I spent one month a year, for three years, at FortDesMoines.
Had I gone one more year, I would have been commissioned a Second Lieutenant in
the regular army. Instead I joined the Navy. I signed aboard the USS Houston,
Flag Ship of the Asiatic Fleet, based in the Hawaiian Islands
and the Philippines.
And form then on we were on general quarters alert-
four hours on and four off patrol. When war broke out we were leaving Manila
with a ninety million dollar convoy, headed for Australia.
On our way back, we encountered the Japanese Fleet in the Madagascar Straights,
Australian Cruiser Perth. We were in constant battle with the Japanese Naval
and Air forces until sunk- Feb. 29th
1942. We abandoned ship about
under close range strafing. I was picked up, outh of
the water, about eighteen hours later. By Japanese Navy and interned in a
theater in Serang, Java for about a month. Then by ship, where we were attacked
by our own planes. To Singapore,
where we were held in a captured British army camp another month. Then by three
ships, two railroad thru the jungle, built to hook up
with the Burma Road, 350 miles. One hundred and sixteen
thousand prisoners died in its building from starvation, and brutality, lack of
clothing, shelter, medication and overwork and disease. One thousand of us were
marched into the jungle. In April to cut a road thru the jungle peninsula near Bangkok.
We were not freed until the war had been over for more that a month. I was
flown to Calcutta, India
and then to Karachi and New
York City. First to St. AlbansHospital and
then to Sampson New York. I was discharged from there in July, and spent three and a
half years regaining my health at Oakdale Sanatorium in Iowa.
Medals listed on my discharge are:
American Defense Ribbon with one Bronze Star.
American Campaign Ribbon.
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon with tow Bronze Stars.
Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one Bronze Star.