January 31, 1945

There is no Foreign Legion in the American Army. But there is one particular group composed of daring characters who court death and who are sent on missions behind enemy lines. These are the “Rangers”. When sent on missions they do not wear the military uniform in order not to be detected by the enemy, but a special one by which they will not be mistaken for spies.

Two of these rangers, one of whom is a Mexican friend of ours, came last night from a humanitarian assignment. They narrated that there are a hundred of them, guided by 200 guerrillas who have penetrated the enemy lines sixty kilometers towards Cabanatuan where some 500 American war prisoners are being detained. After a brief battle all the Japanese soldiers were killed. They had a hard time convincing the prisoners that they had come to liberate, not to kill them. The prisoners could not believe them. Many of the prisoners had to be carried because of their weakness. Two of the rangers and twenty guerrillas were killed in the operations. The liberated prisoners were brought to hospitals in various towns of Pangasinan until they could be transported to their country.

No one can explain why there are hardly 500 prisoners in Cabanatuan when there were an estimated 10,000 of them in 1942. How many had died of hunger, sickness or torture, or brought out of the Philippines or died in Japanese boats sunk by American submarines or planes? We doubt if any satisfactory explanation could be made on this. All we have now was a cold fact, as sad as it was eloquent.

In September of last year, after the first American air attack on Manila, some 1,500 American prisoners were loaded in a boat for Formosa. The boat was sunk by American planes and only 600 were rescued. Such is the cruel and ironic tragedy of war.

December 7, 1944

Death this morning of Lee H. Shipman, Pvt 803rd Engr. – cause -beri-beri and malnutrition with bacillary dysentery – acute – confirmed by autopsy. (NB, this patient had been cooking and eating grass).

Japanese guards stopped three separate talks today. I think this was due to Americans who were not content with “bull sessions” and insisted on “speeches”. Mr. Kuboda censored the notes on a couple of them. I have not talked to him, and so have no idea what the reaction is.

Conference with Mr. Kuboda and talked over letter that I turned in regarding exchange of equipment and supplies with Camp #1 (Cabanatuan). I requested surgical instruments, liq. pet., a rice grinder, six large cuales, half soles far shoes and books.

The headaches are innumerable. – people urinating out of the windows of Wd #14 and Bldg #l3; straffing the Japanese garbage at their guard house and in the court thru the sally part; straffing the hog’s food (our garhage) constantly dealing with the Taiwans; stealing cigarettes, tobacco, shirts, rings, watches, pens, etc. and then selling to the Taiwans for quan; sending fool letters thru me, to the Japanese requesting tobacco, extra food, transfer to Santo Tomas, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

Sunday Oct. 8, 1944

Thinking again of my darlings. I pray to God that this terrible war will be over soon and I can go back to the people I love. There are many rumors and we are all hoping for the best. It has been 16 days since we have seen any of our planes, and 18 day since the first. It seems like ages tho, but that is because we are anxious. I’ll quit today thinking of my dearest loves.

Mr. Frank Kriwanek — St. Louis — R & Hotel Supply Bus. Accounting Firm


[The diary ends here]

Wednesday Oct. 4, 1944

Three years ago to-day I sailed from Frisco. It was a sad day for me, and everyday since I have hoped and prayed for the day I’ll return to good Old U.S. and my loved ones. Not much activity around here, but our hopes and expectations for a speedy liberation.

Sunday Oct. 1, 1944

This starts a new month and we all hope that it will be a big one. Every one is expecting to see our troops this month. I am very optimistic. I dream every night of my darlings, and pray that I get to see them again this year. I am so tired of all this. Last night there was some shooting near here, and the garrisson was called out I hope the prices didn’t got too optimistic and get hurt. Well anyway we shall see. Received a letter from my darling Valree, and one from the Dallas a.m. Calb.

Sunday, Sept. 24, 1944

Well, we got another, cut in our rations, but we have expected that, also our commissary prices have more than doubled and triphed [tripled] this last week. I don’t expect to be able to buy anything with this Jap money in another week haven’t seen any more of our planes in the last 24 hrs, but don’t expect anymore with they are on their way in. Guesses to when they will be is from 6 days to 6 months. I wish I could get another letter. Bob Barlando came down to see me today. He raved about Bonnie’s picture. He is one swell guy.

Friday Sept. 22, 1944

More planes today –saw 1 Nip that down yesterday and two of our planes straffed the airfield here. We saw about 400 planes yesterday, and by 8 p.m. today over a hundred planes have been over. More planes now. Will quit for the time being. I now weigh 126 lbs.