Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alvin C. Poweleit, June 1, 1985

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

POWELEIT: Can you hear me now?

KELLY: Yes, I hear you.


KELLY: Okay. We got you. You're, you're on. I'm in Covington, Kentucky, in the office of Dr. Alvin Poweleit. Dr. Poweleit was a surgeon in the 192nd Tank Battalion that was in the Philippines, on the Luzon Island, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The unit engaged the Japanese after they landed at Lingayen Gulf, fought in the retrograde operation back into the Bataan Peninsula, were captured, and one of the units in the 192nd was Company D, from Harrodsburg, where some 66 men from that little town were captured and stayed in Japanese 00:01:00prisoner-of-war camps for over three years. I'm Col. Arthur L. Kelly, and Dr. Poweleit, I understand you just recently corresponded with Mr. Snyder [U.S. Fourth District Representative Gene Snyder] . . .

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: . . . regarding this organization.

POWELEIT: That's right. You want me to say something?

KELLY: Yes, what was . . .

POWELEIT: Well, the primary reason I corresponded with Representative Gene Snyder was the fact that I think that this 192nd Tank Battalion really saved Australia from being invaded, and New Zealand from being invaded, and . . . and . . . and Midway, and also helped recuperate the . . . the holocaust from Manil-. . . from Pearl 00:02:00Harbor and allowed our navy to recuperate.

KELLY: What made you think this?

POWELEIT: Right at . . . right at the capitulation of the Japanese, I was taken to a . . . a place called [Taihuku?] in Taiwan. And the Japanese up there . . . the Japanese general up there, I don't remember his name, but I . . . I talked some Japanese enough to understand him, and he talked enough English to understand me, and he told me, specifically, if it hadn't been for General "Weevil's"-he really meant [Col. R.N.] Weaver, but he called him "Weevil"-tank . . . six battalion of tanks, that they would have taken the Philippines by their timetable of January the 15th. As it was, it took them till . 00:03:00. . till April the 9th to take Luzon, and it took them another month to take Corregidor.

KELLY: Corregidor.

POWELEIT: And the timetable to take the Philippines was January the 15th, and when they . . . by that time [Lt. Gen. Tomoyuki] Yamashita had taken Java, Sumatra, and parts of New Guinea, and Malaya and Singapore, and he had landed some people on Timor. And this was on February the 15th. He was ready to take Australia. Australia had about 10,000 Home Guards, and they [the Japanese] also had 6,000 or 7,000 men on the Gilbert Islands ready to take New Zealand.

KELLY: Now, are you getting this from this Japanese general?

POWELEIT: This . . . I'm getting this from this Japanese general.

KELLY: Do you remember his name?


POWELEIT: I don't remember his name, but I re-. . . . he talked to me, and the reason he talked to me was because I could understand some Japanese and he could understand English. And because I wasn't a line officer, he said I belong to the international medical society so that he would give me special privileges. See, we were supposed to be international, although they treated us like we were a bunch of . . .

KELLY: Puppy dogs.

POWELEIT: Yeah. So anyway, . . . .

KELLY: Was he a medical officer?

POWELEIT: Oh, no, he was a line officer.

KELLY: He was a line officer. Was he in . . . in . . . had . . . had he been to Luzon when you all were defending the island?

POWELEIT: Apparently he knew all about it. I mean he . . . he told me, he says, "You . . ." he said, "Weaver had was-. . . ."

KELLY: The way he talked, he was . . . he . . . he . . . you're talking about one of our General Weavers? Is that his name?

POWELEIT: Our General Weaver was . . . General Weaver was . . . he called him General "Weevil."

KELLY: Okay. General Weaver, what was his . . .

POWELEIT: He was . . . he was the provisional group sur- . . . a group tank commander.


KELLY: There was a provisional tank group . . .


KELLY: . . . and he was a . . . he was the commander.

POWELEIT: See, there was the hundred and . . .

KELLY: Was he a brigadier general?

POWELEIT: He was a brigadier general.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And he . . . . see, where the . . . the provisional gran- . . . tank group was the 194th, which had two companies. The hundred and . . . 192nd had four companies that had been in maneuvers for almost a year, and the 194th didn't have any maneuvers, and they lost one tank right in the beginning. So Weaver, with his stra-. . . strategy-he was really a strategist-and he used those tanks, and they . . . and we didn't have infantry because the infantry we had scattered, and . . . and we really hadn't . . . . but the Japs didn't know that or they would have run right through us. But they thought we had infantry in the back of our tanks, and you know that yourself.

KELLY: You didn't have it?

POWELEIT: No, we didn't have anything. They just moved them all around, you see, and . . . and the . . . the . . . .

KELLY: Well, just one second. When 192nd Battalion moved north from 00:06:00s- . . . instead of being south of . . . of Manila there, did you all get all the way from Lingayen Gulf? Is that where you first contacted them?

POWELEIT: We sent B Company up to Lingayen Bay, but the . . . the Japs landed about fifteen or twenty miles up because the sea was rough, so they landed in a place called Agooe.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: A-g-o-o-e.

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: A-d-g-double o. They landed there. They landed about 45,000 men. That's what I roughly understand.

KELLY: Right. Yeah.

POWELEIT: And we had, roughly, the Philippine Scouts . . . maybe a couple of thousand Philippine Scouts up there, which were . . . had modern equipment. But . . . and they . . . they landed. We had took the B Company tanks from that . . . from Maywood, Illinois, up there, and they lost a platoon because . . . .

KELLY: This is B Company one . . . of the 192nd?

POWELEIT: B Company of the 192nd, they lost one platoon. They ran 00:07:00them down this pathway without reconnoitering, and we knew better than that and so did Weaver and so did our tank com- . . . commander, Colonel [Theodore F.] Wickord. He . . . he told [Gen. Jonathan M.] Wainwright, but Wainright says, "Run them in anyway!" See, Wainright had no tank experience. I'm sure he didn't because I had . . . was with him a year and I . . . I knew what . . . what we were supposed to do all the time.

KELLY: Did you get some tank training yourself?

POWELEIT: Hell, yes! I could run a tank . . . . I guess I shouldn't say hell a lot, huh?

KELLY: It's all right.

POWELEIT: Can you delete it? But I went on . . . used a tank, the . . .

KELLY: You were interested in the . . . in the maneuvers and the . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, and I . . .

KELLY: . . . and the tactics and . . .

POWELEIT: . . . and I learned to use the .30-caliber, the .50-caliber that there . . . they had this one [37mm] cannon that they had. I shot that a couple of times and . . . and . . . and after about . . . and I worked at problems and I learned to use all our equipment, I . . . well, I did buy a motorcycle before so I knew how to do that.

KELLY: So you kind of considered yourself a tanker as much as anybody 00:08:00else even though you were a surgeon?

POWELEIT: Yeah, that's right.

KELLY: You . . . you were the battalion surgeon?

POWELEIT: I was battalion surgeon then.

KELLY: You were the only . . . only doctor in the battalion?

POWELEIT: Well, they had two of them. General . . . or a Capt. Salmon, but he went up to . . . somewhere up in Pennsylvania, Indian Gap, Pennsylvania. Then I was . . .

KELLY: You were the only one?

POWELEIT: . . . I was the only one. I was on maneuvers all the time, and I was with them all the time.

KELLY: All right. When . . . when . . . when B Company first engaged the Japanese, that just south of Lingayen Gulf . . . .


KELLY: . . . or right near Lingayen Gulf?


KELLY: Were you with them at that time?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: You were with B Company?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I was with B Company.

KELLY: And were you with the forward element when the Japanese struck?


KELLY: Were you with that platoon that got hit by the Japanese?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And we had one man, [Henry J.] Deckert, who got his head knocked off. It went through the bow gun of his tank.

KELLY: How . . . how many tanks did you have in that platoon that you were with?

POWELEIT: I guess about six or something like that.

KELLY: Were . . . were . . . were you in one of the tanks, or were you in a jeep?

POWELEIT: No, I was . . . . no, I was in a jeep. We had a little aid station right up on the front.


KELLY: Was your aid station some yards behind the tanks at the front or . . .


KELLY: . . . or were you . . .

POWELEIT: We were right just on . . . on the fro- . . . the front lines.

KELLY: Well, now, when the Japanese hit, did you see them?

POWELEIT: Oh, you could see them. They were . . . we had field glasses. You could see them. They just landed one load after another and, in my estimation, there must have been . . . I thought there was about 30,000 but one . . . one of the men there said they . . .

KELLY: You mean you watched them come off the . . . off the ships onto the beach?

POWELEIT: Well, they laid down a barrage, the Japanese. And they . . . that one hill . . . we got there, they laid this barrage down, and there wasn't hardly any trees or anything left. And then they . . . then the men started coming in.

KELLY: Were you all in that barrage or out of range of it?

POWELEIT: We were out of range of the barrage.

KELLY: Umhmm. So . . . but you . . . but you're seeing all this?

POWELEIT: I saw it, yeah.

KELLY: What were you thinking?

POWELEIT: I said, "Jesus, I wonder if we're going to stand this?" So . 00:10:00. . .

KELLY: Just . . . just that tank . . . tank platoon was the only thing that was facing them?

POWELEIT: Well, that was one platoon. We had the whole company, but they sent this one platoon in to sort of disengage the Japanese down there, and they . . . they went down this pathway and they went the other way.

KELLY: You mean . . . you mean they went down to meet them?


KELLY: They were going to be the . . . that was going to be the first contact with American forces?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: All right. Let me ask you two other questions right here now regarding this . . . this little formation there. I know that there were six Filipino divisions available at that time, and then there was one regular army division, and then there was some scouts. And then there was the American . . . two American tanks, the American group. Was there any other American infantry or . . . cav [cavalry] squadrons or anything else involved in that initial contact there?


KELLY: I mean can you speak for all of them, or are you speaking for . . .

POWELEIT: I'm just speaking for ours. We ne- . . . we never had any infantry, really, to follow our tanks [during] the whole thing.


KELLY: All right. Did you . . . were you all working with the Filipinos? Were you . . . were you all coordinating . . .

POWELEIT: Well, yeah, they were . . . they had good coordination, but when the Filipinos, when they got up just to fire, some of them had only been in the army four or five weeks.

KELLY: And they just disappeared?

POWELEIT: They just took their shoes off and ran.

KELLY: So as far as you were concerned then, B Company was facing the Japanese Army there then.

POWELEIT: And they said we only had three hundred Americans on there. They were . . . some of the Americans were officers with the Philippine Army, and some of them were the Philippine Scouts.

KELLY: Now, is this based on history or based on what you saw there?

POWELEIT: It's what I saw. I knew there was only about three hundred because we didn't have . . . see, the 31st Infantry wasn't . . . wasn't in combat until we got down to Bataan, you know.

KELLY: The 31st Infantry, is that a division of the U.S.?

POWELEIT: That's a regiment, yeah. United . . .

KELLY: That's a regiment?

POWELEIT: . . . States Inf-. . . . see, we had the . . . when [Gen. Douglas] MacArthur came in there in July, the only armed . . . the people hadn't . . .

KELLY: You're talking about July of . . . of '41?


POWELEIT: 1941, yeah.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: He came in July, 1941. He had only the Philip- . . . this 31st Philippine Regiment which was formed then. It was an American regiment. He had then about 1,800 men in this regiment. He had the Provisional Tank Group. The 192nd Tank Battalion of four groups had been on maneuvers. The 194th had . . . had two companies but never had been on maneuvers. That was about 1,600 men with the selectees that we had, and then he had 8,000 of the Philippine Scouts, which were well trained and . . . and were good troops.

KELLY: Soldiers.


KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: But you couldn't spread them all over. Some of them were down in . . . down over in . . .

KELLY: Southern . . .

POWELEIT: . . . some were on Corregidor, some were down south, some of them were down in Bataan, you know, and the ports, and I think they had a couple of companies up in Appari, and there was some Scouts up at 00:13:00Vigan. That was on the northwest side. Appari was in the northeast. And they had some down in Atim-. . . Atimonan down in the . . . down in the so- . . . southern part of Luzon. Is it getting in there?

KELLY: Getting it.

POWELEIT: Okay. And then . . .

KELLY: So . . . so go ahead.

POWELEIT: So then . . . so . . . but the . . . the 31st was an American regiment. Then we had the . . . the provisional tank group and the Philippine Scouts. They had all modern equipment.

KELLY: There was the 127th Sq-. . . Cav Squadron or something, or armored squadron.

POWELEIT: We had that . . .

KELLY: Maybe it was a cavalry squadron of horses.

POWELEIT: Yeah, they were . . . that was the 27th, and I f-. . . I forget. I'd have to look in the book on my . . . that. The 51st . . .

KELLY: But they weren't involved up there with you all.

POWELEIT: Well, some of the cavalry were, yeah.

KELLY: Up at . . . at Lingayen Gulf.

POWELEIT: The Scou- . . . yeah, the Scouts.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: They were up at Vigan. They gave the Japs pretty much, when 00:14:00they landed a little . . . a group of them went up there, about 10,000 or a couple thousand landed up at Vigan. They gave them the . . . the works. And then they had . . .

KELLY: Is that . . . you're talking about the side on further north of Lingayen Gulf?


KELLY: Up toward the very top of the . . .

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: . . . of the island.

POWELEIT: Yeah, it was up above Adgoo. That's where [Gen. Masaharu] Homo landed with his group.

KELLY: So, you know, I'm trying . . . I want to kind of pursue this thing, this general . . . of the importance of the role that the 192nd played. You're . . . you're saying that you're . . . you're looking at the Japanese come ashore, and . . . and you're seeing a lot of ships out there. You're seeing them disgorge on the beach. You see the . . .

POWELEIT: [Cough] Yeah.

KELLY: . . . you've seen the preparation, and you're looking around and there's . . . there's you and Company B, and on your right there's some Scouts, or left, . . .


KELLY: What else is . . . is there besides you, is what I'm trying to say?

POWELEIT: That was about all. They had the Scouts, and then they had some of the Philippine Army and, of course, the . . .


KELLY: Where are the other companies?

POWELEIT: Well, hell, they had . . .

KELLY: Where is D Company, for example?

POWELEIT: D Company . . . well, see, they just . . . the . . . the . . . the way I was figuring, they . . . I was always against this. They said, well, they'll wipe the . . . the Japanese out in three months. I says . . . I says, "You got well trained men there for . . . that have been fighting for months, years." And I says, "You're not going to wipe them out." And I says, "They're all equipped." And this stuff . . . the equipment we had, some of the . . . the grenades were duds. The . . . some of the par-. . .

KELLY: So you mean you weren't . . . you weren't fooled by saying . . . thinking the Americans were going to win that battle?

POWELEIT: Well, no, sir. In my book I specifically two . . . two different times, and that's what made me get this Japanese glamour in South . . . in San Francisco, because I figured we were going to get . . .

KELLY: By the way, you are an author. You have written a book on this . . . this . . .


POWELEIT: I wrote two of them on it.

KELLY: And . . . and what's the title of this first book you've written?

POWELEIT: The first one, USAFFE. It's . . . all that I'm going to tell you is all in that USAFFE. It was a . . . it was a book I carried the whole . . . a diary was taken from . . . from the time when I went on a camp from . . . we went down to Fort Knox and down on Louisiana Maneuvers. It's . . . it's . . . it's all in that book.

KELLY: Well, what's the book called?

POWELEIT: USAFFE, the United States Armed Forces of [sic in] the Far East.

KELLY: Yeah. And the other one is called The 192nd . . .

POWELEIT: Kentucky's Fighting 1- . . . 192nd?

KELLY: Yeah, Kentucky's Fighting 192nd.

POWELEIT: I wasn't going to write that, but these . . . these fellows said they should mention what Kentucky did. And I said, "Well, let somebody write it." And they said, 'You . . . you're . . ." I said . . . I said . . . they said, "You're the only one that looks healthy enough to [chuckling] write it," so I wrote that.

KELLY: Well, I . . . I read The 192nd , . . .

POWELEIT: The 192nd.

KELLY: . . . 192nd, but we'll talk about that in a minute. I . . . I still want to . . . . I want to kind of get, you know . . 00:17:00. see, if we can see how valid this claim is. It's a big claim, you see, that . . . that the 192nd, in their delaying action, bought enough time for the United States to preclude an invasion of Australia. I'll . . . I'll first take you back to that scene where you're . . . you're seeing this awesome force coming ashore, and . . . and you see . . . with you, are . . . are there any senior officers around? Is General Wainwright or General [Edward] King or General Weaver, are . . . are you . . . are you talking to any of them? Are you . . .

POWELEIT: Well, General Weaver was up there, too. So is Colonel Wickord. Colonel Wickord's dead. General Weaver's dead. I'm the only remaining man on the staff. I think that maybe [Edwin W.] Rue is still living.

KELLY: Of that group?


KELLY: Were . . . were . . . were you on the staff of the group, . . .


