Martinez_C

 








Pvt. Camilo Martinez
    Pvt. Camilo Martinez was born on July 18, 1918, in Jackson County, Texas, to Dubijeldo & Luisa Martinez.  With his two sisters and two brothers, he grew up on the family farm in Gonzales County, Texas.  He left school after completing the eighth grade.
    On March 25, 1941, at Fort Sam Houston, he was inducted into the U.S. Army.  He trained at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he qualified as a radio operator.  After completing basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.
    The 753rd was sent to Camp Polk in the late summer of 1941 from Ft. Benning, Georgia.  Maneuvers were taking place, but the battalion did not take part in them.  It was after the maneuvers were completed that members of the battalion were sought to join the 192nd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had just been informed it was being sent overseas and replacements were needed for National Guardsmen who had been released from federal service.  It is knot known if he volunteered of had his name drawn to join the 192nd, but after he joined the battalion, he was assigned to B Company.
    The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude - noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island that a large radio transmitter.  The island was hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next day, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen making its way to shore.  Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    After the companies were brought up to strength with replacements, the battalion was equipped with new tanks and half-tracks with came from the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion traveled over different train routes to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, where they were taken by the ferry, the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island.   At Ft. McDowell, on the island, they received physicals and inoculations.  Men found with minor medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced. 
    The 192nd boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2 and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Dateline.  On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner - which was a stew which was slung into their mess kits - before he went to have his own.  Some men didn't even get this.  Ironically, November 20 was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.     

   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
    The tankers received orders to move their tanks to the perimeter of Clark Field.  Two tank crew members remained with their tanks at all times.
 
On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of B Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. 
    At 8:30 A.M., Americans planes were ordered into the sky.  The planes patrolled above the airfield guarding it against enemy planes.  At noon, the planes landed and were parked outside the mess hall in a straight line as the pilots went to lunch.  About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
   
   
The 192nd remained at Clark Field for about a week when they received orders on December 21 that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf.   Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.  When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    On December 25, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.


    The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29.  On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5.  Doing this would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff. 
    Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River.  Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted.  From January 2 to 4, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown.  The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
The tank battalions , on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.        
    B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line.  The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket.  Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
    To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used.  The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank.  As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
    The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole.  The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
   
