everyone. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW Stop judging men of war. Unless you served shut up
It never ceases to amaze me how you and people of your ilk sit in judgement over events and people you didn’t know you can’t relate to AND have zero KNOWLEDGE OF EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! This virus business we have just come through should teach a lesson to everyone. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW Stop judging men of war. Unless you served shut up
I recently published a historical novel , Seven Bowls of Rice, about my fathers experience as a Japanese POW, and survivor the Bataan Death March and three hell ships. He was at Cabatatuan , and Bilibid until shipped to the mainland for slave labor. My sister didn’t meet her father until she was 5 years old. These stories must be remembered and told to the younger generation. Seven Bowls of Rice is available on Amazon http://amzn.to/3nalxVa
Lets go and buy some nice JAPANESE cars now!!!
I am right there with you Floyd. Born in Texas 1949. College grad. Enlisted Marine Corps 1969. Went back to Marines after Marine OCS. Retired USMC Major of Marines. Sick of these pampered ungrateful athletic meat heads. I reject most all of what they may stand/kneel for. I had a family friend on my street in East Texas who survived the Bataan Death March. I was in awe of him. One of the kindest men I knew growing up. No doubt a real hero!
I served 26 yrs in the Marine Corps (Mustang). I’ve pretty much seen it all. I have no use for these dim-witted overpaid, self important children who happen to be the age of mature men…most of them, men they are not.
It’s a shame that a story that honors our veterans so quickly turns into racist and political diatribes. As long as we have hate in our hearts, there will be more wars and more inhumanity.
My father was a fighter pilot on a carrier in ww2, in the Pacific. I won’t tell all his missions, but what he showed me when I was older, a Japanese woman on the beach after the Nagasaki atomic bomb looking through rubble to give something to my father to remember the people. He had a lot to say, mostly , love all mankind, war is evil, but he fought for our country “one Nation Under God” and taught me to never ever disrespect our flag of the United States . My family from the Revolutionary war to now we’re and are all military. My father taught me if I ever saw anyone disrespecting our flag, burning , dropping on the ground, to go tell them, kindly stop it NOW.” My father and all the rest in my family did not fight for those who trash our constitution, God, country and flag. He taught me to have honor, honesty and integrity to Love God and our fellow man. We are not doormats and I was taught not to stand around watching anyone destroy our flag and those who honor it. As for me, I stand by my dad. What I have to say about anyone who takes a knee to our great flag, and dishonors our constitution as was written by our forefathers, they can leave our country amd see if they can make the kind of great living in another country, that they’ve made here in the land of the free.
What the article doesn’t say is that there were no more escapes from Davao after McCoy left. My father Ben Hagans was at Davao when this happened. The Jap’s told the camp that for every escapee, ten prisoners would be executed. My father states that one hundred prisoners were rounded up and true to their order, all one hundred were executed. Some by firing squad but most were used for bayonet practice, my father tells me that it takes a while to die by bayonet. Of one of the prisoners was their only surviving Jesuit priest. Dad tells me that they made an example of him. My father now 93 has complete recall of his almost four years a prisoner of war.
Such a shame that the stories from the greatest generation no longer fits the narrative by our new woke, cancel culture.
My grandfather was in the fillipenese already serving on the USS Canopus when the pi was surrendered to the Japanese .He had a 2 year old son, my father, and was reported as killed in action just when the US was entering the war. His wife soon remarried and had children. He was in a POW camp on the big island of Japan when both bombs were dropped. He had no correspondence during his imprisonment and when he was finally released after Japan surrendered and all he had done to survive to return to his new family to find out he no longer had a wife and his.son calling someone else dad. His name was Burl Lee Nye, my Grandfather.
There is a time and a place for protests, which the ‘woke’ generation doesn’t care to observe.
Protests, a raised fist or taking a knee, whatever gesture is currently popular, have no place in:
Honor and award programs
Etcetera. Protests are part of the political process, but these days, with everything politicized, they have spilled over into all aspects of our lives, which is deplorable.
Take it to the streets, Congress, political rallies, but the key word is PEACEFUL.