KELLY: . . . the Provisional Group?


KELLY: They called it Tank Provisional Group?

POWELEIT: You see, when I went over there as a captain, see, they . . 00:18:00. they made . . . made me Provisional Group Commander, if you read that Kentucky's Fighting [192nd]. Well, they wanted a regular army [officer] to . . . to make a majority, but I didn't get it, but . . . although I was doing the . . . the . . . .

KELLY: The work.

POWELEIT: . . . what the majority was doing, yeah.

KELLY: Right. The battalion commander, what was his name again, the 192nd Battalion commander?

POWELEIT: General . . . General . . . Colonel Wickord.

KELLY: Was he regular army?

POWELEIT: No, he was National Guard. He was . . .

KELLY: Was he?

POWELEIT: . . . he was famous with the Maywood [Illinois] outfit.

KELLY: But . . . but this Guard . . . this National Guard unit had a lot pride, based on what I've read and what you've said . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, heck, yeah!

KELLY: . . . and . . . and . . . and considered itself a professional fighting organization.

POWELEIT: We really ke-. . . I'm a Reserve officer. I went in the National Guard. But when we were on maneuvers, we were picked . . .

KELLY: Ahead of the others?

POWELEIT: . . . [Gen. George S.] Patton was on there. He helped pick us for the group to go to the Far East.

KELLY: Because of the results of your performance on maneuvers?


POWELEIT: We then we had almost a perfect record down on the Louisiana Maneuvers. We didn't lose any equipment when they had that severe storm down there that wrecked a lot of the stuff, and a lot . . . a lot of outfits lost . . .

KELLY: Well, where did the officers get their training in tactics and . . . and . . . and employment of armored forces and so on and so forth?

POWELEIT: Louisiana Maneuvers and Texas Maneuvers.

KELLY: Before that, though. I mean, the colonel, the battalion commander, . . .

POWELEIT: Well, we had . . .

KELLY: . . . had he gone to the Armored Officers Course and basic course and the advanced course, and command and . . .

POWELEIT: Well, what we had down . . . when I went down there we had these weekend maneuvers. I used to call them "dust endurance contests," because we were on the back end and we'd get all that dust from that ambulance that we had. But we were on . . . and . . . and they had these maneuvers, and they really knew how to do all this stuff before they went down on the maneuvers. I . . . I always thought they were . . . I was . . . see, I was with the line before, and naturally when I got through medical school I transferred to the medical, you see?

KELLY: I see, yeah.

POWELEIT: So . . . so I . . . I . . . I just . . .


KELLY: You had an interest in . . . in the maneuver and . . . and . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, and I knew how . . .

KELLY: . . . combat . . .

POWELEIT: . . . the equipment worked, yeah.

KELLY: . . . power and . . .


KELLY: . . . application [inaudible]. Well, when you look at this sight, going back to that sight, what . . . what goes through your mind now? Are you scared to death?

POWELEIT: No, I said to [William E.] Moseman, I says . . . I says, "If they don't get anything over here," I says, 'we're going to . . . they're going to knock us out in a . . . in a month or so." And . . . and . . . and then . . .

KELLY: Did you know . . . did you know that you were going to fight a delaying tactic back into Bataan? Did you know about that?


KELLY: I mean you . . . you . . . did you know where the delaying lines were?

POWELEIT: Yeah, because . . . yeah, because I went over to Wick-. . . Wickord and Weaver and . . . and what's his name? Oh, Ernie . . . what's the other tank commander? [Ernest B.] Miller, Ernie Miller.

KELLY: Miller of the . . .

POWELEIT: He went . . . I was over there when the . . . when they went over all this stuff, you know.

KELLY: Umhmm. So . . . so you . . . you were . . . you were familiar with the plan?


POWELEIT: Yeah, because I said him . . . I said to him, General Weaver, I said, "And we retreat tomorrow?" And he says, "This is a strategic withdrawal, Doctor!" [Laughs] And I said, "Well," I says, "It looks like a retreat to me!"

KELLY: See, here . . . here are those delay lines right there. There . . . there's one. There are . . . I think there were six of them. Did . . . did you know where those delay lines were on the ground?

POWELEIT: See, before the . . . we got ours two weeks before the war started. And . . . and I made a . . .

KELLY: You were reconning this area?

POWELEIT: . . . I made a sanitary survey all up to Vigan and of all the way up to Appari on the Cagayan River up to the northwest, or northeast, and all the way down to Atimonan and down below Manila, Legaspi and Atimonan down there. I made a survey . . . a sanitary survey. And I . . . I think it was 800 or 900 pages . . . of typewritten pages, and I turned that in to Wickord, and he turned it in to . . . to General Weaver, and . . . and it was turned in to MacArthur. Because about a week before the war started, I went down 00:22:00there and I met the general.

KELLY: General . . .

POWELEIT: MacArth-. . .

KELLY: MacArthur?

POWELEIT: MacArthur, yeah.

KELLY: What did you think of him?

POWELEIT: Ugh, at first I thought, "Who in the hell does he think he is?"

KELLY: Why? Because he was sort of . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah, he'd . . . and Weaver . . .

KELLY: I mean, why did you say that?

POWELEIT: Well, you know, . . . you know, he was . . . he's spoil- . . . he used big words, you know, when he talked. He really did. He was . . .

KELLY: Were you impressed with his . . . with his . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. I says . . . after a while I says, "You know," I says, "he really knows his stuff." But the first thing he said [audio interference], "We . . . we want you to . . .

KELLY: Go right ahead.

POWELEIT: He was . . .

KELLY: Yeah, you're . . . you're . . . you're recording. Go ahead with your story.

POWELEIT: So . . . so we were . . . when we got in there . . . first, you know, I didn't know that General Wea-. . . . I'd heard of MacArthur but I didn't know who he was really, and so Weaver said, "How about, Doctor, going down with me and meet the general?' I said, "Which general?" He said, "Gen. MacArthur." I'm like . . . and I says, "Okay." They were friends. So we went down to Santiago and . . . and this is in retrospect. MacArthur says, "We'll go down to the 00:23:00Army and Navy Club." And I said, "That's okay with me." And I . . . and we shook hands, we saluted him, and then we met him down at the Army and Navy Club. He . . .

KELLY: This is Manila now?

POWELEIT: Manila, yeah. So he said . . . MacArthur said . . . when we were down there, a custodian down there, he says, "We have your room over here, MacArth-. . . Doc- . . . or General." He says, "No." He says, "We'll will take this room over here." And I . . . I didn't think much about it but in retrospect, maybe he thought that thing was bugged, and it may be bug . . . bugged, I don't know. But . . .

KELLY: You're talking about . . . you're talking about a private room in the Officer's Club?


KELLY: In the Army Navy Officer's Club . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah. He says, "Well, . . ."

KELLY: . . . in Manila?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he says, "Well," . . . he says, "We have your room over here." And MacArthur said, "No, we'll take this room over here."

KELLY: So he probably thought it was bugged.

POWELEIT: I . . . I . . . that's what I think in retrospect.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: So when he got down there, we salu- . . . we again saluted him and shook hands, and . . . and Weaver says, "How come this 00:24:00[chuckling] place isn't . . ." he says, "I just got this . . . this portfolio from the doctor." The cesspools and the water and all that stuff, he went over that, and . . . and he says, "Wherever he went, he said they didn't have any . . . any equipment to amount to anything." He says, "He was up at Appari," and he says they had about . . . I think about four or five companies up there, or whatever they were, I think they were Scouts. And he said they didn't have . . . up at Vigan, he says, I think there was maybe several companies of Scouts up there and I think some Filipino Army.

KELLY: Are you talking about these units now that are deployed along these delaying lines?

POWELEIT: Yes. Yeah. No this is up in the north, northeast and northwest of Luzon. And this Atimonan . . . I went down to Atimonan and Legaspi, and they were . . . had some troops down there. They 00:25:00were . . . I think they were Scouts, too. I didn't pay that much attention at the time. But I said that the . . . I said and I made a note that said if they . . . if they . . . if the Japanese landed, they could land almost anyplace. And that's what . . . . Weaver read this over, and he said this. So . . .

KELLY: Well, were . . . were you doing a military analysis as well as a sanitation analysis?

POWELEIT: I just mentioned it in that final report.

KELLY: Well, your . . . your primary mission was . . . was sanitation when you're . . .


KELLY: . . . going out inspecting these units?

POWELEIT: That's right. And I just put that in.

KELLY: Umhmm. That they can land anywhere they want to?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I said, hell, they could land anywhere.

KELLY: Well, let me just pursue your . . . your qualifications as a line officer. Did you take ROTC?


KELLY: University of Kentucky?


KELLY: And then were you commissioned infantry, initially, or armor or . . . ?

POWELEIT: No, I was in the infantry because . . .

KELLY: Infantry?

POWELEIT: . . . then I went to . . . . then I went to . . .

KELLY: Did you go to the infantry basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia, or . . .

POWELEIT: No, I went to summer camps. Every summer I'd go to a camp.

KELLY: Uh-huh. But you . . . you had a good deal of infantry training . . .



KELLY: . . . before you . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, Browning Automatic [Rifle] and all that, you know.

KELLY: . . . before you become a doctor?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: And . . . and I mean you'd had some . . . some training on small unit tactics and . . .

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: . . . and company and battalion sized tactics . . .


KELLY: . . . and so forth and so on. So . . . so you . . . you're . . . you've got some . . .

POWELEIT: This R-. . .

KELLY: . . . you're not just a . . . a doctor.

POWELEIT: . . . the ROTC really taught me a lot of stuff.

KELLY: Was it valuable to you during that thing?

POWELEIT: Oh, it sure was. That's why I . . . I just looked at that and I says, "Jeemaneez, what do we got here?" And I . . . and, of course, knowing that you had to have an infantry train because, you see, if you didn't have infantry, a Jap could put a magnetic mine on your tank and blow it up.

KELLY: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, that's part of doc-. . .

POWELEIT: And that's where your infantry can see.

KELLY: . . . doctrine to have infantry and tanks together, but you didn't have it there? All right.

POWELEIT: I never saw any infantry, really, to tell you the truth.

KELLY: Yeah. I keep wanting to come back to this. Well, was there anything else there with you and General MacArthur in this little meeting?

POWELEIT: Well, no, and he got up and he . . . and he told him what 00:27:00they did. He says . . . this is in here. This is all in here.

KELLY: Umhmm. You're going to let me have a copy of that?


KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: He said, "Jim," he said, "listen." He says, "In '34," he says, "I told a . . ." he says, "Quezon asked me if we could . . ."-am I taking up too much . . .

KELLY: No! You . . . you can take all the time you want to. I . . .

POWELEIT: "Quezon asked me," he says, "if I could . . . if we could defend us from the Japanese, and I . . . and . . ."-hey, Rita? Is Rita there?


POWELEIT: Hey, give me that thing about the . . . why we had a . . . why we . . . why the Philippines wasn't fortified. Do you got one of those things? Here's . . .

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: . . . another thing. I looked this up, too, myself. This was in Stars and Stripes.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: He says . . . he says, "In 1934 whenever," he says, "when I 00:28:00was in Washington, Quezon asked me if we could fortify the . . . if we could take the . . . take the Japanese on." And he said, "If we had three div-. . ." he says, "If we have three divisions of men, the . . ."

KELLY: You're talking about . . . you're talking about MacArthur?

WOMAN: This is all I found.

POWELEIT: Yeah, thank you.

KELLY: This is MacArthur talking now?

POWELEIT: Yeah. He says, "If we had three . . . three divisions of men, airfields, and air- . . . and planes," he says, "and modern ammunition, we shouldn't have any difficulty." He said, "[They'll] never take this," because he was an offensive type of fighter, not a defensive. And he didn't particularly like the Orange Plan because that was a retreat in Bataan which was supposedly fortified with ammunition, food, and medicine and all that, but it didn't have anything. He said . . . he says . . . and then he says, "When I was made adviser to Quezon," he says, "I took every precaution we could to . . . to . . . to try to defend the Philippines. And," he says, "that's when the treaty ran out that we made, this five-five- three naval treaty.' I don't know if you're familiar with that. Okay? 00:29:00All right. And that was when we . . . this agreement is when we gave the Japanese . . . can you imagine how stupid we were to give the Japanese . . . say we wouldn't fortify the Philippines, Guam, Wake, or . . . or . . . or the Aleutians? How stupid. And . . . and he . . . see, and he says, "I knew this." He says, "I was . . ." this is what he said. He said, "I knew this." He said . . .

KELLY: This is MacArthur talking to you now?

POWELEIT: MacArthur's talking.

KELLY: He . . . is he . . . is he talking to you and some other people?

POWELEIT: Started . . . I was the only one there with . . . with General Weaver.

KELLY: Just the three of you?


KELLY: So he's complaining about the condition that they're in.

POWELEIT: Yeah, and . . . and . . .

KELLY: Okay, go ahead.

POWELEIT: . . . and Weaver . . . yeah, and . . . and . . .

KELLY: Go ahead.

POWELEIT: . . . MacArthur was talking. And he says, "Jim," he says . . . he says, "in 1937," he says, "I wanted these PT boats." He says . . . he says, "They sent them to England." He says, "I got six of them in November." He says, "I . . ." he says, "[Alazoldie?] down there, and he tried to get this Lend-Lease." He says, "They gave it to England." And he said . . . he says, "I tried to get ammunition." He 00:30:00said, "What ammunition I got was 1914 vintage." You know, he . . .

KELLY: Old ammunition.

POWELEIT: . . . oh, yeah. And he says, "Half of the stuff that they sent over wasn't worth, really, trying to fix." And he . . . and he said, "Here," he says, "here it is," he says, "here's the war ready to . . . to start," and he says, "what do we got?" He says, "I got the 3- . . . the 31st with 1,800 men or so that have modern equipment." He says, "I got 8,000 Philippine Scouts with modern equipment. I got the Provisional Tank Group with four companies, and the 192nd, two of the 194th." And he says . . . and he said, "We got the Air Corps here." He says, "The . . . the . . . the P-40s don't have gun mounts on there at Iba." And he says, "We got 37 air-. . . B-17s, and we've got some dummy planes that they had on the ground." Well, you know what happened.

KELLY: Is . . . is this before Pearl Harbor, this conversation, or . 00:31:00. .

POWELEIT: This is before Pearl Harbor, about five days before Pearl Harbor.

KELLY: Is he . . . is he . . . . is General MacArthur livid? Is he mad, or is he just unloading?

POWELEIT: Did you ever meet MacArthur?

KELLY: No, I . . . I never . . .

POWELEIT: Nothing seemed to faze him. I thought . . . you know, I listened to him and I said, "Boy," you know. And then he went . . . he was talking about tanks. Then after . . . then he sat down, [chuckling] you know. We didn't want to ask him another question then. Then he sat down and then he started talking about tanks, but all during the conversation he made me feel that I was a part of it.

KELLY: Is that right?

POWELEIT: And I . . . I . . .

KELLY: I heard that he did that.

POWELEIT: Yeah, I'll tell you one thing. He was . . . he was maybe what you call subtle and circuitous about things but, by God, he was . . . he was a gentleman, a strategist, and a brilliant individual. I . . . I know that after I got through, you know, I was walking out with . . . with Weaver, and he said, "Well, Doc, what'd you think of 00:32:00the General?" And I said, "Boy, at first I thought, I didn't know who in the hell he thought he was!' You know, this . . .

KELLY: Because of his ego? He had kind of a . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, and I says, "But after awhile I thought," I says, "Boy," I says, "that man's brilliant." I says, "He's just a super man."

KELLY: Made you feel . . . or . . .

POWELEIT: That's right, and I says . . . and, you know, I . . . I . . . I look back and . . . and . . . and I think what he had and what he did. The Filipinos loved him.

KELLY: Yeah, I knew that.

POWELEIT: Oh, they really loved him.

KELLY: Still love him.

POWELEIT: Yeah. He saved their country.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: And . . . and, of course, you know, when we were up there on the front lines, we were shooting at the . . . the medics were shooting at the planes that would come down and strafe. We'd shoot at them, too. We had guns. And he saw us shooting at the planes and . . . and he says, boy, he had a rough time coming up. And he told me, you know, he says . . .

KELLY: Gen. MacArthur?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he says he had a rough time coming up. He says, "They 00:33:00strafed the roads and everything else," but he was up there. And . . . and, you know, when we got back, the next day we got a memorandum that the military would not have any guns, side arms or so forth.

KELLY: Medics you mean?

POWELEIT: That's . . . he meant me, yeah.

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: But he didn't say anything then! [Chuckle]. He didn't say . . . .

KELLY: Even when he saw you with them?

POWELEIT: Yeah, we were shooting at the . . . at the planes.

KELLY: Yeah. He . . . he . . . he . . . he'd . . . he'd said something in a memorandum before, but when he got up there he saw you with the guns and didn't say anything when he saw you.

