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<v Speaker>So what we did was carry the bodies and just dump and then dump them and dump them in <v Speaker>that in that hole. <v Speaker>Well, sometimes the hole would fill up and some of the bodies were sitting up the elbows <v Speaker>up or with their knees up. And then we had to after we put so many in there. <v Speaker>We didn't keep track of how many. But as soon as the hole would fill up, we had to jump <v Speaker>in that hole and tramp them down. So those knees and elbows <v Speaker>wouldn't be sticking out because at night we'd come in and eat out of <v Speaker>whatever was taken out of the out of the hole. <v Speaker>And they'd started killing- to suck their blood because <v Speaker>of the thirst. <v Speaker>And so when, what we started, we'd get the closest, <v Speaker>the ones that were closest to us would gather and sleep back to back. <v Speaker>With our canteen in our hand ready to <v Speaker>to strike anybody that would try to do harm any of us, there'd be four or
<v Speaker>five of us get back to back. <v Speaker>And so you can just imagine how desperate <v Speaker>we were when we get hungry. <v Speaker>Thirsty. When you go to the extreme of killing <v Speaker>someone else, to suck their blood, to quench your thirst, <v Speaker>there is something bad. <v Speaker>When I heard about what. <v Speaker>Japanese be done to so many, <v Speaker>so many lives. <v Speaker>Put through the misery on that. <v Speaker>I really ask God to forgiveness for people who doubt them. <v Speaker>And. <v Speaker>I really hope though, the people who repented. <v Speaker>That peace will be on this earth. <v Speaker>And my hope is that.
<v Speaker>There will be no more war. <v Speaker>I had the. <v Speaker>The memories in my sub just mind, which is there all <v Speaker>the time. You get <v Speaker>you try your best to come out of your mind, but it's like. <v Speaker>It's like one of the boys said. <v Speaker>We went through hell. <v Speaker>And there is a poem that was written about the border <v Speaker>of Bataan that they will go to heaven because they <v Speaker>have done their time in hell and that's the way <v Speaker>we look at it. It was hell here on earth. <v Speaker>The guards were the devil's helpers. <v Speaker>And where were the so-called Chevaliers of <v Speaker>the fire of hell?
<v Speaker>Memories of Hell. <v Speaker>A disturbing thought. Yet there's a group of New Mexicans that live with painful, <v Speaker>haunting memories of a hell that dates back more than 40 years to World <v Speaker>War Two. Eighteen hundred young New Mexican boys went off to the Philippine <v Speaker>Islands in 1941. <v Speaker>Half of them returned. Only about 300 are alive today. <v Speaker>The hell they remember is the Baton Peninsula falling to the Japanese. <v Speaker>The long forced journeys to prison camps that somewhere along the way <v Speaker>turned into death marches and the nightmares of the prison camps themselves. <v Speaker>These boys didn't expect war. <v Speaker>Leaving home was, for many of them, a first time experience, and most thought it an <v Speaker>adventure. They were the cream of New Mexico's youth. <v Speaker>Proud patriotic boys turned into National Guardsmen almost <v Speaker>overnight. When they left, they only expected to be gone one <v Speaker>year. Those who made it home returned after four to five.
<v Speaker>And how they had suffered hunger, brutality, thirst and much <v Speaker>worse, the full horrors probably never be told. <v Speaker>Most of the hideous. <v Speaker>Have been buried along with the men who lie areas like this one. <v Speaker>Yet the seven raise the baton defenders contributed greatly to the final defeat <v Speaker>of Japan. They had poor equipment, almost no supplies. <v Speaker>And America only empty promises. <v Speaker>But they held on giving the allied forces time to gather strength in the Pacific. <v Speaker>The 300 New Mexican vets alive today have formed a tight bond <v Speaker>between them. And that bond grows stronger every year. <v Speaker>They wonder why they're misunderstood. <v Speaker>They wonder if their contribution has been forgotten because these men can't forget. <v Speaker>It's words of the Voice of Freedom broadcast after the surrender. <v Speaker>Baton has fallen, but the spirit that made its stand cannot
<v Speaker>fall. <v Lorenzo Banegas>My name is Lorenzo Banegas. <v Lorenzo Banegas>I was born but three miles north of Las Cruces on a little <v Lorenzo Banegas>village called San Ysidro. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And I farm there since I was of age to, <v Lorenzo Banegas>to farm. And in February <v Lorenzo Banegas>I'm- to be draft. <v Lorenzo Banegas>So I volunteered to go into the service. <v Fred Almeras>My name is Fred Almeras, I was born in them in New Mexico, <v Fred Almeras>I joined the National Guard, New Mexico National Guard, which was still a 100 level <v Fred Almeras>calvary. And when we were in training, there <v Fred Almeras>the best unit was going to be shipped out. <v Fred Almeras>First wish New Mexico came out <v Fred Almeras>on top of everybody. <v Felix Salas>Felix Salis, I was born in Santa
<v Felix Salas>Rita, New Mexico. <v Felix Salas>I joined the Army. <v Felix Salas>I was drafted 200 coast artillery, which I wasn't of age. <v Felix Salas>They - four years to my age and <v Felix Salas>that's why I went into the service. <v Felix Salas>Other words, I volunteered. <v Virgil Sherwood>I'm Virgil Sherwood from Clovis, New Mexico, I was a member of the battery <v Virgil Sherwood>of the 200 costguard New Mexico National. <v Virgil Sherwood>I was inducted into service in 1941, I went <v Virgil Sherwood>to El Paso and <v Virgil Sherwood>from El Paso, I went to the Philippines. <v Virgil Sherwood>Supposedly almost six months. <v Virgil Sherwood>So they told us only six months maneuver. <v Virgil Sherwood>Five years. I came back. <v Virgil Sherwood>Five years later.
