REPORT ON AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR
INTERNED BY THE JAPANESE IN THE PHILIPPINES

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Prepared by OFFICE OF THE PROVOST MARSHALL GENERAL 19 November 1945



CABANATUAN, CAMP THREE
Note:
Original report in error- called this Camp One
[Corrections] per M. Christie, Historian, 4th Marines, POW and Roger Mansell, Center For Research.
Rescue Roster: Rescue raid- recovered POWs

The 7,000 American prisoners of war from Corregidor fared somewhat better than did those captured on Bataan. After being interned for a week in a small, crowded area on Corregidor [92nd Garage area] they were placed aboard transports and taken to Manila, where they were first paraded through the streets and then thrown into old Bilibid Prison. They had been there only a short time when they were packed into freight cars and sent to Cabanatuan.

The first group, comprising about 2,000 officers and men, was taken to Camp #3. [Error: The Corregidor men were encampted in a schoolyard in Cabanatuan City the prior night. This group was marched past camp #1 and #2, directly to Camp #3] They were forced to march on foot the entire 12 miles between the town and the camp. Anyone who fell by the wayside from heat prostration or exhaustion was severely beaten by the guards. If, after having been beaten, they still insisted that they were unable to continue the march, they were thrown into trucks and were permitted to ride the rest of the way.

Special Additions:

Details of attempted escape and execution of POWs involved (external link)
Cabanatuan Burial Roster (external link) - On-going research by John Eakin

Conditions at Camp #1 were fair, the camp being, on the whole, well organized and administered.

The Headquarters Staff at this camp was comprised of the following officers:

Camp Commander:

Vice Camp Commander:
Camp Executive:
Statistical & Personnel Officer:
Camp Supply Officer:
Camp Adjutant:

Work Detail Officer:
Chief, Medical Service:
Supply - Medical:
Medical Adjutant:

Other Staff Personnel:

Beecher, Curtis E., Lt Col, USMC O-65

Leinbach, Charles, Lt Col, USA (FA) O-11578
Shreve, Arthur, Lt Col, USA (GSC) O-11176
Pyzick, Frank, Major, USMC O-4087
Brettell, John, Lt Col, AUS (2 MG)
Reynolds, Gilbert, Major, AUS (FA)

Bradley, James Vincent, USMC [died as POW]
Craig, Rene William, Lt Col, USA (MC)
Kemp, Orin W., Lt Col, USA (MC)
Houghton, Carl, Major, USA (MC)

Johnson, Harold K., Lt Col, USA O-19187
Leighton, Harry, Major, USA (VC) O-16296
Brinkmeyer, John, Major note: probably alive & recaptured at Bilibid

Prisoners who were seriously sick were sent to Camp #3 to die. [Error: There was a small hospital across the road from the main camp. Deaths during the first three month period were approximately 80 men. Camp doctor was Harry Levitt] Consequently, the death rate at Camp #1 was very low. Several of the prisoners there were executed for attempting to escape, and one officer was killed when a group of Filipino guerillas ambushed a truck in which he was riding with 2 Japanese soldiers, and, not recognizing the American, opened fire and killed all three occupants of the truck. Several details were sent to Japan from the Camp between June and September 1942. It was closed in September 1942 and the remaining American prisoners removed to Camp #1. A short time later the Japanese reopened Camp #3 as a rehabilitation training camp for the Filipino prisoners of war.

Diet: The daily ration... was somewhat better. Here, about 16 oz of rice, per man per day, 4 oz of top greens (similar to spinach, somewhat) was issued. Once per week, one (1) oz of carabao (water buffalo) meat was issued. For about one month, while in season, each man received one slice of cucumber (1/4" x 1-1/2" diameter) per day. About once per week, two (2) oz of coconut was issued and this was utilized with cornstarch and sugar, of which there was almost always a fair amount available, to make a pudding. Also, once per week for one month, one small banana was issued and this was also used for pudding. For a period of one month, each man received a total of 15 limes. All the vegetables, except for the cucumbers, were boiled, with the further exceptions of fried sweet potatoes on two occasions (from July-Nov). For the soups, 50 lbs of Purico per week (coconut oil fat) for 500 men or 1/10 pound per week was issued.

Analysis of these data readily demonstrates the reason for the high death rate of these two camps and explains the reasons for the tremendous number of cases of dietary deficiency diseases.. In no single respect was the diet adequate, not even in calories, which in O'Donnell was approximately 1340, and at Cabanatuan, 1989.

At Cabanatuan, a commissary was available for those who had money. However, these fortunate ones were far in the minority; perhaps 10% had some money and about 1 %, only, had enough to adequately supplement the diet to the basic minimum requirements.

Organization: Camp #1 was divided into three (3) groups of approximately 1500 men each. Each group had its own kitchen, administrative group and dispensary. A central camp administration and field medical; supply headquarters were in charge of the whole camp. In addition there was a large hospital separate from the camp, but next to it, of 2,000 patients and 400 medical personnel. These prisoners of war who were very ill were sent to the hospital, not so much for treatment (due to lack of drugs) as for the isolation from the relatively healthy. Medical supplies and equipment were very, very limited.

The dispensary in each group had a staff of four to six physicians and dentists, and about five enlisted medical corpsmen. Here, a daily sick-call was conducted for diagnosis and minor dressings. Very few drugs were available unfortunately. The dispensary kept careful records of diagnosis and treatments of every patient in the group.

Conclusions:

1. Starvation, "nutritional and actual" was present among American Prisoners of War in the Philippines in 1942 and was the direct cause of the great majority of the excessively large number of deaths which occurred.

2. On changing from a balanced diets, at the beginning of the war, to a nutritionally deficient one, Beri-beri was the first nutritional disease observed, occurring after three months departure from a balanced diet; Pellagra was observed after nine (9) months; Ariboflavinosis [Deficiency of riboflavin (vitamin B2) characterized by swollen, cracked, bright red lips (cheilosis), an enlarged, tender, magenta-red tongue] after nine (9) months and Scurvy was still questionable after nine (9) months and began to definitely appear in ten months. Xerophthalmia [Dry eyes. Also, called conjunctivitis arida] and nyctalopia [Night blindness or difficulty in seeing at night], although difficult to diagnose microscopically, was definitely present in ten months and very severe thereafter, increasing in intensity to complete blindness in many cases, cleared up by massive doses of vitamin A and thiamin.

3. Severe and sharp "shooting pains" in the feet and legs developed during the winter months of 1942-1943 and resulted in gangrene of the toes and many deaths. It was definitely cleared up by great doses of thiamin in test cases, administered intra-spinally and intra-muscularly.

4. The efficiency and fighting capacity of the Filipino-American troops in Bataan was markedly lowered by a very poor diet, affecting military capabilities, their morale, and fighting capacity.

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