POWELEIT: He never had a memorandum before until he saw us with those guns.

KELLY: Oh! Then he came back and put one out?

POWELEIT: Then he put one out, but he could have said something to me that we weren't to supposed to have them.

KELLY: Oh, I see.

POWELEIT: I didn't care. Well, . . .

KELLY: Well, did you all . . . did you all give up your guns, or did you keep them?

POWELEIT: No, I kept them.

KELLY: He probably knew you were going to do that, didn't he?

POWELEIT: I guess he did because when he saw us in Bataan, he didn't say a thing about the guns.

KELLY: During this delaying action, is this the only time you're going to see him or are you going to see him some more?

POWELEIT: I saw him in Bataan.


KELLY: Okay. When you got back to Bataan.

POWELEIT: I saw him four times.

KELLY: Four times.

POWELEIT: I saw him five or six days before the war. I saw him up in Lingayen. We was up there with T-. . . Weaver and . . . and . . .

KELLY: When he saw you again, did he know you?

POWELEIT: Yeah! He knew me when we were up in . . .

KELLY: Did he know your name?


KELLY: Is that right?


KELLY: Okay, go ahead.

POWELEIT: And then . . . and then he . . . and when he came . . . when he came over in Bataan, we were up there and he said . . . he said, "Why are these men . . . why aren't these men in the hospital?" I . . . they were . . . I had . . . you know, when the . . . when one of these shells hit a tank they'd get this metal splash, and a lot of them I'd picked out metal, you know, and fortunately none of it ever got into the eyes. Says . . . and . . .

KELLY: When you're talking about metal splash, are you talking about . . .


KELLY: . . . you're talking about little shrap- . . . little bits of metal that goes . . . flies into the skin?


KELLY: What . . . is that . . . I . . . I guess there are degrees of injury from that, . . .


KELLY: . . . but just kind of describe what it looked like, what you . . . what you were seeing?


POWELEIT: Well, it looked like little . . . little . . . like little places where it would hit to make a cut . . . a little cut.

KELLY: Was the metal still in there?

POWELEIT: Sometimes it was but most of it went out. Sometimes it went real deep . . .

KELLY: So their faces were just kind of scratched up, looked like . . .


KELLY: . . . they'd been a . . .

POWELEIT: And if they got it on their shoulders, then I'd have . . . I just put this sulfa powder we had in there and give them some sulfa and bandaged it up. And he says, "Why aren't these men in the hospital?" He told me. I said, "Well," I said, "if you put them in the hospital, who's going to run the tanks?" He shook his head and walked away.

KELLY: When he shook his head, was it a compassionate . . . ?

POWELEIT: That's what it was. He knew.

KELLY: And was it . . . . was there sadness in his eyes?

POWELEIT: I thought there was. I thought he . . . he realized what we were, you know. The . . .

KELLY: At that time . . .


KELLY: . . . were the men undernourished and . . . and . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, God, you . . .

KELLY: I mean, so they were wounded, undernourished, and he was looking . . .

POWELEIT: Well, no, at that time in . . . in Bataan, yeah, because men that weighed 200 pounds were down to a hun-. . . . I mean a hundred 00:36:00. . . between 200 or . . . or 175 were down to 135, 125 pounds.

KELLY: So he was a skinny, wounded man.

POWELEIT: Terrible. Of course, we had enough quinine.

KELLY: Is this right after you came in Bataan, when . . . when you saw him then, when he was on this incident?

POWELEIT: The second, third . . . third time was when he was in Bataan. I saw him then.

KELLY: No, I mean when he . . . when he saw those wounded troops with the . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, he really . . .

KELLY: . . . the splash?

POWELEIT: . . . he really felt bad about that.

KELLY: Where was that, though, I mean?

POWELEIT: This was in Bataan, but I can't think of just the exact place.

KELLY: This is before you got into Bataan?

POWELEIT: No, this is after we got in Bataan. He came over from Corregidor.

KELLY: Oh, I see. Was . . . you . . . you know, there was . . . there was a main battle land . . . line . . . line up here on Bataan up toward the north, and then there was another one sort of down to this second one a little further down, a delaying line. Was you on the northern line then or the southern line, or do you know?

POWELEIT: Well, I was on the front line all the time.

KELLY: No, I mean, when he came up there. I'm just trying to fix the place where he . . . where . . .

POWELEIT: I can't . . . I think it was above Lingayen Bay. I can't unders-. . . .

KELLY: I can show you a picture of it here. Just a second. There it is. And this is . . . this is the first delaying line here 00:37:00up toward the northern part of it. And . . . and, you know, it's hinged on that mountain there.

POWELEIT: Mt. [inaudible].

KELLY: And then here it is again. Where . . . where . . . where . . . where were you when you saw him?

POWELEIT: I would have to look in the book because I got . . .

KELLY: Were you on this side or this side?

POWELEIT: I'd have to think of the date because I think it was probably up in here somewhere.

KELLY: Along in here?


KELLY: Well, was the . . . was the 192nd deployed all the way across?

POWELEIT: When . . . when did he leave?

KELLY: He left in March.


KELLY: Umhmm. This is January, here, . . .

POWELEIT: Then it was around here.

KELLY: . . . when you occupied this first line.

POWELEIT: It was around here then.

KELLY: Back in here?

POWELEIT: Back in there.

KELLY: Right . . . right before he left?


KELLY: Was the 192nd deployed all the way across here or . . .


KELLY: . . . or were they just in some . . . some sector?

POWELEIT: Well, the . . . the . . . part was over on the west side, and part of it was on the east side, and they had . . . I think they had less on the west side because they figured the Japanese would come through on the . . .

KELLY: Which they did, didn't they?

POWELEIT: . . . east side, yeah. And . . . and, see, only . . . 00:38:00see, what do you call it? We . . . the fourth . . . we gave the 194th D Company, you know, to use it, Ernie Miller. But, see, he lost one of his original group.

KELLY: Companies?

POWELEIT: Companies, yeah.

KELLY: Early?

POWELEIT: Fault. There was a fault. There was . . .

KELLY: Up on the river up there on the . . .


KELLY: What's that, the An-. . . Agno River or something like that?

POWELEIT: Yeah, like . . . what the heck is it? I can't remember.

KELLY: I mean was it in Bataan or it was up . . . up north in Luzon?

POWELEIT: Oh, it was up in north . . .

KELLY: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's . . . it's . . .


KELLY: Agno, yeah. A-g-n-o.


KELLY: Yeah, that's . . . that's . . . they're not too far from the beach.


KELLY: That's where he lost . . . he lost a company?

POWELEIT: Company of tanks.

KELLY: How many tanks are you talking about, 12, 15?

POWELEIT: Something like that.

KELLY: Yeah. And then . . . Okay. That . . . that was the 194th, though.

POWELEIT: 194th, yeah.

KELLY: It wasn't . . . wasn't . . . it wasn't the 192nd.


KELLY: So . . . well, while we're on this thing right here, so you're 00:39:00talking with Gen. MacArthur along in there. When he left, what . . . what was the troops' reaction to that? Did they know he was going to leave before he left?

POWELEIT: I think they did.

KELLY: Did he . . . did he communicate with them in a message or something or . . .

POWELEIT: No. But he was going to . . . you know, he . . . well, they put out this thing that [we had] thousands of ships and all, had thousands of planes and so forth. That thing came in and [chuckle] everybody was jubilant about this, and . . .

KELLY: You mean . . . you mean there was a rumor that there was going to be a big replacement?

POWELEIT: They put it . . . yeah, they put that on one of these memorandums. But then he . . . when he left, you know, a lot of them figured, well, he just sort of sneaked out of it. A lot of them really didn't, because they knew that he might be . . . he's the only one that really could . . .

KELLY: Save . . . win the war.

POWELEIT: Yeah. You know, Napoleon left his . . . his army two 00:40:00different times, do you remember, in Egypt? He left them down there once, and once in Italy. And he got them back and he . . . he figured he couldn't do anything, but he could get another army.

KELLY: Save the leader and come back. So you . . . so some of the people were [coughs] . . . did you talk about that with anybody?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: You talk with . . . about that with General Weaver and . . .


KELLY: Did General Weaver live through . . . did he die in captivity or . . .

POWELEIT: No, he managed to come through with it.

KELLY: And died after he got back here?


KELLY: Okay. Well, we're . . . we're . . . I guess maybe we need to take you back up on the . . . on the beach then, and fight our way back into Bataan.


KELLY: And . . . and you're . . . you're . . . you're saying that . . . what I'm trying to do, I . . . I'll try to get a little more from you from the general, conversation with the Japanese general, and a little more from you from what happened on the ground as you recall. Can you kind of describe what the unit went through in the delaying action getting back into Bataan?


POWELEIT: Yeah. You know our tanks had a number of different meetings. At one place over there they had . . . the Japanese had this bicycle company or battalion or whatever they had, and the . . . I think it was B Company-I'd have to look at the book, it's been so-. . . some time since I read it-B Company. You know, they knew they were coming, so they . . . they spread out, and when they . . . these tank companies came down they . . . or this bicycle outfit came down, they slaughtered a whole bunch.

KELLY: Engaged them with the 37mm and . . .


KELLY: . . . automatic weapons and . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, they knocked them all out.

KELLY: . . . just wiped them out.

POWELEIT: Yeah. Yeah.

KELLY: Well, was this early in the w- . . . early in the war?

POWELEIT: Early in the war, yeah, because . . .

KELLY: Just before they crossed the river or after they crossed the river, the Agno?

POWELEIT: I think there was a place called Zaragoza. That's where it was. I'd have to look at . . .

KELLY: Umhmm. Okay.

POWELEIT: . . . my . . .

KELLY: Zaragoza.

POWELEIT: Zaragoza, that's where it was. And I got that stuff in . . 00:42:00. in the . . . in this . . . in this book. I think I got it in the book.

KELLY: Yeah, I'll, I'll get that and look it up, but I'm just trying to get from you right now, as best you can remember, some of the significant contributions they made in that delaying action that threw the Japanese off that timetable, which you're saying might have saved Australia, and you're basing that on what the general told you, . . .


KELLY: . . . the Japanese general. So . . .

POWELEIT: The thing is . . . well, then you know . . . see, Wickord . . . Colonel Wickord, he says . . . he said to Weaver, he said, "Where's the . . . where's the infantry?" because Wickord was . . . he knew what was going on and so did the general. And he said . . . the general says, "They've retreated." And that's the reason they had to drop back. They had no infantry to . . . and that the Japs didn't know it.

KELLY: You're talking about the infantry, you're talking about the Philippine Scouts?

POWELEIT: Not the Scouts. They . . . they stuck with them. But we 00:43:00had only this Philippine division, you see?

KELLY: And . . . and they . . . they . . . they . . . they had . . . in a disordered withdrawal . . . retreat?

POWELEIT: They had a disorderly . . .

KELLY: Panic. A panic?

POWELEIT: It wasn't a panic. They just walked.

KELLY: Just disappeared?


KELLY: So all of a sudden there was just you guys up there?

POWELEIT: That's all. It was just really tanks, that's all.

KELLY: All right. All right. Now, just . . . just kind of take me back through here, what these tanks did, you know, in sort of a running narrative as best you can, because we're making a big claim here. We're claiming that the 192nd saved Australia, and . . . and you're basing it on what you saw on the ground, and you're basing it on what the general told you. So can you kind of describe the fighting that occurred there with that unit as you went back?

POWELEIT: Well, as we went back, I . . . I . . . and if you recall in my book, I didn't know . . . I'd have a different place every place where I went, and have a different . . .

KELLY: Let me change the sides.

[End of Tape 1, Side 1]

[Beginning of Tape 1, Side 2]

KELLY: Okay, Dr. Poweleit, we're . . . we're back on the air and 00:44:00you're going to . . . you're going to describe how the 192nd delayed the Japanese invasion force of Luzon as you fought back into Bataan.

POWELEIT: Well, every . . . just as I said, every . . . every time we would drop back I would be in a different place. We'd have . . . it was difficult to have a . . . an aid station in one particular place. So I divided my aid men up for each company of the Jap- . . . of the American tanks, A, B, and C . . .


POWELEIT: . . . D. They would be four . . . a company of four men with each one.

KELLY: Now, . . .

POWELEIT: And . . . and each one would have a different place, but . . . but I would be in one particular place, which the colonel would tell me to be. But then each morning or whenever I got, I would survey the whole thing, the whole battle line, you know, where the tank . . .

KELLY: You mean the delaying line or . . .


KELLY: You . . . you're talking about the line where they're going to 00:45:00go to, or where they were actually deployed?

POWELEIT: Well, where we were deployed.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And then . . .

KELLY: When you . . . would you move from one line to the next usually at night, or would you . . .

POWELEIT: Usually at night.

KELLY: At night?

POWELEIT: Yes. Sometimes they'd move in the daytime, but usually at night.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: Now, let's see where in the devil I was. Let's see. Down in . . . this is getting into Bataan here. I was in Gapan, here. They . . . they didn't tell me to move, but . . . but I had . . . and . . .

KELLY: This is about 31 December, somewhere along in there?

POWELEIT: Yeah, something like that. No, this . . . yeah this was in . . . . yeah, 30, yeah, December. Because we were there, and they had dropped down . . . they had dropped down, and the Japanese were behind our lines then. And this guy, he was . . . this one lieutenant, he was supposed to tell me we were going to drop back, and he didn't tell me, and then [John C.] Morley wondered where I was, 00:46:00Major Morley. And he called . . . came over this way and he said, "Drop back." He says they . . . he says the . . . he says the S- . . . we were in San Isidro, that's where I was. I couldn't remember. We were in San Isidro. I can't remember where it is on this map, but we were in San Isidro, and he says, "Drop back." He says, "The Japanese are back." He says, "They're in back of you." He says . . . so he says, "Cross this river," he says. See, and I thought, "Oh, well, maybe they are back there." So . . . so we got in our things and they were! But we went through them and we got on this thing over . . .

KELLY: And you just surprised them and drove through them lickety-split, is that what you're saying?

POWELEIT: Yeah, we did.

KELLY: Is this daylight or night?

POWELEIT: Daytime! It was about twelve o'clock or something like that, or nine or ten o'clock. And we crossed this river, I remember . . .

KELLY: Well, this . . . did . . . did . . . explain. . . Kind of describe that scene when you see those Japanese. Are . . . 00:47:00are you driving kind of slow along the road and then all of the sudden you see them, and then you just mash on it like nobody's business?

POWELEIT: Yeah, we went . . . drove as fast as we could because we knew the road.

KELLY: How many of you were in . . . how many vehicles were there?

POWELEIT: We had the tank, the . . . they called it the "meat wagon."

KELLY: The ambulance?

POWELEIT: The one for the ambulance and . . . and . . . and a jeep.

KELLY: Where you in the jeep or the ambulance?

POWELEIT: I was in the jeep.

KELLY: All right. When you saw them and you . . . you floor-boarded it to the max, did . . . did you get shot at or . . . or did they . . .

POWELEIT: No, they d- . . . they were surprised to see us. They . . . again, they didn't know what we were doing, so we just went just right through them.

KELLY: Well, what . . . what was their reaction? Were they jumping or running or . . .

POWELEIT: They just looked down and they were hollering, you know, and they didn't know what the heck was going on.

KELLY: And you didn't . . . you didn't look around to see what was going on?

POWELEIT: No, we didn't stop.

KELLY: So you got out . . . you got out of it. This . . . this is pretty close to . . . to the . . . to the last delaying line. This is . . . this is just before you go into the Bataan . . .

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: . . . Peninsula. Well, as you're fighting your way back up 00:48:00here now, when you first see them here at Lingayen Gulf, is there a lot of communication and control in moving from one delaying line to the next delaying line?

POWELEIT: We did pretty . . . we . . . I mean our . . . our outfit moved in order.

KELLY: And there wasn't any panic?

POWELEIT: No, not with this . . . not with our tank. Not with the provisional 194th, either.

KELLY: Did you ever see a head-to-head battle between the 192nd tanks and the . . . and the Japanese tanks?

POWELEIT: No, but I . . . I was pretty close. When [William H.] Gentry . . . now, this is . . . see, we didn't have any infantry then. Gentry, he knocked out about seventeen tanks near Baliuag. He was this Kentucky boy. It was the first tank fight of the . . .

KELLY: Was Gentry a company commander?


KELLY: Or was he . . . he was a communication officer?

POWELEIT: Lieutenant, yeah, but he took over when . . .

KELLY: Was he a captain or lieutenant or . . .

POWELEIT: He was a lieutenant, but . . . well, the captain, he had . 00:49:00. . I don't know, he . . . something happened to him and . . . and Gentry took over. And he . . . when they crossed this bridge, all . . . we didn't have any infantry at all there. And when we tried . . . when the Japanese crossed this bridge, he just gave them the works and he knocked out about seventeen of their tanks.

KELLY: Where did this occur? Was this cl-. . .