<v Ruben Flores>Yes, my name is Ruben Flores. <v Ruben Flores>I was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. <v Ruben Flores>I, I guess I can say I started off. <v Ruben Flores>I was in the Merchant Marines, I ship Marines from the three seas, the civilian <v Ruben Flores>conservation. <v Ruben Flores>When we were on our way from San Francisco to, <v Ruben Flores>to the Philippines, I was inducted for the second <v Ruben Flores>time, our, our, Cook got drunk and I was inducted into <v Ruben Flores>the kitchen to do the cooking. They knew that I had been cooking while in the three <v Ruben Flores>seas, that I was a cook, a butcher and. <v Ruben Flores>And a. <v Ruben Flores>So I was inducted for the second time and I cooked for them. <v Ruben Flores>Got to the Philippines the 16th of September. <v Ruben Flores>19.- One. <v Jim Colman>I don't like my first [name] and I never use it, so I go by the name Jim. <v Jim Colman>Jim Coleman and when I retired
<v Jim Colman>22 years ago, I was a lieutenant colonel. <v Jim Colman>And I can I've got a lot of serial numbers. <v Jim Colman>How about oh three five eight nine one eight. <v Jim Colman>That's the one I started the army with. <v Lorenzo Banegas>So I told my family that we were we didn't know where we <v Lorenzo Banegas>were going, but we were leaving because we had to pack all night long. <v Lorenzo Banegas>So my family went over to fort base to see me, I guess, for the <v Lorenzo Banegas>last time when they saw me in army fatigues. <v Lorenzo Banegas>They pictured me as a slave, or something. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And they started crying because they didn't expect to see me in army fatigues, <v Lorenzo Banegas>because they hadn't seen me in army fatigues before. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And they started crying, to see me that working <v Lorenzo Banegas>clothes. <v Speaker>Johnny was a soldier, a boy who never looked for a scratch. <v Speaker>But this young buckaroo was Yankee through and through. <v Speaker>Then Johnny heard our country's call to arms against the jack and as he
<v Speaker>marched away. His buddies heard him say, good bye, <v Speaker>momma. I'm off to Yokohama for my red, white and blue, <v Speaker>my country and you. <v Speaker>Good bye, Momma. I'm off to Yokohama just to teach all those <v Speaker>Jap the Yanks are no saps. <v Speaker>A million fighting sons of Uncle Sam. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>And it was pretty much of a- . <v Col. Gilbert Baca>The individuals were awfully happy, pretty much of a social club. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>The Barrio or the neighborhood all got together and four or five kids that belonged to <v Col. Gilbert Baca>the same gang, joined the National Guard. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>They all joined together. They all went across together. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>Some of them didn't come back, obviously. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>But that was the mood that they had. <v Col. Gilbert Baca>Everybody got together in the afternoons when the tortillas and the people were <v Col. Gilbert Baca>were getting ready to eat supper. The kids were sitting under the trees talking about the <v Col. Gilbert Baca>National Guard and how they joined. <v Speaker>My name is Allediano Valdez from Belen, New Mexico. <v Speaker>I was with the DIA from my Lukic.
<v Speaker>God was with me until we were forced to surrender. <v Speaker>I tried to hang on with my compadres, I begged the Japs for mercy. <v Speaker>All I wanted was to be back home with my girlfriend. <v Speaker>Maruca Demetria, pobresita. <v Speaker>She didn't even know where I was. <v Speaker>But the good Lord. He took me away. <v Speaker>And now I can only watch over my compass, Lorenzo and Marcos. <v Speaker>My friends, have tried to keep me alive. <v Speaker>I remember just before the Japs got me, Lorenzo was composing <v Speaker>a corrido. <v Speaker>I wish I had held on long enough to hear him in person. <v Speaker>This is a corrido, shall we say? <v Speaker>A song. <v Speaker>It was composed by Lorenzo Banegas here from Las Cruces, Prezant <v Speaker>with me, and which we never sing it with anybody
<v Speaker>else. him and I. <v Speaker>I don't think that he has ever sang with anybody else but him and I. <v Speaker>I haven't learned the song. <v Speaker>Although he knows it. <v Speaker>I haven't learned this. The reason is that I don't like memories <v Speaker>of prison camp. When I sing this song with <v Speaker>Lorenzo. I read because I have not learned it. <v Speaker>We will would like to dedicate it to <v Speaker>our compadres, our <v Speaker>POW's that never made it back. <v Speaker>And their families <v Speaker>and their dear ones. <v Speaker>[ Singing Corrido
<v Speaker>] <v Felix Salas>The rumors start talking about war. <v Felix Salas>So we still, like I say myself. <v Felix Salas>I didn't believe it until the first day that I saw those bombers came over. <v Felix Salas>And all of a sudden we just heard and our. <v Felix Salas>Officer, which still over there in Silver City. <v Felix Salas>The Name. Cash Skarda. <v Felix Salas>He just hollers, he says commence firing. <v Cash T. Skarda>Then we were hit by, I would estimate, 50 to <v Cash T. Skarda>100 fighter planes. <v Cash T. Skarda>Japanese carriers. And we had. <v Cash T. Skarda>Knockdown, drag out fight for about an hour between <v Cash T. Skarda>anti aircraft and these fighter planes. <v Cash T. Skarda>And we I think we were credited the first <v Cash T. Skarda>day with knocking down fifteen or 17
<v Cash T. Skarda>of the fighter planes. <v Cash T. Skarda>My particular unit talked about Felix Salas. <v Cash T. Skarda>We got one right in the motor, which was attacking our our gun <v Cash T. Skarda>position. <v Felix Salas>And that's all I remember. We just commence firing and until <v Felix Salas>everything was over, all, smoke and fire and everything, you know, <v Felix Salas>I couldn't hardly breathe. I could die. <v Felix Salas>I was so thirsty and my throat was so dry and I don't know if it was <v Felix Salas>if I was going or coming. <v Felix Salas>But we did a good job, I think very, very good job every one of us here. <v Cash T. Skarda>Of course, I was a kid or a relative kid as <v Cash T. Skarda>22 years old, <v Cash T. Skarda>commanding troops as much as being executive <v Cash T. Skarda>officer of a gun battalion one is twenty two years old.