At 6:45, the morning of April 9, 1942, the tankers received the order "crash."  They circled their tanks.  Each tank fired a armor piecing shell into the engine of the tank in front of it.  They also opened the gasoline cocks inside the tank compartments and dropped hand grenades into the tanks.  Most of the company waited in their bivouac for the Japanese to make contact, while others attempted to reach Corregidor which had not surrendered.
    After the Japanese made contact with B Company, the members of the company made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  They were now officially Prisoners of War.  At Mariveles, the Japanese took blankets and other items from the POWs that they could use.  The tankers striped anything from their uniforms that indicated that they were tankers.  They heard the rumor that the Japanese were looking for them.
    From Mariveles, the tankers made their way north toward San Fernando.  They were given little food or water.  When they arrived at San Fernando, they were put in a bull pen.  In one corner was a slit trench that was the washroom for the POWs.  The surface of it moved from the maggots. 
    The POWs were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.  They were taken to the train station and packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane.  The cars were known as forty or eights since they could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese put 100 POWs into each boxcar.  Those who died remained standing since there was no place to fall.  At Capas, the POWs disembarked and the dead fell to the floor of the cars.  The POWs walked the last miles to Camp O'Donnell which was an unfinished Filipino training base that was pressed into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942. 
    When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them.  They searched the POWs and if a man was found to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse.  Over the next several days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of the camp.  These POWs had been executed for looting.
    There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to eight hours waiting for a drink.  The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again.  This situation improved when a second faucet was added.
    There was no water for washing clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it had been soiled.  In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and mess kits could not be washed.  The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery.  The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
    The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant.  When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter.  When the Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, Tsuneyoshi refused to allow the truck into the camp.  When the Japanese Red Cross sent medical supplies to the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
    The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them.  When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
    Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the hospital and placed underneath it.  The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria.  To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it.  The bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
    Work details were sent out on a daily basis.  Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work.  If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to work.  The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day.  The Japanese finally acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
    On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to Capas.  There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards.  At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan.  The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup.  From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and was known as Camp Panagaian.  The transfer of POWs was completed on June 4.
    The camp was actually three camps.  Camp 1 was where the men who captured on Bataan and taken part in the death march where held.  Camp 2 did not have an adequate water supply and was closed.  It later reopened and housed Naval POWs.  Camp 3 was where those men captured when Corregidor surrender were taken.  In addition, men from Bataan who had been hospitalized when the surrender came were sent to the camp.  Camp 3 was later consolidated into Camp 1.
    Once in the camp, the POWs were allowed to run the camp.  The Japanese only entered if they had an issue they wanted to deal with.  To prevent escapes, the POWs set up a detail that patrolled the fence of the camp.  The reason this was done was that those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed, while the other POWs were made to watch.  It is believed that no POW successfully escaped from the camp.
    In the camp, the Japanese instituted the "Blood Brother" rule.  If one man escaped the other nine men in his group would be executed.  POWs caught trying to escape were beaten.  Those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed.  It is not known if any POW successfully escaped from the camp.
    The barracks in the camp were built to house 50 POWs, but most had between 60 to 120 POWs in them.  The POWs slept on bamboo slats, without mattresses, bedding, or mosquito netting.  Many quickly became ill.  The POWs were assigned to barracks which meant that the members of their group lived together, went out on work details together, and would be executed together since they were Blood Brothers.
    The POWs were sent out on work details one was to cut wood for the POW kitchens.  The two major details were the farm detail and the airfield detail which lasted for years.  A typical day on any detail lasted from 7:00 A.M. until  5:00 P.M.  The POWs on the farm detail would have to go to a shed each morning to get tools.  As they left the shed, the Japanese guards thought it was great fun to hit them over their heads.
    The detail was under the command of "Big Speedo" who spoke very little English.  When he wanted the POWs to work faster, he told the POWs "speedo."  Although he was known to have a temper, the POWs thought he was fair.  Another guard was "Little Speedo" who was smaller and also used "speedo" when he wanted the POWs to work faster.  The POWs also felt he was pretty fair in his treatment of them.  "Smiley" was another guard who always had a smile on his face but could not be trusted.  He was the meanest of the guards and beat men up for no reason.  He liked to hit the POWs with the club.  Any prisoner who he believed was not working hard enough got knocked over with it.  Any prisoner who he believed was not working hard enough got knocked over with it.  Each morning, after arriving at the farm, the POWs went into a tool shed to get their tools.  As they left the shed, the guards hit them on their heads.
    Other POWs worked in rice paddies.  While working in the fields, the favorite punishment given to the men in the rice paddies was to have their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on by a guard to drive their faces deeper into the mud.  Returning from a detail the POWs bought, or were given, medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp even though they were searched when they returned.
    Rice was the main food given to the POWs fed to them as "lugow" which meant "wet rice."  During their time in the camp, they received few vegetables and almost no fruit.  Once in awhile, they received bread.
    The camp hospital consisted of 30 wards that could hold 40 men each, but it was more common for them to have 100 men in them.  Each man had approximately an area of 2 feet by 6 feet to lie in.  The sickest POWs were put in "Zero Ward," which was called this because it was missed by the Japanese when they counted barracks.  The Japanese put a fence up around the building to protect themselves and would not go into the area.  There were two rolls of wooden platforms around the perimeter of the building.  The sickest POWs were put on the lower platform which had holes cut into it so the they could relieve themselves.  Most of those who entered the ward died. 
    It is known that he was held at Cabanatuan until September 1944, when his name appeared on a roster of POWs being sent to Japan. 
The POWs were boarded onto trucks and taken to Bilibid Prison.  There, the POWs were given physicals and those who were determined healthy were sent to the Port Area of Manila. 
    The POWs were scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru.  While the POWs were on the dock waiting to board their ship, the Hokusen Maru became ready to sail.  Since the entire POW detachment assigned to the ship had not arrived, the Japanese put Camilo's POW detachment on the ship on October 1.  The Arisan Maru, Camilo's original ship, was later sunk by an American submarine on its way to Hong Kong.  Only nine POWs of 1803 on the ship survived the sinking.   
    T
he ship sailed but dropped anchor at the harbor's breakwater.  It remained there for three days and the temperatures in the hold rose to over 100 degrees causing some men to go crazy.  The Japanese threatened to kill the POWs if they didn't quiet the men.  To do this, the sane POWs strangled those out of their minds or hit them with canteens.
    As part of a ten ship convoy it sailed again on October 4th and stopped at Cabcaban.  The next day, it was at San Fernando La Union, where the ships were joined by four more ships and five escorts. The ships stayed close to the shoreline to prevent submarine attacks which failed since, on October 6, two of the ships were sunk.

    The ships were informed, on October 9, that American carriers were seen near Formosa and American planes were in the area.  The decision was made to send the ships to Hong Kong.  During this part of the trip, the ships ran into American submarines which sank two more ships.  The Hokusen Maru arrived at Hong Kong on October 11.  While it was in port, American planes bombed the harbor on October 16th.  On October 21, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving on October 24.

    The POWs remained on the ship until November 8th, when they were disembarked.  Camilo was taken to Toroku Camp which had been opened for them.  The POWs were given light work to do.  Those who were somewhat healthier worked in a sugar mill.
    On January 13, 1945, the POWs were sent by train to Takao and boarded onto the Melbourne Maru.  The next day the ship sailed as part of a convoy.  It's trip was slowed down because the Brazil Maru, another ship, had the job of towing another ship.  It arrived at Moji, Japan, on January 23.
    When the POWs were disembarked, they formed 100 man detachments and marched to the train depot.   They boarded a train and taken to the Naruo Dispatch Camp, also known as Osaka #8-D, which was owned by the
Showa Electrode Company.  The POWS worked in a graphite factory where they manufactured electric carbide rods.   The area was extensively bombed by American planes so the until the camp was closed on May 29, 1945, and the POWs were transferred to other camps. 
   