POWELEIT: This was down here . . .

KELLY: . . . very close to . . .

POWELEIT: . . . near Baliuag, right here.

KELLY: Right there close to . . .

POWELEIT: And he sat right . . .

KELLY: Seventeen tanks right here?


KELLY: And that was . . . was that . . .

POWELEIT: It was the first tank war [sic battle] that we fought in . . . in the Pacific in . . . in World War Two.

KELLY: And knocked out seventeen?

POWELEIT: Knocked out seventeen. We didn't lose any of ours.

KELLY: That was Gentry. Which company was that, do you know?

POWELEIT: Lt. Gentry, he was formerly . . .

KELLY: Was that D Company?

POWELEIT: . . . from . . . formerly from D Company, but they gave him a different . . .

KELLY: Uh-huh.

POWELEIT: . . . I think he took over C Company when . . . when [Robert S.] Sorenson got bowel shot.

KELLY: Did he get a decoration for that . . .


KELLY: . . . for that action?

POWELEIT: No. I saved two guys from the river. I didn't . . . they 00:50:00were supposed to give me a DSC [Distinguished Service Cross]. This was in combat when we were retreating, and they said . . .

KELLY: I guess that kind of broke up giving those medals, didn't it? I mean the fact you got captured there and [inaudible].

POWELEIT: We didn't get anything.

KELLY: But . . . but you . . . they were thinking about putting you in for the Distinguished Service Cross for rescuing two soldiers out of the river?

POWELEIT: Yeah, but I didn't get it. They've changed it to . . . to the . . . they said a Silver Star, and then they finally said I didn't get anything. I got this Legion of Merit that . . .

KELLY: Where did you save those two people?

POWELEIT: See, I can't remember what river it was. It's in that book.

KELLY: Was it up toward the north or . . .

POWELEIT: It was up . . .

KELLY: . . . down towards the bottom?

POWELEIT: . . . it was . . . yeah, it was north of . . .

KELLY: See, here's the Agno. That Agno was one of the major rivers there.

POWELEIT: Let's see what? You see . . . what it . . .

KELLY: Well, anyway, they . . . they put you in for the Distinguished Service Cross originally.

POWELEIT: Yeah, but I didn't get it.

KELLY: All right.

POWELEIT: And I didn't get . . . I got a letter from [John C.] Morley and he states in that letter that he got a Distinguished Service Medal.


POWELEIT: Morley. I got the thing at home. I just got that.

KELLY: Who was Morley?

POWELEIT: He was Major Morley. He was in our staff. A staff officer.


KELLY: For the group?


KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: He's dead now, too.

KELLY: Is that right? Well, the . . . Gentry was . . . wasn't he put in at all for some kind of award for that?

POWELEIT: I think he got a Silver Star.

KELLY: That's quite an accomplishment, knocking off seventeen. Are you . . . are you pretty sure about those numbers?

POWELEIT: Sure. It's what he said. It's in the book. I think I still got it in the book. I'd have to look that up.

KELLY: This is . . . this is . . . this is your first book?

POWELEIT: No, the second book.

KELLY: The second book. This is The 192nd?


KELLY: Yeah, okay. All right.

POWELEIT: So, see, and he lay . . . if it wasn't for his delaying action here, see, at Plaridel and Baliuag . . . see, the . . . the . . . the South Luzon Force was coming in here to . . . to go over at Calumpit Bridge, you see.

KELLY: Umhmm. And that . . . that allowed the Southern Force to come up and get into Bataan.

POWELEIT: That's right, and if they hadn't . . . they were pushing down there. They would have knocked us off. We wouldn't have been able to get . . . .

KELLY: Split the forces, right.

POWELEIT: . . . split the forces, you see?

KELLY: Right, umhmm.

POWELEIT: And they would of . . . see, and then they blew this bridge 00:52:00up, you see.

KELLY: "They" being the Americans?

POWELEIT: Yeah, blew it up at . . . after they all got across there. But it was a delaying action there, and that's the . . .

KELLY: That's . . . that's a major river over there too, isn't it?


KELLY: That's the Pampanga.

POWELEIT: Pampanga? I think it was the Pampanga River where I saved that . . . .

KELLY: Yeah, that's . . . that's what it is.

POWELEIT: . . . where I was I . . . because I got burnt on the shoulder and the neck.

KELLY: From what?

POWELEIT: From the . . . from the . . . from the tank. I crawled under one of these Bren carriers and it was hot under there, and I pulled this [Sergeant] Merrifield . . . this guy, this first one out, [Private] Long.

KELLY: Do you meant the tank had been hit?

POWELEIT: Well, we were . . . when we were leaving this place, we got down to this river and they strafed the side of the river, the Japs did.

KELLY: From the air?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And . . . and the . . . then as this . . . this Bren carrier was going over with Merrifield and this fellow Long, the Air Corps fellow, well, they . . . they dropped a bomb on a 00:53:00bridge and blew the bridge up and the tank . . . and the truck was on there and it went over, and then the Bren carrier went over the top of it, and we were on the side there. And, well, there was a . . . while they were strafing . . . strafing both sides of the road, and the road and the bank and . . .

KELLY: When you went in there to get those two guys?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And . . .

KELLY: That was . . . that was a heroic act.

POWELEIT: So Moseman says . . .

KELLY: Who put you in for the Distinguished Service Cross?

POWELEIT: The General, General Weaver.

KELLY: General Weaver?

POWELEIT: Yeah, but I didn't get it. Then they said they changed it to a Silver Star. I didn't get that, either.

KELLY: Have . . . have you got the citation?

POWELEIT: I got the Legion of Merit. And they . . . I went through this . . .

KELLY: I mean that describes that incident.

POWELEIT: Yeah, Merrifield, he's living. He . . . he . . . he told what happened, too. He's a survivor. Long, we gave him artificial respiration but he died. But he didn't . . .

KELLY: But you rescued them under fire.

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: And . . . and . . . and you . . . you had to swim out 00:54:00there to get them?

POWELEIT: Yeah. We . . . I jumped off the bridge there into the water, you know, and they . . .

KELLY: How high was the bridge?

POWELEIT: I guess about thirty or forty feet, something like that. I could see the part of the Bren carrier was . . .

KELLY: Are you a good . . . are you a good swimmer?

POWELEIT: Yeah, pretty good.

KELLY: I mean you didn't . . . you didn't fear that jumping off there?

POWELEIT: No, it didn't bother me.

KELLY: Okay. [Chuckle-Poweleit] Go ahead. I . . . I didn't mean to interrupt you.

POWELEIT: I can't remember all these names. It's been . . . it's been some time ago.

KELLY: Yeah, right.

POWELEIT: But I remember this be-. . . because then we . . . then when we got over here, then they . . . the Japanese came over these marshes and gave us a little trouble there. But, you see, we . . . we really depended on the infantry, which we didn't have. See, MacArthur's plan was the only . . .

KELLY: So are . . . are you saying from Lingayen Gulf all the way back into the Bataan Peninsula, you never had infantry? It was just essentially the 192nd Battalion facing the Japanese?


POWELEIT: The 192nd and the . . . and the 194th's two companies. They lost one, but we gave them the D Company.

KELLY: But . . . but the Cav Squadron was there, wasn't it? The cavalry, the 1- . . . the 27th?

POWELEIT: The cavalry, yeah, was there, but most of them were chewed up on . . .

KELLY: Initial contact?

POWELEIT: . . . in contact, yeah. And some of them had . . .

KELLY: Well, did . . . did you . . . were you . . . did you have some Filipino Scouts there with you?

POWELEIT: We had some, but I never did see them.

KELLY: Mostly you just saw your tanks?

POWELEIT: I just saw our tanks.

KELLY: Facing the Japanese.

POWELEIT: That's it.

KELLY: Well, were . . . were you . . . were you going to see a pretty good-size formation of Japanese forces coming down here as you all were delaying back, or . . . or did . . . was the only time you saw a big bunch of them was when you were up here at Lingayen Gulf?

POWELEIT: I saw a lot of them there. Then we saw . . . where in the devil was that other place where we went into? I can't remember where that is. They . . . that was the first time they threw the . . . no, it must have been down here.


KELLY: Was that after you got into Bataan?

POWELEIT: Yeah, they threw the 31st in.

KELLY: Thirty-first Infantry Division?

POWELEIT: Yeah. Yeah.

KELLY: Is that a division or a regiment?

POWELEIT: No, it was a regiment.

KELLY: A regiment.

POWELEIT: About 1,800.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: But I can't . . . some of these places I could . . . you . . . you . . . they . . . we could see them, you know.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: And they were approaching. You see, without infantry, you couldn't use your tank to advance.

KELLY: Umhmm. So they'd fire off a couple rounds, 37mm, and then fire off a few strafing rounds. Was there some artillery there supporting you?

POWELEIT: No, we had none. We didn't have any in-. . . I don't remember any artillery until we got down to Bataan.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And then we had 155mms. That was [inaudible].

KELLY: All right. So when . . . when you saw that Jap formation coming towards you and you all engaged them, would they usually slow them up and they'd deploy, or would you all fight awhile, or would you just kind of fire a . . .

POWELEIT: They'd empty . . .

KELLY: . . . few shots and move?

POWELEIT: . . . they'd empty them be- . . . see, the Japs didn't know that we didn't have infantry. That's what this . . . this general, this Jap general, he thought we had infantry, he says, to 00:57:00support our tanks. I said we didn't have any infantry. He said . . . he . . . he didn't believe me, I'm sure. But I said . . . I said we didn't have any infantry to support our tanks. He says, "It was your infantry and your tanks that broke up our timetable." That's what he told me. He knew all these generals.

KELLY: You mean he knew the American generals?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he knew them all!

KELLY: Do you mean he had talked to them while they were prisoners or . . .

POWELEIT: No, he knew them beforehand. I mean he knew what was going on and . . . and . . . I guess he did know them at Taiwan, though, because they were up there. But . . . but he knew that they were . . . that . . . what they did during the war, you see.

KELLY: Umhmm. Well, was he . . . what . . . what was his rank? Was he . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I think he was a major general, as I recall. I . . . I had . . . when I wrote the . . .


KELLY: Well, do you think he'd . . . he'd been there in the Philippines, that you all had fought against him?

POWELEIT: I don't think he was. I don't think he was. I don't think he . . .

KELLY: He was getting his information from someplace else.

POWELEIT: Yeah. But . . . but he knew . . . of course, those generals, they followed what was going on.

KELLY: Umhmm. Umhmm.

POWELEIT: Because he . . .

KELLY: How . . . how long did you talk to him? You're talking about an hour or two hours or . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, heck, I saw him every day for a couple of weeks.

KELLY: Would you all talk daily only about this thing?

POWELEIT: Yeah. He . . .

KELLY: Was he trying to get information from you about what went on and you were trying to get information from him, or were you all . . .

POWELEIT: I really didn't . . . wasn't really thinking about it. I was trying to get some chow, you know. [Chuckle]

KELLY: Umhmm. And you were just talking to him and he was telling you.

POWELEIT: Yeah, he'd come over, you know. He always talked to me.

KELLY: Is . . . is this after the war, now?

POWELEIT: It was after the war.

KELLY: Yeah, okay.

POWELEIT: And . . . and we had this Englishman, he wanted to load us up on the ships. And he . . . he said . . . I says, I'll . . . I was a captain then, and I would try to get a rank and they . . . 00:59:00they wouldn't put me up in a major [inaudible].

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: I don't know. That was another thing. I thought I . . . I did all the majority work all the time I was there.

KELLY: You should have been promoted to major, yeah.

POWELEIT: Yeah. And I never did get it.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: I never got anything.

KELLY: You know, they mistreated you . . . you . . . the World War Two prisoners that were captured there early but, you know, in . . . in Vietnam, they promoted them while they was in a prison camp. And you were in a major's job and you'd rescued this guy, put in for a Distinguished Service Cross, and never got any of that stuff.

POWELEIT: I never got any of it.

KELLY: Yeah. So they kind of forgot about you, really, didn't they?


KELLY: Well, anyway, go ahead with your story.

POWELEIT: Yes, and . . . sir, but all the ti- . . . well, all the time, you know, that we were there, he . . . he would talk to me, you know, and he . . . he said . . . he said definitely, that if it hadn't been for "Weevil" . . .

KELLY: He called Weaver, Gen. Weaver, "Weevil"?

POWELEIT: I told Weaver that. I says, "You know that general told me to call you a weevil." He said, "That son [chuckling] of a bitch."

KELLY: Did . . . did you tell him what the . . . what the Japanese 01:00:00general said?


KELLY: What'd General . . . what was Gen. Weaver's response to that?

POWELEIT: He said, "That son of a bitch."

KELLY: No, but I . . . I mean about . . . about he . . . about the . . . the Japanese general saying that the fact that the 192nd, or the group, the . . . the . . . the armored group had delayed them and knocked them off their timetable to the extent that it interrupted their plans to invade . . .

POWELEIT: You mean . . .

KELLY: . . . Australia?

POWELEIT: . . . what did Gen. Weaver . . .

KELLY: What did Gen. Weaver say about this? Did you tell him about that?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. He knew that.

KELLY: He did?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: Did he ever write anything on it? Did he . . . did . . .

POWELEIT: It's so strange. That man, I . . . I thought he was one of the strategists just like MacArthur. He was brilliant, he was . . . you know it, and he never . . . is this still on the thing?

KELLY: It's on, yeah.

POWELEIT: Well, I better not say this other stuff. He . . . he . . . he was . . . he . . . he maybe would take a highball, you know, but that was the end of his stuff. He . . . he was . . 01:01:00. and he was really . . . and when that war . . . when they surrendered, he really . . . he just couldn't hardly stand it. And when Corregidor surrendered, he really . . . that . . . that put him out, you know.

KELLY: You mean it just broke his morale?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he just . . . he just couldn't see that we were going to lose.

KELLY: Oh, you mean he was so disappointed that the U.S. had to surrender, he was . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: . . . humiliated?


KELLY: Are you talking about humiliation?

POWELEIT: Yeah. He . . . just like Bataan could never hold as long as . . . Bataan did him hell. That was obvious to me when I . . . when we went down there. And then our . . . our guns and . . .

KELLY: Well, what . . . what did Weaver think about MacArthur leaving and . . . and . . . and what did he think of Wainwright and so on?

POWELEIT: Of MacArthur?

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: Well, he . . .

KELLY: Did you ever talk about that?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. MacArthur, he thought that was the thing to do. He 01:02:00says, "He can't do anything here," he says, "except surrender," and he says, "it's too . . .

KELLY: Stupid to let him go.

POWELEIT: Yeah, and he says, "He's . . . he's got too much military strategy behind him to be captured."

KELLY: Right. Too valuable an asset.


KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: He says that was a shame about [Archibald] Wavell getting captured.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: He thought he had too much . . . they should have gotten him out some way or other.

KELLY: You're talking about the British general?

POWELEIT: Yeah. But he said . . . and I . . . I know I read that . . . that book about the war . . . world wars, and it told about Napoleon and what he did, and the strategy. If you're on one side of the river, get on the other side of the river.

KELLY: Get the heck out of there.


KELLY: Yeah.


KELLY: Yeah. Was it . . . so in . . . in your own mind then, you feel like that . . . that . . . that the unit hadn't received its due recognition for the contribution it made to the . . . to the war effort.

POWELEIT: I . . . I feel this way about it. I feel that the timetable . . . the timetable was to take . . . the Japanese 01:03:00timetable was to take the Philippines January the 15th.

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: And . . . and the . . . February the 15th, Yamashita had taken Singapore, Malaya, New Guinea, and . . . and islands down there, and he had landed some men on Timor. And . . .

KELLY: Everything . . .

POWELEIT: . . . according to this general . . . yeah, . . .

KELLY: Everything was going well except in the Philippines.

POWELEIT: . . . and the fifth- . . . yeah, the fifth- . . . and then five . . . and they had five or six thousand men on the Gilberts ready to take New Zealand. And . . . and the general told me . . .

KELLY: Now, who are you . . . did the general tell you they had that many men on . . . on the Gilberts ready to take New Zealand?

POWELEIT: No, the Japanese general told me that.

KELLY: I mean he's the one that told you? He said, "We had how many men?"

POWELEIT: Yes, about six or seven thousand men to take the . . . the . . .

KELLY: New Zealand?

POWELEIT: . . . New Zealand.

KELLY: That's all they figured they needed? All right, go ahead. I'm interested . . .

POWELEIT: And then he says . . . and he says, "And we'll . . . by the end of that time," he says, "we'll take Midway."


KELLY: After you get New Zealand?