<v Cash T. Skarda>I guess it was just a shocking experience <v Cash T. Skarda>that you just had to handle it. <v Cash T. Skarda>That was all there was to it. <v Cash T. Skarda>You either fight or you die. <v Cash T. Skarda>And that was that was that was it. <v Felix Salas>From there on, we just knew it was war and started <v Felix Salas>to them. The next day it happened again. <v Felix Salas>And from there, on every day until the order came over to retreat, start retreating. <v Felix Salas>We we didn't know where where we were going until we <v Felix Salas>ended at Baton. <v Speaker>[Corrido
<v Speaker>] <v Virgil Sherwood>They got us in a bunch and, and surrounded <v Virgil Sherwood>half moon around us with tanks and machine guns in <v Virgil Sherwood>my mind and minds of many of the other prisoners of war. <v Virgil Sherwood>They did not mean to take us prisoners of war. <v Virgil Sherwood>They were going to -. All right there on that little strip. <v Virgil Sherwood>Between the tanks they set up of machine gun. <v Virgil Sherwood>Gun on top of each tank. <v Virgil Sherwood>And they cocked the machine guns. <v Virgil Sherwood>And just as a they cocked the machine guns, it seemed like it- it. <v Virgil Sherwood>It's very hard.
<v Virgil Sherwood>The men up there shook the earth so hard <v Virgil Sherwood>that had not the Japanese soldiers on top, the tanks. <v Virgil Sherwood>All there were no prisoner of war standing <v Virgil Sherwood>on the ground. <v Virgil Sherwood>It shook. The earthquake shook so bad that all of us fell down. <v Virgil Sherwood>You could not stand up. <v Virgil Sherwood>It turned the tanks around and faced them the other way from us the machine <v Virgil Sherwood>guns that had been in between the tanks, the tanks ran <v Virgil Sherwood>over them, or shook over on top of them. <v Virgil Sherwood>I think it scared the Japanese so bad. <v Virgil Sherwood>And that is when they started infamous <v Virgil Sherwood>Death March. Down the road it scared the hell out of them. <v Virgil Sherwood>We started out from the little airstrip <v Virgil Sherwood>in columns of fours and six down
<v Virgil Sherwood>blacktop road. <v Virgil Sherwood>And I as I said before, I had no shoes. <v Virgil Sherwood>The temperature was one hundred thirty to a hundred and forty degrees. <v Virgil Sherwood>You could break an egg on the blacktop and fry it. <v Virgil Sherwood>That's how hot it had been. The blacktop was <v Virgil Sherwood>my feet on that became blistered first <v Virgil Sherwood>and then the blisters busted and then <v Virgil Sherwood>the hide from the blisters tore off. <v Virgil Sherwood>And I was walking on raw meat. <v Virgil Sherwood>Ninety five percent of us had malaria and dysentery, <v Virgil Sherwood>all kinds of diseases. <v Virgil Sherwood>We were running temperatures of one hundred and six, 107 degrees. <v Virgil Sherwood>And if you fell down. <v Virgil Sherwood>They would ban at you, or shoot you and leave you lay there.