The POWs were sent to Nagoya #9 where the POWs worked as stevedores at the Iwase Docks from 7:00 A.M. until 6:30 P.M. with a hour off for lunch and two half hour breaks.  When the port was extremely busy, about 100 POWs would return to the docks at 8:00 P.M. and work until midnight or 4:00 A.M.  In addition, 100 POWs worked in the camp garden each day.
   The camp opened on May 29, 1945, and the POWs arrived the same day.  They lived in two barracks which had dirt floors.  The barracks had 100 feet long and 24 feet wide, with two tiers of platforms around the perimeter of each building.  The POWs were given straw mats to sleep on, on the platforms.  A 8 foot wide aisle ran down the center of the barracks.  A ten foot high fence encircled the camp.
    There was no real hospital building and one end of the barracks were used for this purpose.  There was room for 20 POWs, but everyday, there were as many as 100 sick POWs.  The hospital was manned by an American doctor, who was a dentist, four American medics, and one Japanese medic.
    There was no real hospital building and one end a 42 foot by 24 foot area at the end of a barracks was used for this purpose.  There was room for 20 POWs, but everyday, there were as many as 100 sick POWs.  The hospital was manned by an American doctor, who was a dentist, four American medics, and one Japanese medic.  Once a month, each POW received a two inch square piece of soap.  All medical records were destroyed on August 16, 1945.
    Men would wear out from being overworked and underfed.  Then pneumonia took over and the men died in a couple of days.  Their bodies would be put in a four by four by two foot box.  It had handles that allowed it to be carried.  A Buddhist priest from the village walked ahead of the procession in his white and gold robes.  When the remains were returned to the camp, they were in a four by four by twelve inch box.  The man's name and serial number were on the box.  The box was kept by the camp commandant in his office.
     Being that the Japanese had a quota of POWs they needed to work on the details each day, those suffering from diarrhea or dysentery were not considered sick.  The sick were beaten with shovels to get them to do work that they were too sick to do.  They also had their meal rations reduced.
    The meals of the POWs were primarily wheat, rice, and soybeans with some vegetables like onions and daikon a Japanese beet.  They had fish, either fried or in a soup, every ten days.  Their food was performed by six POWs who also prepared the POWs lunches that they took with them to work.

    Clothing for the POWs came from the Japanese.  Many wore Japanese Army uniforms and getas which were traditional Japanese footwear.  While working the POWs wore straw shoes, hats, and raincoats for inclement weather.  If the POW still had his GI shoes, the Japanese provided leather for repairs.
    Most of the POWs walked three quarters of a mile and worked on the docks loading and unloading coal, rice, and beans.  While working they received a hour lunch and two half hour rest periods.  A work day started about 7:30 A.M. and ended at 4:30 P.M.  When there was a lot of work, POWs returned and worked fro  7:00 P.M. until midnight.  100 POWs worked in the camp garden.
    Collective punishment was a common occurrence in the camp and involved stealing rice or beans.  When one POW broke a camp rule, all the POWs were punished.  On one occasion, for 7 days, the POWs were denied coal, in the middle of winter, because someone had broken a rule.  15 POWs were accused of stealing rice from sacks that they were unloading from a ship.  Once they returned to the camp, they were forced to kneel for from an 1 to 5 hours to get them to confess.  Six of the fifteen men confessed and the others were fed and sent to their barracks.
    When the camp commandant left the camp at 8:30 that evening, all the POWs were called from the barracks by the second in command and ordered to stand at attention.  They were then beaten with pick axe handles, rope, that was about 3 inches thick and five feet long, clubs, and farrison belts across the buttocks, face, and legs.  Kicking was also a frequent method of punishment.
    When the POWs passed out, they were either thrown into a large tub of water, with their hands and feet bound, or they had water poured on them until they revived.  They once again had to stand at attention as the beating continued for a total of 3 hours.  One POW counted that he received 150 blows to his face and 20 on his buttocks.
    The Japanese denied the POWs food, clothing, shoes, and other items sent to the camp by the Red Cross.  Instead of giving these things to the POWs, the Japanese pilfered the items for their own use. The guards were seen wearing shoes sent by the Red Cross for the POWs.
    He remained in the camp until the end of the war.  On September 5, 1945, he was liberated and returned to the Philippines for medical treatment.  On the U.S.S. Rescue, he arrived at San Francisco on October 10, 1945, and received further medical treatment.
    Camilo returned to Texas and spent the rest of his life there.  He passed away on November 14, 1992, in Waelder, Texas.
    







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