POWELEIT: And he says, "And this . . ." then he s- . . . then he also he says and . . . and he says, "We might think about taking . . . going into Siberia." That's what he told me! And then . . . but the fact that the Philippines wasn't contained, it posed a threat to the Japanese 4,500 supply line. And that's what this fellow said. He says, "If it wasn't for the six battalions of tanks," he says that . . . and I told him I was. [Microphone falls off Poweleit] [Inaudible] being part of the six companies, I said, "How do you know?" He says, "How do you know?" I said [inaudible]. And . . . so then . . . then if they had taken Midway, which we allowed our company or this . . . it was the defensive action of the . . . the tanks that allowed us to take . . . keep this . . . the Japanese at bay 01:05:00there, but if they had taken Midway, they'd have put so many kamikazes on there, into these dynamite boats, and we might have lost Midway.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: And that was their last . . . they were going to do everything they could. And I'm sure that they would . . . would have done that. And . . . and . . .

KELLY: Did . . . did you talk to any other officers other than General Weaver about this? Did you talk to . . .

POWELEIT: I told . . . told Wickord. Wickord, he . . . he . . . he was . . . I think somebody told him that, too. Wickord.

KELLY: Wickord was the battalion commander.

POWELEIT: Yeah, and . . . and . . . and so when we were on . . .

KELLY: Well, what did Wickord say about it?

POWELEIT: Well, he . . . he figured the same thing. He figured that . . . that if it wasn't for the tank battalions . . .

KELLY: He figured it was a job well done by that unit.

POWELEIT: Yeah. He figured that if . . . well, he figured that if they didn't have tanks, they'd have taken that . . . their timetable 01:06:00would have been the fifteenth, because it was a threat of . . . of . . . of the number of tanks that we had, of the six battalions. They weren't fools enough to . . . to test it, I don't think, or they'd have ran through it. If the Germans, they'd have went through that thing when their, what do they call that?

KELLY: Blitzkrieg.

POWELEIT: Blitzkrieg. Well, with the vertical infiltration that they used, . . .

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: . . . like against the Greeks.

KELLY: Umhmm. Airborne . . . air assault.

POWELEIT: But . . . but you . . . and a . . . but you know, I'll tell you what. When . . . when they surrendered, when we surrendered, some of these fellows weren't in a position to think, really. You know, I really mean that. All right, this guy, he . . .

KELLY: What do you mean, weren't in a position to think? You . . . you mean they . . . ?

POWELEIT: Well, they . . . they just didn't care anymore about it.

KELLY: Oh, you mean it just demoralized them so that they didn't . . . didn't care about what they contributed?

POWELEIT: Yeah. Like when I . . .


KELLY: Or didn't care about what went on up to that point?

POWELEIT: They didn't care, that's . . . that's right.

KELLY: Was . . . was it . . . was that because they were thinking about self-survival, or was it . . .

POWELEIT: I guess it . . . well, I don't know if you know much about anatomy, but we're born with three billion brain cells. The Americans, they'd . . . they're . . . they have five billion, they say, and the . . . the Russians with three billion. And from the time you're born until you die, every day you lose 20,000 brain cells that are irreplaceable. If you're on starvation, you lose another 20,000. If you get drunk and you get tanked up, you lose another 20,000 because it takes the liver six hours to detoxify one ounce of alcohol, see? And when these fellows interviewed these prisoners of war, like POWs, they didn't know a doggone thing. They couldn't remember anything. I talked to some of these people that I know and I . . . I say, "Don't 01:08:00you remember that?" And they say, "No, I don't remember a darn thing about it." They said, "How do you expect me to remember it if you can't remember it?" But I mean they . . . and then malaria, if you've got a fever, it will knock down 20,000. But starvation for . . . the Japs, you know, they talked about experimental medicine. They had us on an experimental starvation diet to see how long this . . . the . . . the . . . the men would last, and fifty percent of them died in the prison camp and less than one percent died in the German prison camps. They had stuff there that the Red Cross brought in. I think I got three rans- . . . three ransacked Red Cross packages all the time I was there. And I got one from my wife.

KELLY: Are . . . are . . . are you saying that the . . . that the Japanese deliberately put you on a low-calorie diet to . . . as a . . . as an experiment to determine . . .

POWELEIT: How long we could last.

KELLY: . . . the minimum . . .

POWELEIT: I don't know whether they did it, but that's what they did.


KELLY: You don't know whether it was done on purpose?

POWELEIT: Sure, they could have . . . in the Philippines they had food there they could have brought to us, but they didn't. I think we got about a thousand . . . less than a thousand calories a day. I ate everything I could.

KELLY: Were . . . did . . . well, you know, you made an assertion, you made . . . you made the statement that . . . that the Japanese were trying to deliberately starve you.

POWELEIT: I'm sure they would. They wanted you being in a weakened condition so you couldn't do anything.

KELLY: I mean it wasn't an experiment, necessarily. It might have been just to get . . . to keep you weak.

POWELEIT: Yeah, but they de-. . . I don't know what they called an experiment, but that was an experiment I had.

KELLY: Well, . . .

POWELEIT: And then when they had . . . when they had food there available and they didn't give it to you, what . . . what did they do? They wanted to starve you.

KELLY: For some reason.

POWELEIT: For some reason.

KELLY: And you think it might have been experimental, and it might have been to keep you sort of placid . . .


KELLY: . . . and . . . and under control.

POWELEIT: So you die quicker. Look at it . . . look . . .

KELLY: Why . . . why would they want you to die? What would be their advantage there?

POWELEIT: Well, what . . . what good is it to support their . . . their method? They were to fight till they die! When the Japs came in 01:10:00at Ca- . . . at Bagio, they . . . we had about thirty or forty of them in traction. You know what they did? They took them in and . . . and took . . . sawed off their legs and arms and put them in Santiago in a prison camp.

KELLY: The Japanese did, their own men?

POWELEIT: Heck, yeah.

KELLY: The Jap-. . . . you mean . . .

POWELEIT: We . . . they asked them how the Americans were treating them. They says, "Very well."

KELLY: Well, this . . . this was some people that you all had captured, some Japanese?

POWELEIT: Yeah! Yeah.

KELLY: And . . . and . . . and this is before the surrender, now?


KELLY: And they were at Bagio?

POWELEIT: They were at Bagio, . . .

KELLY: And somebody . . .

POWELEIT: . . . the number one hospital.

KELLY: . . . and somebody asked them, you know, how were the Americans treating them, and they said, "Very well."

POWELEIT: When the Jap general came . . . and then the tank com- . . . commander came in there, he asked those Japanese how they were treated. He asked them in Japanese, you know, and they . . . they said they were treated well. And he told them they should have never 01:11:00surrendered, you see? So . . . so they were crying, and then the next day or so they took them down and they . . . those who were in traction, they cut their legs off and amputated and took them all down and threw them in a prison down there in Santiago.

KELLY: Who told you about this? Where did you get this information?

POWELEIT: General . . . General, oh, what was his name?

KELLY: King?

POWELEIT: No, it wasn't King. It was Gen-. . .

KELLY: Wainwright?

POWELEIT: No, our . . . was it General . . .

KELLY: Weaver?

POWELEIT: . . . Colonel Wea-. . . Colonel . . . there was a . . . at . . . I . . . it's in . . . I can't think of his name. Colonel . . .

KELLY: Well, what did he have? Did he . . . what . . .

POWELEIT: He was commander of the hospital down there at Bagio.

KELLY: Okay. He was . . . he was a doctor there. Were you getting this information from him after you were in prison, or did you . . .


POWELEIT: After we were in prison.

KELLY: That's how you got . . . found out about it?


KELLY: He told you about it?

POWELEIT: He told us about it.

KELLY: Was he an eyewitness to it, or did he hear about it?

POWELEIT: Well, he . . . I guess he was an eyewitness, because that's what they . . . that's what they said they did. They . . . they were . . . they weren't supposed to surrender, you know.

KELLY: Yeah, I knew that.

POWELEIT: And he says they . . .

KELLY: And most of them didn't.

POWELEIT: I don't know whether . . .

KELLY: Are you talking about . . . how many are you talking about, twenty, thirty or . . .

POWELEIT: About thirty or forty or whatever they had there.

KELLY: Sawed their legs and arms right off?

POWELEIT: They took them off, yeah. They put them all in a cast and they're easier to take care of then.

KELLY: Are . . . are you talking about sawing . . . sawing off of one person both legs and both arms, or just one leg or whichever?

POWELEIT: Whatever . . . whatever was injured, they took them off.

KELLY: Whatever . . . whatever was . . . if they . . . whatever limb was injured, they took it off . . .


KELLY: . . . and then put them in prison.


KELLY: And this . . . this . . . the person who told you that was the . . . was the colonel that was in charge of the Bagio hospital, and you think he saw this?

POWELEIT: Yeah. General, what was his name?

KELLY: Oh, it d- . . . doesn't matter. I . . . we'll find out about it. He . . . he was a medical . . . he was the senior 01:13:00medical officer on the island?

POWELEIT: He was . . . yeah, he was just in charge of this Bagio hospital . . . number one hospital in Bagio.

KELLY: General hospital.


KELLY: Was he captured there or . . . or did he go back into Bataan?

POWELEIT: He . . . he was captured in Bataan.

KELLY: Was he?

POWELEIT: And they . . . see, and they came up when . . . then the Japanese, I think when they . . . when Corregidor surrendered, they got a few . . . they felt a little different about it. They figured they were going to win, so then they remove . . . moved this . . . this hospital down there up to this O'Donnell. And they had these . . . thousands of these Filipinos up there. And then I was left with a small group of Americans, 350 or so Americans back there with about six or seven officers. They were . . . they were almost in the same shape that the prisoners were. And I thought, "Jeemaneez, here they 01:14:00leave us with this!" I don't know how I got picked for that outfit. Because, I guess because . . . because I'd been on the front line nearly all that time. And . . . and I said, "Gee, we're going to . . . either they're going to take us all out and shoot us," and . . . and . . . but they didn't. They gave us a little more food for the prisoners, but only half of them survived, anyway, that they left back there. And I . . . and, of course, we got a little more rice, but I . . . I was down to 125 pounds then. And . . . I mean, that's . . . my weight was in . . . you know, at that time. That was about four months afterwards.

KELLY: I want to bring you back to this capturing business, and the . . . the fact that these men . . . these men are losing their . . . their memory and aren't recalling. And you're saying part of that is just the biology of their . . . of the human body.

POWELEIT: You lose a certain amount. But a starvation diet, which 01:15:00you're still on a starvation diet, so they lost twice as much as their . . . I'm just deducting what I know about this.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: If they lose 20,000 [brain cells], and I know starvation-this was all worked out by the Russians. They worked this out, that . . . that starvation or . . . or fever will knock down another 20,000. I don't know how they did this, unless they killed them off to see how many they had. I really don't know about this, but I'm just surmising how they could count them. But that's what they said. And if they had malaria and they had a fever and they were starving, maybe they lost 60,000 or 120,000, see.

KELLY: Well, can you just kind of . . . when you . . . when you were at cap- . . . well, first of all, when you . . . when you were told that you were going to surrender, what was your reaction and the reaction of the people that you were talking to? What were your 01:16:00feelings?

POWELEIT: You mean when I was told to surrender?

KELLY: Right. You say, "We're going to surrender?" I mean you were told so many hours before it happened, right?

POWELEIT: Yeah. I . . . I'd say we were going beforehand, that's what I figured, so I . . . it wasn't surprising to me.

KELLY: You already knew you were going to have to surrender?

POWELEIT: I . . . yeah, I think so. We couldn't . . .

KELLY: Well, were you all talking about that as the . . . as the war was getting in a pitiful situation, as you were getting pushed back? Were you captured on Bataan?

POWELEIT: Bataan, yeah.

KELLY: Okay. You know, you . . . you were . . . you spent about a month on Bataan. Did you know from the very beginning that it was just a matter of time 'til you were going to be wiped out there, or did you all hope for replacements?

POWELEIT: I knew we weren't going to get replacements.

KELLY: All right.

POWELEIT: I knew we had one . . .

KELLY: How did you know that?

POWELEIT: Well, we . . . on maneuvers, we didn't have anything on maneuvers. We had these make-believe cannons and all that stuff.

KELLY: You knew it just wasn't in the . . . in the arsenal?

POWELEIT: And then when I . . . and I knew what . . . I'd been . . . I'd keep up with the literature all the time, and . . . and I'd . . . anyway, I'd tell Major [Robert] Pettit, "When we get down 01:17:00there in Frisco," I says, "let's go down to Los Angeles." I said, "I'm going to pick up a Jap grammar [book]." He says, "You're crazy, Al." I said, "Well," I says, "we're either going to get captured or we're getting killed." And I picked this grammar up there. It had some Khonjie and it was . . . Khonjie and, you know, and there . . . and Hiragana and Katakana [three parts of a Japanese writing system based on syllables], and I said, "Well, . . . well, I might as well learn something. I might get captured, anyway." I figured that. And when I got on this boat, this . . . this Hugh L. Scott, here was . . . here I thought this was a Filipino, and here was a Jap on there. And he looked at me and he says . . . I says, "You . . ." he says, "Nippongo or Japanese?" I s-. . . I said, "Hai." I told him, "Yes," in Japanese. He says, "I'm a Nippongo." I say, "You're a Filipino?" He says, "No, [chuckling] Nippongo." So we worked on it for about three . . . two or three hours every day, and by the time I got to . . .

KELLY: You mean on that ship?

POWELEIT: Yeah. It took us almost a month to get there.


KELLY: Are you telling me that you already figured that you were going to be in trouble? That the war . . .


KELLY: . . . that Japs were going to . . . going to attack us, . . .


KELLY: . . . and . . . and . . . and that you were going to be killed or captured? Did you? And . . . and you knew you were going to the Philippines?

POWELEIT: Yeah. I'd . . . I'd already . . .

KELLY: You'd already . . . you'd already summarized that based on your knowledge?

POWELEIT: Well, yeah. You know, they . . . we were down at this . . . and Patton, he told us, he says, "You're going to the Far East."

KELLY: General Patton?

POWELEIT: Yeah! He says, "You're going to the Far East." Did you ever see Patton?

KELLY: No. Was . . . was this at . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, he . . .

KELLY: . . . an Officer's Call or something when you were on maneuvers?

POWELEIT: . . . he called us all together. He says, "You men have performed meritoriously."

KELLY: The 192nd?

POWELEIT: Yeah [chuckling]. He said . . . he says, "Now," he says, "you will get your reward. You will go to the Far East."

KELLY: Is he talking to the officers, or talking to that whole battalion?

POWELEIT: No, the whole bunch of us.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And that's where we went, to the Far East, and they had plum. That was . . . that was the word. So they . . . they . . .


KELLY: You're going to get this plum?


KELLY: You're going to get an opportunity to go over there and . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, the Philippines, Luzon, and Manila.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And then . . . and then . . . but you . . . you see, the trouble of it was, this girl I . . . her husband just died. She . . . we were just talking about that a couple of months ago, she says, "You remember we were all down your house, and you said that we . . . we couldn't knock the Japanese out in four months?" I said, "That's right." And that was right, too. I knew that.

KELLY: All right. So . . . so you . . . you start going to work on your language and you think you're going to need that as a . . . maybe as a prisoner or whatever?

POWELEIT: That's what I said. I . . . and by the time I was there . . . by the time I . . . I got through there this Jap, I don't know what ever happened to him, but . . . but he . . . he made . . . he says, "You learned," he says, "three words, not ten words." He says, "Difficult." So he says . . . and that's true. You . . 01:20:00. you know like you . . . like you call on the phone, you know, he says, "You learn . . ."-you have enough there? Are you going to change it?

KELLY: No, no, go ahead. I'm . . . I'm . . .

POWELEIT: He says . . . he says on the phone, he says . . . he says, "You . . . you . . . you say, 'Hello, hello? Hello, hello, how are you?' He says, "We say moshi, moshi, anorday sodeska." That means the same thing as what I said. See, he says, "You only learned two words."

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: And that's what I did. "And learn them correctly," and that's what I did.

KELLY: All right. Back to the scene when you get the word, "Going to surrender."


KELLY: You're not surprised, now, because you've already surmised this. But what . . . what . . . are you . . . are you . . . what's your feeling? Can you . . . can you describe it so it . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, what I thought, you know, I said, "Well, here's . . . we're going to surrender and," I says, "they're either going to . . 01:21:00. the atrocities they did to Japan, you know . . . or to China," and I said . . .

KELLY: You already knew about those atrocities?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: I'd been reading the paper from . . . I says . . . I says, "What they did, they just murdered the whole group. But," I said, "maybe," I said, "they said they were going to abide by the Geneva Conference. Although they wouldn't sign it, but they were going to abide by it." And I said . . .

KELLY: Before you all surrendered?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I knew that.

KELLY: I mean they . . . they . . . that . . . that was part of the negotiation? They would have . . . they would . . .

POWELEIT: Well, before the war they said . . . you know, they . . . they . . . they wouldn't sign that thing.