<v Virgil Sherwood>And many of the I saw I saw it happen <v Virgil Sherwood>along the death march. It was it doesn't sound like far. <v Virgil Sherwood>Eighty four miles. <v Virgil Sherwood>But it's a long ways when you are starved, <v Virgil Sherwood>sick and disgraced. <v Virgil Sherwood>My- on my adventure. <v Virgil Sherwood>Our experience, whatever you want to call it, <v Virgil Sherwood>I was in the middle of the group of the string of the procession <v Virgil Sherwood>and I was about four miles from <v Virgil Sherwood>San Fernando and I was sitting in a bar ditch. <v Virgil Sherwood>And along the bar ditch, along the road there. <v Virgil Sherwood>And this Jap Japanese convoy, holding gasoline backup
<v Virgil Sherwood>on the Battan, stopped to to <v Virgil Sherwood>canteen's at an artesian well. We got across the road from me. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when they got ready to leave, <v Virgil Sherwood>it was a Japanese lieutenant could speak good English in charge of the convoy. <v Virgil Sherwood>He asked me, can you drive- drive a truck? <v Virgil Sherwood>And I told him yes. <v Virgil Sherwood>So he cleared me with the prison guard <v Virgil Sherwood>and put me, he told me I was going to drive the truck. <v Virgil Sherwood>Well I drove back. <v Virgil Sherwood>Watch out. Passing all the rest of the POWs, <v Virgil Sherwood>the prisoners to a point <v Virgil Sherwood>at. <v Virgil Sherwood>Cabcaben, Caben-town or something like that. <v Virgil Sherwood>Well, when it got dark, I told him I had to go to the bushes
<v Virgil Sherwood>and I went to the bushes and kept going, thinking I could <v Virgil Sherwood>escape back into the jungle. <v Virgil Sherwood>Well, when daybreak came. <v Virgil Sherwood>I was still on the move and I ran into <v Virgil Sherwood>what they call a mop up team of Japanese soldiers <v Virgil Sherwood>getting stragglers. <v Virgil Sherwood>They recaptured me, put me back in the death march on <v Virgil Sherwood>the stragglers and the sick ones. <v Virgil Sherwood>Put me back in the death march. <v Virgil Sherwood>And again. <v Virgil Sherwood>I made the death march again. <v Virgil Sherwood>What gave me the strength? <v Virgil Sherwood>I guess my belief in Lord. <v Virgil Sherwood>The thought of uh,
<v Virgil Sherwood>and my wife. <v Virgil Sherwood>And a son that was only five months old <v Virgil Sherwood>when I left waiting for me, <v Virgil Sherwood>gave me the strength to keep going. <v Virgil Sherwood>And that's all that was on my mind. <v Virgil Sherwood>Continuously, every step. <v Virgil Sherwood>She pushed me. She pushed me all the way. <v Placido Rivera>My name is Placido Rivera from Taos, New Mexico. <v Placido Rivera>Two hundred Coast Artillery Battery H. <v Placido Rivera>I remember the march and the look on the faces of my compadres. <v Placido Rivera>We were all suffering. <v Placido Rivera>The Japs made us march and march and march. <v Placido Rivera>I kept falling. They kicked me and beat me. <v Placido Rivera>But somehow I kept going. <v Placido Rivera>The ones that couldn't keep going were on the side of the road. <v Placido Rivera>And I remember the horrible smell of rotting flesh that hung in the air. <v Placido Rivera>It might sound strange, but even with all the others around me, I still felt lonely.
<v Placido Rivera>I missed mi familia and the ones that I loved. <v Placido Rivera>I felt myself crying, but I couldn't help it. <v Placido Rivera>Finally, I close my eyes and prayed to God in heaven to die. <v Placido Rivera>But I'm not sorry he took me because there are things like fighting for my country <v Placido Rivera>that are more priceless than life itself. <v Speaker>[Singing Corrido
<v Speaker>] <v Jim Colman> oh, Donnel was <v Jim Colman>divided. Filipino soldiers were in one section. <v Jim Colman>We were in the other. <v Jim Colman>There was one water tap in our compound for about 4000 soldiers, <v Jim Colman>4000 Americans. <v Jim Colman>We never got to the Filipino side. I don't know. <v Jim Colman>But the line formed at that water tap early in the morning and it stayed <v Jim Colman>there 24 hours a day. <v Jim Colman>And when you got your water, you drank it and went back to the end line and got in the <v Jim Colman>water again. They limited you to one canteen full. <v Jim Colman>If you had a canteen or whatever the hell else, you could carry water in <v Jim Colman>very, very little food. <v Jim Colman>Absolutely no medicine. <v Jim Colman>A viciously egotistic <v Jim Colman>Japanese commander who informed us very strongly
<v Jim Colman>that we had dishonored ourselves by surrending and therefore we <v Jim Colman>were not to be given the honor of being prisoners of war. <v Jim Colman>We were captives and as captives, the Geneva Convention <v Jim Colman>was pushed out the window. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And but that was the worst camp of all. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And Camp O'Donell when we got there, the poor fellows were <v Lorenzo Banegas>so weak and with diarrhea, with all kinds of diseases. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And they put us in a big, big fenced area with barracks <v Lorenzo Banegas>all torn down. And they were so sick that they couldn't <v Lorenzo Banegas>control the the the dysentery. <v Lorenzo Banegas>They were walking. And, you know, [Felix Salas: doing their thing] yea, doing their thing <v Lorenzo Banegas>because we didn't have any any clothes. <v Lorenzo Banegas>We had to sleep on the on the ground or if we ever was lucky. <v Lorenzo Banegas>Now, the fellow that got there just a little before they cut the grass <v Lorenzo Banegas>down and they made it in to, to, to beds.
<v Lorenzo Banegas>But the fellow that got there later, they didn't have any any grass or weeds <v Lorenzo Banegas>or nothing to make their their beds. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And fellows were dying left and right. <v Jim Colman>At ODonnell, the death rate among the Filipinos was running about <v Jim Colman>a thousand a day. <v Jim Colman>And the highest we had, I think, was three hundred and sixty a day. <v Jim Colman>Buried them in a hole in common graves. <v Jim Colman>Great. Huge. Well, just like the Germans did it to <v Jim Colman>Bergen-Belsen or Buchenwald or Dachau is common graves. <v Jim Colman>There was nothing else to do. <v Jim Colman>Nothing we could do. <v Jim Colman>Quite a few people tried to keep records of who died, when and where. <v Lorenzo Banegas>That was every day, every day we had to to bury from I <v Lorenzo Banegas>say, from about 20 to 80 people that died from prisoners
<v Lorenzo Banegas>that died every day because they had three details, <v Lorenzo Banegas>one inside of the fence picking up all the dead <v Lorenzo Banegas>bodies that died that night and line them up towards the close to the gate <v Lorenzo Banegas>up there. Then they had another detail carrying those dead <v Lorenzo Banegas>bodies from the fans to the holes where they were burying them. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And they had another detail, digging those those holes, the <v Lorenzo Banegas>holes where, oh, I'd say about ten, twelve, 15 feet by <v Lorenzo Banegas>15 feet. You know, they were kind of big and bout four or five feet <v Lorenzo Banegas>deep. And then in the rainy season, it was the hardest <v Lorenzo Banegas>because they had to leave at least two or three holes dug ahead. <v Lorenzo Banegas>The fellows that were digging the whole day had to leave the the holes dug ahead because <v Lorenzo Banegas>we'd catch up with them right away, burying the bodies. <v Lorenzo Banegas>So at night, the hole would fill up with water and then we throw the <v Lorenzo Banegas>bodies in and the water would splash out and the bodies start floating.
