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The voyage took 11 days. The hold was filthy and vermin-infested. Some prisoners were lucky enough to get a place on the junk-filled, rain-swept deck. Two men died on the trip. On November 7, 1942, the Americans were unloaded at Lansang Lumber Co., near Davao Penal Colony. The sun treatment for 2 hours followed, and then the group was forced to march more than 15 miles to the penal colony. Many were so weakened they fell by the roadside. In this instance, Japanese picked them up, threw them into trucks, and carried them along.

It developed that the Japanese commanding officer at the penal colony, which in peacetimes had been operated for criminals by the Philippine Bureau of Prisons, was disturbed when he saw the condition of the Americans. He had requested able-bodied laborers. Instead, he shouted, he had been sent walking corpses.

In spite of the condition of the prisoners, they were without exception put to hard labor-chaplains, officers, and enlisted men alike. Colonel Dyess, barefooted for a month and a half, was forced to clear jungle and plow every day.

During Colonel Dyess' 361 days as a prisoner of war, he received $10 in pay from the Japanese. To get the $10 he was forced to sign a statement saying that he had received more than $250, with clothes, food, and lodging. No clothes were issued until American and British Red Cross supplies began to arrive at Davao, an event Colonel Dyess' statement describes as "the salvation of the American prisoners of war."

Food was slightly better at Davao. In addition to rice, the prisoners received once a day a small portion of mango beans, and some camotes, green papayas, cassavas or cooking bananas. However, most of the prisoners already were suffering from beri beri and the food was not sufficient to prevent the disease from progressing. Although oranges and lemons were abundant in the vicinity, the Japanese would not allow prisoners to have them. The brutality of Japanese officers continued. One lieutenant habitually beat prisoners. According to the statement of Colonel Mellnik, this lieutenant. had done most of his fighting at the rear when in action and had been assigned to prison duty as a punishment. He avenged himself on the prisoners.

The camp commandant made a speech to the prisoners shortly after their arrival.

You have been used to a soft, easy life since your capture—

he said.

All that will be different here. You will learn about hard labor. Every prisoner will continue to work until he is actually hospitalized. Punishment for malingering will be severe.

These orders were rigidly enforced. When Colonel Dyess, Colonel Mellnik, and Commander McCoy escaped from Davao in April 1943 only 1,100 of the 2,000 prisoners there were able to work.

The arrival of two Red Cross boxes for each prisoner early in 1943 caused joy beyond description among the prisoners, according to the statements of the three officers. The boxes contained chocolate bars, cheese, tinned meats and sardines, cigarettes, a portion each of tea, cocoa, salt, pepper, and sugar. Most important of all, quinine and sulfa drugs were included.

The Red Cross supplies had been received aboard a diplomatic ship in Japan in June 1942. The prisoners never learned why it took them 7 months to reach Davao.

A few days before Commander McCoy, Colonel Mellnik, and Colonel Dyess escaped from Davao on April 4, 1943, one of the American prisoners, a hospital orderly, was wantonly murdered by a Japanese sentry.

The orderly was digging camotes, Colonel Mellnik reported, outside the hospital stockade and directly beneath a watchtower. It was an extremely hot day. He called to a fellow prisoner to toss him a canteen from the stockade. As the orderly was about to drink from the canteen, the Japanese sentry in the tower shouted at him angrily.

To show that the canteen contained only water, the orderly took it from his mouth and poured a little on the ground. Apparently because he did this, the sentry trained his rifle on him and fired. The bullet entered at the neck and shoulder and came out at the hip. The orderly cried out, "Don't shoot me again."

The sentry fired two more bullets into the man's body. He then emptied his clip at the man inside the hospital stockade, who ran for his life and was not hit.





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January 31, 1944.

Resolved, That a revised edition of House Document Numbered 285, Seventy-eighth Congress, first session, entitled "Handbook for Servicemen and Servicewomen of World War II and Their Dependents, Including Rights and Benefits of Veterans of World War I and Their Dependents", be printed with corrections as a public document (No. 394) and that eight thousand additional copies be printed for the document room of the House of Representatives, one-half to be reserved for the use of the Members of the House.






This booklet, containing 314 questions and answers, is a handbook for servicemen and servicewomen of World War II and their dependents. Since the interests of all veterans are closely related, it gives much information that will be of help to veterans of other wars, especially World War I and their dependents.

This information has been compiled over a period of many months. It has been carefully checked by the different departments of our Government having jurisdiction of the matter discussed, with a view to making it currently accurate. However, future changes in existing laws and regulations may affect the material contained in this handbook to the extent of rendering part of the contents obsolete, and this should be borne in mind by the reader.

This document is the same as House Document No. 285, Seventyeighth Congress, first session, except with the following changes:

Questions and answers 310 to 315, inclusive, of No. 285, relating to Veterans' organizations, have been eliminated and instead questions about the Mustering-Out Payment Act of 1944, have been inserted; otherwise, the documents are alike.

I desire to especially express my appreciation to Brig. Gen. Frank T. Hines, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, for the valuable help and suggestions, which resulted in greatly improving the original text. I also desire to express my appreciation to the officials of the Selective Service System, War Department, Navy Department, Marine Corps, Federal Security Agency, Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress, and other agencies and departments of the Government for the examination of the original text and for their many valuable suggestions and corrections, which are contained in the finished copy. I am also indebted to the Honorable William M. Colmer, of Mississippi, for his valuable aid.

FEBRUARY 21, 1944.


Member of Congress, First District of Texas.

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