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: Russia said they wouldn't sign it and they wouldn't abide by it. Germany said they'd abide by it and signed by it, and that's the reason they treated the prisoners right. But the . . . but the Japanese said they would abide by it, but they wouldn't sign the pact, Geneva Pact. And I thought, "Well, if they're not going to sign it, they . . . they . . . maybe they'll be benevolent enough not to 01:22:00sign . . . not . . . to abide by it." But, boy, when they . . . when they got us together, they . . .

KELLY: Well, just a second, before we get to that. Let's get back to your feeling, again. I mean you know all that stuff and you think there's probably going to be hell to pay?


KELLY: You've already surmised that based on what they did to the . . .

POWELEIT: The Chinese.

KELLY: . . . to the people in China.


KELLY: All right. What . . . what's your thinking now, and what are you seeing?

POWELEIT: Well, I . . .

KELLY: And who are you talking to? I mean . . .

POWELEIT: I was just . . .

KELLY: . . . you . . .

POWELEIT: . . . I was talking to some of our . . .

KELLY: How did you get the word that you're going to surrender?

POWELEIT: Well, it came over the radio. They . . . they . . . they'd radioed us.

KELLY: Are you in a bunker or are you in a tent or . . .

POWELEIT: No, I was just in a tent in front of this, sleeping . . .

KELLY: Around in your ambulance or something?


KELLY: And you've got a radio and you hear . . . what radio station is this? Is this Armed Forces Radio or something?

POWELEIT: Yeah. I guess it was over then that they were surrendering and then that was it.

KELLY: Is this . . . this is how you first heard it?


KELLY: All right. When you hear the radio, comes in [and] says, "We're 01:23:00going to surrender at such-and-such time," do you . . . are you . . . are you able to talk or are you stunned or were you . . .

POWELEIT: It didn't bother me. I don't know, I'm a fatalist, so it didn't make much difference to me one way or the other. I didn't . . .

KELLY: Well, who was with you at the time, some of your medics?

POWELEIT: Some of the medics.

KELLY: So, what, they . . . they'd look to you and say, "What now?"

POWELEIT: Yeah. I'd say, "Well," I said, "you can't tell what's going to come on tomorrow, anyway, so . . . so just . . . we'll see what goes on."

KELLY: I mean d- . . . are you saying you didn't believe it or . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, I believed it.

KELLY: What did you mean by that statement?

POWELEIT: Did I believe it?

KELLY: No, I mean that . . . that you'll see what goes on.

POWELEIT: What can you say tomorrow? Just . . .

KELLY: Let's wait and see.

POWELEIT: . . . just wait and see.

KELLY: Were they . . . were they frightened, visibly frightened, those men that worked for you there?

POWELEIT: Some of them were. Some of them . . . a couple of them were crying. None of them seemed to bother. I think they were so starved out that they thought maybe could . . .


KELLY: Get some food?

POWELEIT: . . . better than what they had.

KELLY: You think some of them might have been thinking that?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: And the ones that are crying, are they afraid or disgraced or . . .

POWELEIT: I think there was just one. He sort of . . . he didn't think . . . he didn't think we would surrender.

KELLY: I mean it broke their heart that the . . .


KELLY: . . . the Americans gave . . . had . . .


KELLY: . . . to surrender.


KELLY: It was a terrible thing. And then you mentioned that that . . . that was so with General Weaver, that it broke him.

POWELEIT: Oh, he . . . he just couldn't . . . he . . . he just . . .

KELLY: Was he a different man from that point on?

POWELEIT: No, he just said, "All right," but I mean he . . . he really . . . he didn't . . . he knew we should . . . he knew we could have beaten them if we'd only . . .

KELLY: Had different stuff?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And . . . and he was definitely angry with Roosevelt for not fortifying. He says . . . he said to me, he says, "This is our country!" He says, "These are part of our people!" Weaver.

KELLY: He was angry at Roosevelt for not fortifying . . .



KELLY: . . . the Philippines?

POWELEIT: Yeah. He said they had . . . he said . . . he said . . . here he says . . . he says he could have . . . he said, "We wouldn't have had this." Wainwright at one of the hospitals said the same thing.

KELLY: Well, weren't . . . weren't . . . weren't . . . weren't they . . . weren't the forces . . . wasn't MacArthur promised some rein- . . . some reinforcements and some supply early in the . . . early on? Maybe before Pearl Harbor or after Pearl Harbor, wasn't he promised some supplies, and then . . . then they eventually had to tell them he wasn't going to get them?

POWELEIT: That's right. They couldn't get them out or they couldn't get them in.

KELLY: Was he told that, that they weren't going to get any?

POWELEIT: Who? MacArthur?

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: Sure, he knew it.

KELLY: Did you?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I knew it, too.

KELLY: I mean you just knew it because of the tactical situation?


KELLY: You were . . . you were keeping up . . . abreast of all what was going on?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I'll tell you what . . . I remember . . . and a couple of times, Moseman, he . . . he was always thinking we were going to get this and that, you know. I said . . . I says, "You're going to either get killed or you're going to get captured." I said, "I 01:26:00. . . that's the way I feel about it." He says, "You're crazy."

KELLY: Who did you tell that to?

POWELEIT: Moseman, and I told it to Bob Pettit.

KELLY: Who were those guys? Were they your medics?

POWELEIT: Medics. He was . . . Pettit was one of the staff men on . . . on Weaver's staff, and so was Morley. And Morley says, "Poweleit," he says . . . he says, "you know," he says, "you're right." But he said . . . "But," he says, "maybe something will happen." I said, "Yeah, it will happen, you know, when you get killed. That's the only thing that's going to happen to you." He was k- . . . he went down on one of these boats, . . .

KELLY: He did?

POWELEIT: . . . on this [inaudible]. I just gave this thing to the . . . to the Newport High School graduation class Thursday night.

KELLY: Talked to them? Gave a talk on it?

POWELEIT: I . . . well, yeah, I told them. I . . . I told them about the Filipino holocaust. And they . . . they . . . I said, "I'm going to tell you something you never heard." And I said, "I'm glad to talk to this group." There was almost 23- . . . almost 3,000 01:27:00people at this graduation, 171 graduates and their parents and friends and so on. I said, "I'm going to tell you something you didn't hear . . . know about." I said, "The Philippine holocaust." I says, "One million of the Filipinos died during that . . . the . . . the . . . during their capture by the Japanese. One seventeenth of the population." And I says, "Over . . ." and I says, "In this camp at O'Donnell, they . . ." I says, "The reason I'm telling you this is because I'm telling you this before the media brainwashes you." And I said . . . and I said, "You . . . you talk about defense." I says, "It was def- . . . it was a lack of defense that . . . that I was in a prison camp for almost four years." And I says, "And it was because of the nuclear bomb that I was . . . saved my life." And that's what it was. When we were in Taiwan, if they hadn't dropped that 01:28:00bomb on Nagasaki or Hiroshima, and then five days, six days later on Nagasaki, you know, that wasn't the first time they were suppo-. . .

[End of Tape 1, Side 2]

[Beginning of Tape 2, Side 1]

KELLY: I'm in Dr. Poweleit's office. I'm Col. Arthur L. Kelly, and we're continuing our story about the prisoners of war in the Philippines. You were . . . you were talking about the holocaust in the Philippines and . . . and the nuclear war . . . the nuclear [sic atomic] round with saving your life. Continue that.

POWELEIT: Yeah. This . . . I was telling this group at this 23-. . . about almost 3,000 people at this here commencement exercise that, for defense, it . . . it was . . . it was from the lack of defense that . . . that caused me to be in prison for over . . . almost four years. And it was the nuclear bomb that saved my life. 01:29:00And I . . . and we were at this camp that I was in, in Taihoku. The men . . .

KELLY: Taihoku? Where is that?

POWELEIT: That's in northern part of Formosa, the northwest part of . . . of Formosa.

KELLY: Is that where you were when the war ended?


KELLY: Did you go there from the Philippines?

POWELEIT: Yeah. I was at several places . . .

KELLY: Were you at O'Donnell in the Philippines?

POWELEIT: At O'Donnell, yeah.

KELLY: Okay. So you went from O'Donnell to Formosa. And that's where you were when the war ended. Go ahead with your . . . with the story then.

POWELEIT: I said at that . . . we were in Taihoku, and I said . . . well, we were talking about this. We were at Taihoku when they . . . when they dropped the atom bomb. At that place I weighed about 98 kilo . . . or 98 pounds or 47 kilos. And the heaviest man in this 01:30:00group, we were English, Dutch, and Americans, and the heaviest man in that group was . . . weighed 110 pounds.

KELLY: How many of you are there?

POWELEIT: Must have been five hundred or so.

KELLY: Okay.

POWELEIT: And as I said, I don't think we could have lasted another month.

KELLY: Now, on this starvation on Formosa, was . . . was that kind of the same thing that you were getting at the Philippines, as far as the . . . the minimum ration, or was this more, and was it partly due to the fact that they didn't have anything to eat, too, or . . .

POWELEIT: Well, they had food but they didn't try to get it into us.

KELLY: Who was they?

POWELEIT: The For- . . . the Japanese.

KELLY: Were they eating all right?

POWELEIT: They were doing all right. They looked fat to me.

KELLY: Okay. So go ahead then, with the . . . with the nuclear business then.

POWELEIT: So then . . . so, I'll tell you what. At this place we had a fell- . . . fellow by the name of Hiyoki. He was the camp commandant. He was born in the United States, at San Francisco, and he came back to see his mother, and she lived in Hiroshima. And . 01:31:00. . and he . . . that morn- . . . when . . . they never really trusted him. He was conscripted. He didn't want to get back in the Japanese Army, but he couldn't get back to the United States. So Hiyoki told me . . . you know, he told us when the president died. Boy, President Roosevelt real got . . . he really . . . they called him everything they could think of, the Americans did.


POWELEIT: The American soldiers. When Hiyoki told them that he died on April the 9th.

KELLY: You mean . . . you mean the . . . the prisoners were . . . were mad at him?

POWELEIT: Oh, . . . oh, hell, yes!

KELLY: And when he told them, it . . . it . . . it . . . it created . . .

POWELEIT: They called him every- . . . they called him everything they . . .

KELLY: You means like they . . . they cursed him because he hadn't . . .

POWELEIT: Cursed him, yeah, because they . . .

KELLY: Because he hadn't defended the Philippines.

POWELEIT: Yeah, because he'd . . . he knew that . . . yeah, he knew that they . . . they needed this stuff, but he didn't do it. 01:32:00And he was commander-in-chief.

KELLY: So you all were angry at him. And when you heard he was dead, it evoked . . . it evoked an angry feeling?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. They were very . . . they . . . they didn't . . . none of them were . . . there was only one man there, his name was Donovan, Capt. Donovan. He said . . . to me he says, "Alvin," he says, "that president was worth ten of us." I says, "He might have been worth ten of you, but he wasn't worth ten of me!" And I says . . .

KELLY: And that . . . that . . . was the general feeling . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, God, yeah.

KELLY: . . . of the whole crew?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And, you know, even some of our generals, I talked to them, they felt the same way.

KELLY: What generals are you talking about? Wainwright?

POWELEIT: No, Wainwright didn't say anything but Weaver, he . . . he was really discouraged with the general . . . the . . .

KELLY: Was he at Formosa with you then?


KELLY: Was he at Formosa with you?

POWELEIT: No, he was later on, but I understand when . . . when . . . when Roosevelt died, he said . . . he . . . when we were in 01:33:00. . . when we surrendered, we were at O'Donnell. See, they'd . . . they had the generals up at O'Donnell. And King was there, General King, Weaver, and . . . and a number of these other ones. I have a list in that book, the ones that I took care of at O'Donnell. And . . . and Weaver said . . . he says . . . he says, "This was something that could have been prevented." That was just a . . .

KELLY: All right.

POWELEIT: And he says, "Our commander-in-chief didn't do this."

KELLY: I sidetracked you there to get to . . . to get to that feeling that the news evoked. Well, what did this Japanese say when, you know, you all came out with that wrath?

POWELEIT: Hiyoki says . . . he could understand [chuckling] English, he said, "I guess you didn't like the President." [Laughs] That's what he said.

KELLY: Well, who . . . was he . . . was he one of the . . .

POWELEIT: He was commandant . . . commandant there at the . . . this camp.

KELLY: Did he treat you all pretty well, . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, he . . .

KELLY: . . . being Americans?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he . . . you know, they wanted to . . . you know, we got our camp bombed. The Americans bombed our camp.

KELLY: Umhmm. I didn't know that.


POWELEIT: And he . . . and he . . . they asked him if they could put a Red Cross thing on there. And he says . . . he says, "They'd bomb that, too!" That's what he . . . Hiyoki, told us.

KELLY: Do you think they would of?

POWELEIT: I don't know, but they did us. And they had a Red Cross pole on Palawan, down there, POW. They . . . they . . . of course, they didn't bomb that. But when the . . . when the Americans came in there at Palawan, what did they do? They put the Americans in a bomb shelter, put . . . dumped gasoline on them and machine-gunned them as they came out.


POWELEIT: The Japanese.

KELLY: Where was this?

POWELEIT: At Palawan.

KELLY: Yeah. I mean they actually burnt those guys up.

POWELEIT: They burned them.

KELLY: Men from D Company were burned, weren't they?


KELLY: Where was this?

POWELEIT: At Palawan.

KELLY: Where is Palawan?

POWELEIT: Down on one of the islands. Down in the South Pacific, in Puerto Princesa.

KELLY: What . . . what did they take them down there for?

POWELEIT: Labor de- . . . details.

KELLY: What kind of . . . I mean . . .

POWELEIT: Building the airports. Airports.


KELLY: Building airports?

POWELEIT: Yeah. I worked on airports, too.

KELLY: Well, in . . . in the . . . what's the name of the place? Paleilu?

POWELEIT: Palawan.

KELLY: Palawan. Just more about what happened there.

POWELEIT: Well, the Americans were coming in. So the Japanese, they . . . they called them in from the field and they . . . they says the . . . the Americans are coming in.

KELLY: You mean . . . you mean they're going to invade the island?

POWELEIT: Yeah, bomb it.

KELLY: Invade the island?

POWELEIT: Yeah, bomb it. So they said, "Get in these bomb shelters." And he said . . . and when they got in the bomb shelters, the Japs dumped gasoline on them and set them on fire, and as they tried to get out, they machine-gunned them. A lot of them were burned in the . . . in the . . . in the bomb shelters, you see?

KELLY: Was . . . was . . . was the American forces going to invade?

POWELEIT: Well, they thought they were.

KELLY: Uh-huh. So . . . and they just ran them in there, poured gasoline on them . . . how many of them are we talking about?


POWELEIT: About eight of them got away. It's in that book, too.

KELLY: Umhmm. Are we talking about hundreds or . . .

POWELEIT: I think there were a couple of hundred burnt, yeah.

KELLY: A couple of hundred?


KELLY: And anyway, there were two of them. I . . . I mean I saw on that sheet you got right there where it burned.


KELLY: In '45, right?

POWELEIT: Yeah, that's right.

KELLY: Right before the war ended, then.

POWELEIT: Yeah. Yeah.

KELLY: Were . . . were they there, those guys from . . . from Harrodsburg, do you know?


KELLY: You think they were there?

POWELEIT: Yeah, they were part of our company. I for- . . . forget which ones were there. I thought some of them . . . a couple of them were there from Harrodsburg, but they found out they weren't there. I think just one of them was from Harrodsburg.

KELLY: Well, I know there's two on that list that . . . well, yeah, one of them is from Harrodsburg and one of them is a Kentuckian. Yeah, but there were two from that company.


KELLY: There's two from Company D.


KELLY: Well, we're talking about . . . about that atomic bomb saving lives. Hourigan said that . . . Kenny Hourigan, he said that he was in Japan, one of the prison camps there in Japan, working in that mill, 01:37:00I forget where. Was it Japan or Manchuria?

POWELEIT: Manchuria, probably.

KELLY: It might have been Manchuria.

POWELEIT: Called Manchukuo.

KELLY: Yeah. No, he was in Japan.


KELLY: Umhmm. But he . . . he said that . . . because he . . . he felt that shock wave from the . . . from that nuclear bomb.

POWELEIT: Did he? He must have been in Japan, then.

KELLY: Yeah, he was in Japan. But he . . . he said that . . . that Japanese general told them-he . . . he can't remember for sure whether it was right before they dropped the bomb, or just after-he said, "If an American soldier puts his foot on Japan, we're going to kill you all."

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: So he . . . as far as he was concerned, the . . . the nuclear . . . the nuclear bomb saved his life, you see. Of course, you know there's a lot of debate on whether or not . . .

POWELEIT: I'm sure they would have. Look what they did to Corregidor. There was five hundred or so on Corregidor. Never heard any . . 01:38:00. bovimine . . . I talked to [Bovimonti?] about what . . . [Bovimonti?] about a week before we went to . . . they took us out. We went on out on October the 1st or something like that, and we made it . . . we were 39 days in that daggone boat. And we got in there and . . . and the one I . . . I . . . and then the I was supposed to go out on October the 7th or the 11th, that was sunk off of . . . somewhere in there, and we picked up eight of the survivors on that. Eighteen hundred or so went down on that boat. Americans sunk that.