<v Lorenzo Banegas>But we put so many bodies in there that they started going down and down <v Lorenzo Banegas>and down. So when the hole was full, we throw the mud and whatever <v Lorenzo Banegas>we could on top of them. But then the the water, the mud <v Lorenzo Banegas>would go down and the bodies would start sticking out. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And the blood and all that would run down into the to the camp, <v Lorenzo Banegas>to the fence that we were in and that thing would think that we <v Lorenzo Banegas>couldn't stand the smell of that blood, you know, that watery blood that would run on <v Lorenzo Banegas>because the they hold were kind of high up here and <v Lorenzo Banegas>the fence was lower down there. <v Lorenzo Banegas>So all that water that would slip out of the the hole, it would run into the <v Lorenzo Banegas>fans that we were in then when the sun would come on, that thing would think <v Lorenzo Banegas>that we couldn't stand the smell of it. <v Jim Colman>Thought of home, of course, we thought of home, but home was such <v Jim Colman>a remote possibility that.
<v Jim Colman>You went to bed sometimes crying yourself to sleep with hunger. <v Jim Colman>I mean, I was a grown captain and I've cried myself to sleep many times. <v Jim Colman>I thought I was a mature individual. But I realized how much how much <v Jim Colman>degradation in humanity <v Jim Colman>and hunger can inflict on a human being. <v Grace Santistevan>My name is Sissako Grace Santistevan. <v Grace Santistevan>I was born in Osaka, Japan. <v Grace Santistevan>I look back on those things why it did happen. <v Grace Santistevan>It's just the godless people doesn't think too much <v Grace Santistevan>weight on the life realization of the life, <v Grace Santistevan>that basic humanity is lost through the war <v Grace Santistevan>and cares. <v Grace Santistevan>Because you take one individual from Japanese country. <v Grace Santistevan>Very rarely you find such a mean person.
<v Grace Santistevan>Then, when a war happens like this then, killing <v Grace Santistevan>a lot of people in a malicious way. <v George Kojima>Well, I could imagine from a training on Japanese Army Navy, <v George Kojima>it's almost murderous. <v George Kojima>Being beaten to death wasn't too uncommon. <v George Kojima>So maybe that extends on the bar. <v George Kojima>Tough treatment. <v George Kojima>Going to worst situation. <v George Kojima>On just the battalion deal. <v George Kojima>Others. Japanese soldiers were ready to back home. <v George Kojima>So we are running out of food, running out of ammo. <v George Kojima>Now, this is a suicide attack. <v George Kojima>This is the end, I'm not coming back. <v George Kojima>At that time enemy general just saw, I mean, left <v George Kojima>saying I shall return. <v George Kojima>I left all the soldier behind.
<v George Kojima>They think why should we feed POW when we are running our own food? <v Ruben Flores>When we were taken to the docks to be <v Ruben Flores>shipped to Japan from Bilibid in <v Ruben Flores>the Philippines. <v Ruben Flores>They started putting us in this the <v Ruben Flores>holds, the ships, they were freighters, coal freighters. <v Ruben Flores>It was three of them. They started putting us down in the holds <v Ruben Flores>one by one, start walking in there. <v Ruben Flores>And they told us to stand as tight as we could, one behind the other, line after <v Ruben Flores>line after line. We did that. <v Ruben Flores>And when they couldn't cram any more in there. <v Ruben Flores>That's when they stopped and they told us, OK. <v Ruben Flores>You can do anything you want. We had a heck of a time to sit down. <v Ruben Flores>We couldn't sit down. We were there crammed like sardines. <v Ruben Flores>They'd get us a half a canteen of water a day, which was
<v Ruben Flores>not enough. Sometimes some of us would end up with a quarter canteen, with some us with <v Ruben Flores>nothing. <v Ruben Flores>They would lower down the honey buckets. <v Ruben Flores>That was for us to do our thing whenever them <v Ruben Flores>honey buckets were full. They would raise them up with the rope. <v Ruben Flores>And you can just imagine them things swinging back and forth. <v Ruben Flores>What would happen. They'd dump them out in the sea, and. <v Ruben Flores>And they'd bring them down again and fill up and so on. <v Ruben Flores>So as one of the worst things <v Ruben Flores>that. That I remember that happened and that was not <v Ruben Flores>there, was done directly by the Japanese, they <v Ruben Flores>were responsible for it. But it was inside in <v Ruben Flores>that hold. We were so. <v Ruben Flores>So thirsty that it happened right behind me. <v Ruben Flores>One morning we we we got here at night.