Although it was NOT my intent to have a political discussion (for or against), I see that is what has sparked this debate. I’m disappointed at the comparison between the bravery of our soldiers during the horrific war and those of the protesters drawing attention to the inequality that has lasted well after the conflict in the story and until today. We must agree to disagree with each other but let us limit the continued comments to the actual story itself, not to our opinions on how those freedoms should be demonstrated.
We are one society of people enjoying the freedoms bought for us by those who have fought and especially those that have died, such as my uncle. We are also one society that wishes to continue those freedoms for all that reside with us and around us in our community, our states and our nation. Let us be thankful for those that bought that freedom and those that are compelled to fight to retain it for all, regardless of what path that they use.
War is a terrible way of having to secure freedom however we all know that it occurs. Love your neighbor even if you do not agree with how that neighbor expresses their desire for freedom, equality and the right to be treated fairly by everyone. Please limit further comments to the story itself and not to the political differences that wars for freedom allows us to express.
Peace to you all.
Thank you for both of your well said comments. I do not see anything in your comments that might have sparked the comparisons to today (perhaps you edited it?). I agree 100% with both of your comments. As a child I would visit my grandparents, and there was an enticing space under the eaves at the back of a closet where they stored lovely mementos. And photo albums of his and my uncles’ and dad’s time in the war that would sicken anyone. I couldn’t discuss them with family because I wasn’t supposed to see them. My dad and uncles never spoke of what they did in the war. I, too, am sorry that I didn’t have those conversations with family members. We must never let anything take away those freedoms our ancestors suffered so much for. If we allow the loss of those freedoms, then it will mean our ancestors gave their lives and suffered for naught.
I had several patients who were survivors of Bataan and the rock. The one complaint I remember hearing over and over was not about peaceful protests. It was about being left out of the history books They felt ignored because they had to surrender
I and my sisters asked my dad as children what he did in the war (WWII). He said briefly that he picked up dead bodies. We were so horrified we never asked anything else. Decades later at his funeral, we met many of his childhood friends who had gone to war with him. We discovered that picking up dead bodies was done in the post-war years working as an ambulance driver in England. What he did DURING the war was create dead bodies. He was a point man in the Phillippines, preceding the troops into the jungles, finding and taking out the Japanese snipers waiting for them. You could tell he was very good at it, someone told me later. He came home alive and uninjured. At least physically. He wrote poetry there and mailed it home and his mother had it published. We have found 2 poems so far. I published them on my website.
i served my country and i was a strong supporter of President Trump which it is crazy that they try to say he caused the riot at the capitol. President trump loved our country and was a president who made me feel safe in my country. today it is very scary in America. god bless America.
Evidently you did NOT see the message I posted regarding comments on my original post. This has nothing to do with your political feelings or who you voted for as most of us don’t care. Please remove your response and respond ONLY to the original post regarding those that were POWs during the conflict described.
The book Escape from Davao by John Lukacs is an excellent account of these courageous men.
How sad that people like Floyd would use their story so opportunistically to decry the exercise of the freedoms these men fought to defend.
As I read these comments I see so much anger over a man who silently took a knee during the national anthem, or an Olympic athlete who protested recently during the anthem at the awards ceremony. Where is the outrage over the modifications of the flag to emblazon political messages for the past president or modify it with a blue line. I salute those who fought and died for this country but I call out “False Patriotism” that requires a single mindset of devotion – that requires only one type of allegiance. Quite frankly, that is the hallmark of facist regimes and should be resisted.
Our flag has been hijacked by nationalists.
I have not commented much, but I definitely agree with your comment. Thank you for posting it.
Larry thank you for sharing your story or I should say your families story. I am sorry that others have used this as a platform to argue politics. Our service men fought for the freedom of those at home and other countries that were invaded our enemies. Many made the ultimate sacrifice and many more were wounded physically and mentally (PTSD). Americans today don’t seem to comprehend that sacrifice provided todays freedoms.
Thank you John. Makes good sense.
Too bad the two Filipino guides were not named.
If they were named, wouldn’t they and their families have been put in danger for helping the enemy?
The two Filipino convicts who helped with the escape from Davao were Victor Jumarong, a fisherman who had worked for a logging company and knew a path through the swamp. The other guy was Ben de la Cruz, a druggist who spoke pretty good English. They were both in for murder. It’s all in my book, Profiles in Survival, The Experience of American POWs in the Philippines during World War II.