KELLY: Where was this? Where did they sink it?

POWELEIT: In the South China Sea.

KELLY: Somewhere.

POWELEIT: Yeah, North . . . South China Sea, yeah.

KELLY: How many went down on that, 1,800?

POWELEIT: About 1,800, yeah.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: And we had 1,800 on ours, and I think 400 died. Every day they'd throw over about ten or fifteen.

KELLY: Do you want to talk about that ship a little bit, that trip? You 01:39:00. . .

POWELEIT: You mean the one I was on?

KELLY: Did you go from O'Donnell to . . . to Manila, and then to Formosa?

POWELEIT: I went to O'Donnell to Manila, and then to . . . to Formosa, but . . . but we went . . . we went in a seven-ship convoy. And . . . and then we . . . they took us all the way to Hong Kong. We went to Hong Kong. I was over there for a few days, in the ship, though, of course, and that was like a pigpen.

KELLY: The ship?

POWELEIT: Crap all over. Defecation and everything else in there. And then they'd let us up on deck sometimes, and then we ran into, I think- I couldn't see this very well-they ran us down, but it looked like ships, and this . . . this Japanese told me later, he said, "They sunk six of the seven ships in the convoy."

KELLY: That you were in?

POWELEIT: Yeah! [Chuckle] And they pinged our ship.

KELLY: Painted it?

POWELEIT: They said that the . . . the torpedo didn't go off or 01:40:00something. I don't know what.

KELLY: Oh, they pinged it.


KELLY: Were you aware of it? Did you know it . . .

POWELEIT: Well, we . . .

KELLY: . . . when you were on it? Did you hear the . . .

POWELEIT: . . . we had some sailors on it. They said . . . they said something happened, but . . .

KELLY: You didn't know what it was?

POWELEIT: . . . it didn't happen, no.

KELLY: Well, can . . . can you kind of describe that in a little more detail, that trip on that ship?

POWELEIT: On our . . . the one I was on?

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: Well, they loaded us on this . . . this boat, at . . . in Manila. They took us down to the wharf, you know, and they loaded us in that boat, and [inaudible] it looked like . . . we have a Coney Island boat here. It looked about like that. And I said . . .

KELLY: A little boat, you mean?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And I said, "How are they going to get us in there?"

KELLY: How many of you were there?

POWELEIT: Eighteen hundred.

KELLY: For this one boat?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And . . . and, see, they put 900 down on one side, and 900 down on the other side, and they had some things you could lay on, but it was only just about room to . . . maybe about three 01:41:00feet to stand . . . you know, to stand on there. I got down there and they had this bar where you . . . . down the side there were some bars on there, and so I got on that bar, you know, and they were hitting them on the head with brooms and everything else.

KELLY: To get them in there?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And I . . . I got down in that thing, you know, and I . . . like it was on the side there were some bars, and I . . . I got on those things and I sat there until they all got in. And that was my place. And . . . and I put my . . . I had some medicine, you know, and little things I had in that little musette bag.

KELLY: Where did you get your medicine?

POWELEIT: Well, it was stuff . . .

KELLY: Stuff left over from your . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah. I got . . . when we were down there, I had some quinine and some sulfa and stuff like that and some bandages, and . . . and that's about all I had. Then I . . . I put that down. I 01:42:00had that thing there, and I . . . and they had these in that, and during the night I went over there and they said somebody was dead over there, and I went over there and there was ten or twelve of them. They were smothered to death. So they dragged them . . .

KELLY: All right. This . . . this scene, now, that you're seeing, where there's twelve or so smothered to death. How big a compartment is this? Is this about the size of this room, or the size of . . .

POWELEIT: No, it was about . . .

KELLY: . . . the size of this . . .

POWELEIT: . . . it was about the waiting room in the back to here, I think, and maybe just a li-. . .

KELLY: So about 12x24, or maybe a little bigger than that?

POWELEIT: I can't remember. I think the . . . I got the . . . the dimensions in the book.

KELLY: So how many people are in this little area?

POWELEIT: There was eighteen hun-. . . . there was 900 or so in there.

KELLY: Nine hundred in . . . in that little space right there? Well, now, you're not going to be able to sit down in that space, are you?

POWELEIT: No, some of them didn't sit down. Some of them fainted.

KELLY: Fainted. Could they lay down?

POWELEIT: Some of them laid down and they were right on the top of each other. See, one . . .


KELLY: But, anyway, go ahead with the . . . with the twelve men that you were . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I went over there . . .

KELLY: . . . were going to see.

POWELEIT: . . . and they were all . . . they were d-. . .

KELLY: How . . . how did you get over . . . through there to them?

POWELEIT: They let me through because I was a doctor.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: And . . . and then . . .

KELLY: I mean it must have been difficult to even get to them, wasn't it?

POWELEIT: Yeah. So we . . . so we dragged them up to the airway and they told the Japanese we were down there. This is the morning, you know, and they pulled them up with a rope.

KELLY: This was the next day?

POWELEIT: The next day.

KELLY: The first day?


KELLY: Twelve are gone now.


KELLY: Okay. And they pulled them up with a rope?

POWELEIT: And then every day we'd have . . .

KELLY: How deep down is that hold?

POWELEIT: I guess it was about thirty . . .

KELLY: Three stories? Three stories?

POWELEIT: About two stories.

KELLY: There was a ladder coming down into that hold?


KELLY: But . . . but . . . but they . . . they pulled them out on a rope?


KELLY: You all put a rope around them and pulled them out.

POWELEIT: Pulled them out.

KELLY: And then just threw them overboard.


KELLY: Did you know any of them?

POWELEIT: Yeah, one doctor. I can't think of his name now.

KELLY: You knew him?


KELLY: Well, when . . . when this occurred to you, you know, are . . . are you immune to . . . to this horror by now, or is it still . 01:44:00. .

POWELEIT: [Chuckle] Yeah, I guess . . . the horror, I guess, you know, you sort of get . . . to me it's sort of . . . well, just like I said, there's not much you can do about it, so . . . so I didn't worry about it. I guess it's from . . .

KELLY: If you worried about it, it'd kill you, wouldn't it?

POWELEIT: Yeah, my father always said, "Don't worry about something you can't do anything about," and that's the way we were brought up as children.

KELLY: So you'd just take that in stride.

POWELEIT: Yeah, that says it all.

KELLY: If you didn't take it in stride, by this time you'd be dead, wouldn't you?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: Because your stress would have killed you.

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: Well, go ahead, let's talk about this trip some more.

POWELEIT: So every day . . . every day we had four or five of them die, you know. We were on this thing 39 days. And then when we were out at sea, this . . . this . . . one of these Japs, they'd let us sit up there for about ten or twenty of us. And this one guy, every 01:45:00damn time he'd come out, he'd run us down in the hold of the boat.

KELLY: Who was this guy you're talking about?

POWELEIT: This sergeant, a Japanese . . .

KELLY: Every time he did what?

POWELEIT: . . . Japanese sergeant. He was a mean guy, and every time he'd come out, he'd run us down in the boat. And then there is another fellow, he was the only sort of . . . a nice sort of a fellow, and . . . and . . .

KELLY: If he was on duty, you could get up top?

POWELEIT: Yeah, he got up at the top, you know, and . . . and . . . and I . . . . I'd tell him how good he was in Japanese.

KELLY: Right. That . . . that speaking Japanese was a big advantage for you, wasn't it?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. I'd tell him . . . I'd tell him [sensu nai taksan presentoes] - "After the war, many presents for you." [Chuckle] Well, he'd say . . . yeah, he'd say, "Joto." That means, "Yes." Hai. And he was really very good, you know, and I, and then this other jerk would come on out, this jerk Jap. He'd run us all down there. Then 01:46:00we'd let up another ja- . . ., and I told him the air was bad down there. I said, "People dying," and he shook his head, you know, but what he could . . . he couldn't do anything about it, either.

KELLY: When you're talking about the air being down there, . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, God! It smelled like a toilet.

KELLY: . . . I know it's going to smell like a toilet. Is . . . is there vomiting and . . .

POWELEIT: Defecation, vomit, and then . . .

KELLY: Are they . . . are they going to be defecating in their trousers?

POWELEIT: A lot of them did.

KELLY: Because they just couldn't get to a . . .

POWELEIT: Latrine, there wasn't anything to do it in there. They'd . . . they'd send these buckets down, and the daggone buckets would swing around there with the ship and empty the contents over the people. You never saw anything like that. I don't know, I just think, I wonder how in the heck I survived, but I did.

KELLY: Well, along that line, you ever say to yourself, you know, "I can't believe I'm going through this, and I can't believe I'm living through it?"

POWELEIT: Only one time. We were at this place in Shirakawa, and we 01:47:00were getting . . . and I . . . I said, "I . . . I don't think I can really . . . I don't see how I can really survive this," because I was getting . . . I was down to about 98 pounds. I went up there and . . . and I thought, "Jeemaneez!" I says, "I'm starving to death," and I was eating everything I could eat that was around there, even . . . I didn't eat the grasshoppers but we caught a couple of snakes. I ate the snakes and . . .

KELLY: Where is this now?

POWELEIT: In Shirakawa. That was in Formosa.

KELLY: Formosa.

POWELEIT: And I says, "Gee, I don't know whether I can . . ." And . . .

KELLY: Did you cook those snakes?

POWELEIT: Yeah, we cooked them.

KELLY: Cooked-were they pretty good?

POWELEIT: Well, they tasted pretty good to me!

KELLY: Didn't have any trouble with it at all.

POWELEIT: No, I didn't have any trouble with it. And these English . . . because they were catching these rats. They were eating rats. They smelled good, but I didn't eat any of those. I don't know why we didn't eat any rats.

KELLY: You never got to the rats, though?

POWELEIT: I never got to the rats, but they were catching these rats 01:48:00right and left. Englishmen, they were eating them. Oh, boy!

KELLY: The Americans wouldn't eat them?


KELLY: The English did.

POWELEIT: The English did eat them, yeah.

KELLY: Were . . . were . . . were they . . . were they in a little better shape than you all were, with that little . . .

POWELEIT: Not much better. Lord, no!

KELLY: Yeah. Well, go ahead with the trip now. We got sidetracked a little bit.

POWELEIT: So then we got into Hong Kong, you know, and things were kind of quiet so they left about a hundred on this deck, you know. But they wouldn't let us communicate with the other group on the other side. You know there was 900 in the other hold.

KELLY: Why wouldn't they do that, you think?

POWELEIT: Well, you know, I don't know why they didn't . . .

KELLY: Afraid of control . . . losing control or something?

POWELEIT: Or something. Then . . . and then about that time, on the second day, these Americans came over with their Mustangs. I guess they were . . .

KELLY: P-51s.

POWELEIT: . . . or whatever they were.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: Was it B-51s?

KELLY: P-51s, yeah.

POWELEIT: But they were . . .

KELLY: Single-engine.

POWELEIT: Yeah. And, boy, they dropped bombs all over Hong Kong, and 01:49:00they dropped one right next to our boat, and the guys said, "I hope they hit us!" [Chuckle] You know, they'd . . . that's where they didn't give a damn whether they got hit or not.

KELLY: You mean one of the prisoners?

POWELEIT: Yeah, they didn't give a darn whether . . .

KELLY: What did you think about it?

POWELEIT: I said, "They've been hitting too close!" [Laughs]

KELLY: He just kind of just flipped that off like that?


KELLY: I mean, you didn't . . . you didn't . . . were you afraid?


KELLY: Did you have enough . . . have enough energy to get to be frightened by it? Or were you just . . . were you kind of fatalistic about it?

POWELEIT: I was so . . . I was so darned used to it, so it didn't make much difference. I guess to people on the front line, you get so used to dropping and all, and it didn't hit on you, I says, "I can hear them." I says, "It's . . . it's safe."

KELLY: What do you . . . when you're on this boat now going to . . . did you know you were going to Formosa, or you didn't know where you were going?

POWELEIT: We . . . we knew we were going to Japan.

KELLY: Uh-huh. Did they tell you that?

POWELEIT: Yeah, they told us you're going to Japan. I . . . and now I'm wondering on this boat, and I . . . we went up this river and I says, "Is this Japan?" And I thought it was the Ganges River. He says, 01:50:00"No." He says, "This is . . . ." he says, "This is Hong Kong," this good Japanese. He was a nice . . .

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: . . . sort of a guy. And he says, "You're going to Hong Kong." And we . . . he says, "We stay here." He . . . he says, [speaks Japanese]. He said, "Three days," [speaks Japanese]. "Three days," he said in Japanese. And I said, "Three days?" He says, "Yeah." And . . . and then we . . . then we got . . . then they . . . when they started bombing us, then we got out. And then that's when we picked up this . . . this other . . . on the 26th of October we picked up these eight people . . . I mean four people that were from the ship that was . . . I was supposed to go out on the 11th.

KELLY: It had been sunk?


KELLY: Americans or Japanese?

POWELEIT: The Japanese . . . the Americans sunk it.


KELLY: I mean was it Japanese sailors or was it . . .

POWELEIT: Americans.

KELLY: American prisoners?

POWELEIT: Survivors of the 1,800.

KELLY: Survivors.

POWELEIT: There was only eight . . . eight survivors of the 1,800.

KELLY: In that convoy?


KELLY: Well, now, you're going to be surviving with a bunch of . . . are you just tal- . . . when you get there, are there only going be eight of you?

POWELEIT: No, this . . . this . . . this . . . we went out on . . .

KELLY: That's a different convoy?

POWELEIT: . . . October the 1st. This other one was sunk October the 26th, and we were going back from . . . from Hong Kong, and we picked up these four Americans . . . .

KELLY: Of . . . of another convoy.


KELLY: With 1,800 in that convoy, too.


KELLY: You said there was 1,800 in your convoy, too, didn't you?

POWELEIT: Yeah, there was 1,800 in that one, too.

KELLY: Was it a convoy, or a single ship?

POWELEIT: Just a single ship, I guess.

KELLY: Eighteen, yeah. Okay. All right. So did . . . did you get to talk to them, the ones that had been sunk?

POWELEIT: No. When they picked them up and one of them died, and then one of them lives in Cincinnati, but I don't know where he lives. I 01:52:00met him one time. I think that he's dead, too. But they don't . . . didn't let us . . . . and then they finally let one of the medical officers, not ours, in the other group, talk to them, and they . . . they put some canvas over the top of them, and that's . . . and then . . . and then on . . . of course, and then we zigzagged. We were in . . . in a . . . in a group. I think there were seven in the convoy or something like that. And I was on the deck then, and I heard this thing, you could see in a distance, and they . . . one ship-I could see this really plainly- the torpedo hit that ship, and before the debris hit the bottom, the ship had sunk.

KELLY: Really?

POWELEIT: And they were just loaded with . . .

KELLY: You saw that?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I saw it.

KELLY: You saw that ship go down?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I saw it go down and I said, "Jesus."

KELLY: Did that jolt you?

POWELEIT: I said, "Boy, I hope they don't get us!" [Chuckle] I was on top. I said, "You're in the bottom."


KELLY: Yeah, you can't . . . you don't have time to worry about the other guy, do you?


KELLY: You can't . . . you can't . . . you can't give them much empathy, because you got to worry about your own survival, don't you?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: Well, we've talked a long time. Maybe we ought to kind of bring this . . .

POWELEIT: That's okay. That's okay, whatever. Go ahead, it's all right.

KELLY: Are you all right?

POWELEIT: Yeah, I'm all right.

KELLY: Okay. On that ship . . .

POWELEIT: This guy just died.

KELLY: I mean I . . . I can't imagine . . .

POWELEIT: This guy just died, John [Eldred?].

KELLY: Did he?


KELLY: Yeah, I . . .

POWELEIT: I knew him.

KELLY: . . . was hoping to get to talk to him.


KELLY: Just . . . you know, I can't . . . I can't visualize how someone could endure that. You're . . . are you in the dark? Is it dark down there?

POWELEIT: Heck, yeah. There was no light except what little came in from the . . .

KELLY: And the . . . the stench has got to be something that you can't describe.

POWELEIT: Well, it was just like an outhouse.


KELLY: It'd be worse than an outhouse, wouldn't it?


KELLY: Were you able to get the bodies out, usually, within a day or so?


KELLY: You didn't have that problem.

POWELEIT: The Japs were very good about it. They'd call and they'd send a rope down and we tie them up and . . .

KELLY: Send them out.

POWELEIT: . . . and pull them up.

KELLY: How did . . . you know, how did the . . . the troops behave under those conditions? I mean did they punch each other? Did they fuss at each other? Did they lose their patience with each other?

POWELEIT: They did on another ship, and then the Japanese, I don't know whether they shot down or told them that if they didn't keep cool, they'd cover it up all together. But, you know, . . . but ours were . . . they were so subdued, they didn't . . .