<v Ruben Flores>It was dark because you can just imagine there was no light in that hold, but <v Ruben Flores>they'd started killing each other, to suck their blood because of the <v Ruben Flores>thirst. And so when we started, we'd get to <v Ruben Flores>the closest, the ones that were closest to us would get together and sleep back <v Ruben Flores>to back with our canteen and our hand <v Ruben Flores>ready just to to strike anybody that would try to do <v Ruben Flores>harm any of us that before. Five of us did get back to back. <v Ruben Flores>And so you can just imagine how desperate <v Ruben Flores>we were when we'd get hungry and thirsty. <v Ruben Flores>When you go to the extreme of killing someone else, to suck their <v Ruben Flores>blood, to quench your thirst, that is <v Ruben Flores>something bad. <v Fred Almeras>They they use any kind of punishment they could think of.
<v Fred Almeras>They even had two guys got to talking together. <v Fred Almeras>They set him up and make him slap each other. <v Fred Almeras>And they had slap hard. If they slap each other, just, you know, just <v Fred Almeras>lightly, the guard would say, not that way. <v Fred Almeras>They wham, they'd give them hard. This is the way you do it. <v Fred Almeras>And they had to slap each other as hard as they could. <v Jim Colman>Every place we marched in camp on a work detail we had to carry a Japanese. <v Jim Colman>I saved one of them once and use <v Jim Colman>it for toilet paper when they weren't looking. <v Felix Salas>I don't I don't blame them all, <v Felix Salas>but I can't stand them. <v Felix Salas>Jap to me, I'm not prejudiced, but I can't stand Japanese <v Felix Salas>I'd say so. <v Carlos Maria>My name is Carlos Horgin from Tierra Maria.
<v Carlos Maria>I die locked away from the world in a hold of a ship called Banjul Maru. <v Carlos Maria>We were on our way to prison camps in Japan and I gave up hope. <v Carlos Maria>I knew I would never see my girlfriend again. <v Carlos Maria>Well, we planned to get married. <v Carlos Maria>But now, I see my buddies have made it back and their wives. <v Carlos Maria>And I think maybe it was better that I died because I would have come back a <v Carlos Maria>different man and to lay such a heavy burden on my beautiful Ramona would <v Carlos Maria>have been unfair. <v Nina Banegas>I'm Nina Banegas from Las Cruces, New Mexico, <v Nina Banegas>I am married to Lorenzo Banegas. <v Nina Banegas>He once. He told me more than once that <v Nina Banegas>he he felt that he had died and gone to hell and that <v Nina Banegas>he was in hell for all the things that he
<v Nina Banegas>had done mean things that he had done <v Nina Banegas>and was then paying for 'em. <v Nina Banegas>But for them, it was a living hell. <v Nina Banegas>And it's something they'll they'll never forget. <v Nina Banegas>They'll live with it till the day they die. <v Mary Coleman>I'm Mary Coleman and I was Mary Parkman. <v Mary Coleman>I met Jim Coleman in 1940 and we became engaged. <v Mary Coleman>He eventually went overseas in early 1941, <v Mary Coleman>I was in the movie one afternoon, the six o'clock movie on <v Mary Coleman>the pole on the base Portsmouth Naval Base. <v Mary Coleman>And I saw the movie and we had the March of Times back <v Mary Coleman>in those days and I saw these prisoners being <v Mary Coleman>liberated from Cabanatuan prison camp. <v Mary Coleman>And it showed them some of them walking through. <v Mary Coleman>And there was this one guy with his army hat on.
<v Mary Coleman>And the big dark glasses. <v Mary Coleman>And I was with my roommate and I said I said, that's Jim. <v Mary Coleman>I said, I know that's Jim. And I sat through the movie three times so <v Mary Coleman>that I could see the newsreel again. <v Mary Coleman>And I was sure it was him. So eventually after we married, I told him this <v Mary Coleman>and he did write to the film company and he has the length <v Mary Coleman>of film that was him. <v Lencha Salas>My name is Lencha Salas from Belliard, New Mexico, and I'm married to Felix <v Lencha Salas>Salas. <v Lencha Salas>I hate for him to talk about it because during the night he'll have those nightmares <v Lencha Salas>and he'll wake up during the night. He won't be able to go back to sleep anymore. <v Lencha Salas>The following day he's all upset and he's he'll be like that for, <v Lencha Salas>oh, maybe two or three days. <v Lencha Salas>Most when he mostly when he feels like that, he'll go fishing just to get over it. <v Manuela Flores>I'm Manuela Flores from Las Cruces, New Mexico. <v Manuela Flores>I'm married to Ruben Flores also from Las Cruces. <v Manuela Flores>One day we went to El Paso. He said let's go shop with me.
<v Manuela Flores>And we went to El Paso and there was this big plane, of course, <v Manuela Flores>flying over El Paso. And in it was just very low coming in <v Manuela Flores>and he just went down, down a car. <v Manuela Flores>I said what's happening here? So then he got out and he was so embarrassed. <v Manuela Flores>I said. I thought we were back in the war. <v Manuela Flores>So. <v Nina Banegas>If it hadn't been for God, they they wouldn't <v Nina Banegas>be here today. <v Nina Banegas>And another thing that I think is beautiful now when we all get together <v Nina Banegas>is the fellowship they have between them. <v Nina Banegas>They, there isn't a thing they wouldn't do for each other. <v Nina Banegas>And you've seen the way they greet each other, <v Nina Banegas>just like brothers. <v Nina Banegas>And it's it's a unity that that <v Nina Banegas>is beautiful to see, really.
