A rare breed they were: any man or woman that survived the barbaric, inhumane hell holes the japanese called POW camps.It took a person of extraordinary physical and mental stamina to survive 3 years of the inhumane treatment doled out by their barbaric captors.No, I was not there, but I witnessed the results of that captivity.
Feb. 18, 1945 I boarded the USS Gen. AE Anderson Troop Ship at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea headed for home after a 3 year hitch in the S.W. Pacific.After the returnees were all on board a convoy of vehicles came along side the ship.The 500 Ghost Soldiers from the infamous Cabanatuan camp on Luzon boarded the ship. A sadder looking group of men I don't ever expect to see again.Many had to be carried on board on litters, many were missing limbs and all were malnurished.
When we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge every fire boat in the harbor met us and spewed water high in the air.Every ship in the harbor blew their horns to welcome 500 TRUE HEROS home.We pulled up to a dock where there were many family members waiting for them.After they were unloaded the ship pulled over to Angel Island where the returnees disembarked.The next morning the S.F. Newspaper carried a half front page aerial photograph of the ship entering the harbor.Of my four years in the service in WW II I have many memories, some good, some bad.But I have always considered it an honor to have traveled with, talked with and spent 18 days with 500 of the wars TRUE HEROS.