Silence of a Soldier HTML version
wrong on this point. Wainwright had ordered the troops to fight to the end. King was convinced that this was
useless. Prior to the surrender, orders came to destroy all equipment. Bub and his Company drove the heavy
equipment over cliffs. Fifty gallon drums of gasoline were rolled over on top of the machines, then set afire.
Arms and ammunition were thrown into the flames The explosion of shells was to Bub like a Fourth of July
celebration in Algonac.
Although the numbers vary, it is safe to say that about 70,000 combined American and Filipino troops were
on Bataan. One might question the decision of General King to surrender. The answer is simple. His troops
were out of food, out of ammunition, and the promised reinforcements never materialized. King believed the
Japanese leaflets that his men would be well treated. Little did he know how brutal the Japanese would be. The
possibility of the men to swim across the straits to Corregidor was real, but the order came not to do it. The
problem was that Corregidor was running out of food and ammunition. MacArthur was safe in Australia. It
should be remembered that he left behind close to seventy thousand troops to face a life of misery under the
Japanese captors. MacArthur’s loss of men was one of the greatest military losses in American history. For this
he was highly decorated.
The Japanese took the Americans prisoners at 11:00 am, the morning of April 9, 1942. They were marched
five miles southward toward Corregidor. It was the intent of the Japanese to use the prisoners as a buffer zone
between themselves and the large guns on Corregidor. It would be a full month before Wainwright would
surrender the island fortress. No food or water was given to the prisoners. They were herded into fields where
they sat for hours. Bub had filled his canteen prior to capture. He sipped from it sparingly. As he sat in the field,
he dropped his arms to better support himself. As his hands dug into the dirt, he felt two round objects. Each
hand pulled up a small rutabaga. This was all he had to eat for several days.
1. By landing at Lingayen, the Japanese forces cut Luzon in half, depriving MacArthur many of the supplies
stacked in northern Luzon.
2. For the Japanese landing at Lingayen, se Gavin Daws, “Prisoners Of The Japanese”, New York, William
Morrow & Co. 1994, p60
3. The Japanese moved southward and eastward, pushing the American-Filipino forces into the Bataan
4. “Sitting Ducks”, Gavin Daws, “Prisoners Of The Japanese” Ibid, p60.
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The Death March
For three days after their capture the prisoners sat in the fields near Mariveles. They were given no food or
water. On the morning of the fourth day Bub and fifty other prisoners began their march northward. They were
headed to Camp McDonnell(1) some sixty miles away. Without food or water the men were in considerably
weakened condition. The march was slow and painful. The Philippine sun beat down on them mercilessly. On a
few occasions a prisoner would spot a pond or trickling stream. He would break ranks for the water. For his
effort he was either shot, bayoneted or beheaded. Bub had witnessed about a dozen such killings. The road was
literally strewn with American and Filipino prisoners whom had been killed by their Japanese guards. Along the
way, Filipino women and children would offer sugar cane for sale which had been pressed into hockey- puck
size cakes. Bub had hidden two twenty dollar bills inside his belt. With one twenty he bought eight cakes. These
cakes would keep him going for several days.