<v Speaker>You know, if we could keep smelling this thing, we'll be drunk before <v Speaker>we drink our beer. <v Speaker>[?: Can I light up a cigarette now?] Yea go ahead. <v Speaker>What the heck. <v Speaker>I remember right now? <v Speaker>I don't know if you were at the same camp at the time, but we were <v Speaker>working on in the- in the airways making this airstrip's <v Speaker>and we found out that they were they were using alcohol <v Speaker>for fuel. Yeah. So. <v Speaker>So we we got smart, we got it, we got a young hose <v Speaker>and we hid it when we went out there and someone would talk to the Japanese guards upper <v Speaker>and the other one would be siphoning the the alcohol and put it in the canteen. <v Speaker>But we get the camp. We pull good drunks. <v Speaker>And it had it had the. <v Speaker>Well, it had. That's that taste of gasoline, too. <v Speaker>But then, you know, we used to bring out that gasoline that we used to burn out that <v Speaker>gasoline taste.
<v Speaker>And we got the Red Cross packages. <v Speaker>We put some of that concentrated orange juice in it. <v Speaker>I mean, to tell you, we feel good drunks, alcohol. <v Speaker>[Song
<v Speaker>] <v Speaker>My name is Fermino Romero. <v Speaker>Soy de Carlsbad. I was with the battery life of the two hundredth coast artillery. <v Speaker>It was Christmas of 43 when I died and I kept <v Speaker>thinking the war will never end. <v Speaker>I kept thinking that the war will never end. <v Speaker>And now 40 years have gone by, and I'm amazed that any
<v Speaker>of the 200 boys are still around. <v Speaker>God, they were great friends. Soska They worked beside me, shared food <v Speaker>with me when I was sick. They bathed. <v Speaker>They bathed me when I was burning up with fever. <v Speaker>Talked to me when my spirits were low. <v Speaker>But they couldn't save me. <v Speaker>And now I see all these guys getting together after 40 years, and <v Speaker>it looks like a good time. Una celebracion. <v Speaker>And I'm glad. <v Speaker>I'm glad for them. <v Tommy Foy>Tommy Foy, fir- second lieutenant battery
<v Tommy Foy>H, 200 Coast artillery, and these are all my men <v Tommy Foy>that were with me when we surrendered. <v Tom Lee>I'm the former state senator Tom Lee, and one of the battery H and uh <v Tom Lee>515. And uh, I surrendered under [ten peninsula?]. <v Joe Cigora>Joe Cigora was the chief clerk for the battery and it <v Joe Cigora>nice being back at home. <v Joe Cigora>And eating rice and fish. <v Speaker>I'm Dout E. Bon. I went in with the H battery transferred <v Speaker>to G battery and became a captain on the town, commanded a 37 millimeter <v Speaker>gun battery thank you. <v Joey Medina>Joey Medina from Battery H. <v Joey Medina>I forgot what's happening Battan. <v Oracio Montoya>I'm Oracion Montoya. Battery H. <v Oracio Montoya>I can say this about Battan. <v Oracio Montoya>That is a good example of unpreparedness on the part of the US. <v Dan Joplin>We have something wonderful here in these old United States.
<v Dan Joplin>And you better hang on to it. And if it means you gotta go in and fight to hang <v Dan Joplin>on to. Do it because you've got generations coming behind <v Dan Joplin>you that you got to give them the same opportunity <v Dan Joplin>that we have had. <v Speaker>[Singing Corrido ]
<v Jim Colman>I weighed about 90 pounds when I was liberated the day <v Jim Colman>we were liberated. I was down to about 82 at one time. <v Jim Colman>My normal weight was about one hundred and forty five and a little teeny ol' <v Jim Colman>pipsqueak of a soldier. Well, my first shot of whiskey was in San Francisco <v Jim Colman>because when we got back there, the city was ours. <v Jim Colman>You couldn't we couldn't spend a penny in San Francisco for anything. <v Jim Colman>I even bought a new watch. And it wouldn't take any money for it. <v Jim Colman>I got drunk. That's what I did when my family was there. <v Jim Colman>And that as far as the women. <v Jim Colman>Well, I maybe I'm a straight age, <v Jim Colman>straight laced, old fashioned fella, but I was a virgin until the night I got married, <v Jim Colman>so I didn't miss women. <v Ruben Flores>The first thing I did when I when I arrived <v Ruben Flores>in good U- good old USA was get down,
<v Ruben Flores>get some dirt and put it in my mouth. <v Ruben Flores>Taste it good ol USA soil, <v Ruben Flores>and then the next day, the next thing I did was go to the nearest church and pray and <v Ruben Flores>thank, give thanks to my dear Lord that I had given my life and I told him, <v Ruben Flores>eh- if it is your will for me to return. <v Ruben Flores>And if its your will for me to stay here. <v Ruben Flores>I'm behind you. And he he my dear ol' Lord <v Ruben Flores>chose to bring me back. And I did. <v Ruben Flores>And I did what I thought I was supposed to have done. <v Ruben Flores>As far as reception, the only reception we got <v Ruben Flores>was from the people that were there that were waiting for us, the kinfolks <v Ruben Flores>from the others. <v Ruben Flores>And my dear old mother that was waiting for me at home when I got there. <v Lorenzo Banegas>Well, to me, there is nothing as close as
<v Lorenzo Banegas>these buddies, these ex prisoners of war. <v Lorenzo Banegas>I have belonged to different organizations. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And to me, it's not exactly the same when we mean when we have these <v Lorenzo Banegas>conventions or meetings to us. <v Lorenzo Banegas>It seemed like I'm going to, to my family and sometimes, I might even be closer to <v Lorenzo Banegas>the ex-prisoners of war than my own family, because we learned up there <v Lorenzo Banegas>to help each other and be close to each other. <v Lorenzo Banegas>When we see somebody suffering, whether we knew him or not, we still, you know, <v Lorenzo Banegas>try to to help him. <v Lorenzo Banegas>And I myself made a pledge. <v Lorenzo Banegas>I said, as long as I live. <v Lorenzo Banegas>I want to help all these ex prisoners of war. <v Lorenzo Banegas>There is only two of us left. I'm still going to look after him or he's going to look <v Lorenzo Banegas>after me until all of us will disappear. <v Virgil Sherwood>Well, I went down to the deep hole
