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14 December 1944

At about 7:00 AM a meal was served which corresponded to the evening meal before. The ration of water was particularly short. The men who went on deck to receive the food reported that we were traveling in a heavily armed convoy and were probably off the west coast of Luzon. At about 8:30 AM we suffered a violent air attack which consisted of dive bombing and very heavy strafing from our naval air forces. These attacks continued with increasing intensity until about 4:30 that afternoon. From what we could hear and feel the vessel had been severely hit. One bomb had landed on the deck above the hold in which we were placed and had blown one of the 3 anti-aircraft guns which were on deck immediately forward of the hatch which led to the hold over the side, into the ocean.

The casualties among the gun crews have been terrible, as also as among the passengers who were crowded into every available space in the boat. Later that afternoon during I believe the last attack, direct machine gun fire from our planes came through the open hatch severely wounding many of our men. While assisting Colonel North, one of our Medical Officers, in the care of the wounded, I received a machine gun wound in the back. Not bad, for I did not realize that I had been hit until someone called my attention to it. Just after dark our Medical Officer was sent for. Evidently, to assist in caring for the Japanese who had been killed and wounded during the attack. Colonel North upon his return described the conditions on deck as being horrible. Casualties of men, women and children were strewn about the deck, The vessel was on fire and had evidently dropped out of the convoy.

During that night we could hear the winches running furiously and we assumed that the Japanese were taking off any survivors. We received neither food nor water that night.

The heat was so terrific that everyone still alive was constantly in a violent perspiration. This so irritated the men’s eyes, that they became practically blind. I know, for this happened to me. Sometime during the night of 14-15 December, Colonel North later told me that I had been overcome by heat and exhaustion and that he had to administer morphine in an effort to save my life. While under the influence, I evidently wandered off, for I remember falling from the wooden shelf which was about 4-1/2 feet high, which divided the hold into two levels. Someone moved me back up. During this period many of our men became insane. Some attempted to leave the hold and were shot by the guards. There were about 100 casualties from suffocation alone.