<v Virgil Sherwood>and caught a train to Vaughn, New Mexico. <v Virgil Sherwood>At Vaughn, I had to transfer up <v Virgil Sherwood>to the Santa Fe to go into Galveston. <v Virgil Sherwood>And I got up to to not to add <v Virgil Sherwood>to the railroad station at Vaughn, and I was talking <v Virgil Sherwood>to the station agent. <v Virgil Sherwood>And he told me, he said there won't be another train through here until tomorrow <v Virgil Sherwood>afternoon. <v Virgil Sherwood>Oh, this was about one o'clock in the morning. <v Virgil Sherwood>Well, I got to talking to him. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when he found out all about me, where I'd been <v Virgil Sherwood>and we're just coming home. <v Virgil Sherwood>He said, I am going to get you home. <v Virgil Sherwood>He said there is a an army train coming through here. <v Virgil Sherwood>And he said it is a red ball. <v Virgil Sherwood>He said, we're not supposed to stop it, but he said, I'm going to stop it.
<v Virgil Sherwood>So he went out and stopped that red ball <v Virgil Sherwood>army train. <v Virgil Sherwood>And the conductor that was in charge of the train <v Virgil Sherwood>was an old friend of my family in Clovis. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when I got on and he seen who I was and I <v Virgil Sherwood>told him, he said, my God, he said, come on <v Virgil Sherwood>to my compartment. He took me in his compartment and he told me <v Virgil Sherwood>to lay down and rest. I said, rest. <v Virgil Sherwood>I can't. I said, I just want to look to wide open <v Virgil Sherwood>spaces. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when we got to Clovis, I did. <v Virgil Sherwood>My folks did not know I was coming home. <v Virgil Sherwood>I did not call them. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when I got to the station, his wife was there to pick him up, <v Virgil Sherwood>to take him home. And he told me, Virgil, we would take you to your <v Virgil Sherwood>father's house because they had moved while I was gone.
<v Virgil Sherwood>I didn't know it. <v Virgil Sherwood>So they took me to where my daddy and mother lived. <v Virgil Sherwood>And my wife was living in a little trailer house right beside that, right beside him in <v Virgil Sherwood>the same yard. <v Virgil Sherwood>And when I got out, they let me out. <v Virgil Sherwood>The point is very hard for me. <v Virgil Sherwood>I walked in to the yard and <v Virgil Sherwood>there was nobody and I hollered. <v Virgil Sherwood>I left my bags, bag and everything out on the sidewalk. <v Virgil Sherwood>And I hollered, Is anybody home? <v Virgil Sherwood>And the trailer house door opened, <v Virgil Sherwood>a little boy about that big <v Virgil Sherwood>open it. And he turned around and said, Momma, daddy is home.
<v Virgil Sherwood>So she-. <v Virgil Sherwood>Excuse me. <v Virgil Sherwood>Anyhow, about that time my sister came round the corner. <v Virgil Sherwood>Her and my mother was in the back of the house doing washing and hang up the clothes <v Virgil Sherwood>and she's seen me and she hollered <v Virgil Sherwood>to my mother. <v Virgil Sherwood>Said, my God. Oh, momma, here's Virgil. <v Virgil Sherwood>About that time my wife came out that trailer door. <v Virgil Sherwood>And you can imagine what went on after that. <v Virgil Sherwood>It was the most happiest feelings I ever had my life. <v Virgil Sherwood>Seeing a boy, five years old. <v Virgil Sherwood>That was only three months old when I left. <v Virgil Sherwood>And he knew me because my wife had the though-
<v Virgil Sherwood>forethought to have a life sized picture painted of me so <v Virgil Sherwood>that he would know his daddy. <v Virgil Sherwood>And he knew me from that picture. <v Antonio Montoya>My name is Antonio Montoya from Gallup, New Mexico. <v Antonio Montoya>There are lots of men in the town who died leaving sons and daughters behind. <v Antonio Montoya>I was one of them. The last time I saw my son, Antonio Junior, he was only six
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Memories Of Hell
Producing Organization
KNME-TV (Television station : Albuquerque, N.M.)
Contributing Organization
New Mexico PBS (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"MEMORIES OF HELL profiles the experiences and recollections of some of the 1800 New Mexico National Guardsmen who endured World War II's infamous Bataan 'Death March' and the ensuing imprisonment and brutalities suffered at the hands of their Japanese captors."--1982 Peabody Award entry form.
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Producing Organization: KNME-TV (Television station : Albuquerque, N.M.)
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Identifier: cpb-aacip-55e40fd175f (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Original
Duration: 00:58:30
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-8dd3d9644db (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:59:00
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Chicago: “Memories Of Hell,” 1982-12-10, New Mexico PBS, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Memories Of Hell.” 1982-12-10. New Mexico PBS, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Memories Of Hell. Boston, MA: New Mexico PBS, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from