KELLY: No. We're you talking about . . . you're talking about kind of a little riot toward . . . sort of a mutiny against the Japanese, and you said they shot down in there. I'm talking about how they treated each other.

POWELEIT: Well, most of them tried to do what they could for each other, 01:55:00I thought, you know.

KELLY: Did they talk to each other?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: Did you . . .

POWELEIT: They always talked . . . all they talked about was food.

KELLY: That was an obsession with you?

POWELEIT: Everything there was a food.

KELLY: Well, when . . . when . . . when they fed you, how did . . . how did . . . how did they do that? Did they . . . did they send buckets down on a rope or something?

POWELEIT: They sent the buckets down on a rope, you see.

KELLY: Then how did you pass that around?

POWELEIT: Some of them, they'd . . . some . . . well, they . . . well, we passed . . . they passed a . . . they'd have some pans or something around, and we'd dip it out. Well, I wasn't the one that was dipping it out, but they'd always pass out as much as they could, you know.

KELLY: Did they . . . did they have a little canteen or something?

POWELEIT: Yeah. They used one of their . . . you know, those canteens that they had for rice. It was . . . so it wasn't really . . .

KELLY: I mean they had their own little plate, kind of like a mess kit.

POWELEIT: Well, they . . . they couldn't . . .

KELLY: Each . . . each . . . each troop had that.


KELLY: And so the bucket would come down, and . . . and you'd get a helping?



KELLY: Well, was there any pigging? Anybody trying to get more than his share and fighting over food or . . .

POWELEIT: Not there. They might have voted in the kitchen, but . . . but they would try to rationalize it pretty good.

KELLY: And ration it out.


KELLY: What do you attribute that to? I mean . . . I mean how . . . how do you . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I think they all knew that if they didn't get something, they were going to die. And it was a question of honesty, because if they tried to be dishonest, somebody would . . .

KELLY: Get them?

POWELEIT: . . . get them, yeah.

KELLY: Well, I guess there is a lot of pressure, too, between . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: . . . between troops.


KELLY: Yeah. Well, let's go on back onto Formosa. That's . . . that's a pretty nasty trip. And as you look back on this thing, having gone through the experience, you're a young doctor then and 01:57:00you're evidently well-read and worldly and so on and so forth, but you're not prepared for any kind of shock like what you're going to see. And then you . . . you . . . you survive it, and then you're . . . you come back and you practice medicine all these years and come back to the normal routine. How would you assess the meaning of that experience to you, how it changed you and for good or better or worse or whatever?

POWELEIT: Well, you know, at first when I got back here, Jesus, you know, I had a little memory defect, too. We were . . . well, to get back . . . just a little bit back, we were in Formosa at this place in Shirakawa, and I . . . and I lost . . . I laid my . . . I 01:58:00had these little books I was keeping, and I . . . and thought . . . about two weeks later I . . . I said, "I wonder where I laid those?" And I couldn't remember where I laid them. So . . . so one of these English boys, he says, "Hey, do you want these books?" I says, "Yeah, where . . . where are they?" And he says, "They're up here." He says, "You want them?" So I copied some of that stuff that I have here on notes but I forgot where I left . . . left them, you see? After that I took relatively good care, because those were the ones that I wrote that book.

KELLY: You kept a diary on a daily basis?

POWELEIT: Every day. I threw . . . they're all gone, but I . . . after I put this in the book. The book is a diary there. Anything that was irrelevant I didn't put in there.

KELLY: It probably would have been relevant to a lot of people, though.

POWELEIT: It probably would have been. But I thought, "Well!" But, you know, like this conversation with this . . . this Japanese, you know, I . . . I listened to him and I asked . . . I was hungry 01:59:00and I said, "Hell, I don't want to listen to that crap." You know how it is. You don't listen to him. But I thought, well . . . and then, in fact, I . . . I wrote some of it down in the . . . the diary that I had, you know. We were there several days or a week or so, and he . . . I wrote it down there, and then . . . and I just . . . few things, you know. He says . . . I wrote down when he called Weaver "Weevil." And . . . and that he had six battalions of tanks, I put that down, you know, and . . . and I . . . well, he . . . I put down the . . . the timetable he told me.

KELLY: Do . . . do you feel like that . . . that having gone through the experience, that changed you so that you appreciate more of 02:00:00what you had, or . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I learned one thing, patience. I hear these people talk about waiting. I thought, "Boy, you should have been where I was! And you want to talk about waiting, and where I had to wait!"

KELLY: Patience. And that has a value to it, doesn't it?


KELLY: I mean in other words, a lot . . . a lot of people get upset and . . . and it wouldn't bother you at all because you . . . you've . . . was that the biggest thing you got out of it, do you think?

POWELEIT: Well, that's . . .

KELLY: One of the bigger things?

POWELEIT: Yeah, one of the things. I say, "You've got to take what comes on. You can't do anything about it."

KELLY: And take it in stride.

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: On . . . on the . . . on the survivors, you know, there's some of them that just sort of gave up and quit.

POWELEIT: That's what happened. Some of them didn't want to eat and r- . . . eat the rice . . .

KELLY: Well, . . .

POWELEIT: . . . and they died.

KELLY: . . . can you . . . can you describe the difference between the two types, one who would fight and one that gave up?

POWELEIT: Well, I think it had something to do with how you're brought 02:01:00up as a child, you know.

KELLY: I mean some are taught, "Fight, fight, fight," and some are . . . never experienced that.

POWELEIT: When I . . . when I was brought up, I was bro-. . . . I . . . I . . . . my mother died when I was in . . . seven . . . I was seven or eight years old, and I was in the orphan home for five years.

KELLY: So you had to fight right there, didn't you?

POWELEIT: Yeah, and we didn't get enough to eat [chuckling] there!

KELLY: So you've been hungry all your life!


KELLY: Are you a big eater now?

POWELEIT: I . . . well, I can, yeah, but I'm not . . . I don't eat like I used to. But I . . . I was really . . .

KELLY: Do you enjoy food?

POWELEIT: Oh, heck, yeah. This is why I said, well, you know, . . .

KELLY: You've kept your figure. Well, you know, you haven't lost your . . . . you've got your weight under control.

POWELEIT: Yeah, right now, but I was sick. And, you know, I . . . we were in this orphan home, and . . . and there was a Dutchman, he ran the thing. And I'd say, you know, I . . . I was hungry there, too, and I said to my brother, I says, "Art," I says . . . he says, "There's chicken . . . eat that chicken feed that they had." So we ate . . . we'd fill our pockets and eat that chicken feed all the 02:02:00time. You know, I guess I . . . I had good teeth. I still have a couple missing, but I still got all my teeth.

KELLY: But you were eating . . .

POWELEIT: Another thing, in these camps I told . . . we had a lot of scurvy, and I told these guys, I said . . . take these alabong bong trees that . . . in the Philippines. I says, "Eat those leaves!" I says, "It's like orange juice." And they wouldn't eat them. I ate them. I . . . I didn't get any scurvy. And I ate . . . and this Cogan grass was something, and it had some B-. . . B-12 or B- . . . the equivalent of your B complex, and I ate that and I didn't . . . I got some . . . towards the last I got this . . . a lot of fluid in my legs, though. That was when we were in Formosa because they didn't have the trees, not like they had in the Philippines.

KELLY: So . . .

POWELEIT: But, you know, I was thinking . . . while I was thinking, 02:03:00you were talking about this. I think that if . . . if . . . if any . . . our governor here, if she was really interested in making a name for herself, she should have a room put down there at the . . . the Old State Capitol, or even in the new state capitol here, because what . . .

KELLY: You mean . . . you mean a museum?

POWELEIT: Yeah, not the . . . not the . . . we got a plaque at the military museum at Frankfort, but this should be put . . . we . . . we really saved Midway. Our . . . and it . . . I'm sure . . .

KELLY: What you're . . . what you're saying is that it was a gallant effort and that it was significant . . .

POWELEIT: And it . . .

KELLY: . . . in . . . in the . . . in the final outcome of . . . of World War Two, and it hasn't been recognized and should be recognized and . . . and Governor [Martha Layne] Collins ought to . 02:04:00. .

POWELEIT: She ought to make a room down there, or see that the . . . the legislators have . . . I know I talked to Senator [Gus] Sheehan. He's interested in it, and one of our representatives, [William] Donnermeyer's interested in it, but . . . but that's his limit. Floyd Poore, he just got kicked off the thing, he's a friend of mine, and I . . . but he . . . every time they write to this museum down there, [Robert] Kinnard, or whatever his name, is . . .

KELLY: Are . . . are you talking about . . . are you talking about a special room of . . . for memorabilia, a museum-type thing, or are you talking about naming a room after the unit?

POWELEIT: Naming a room after the unit with a picture there. I . . . I . . .

KELLY: You mean a picture of the . . . of the troops?

POWELEIT: Troops or something to commemorate the 192nd Tank Battalion. Something . . . well, here's a . . . there's . . . about two thousand dollars could . . . for a picture of a tank or something that would show significance. They should take . . .


KELLY: Where would you like to have it, in . . . in Frankfort?

POWELEIT: I'd like to see it at the state capitol of Frankfort. This is the . . . one of the factors . . .

KELLY: You're talking about on the yard or on the grounds there?

POWELEIT: Or whatever they put . . . something there to commemorate this 192nd Tank Battalion that saved Midway, saved Australia, saved New Zealand, and . . . and . . . and allowed our navy to care-. . . to capitulate. I mean to recuperate.

KELLY: To recuperate.


KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: And I . . .

KELLY: You're . . . you're convinced in your own mind that was the case?

POWELEIT: Well, I'm sure it is. And I . . . and I've talked to other . . . the people that I've talked to are all dead, like . . . like Wickord. He believed that, too, and he said to me . . . I was up at this bay where . . . where they had this Bataan, and this one general or one man . . . one of the men up there, he says, "If this had . . . if they Ken-. . . if this 192nd Tank Battalion had been up in Illinois, they'd have something down in the state capitol." 02:06:00He was one of the representatives there. The same thing was true when . . . when we went up to Company C this last year. We went up there. One of the officers up there said, "If this was . . . had been formed up there at Port Clinton, Ohio, they would have had one at Columbus." And I'm sure they would have. But here we . . .

KELLY: What you're . . . what you're saying . . . I mean, what you're . . . I mean the claim you're making is very significant and, you know . . . you know it's on par with what Clark did up around Illinois there, you know, and it's on . . . it's on par with the importance of it. So I think you're right. It has gotten a lot of publicity, the Death March, but not Company . . . not the 192nd . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, but that's what . . .

KELLY: . . . and what they did.

POWELEIT: That's what really . . . their defense of the Philippines allowed . . . kept the Philippines from being . . . as long as 02:07:00the Philippines wasn't contained, it posed a threat to the supply line of the Japanese. And as long as it supposed . . . posed a threat to it, they didn't invade Australia, they didn't invade New Zealand, and they didn't take Midway.

KELLY: Do you know any scholars on . . . that . . . that worked on World War Two in the Pacific and in the Philippines from the University of Cincinnati or anywhere, U.K. or . . .

POWELEIT: The people I know are all dead now.

KELLY: Well, I'll tell you, I'm going to . . . I'm going to stir this thing a little bit, and I'd like to get any information that you have. I'll give you my address.

POWELEIT: I want to show you this while we are thinking about it.

KELLY: Are you going to give me a copy of that?

POWELEIT: I'm going to give you the whole damn thing. Is that still on there?

KELLY: Yeah, we're on.

POWELEIT: Oh, Christ! [Laughs]

KELLY: Well, before we start talking about this and turn it off, I want . . . I want to get . . . I want to get . . . well, is there anything else in particular that you want to put on here?

POWELEIT: The only thing I think we should . . . I think as Americans, we should tell what's going on. We should have this 02:08:00Philippine holocaust. Let the American people know about the hell . . . Philippine holocaust, the Palawan holocaust, the . . .

KELLY: Was Palawan where they burned those guys?

POWELEIT: The Corregidor holocaust. And in this holocaust under the Japanese occupation, over a million Filipinos died. They were part of our country, and in the prison camps over half . . . fifty percent of the Americans that died, they were the garrison on Guam, Wake, and the . . . and the . . . and the Philippines, and the islands of the Philippines, and in Germany it was less than one percent, but it was fifty percent in our . . . on the Japanese when they took care of us. And I think that the civilians that they are always talking about, the civilians, in many cases, were treated just like the . . . the . . . the prisoners of war, the American civilians. When 02:09:00one of them American doctors out of [Santa Tomas?], he . . . he wrote down that they . . . that this one died from malnutrition or starvation, they wanted him to change it. He didn't do it so they cut his head off. How would you like that? And I . . . and I . . .

KELLY: Where was this?

POWELEIT: Down . . . it was either at [El Banios?] or [Santa Tomas?]. He wouldn't say that . . . he wanted the . . . he'd turn it in to the Japanese as malnutrition. And he says . . . and starvation, that the patient died from.

KELLY: And they wouldn't accept it?

POWELEIT: No, they . . .

KELLY: They cut his head off?

POWELEIT: . . . cut his head off. So after that, they . . . nobody got their heads cut off.

KELLY: You're saying . . . you're saying that . . . that the holocaust that occurred there hadn't received its due?

POWELEIT: It should be . . . we should talk about the holocaust of the Americans.

KELLY: As well as the others.

POWELEIT: That's our media. You don't hear them talk about the 330,000 that died in the . . . in Europe or the two million that were 02:10:00injured. You figure the Filipinos that died, a million of Filip-. . . Filipinos, the Americans that died in the . . . in there, and the sixty-or-some thousand that died in the east, almost makes two million Americans that died in this whole thing.

KELLY: When you think about World War Two and what happened to you there, are . . . are you . . . are your feelings of ang- . . . hostile and anger? Are you . . . are you mad about all of this?

POWELEIT: The thing that really irks me is the little that they say about the Americans that . . .

KELLY: Suffered.

POWELEIT: . . . that lost their lives, yeah.

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: Do you ever . . . do you ever think about that? I mean did that ever occur to you, how little is thought about the Americans?

KELLY: What sacrifice they paid . . .


KELLY: . . . and what they did.

POWELEIT: Yeah. I really mean it. Why . . . how do you feel about it? That's what I . . .

KELLY: Well, I hadn't . . . I hadn't thought about it to the extent that you have and, you know, . . .


POWELEIT: And I . . . I think that . . .

KELLY: . . . and I . . . I was . . . I was in the Vietnam War, and I was on a campus. I was a professor of military science there, and . . . and I . . . I was a target of . . . of that hostility toward the military. But, you know, I accepted that as being people that were misinformed.

POWELEIT: My . . . my son, he was . . . he was in the Vietnamese. He wasn't there . . . he was in the navy.

KELLY: Umhmm. Umhmm. So I . . . but I . . . I don't feel like the media has done a good job of . . . of . . . of covering the Vietnam War, for example, or . . . or covering the threat to . . . to the . . . to our way of . . . of life and so on and so forth. But, on the other hand, too, I think that, you know, that they've done a lot of good things, too.

POWELEIT: Well, I think the military, but I don't think our media has really done what it should do.

KELLY: You think they've really dropped the ball?

POWELEIT: Oh, I should say so. Just like I told these people, they talk about the . . . what the president can do, and what can't . . . 02:12:00what he can't do. He can't do much of anything except veto or suggest something. It's Section VII of Article I of our Constitution, that the representative, where all bills and everything is . . . .

KELLY: I have to turn . . .

[End of Tape 2, Side 1]

[Beginning of Tape 2, Side 2]

KELLY: We're going to continue.

POWELEIT: I said . . . so I was just saying, it's not the president, it's . . . it's the congressmen or the representatives that really . . . Article I, Section VII of our Constitution, it says specifically, all bills of revenue et cetera has to have their origin in . . . in . . . with their House of Re-. . . House of Representatives. And I . . . is that going then?

KELLY: We're going.

POWELEIT: And . . . and . . . and . . . and I don't think that our media has really been fair to the . . . to the Americans who 02:13:00died in the Far East or Vietnam or Korea or any of these places. I really don't! You . . . you have all these other countries, we're honoring them and all that other stuff, but what does the American . . . I'm on this . . . I'm on this medical advisors for the POWs of the . . . of the United States. And . . . and I . . . and look what . . . what we have to do to fight to get some of these POWs . . . they don't have their 201 Files. The fellows from Guam, Wake, or the Philippines, they . . . they don't have their . . . and they just sort of . . . well, they go on there and . . . and they say, "Where's your 201 File? Where's your connection?" Well, they don't have any 201 File!

KELLY: And they don't get the cooperation of . . .

POWELEIT: And they . . . they passed this bill, this Bill PL9737, which you don't have to show up and . . . and mark them POW, but 02:14:00they still don't pay much attention to them.

KELLY: You feel like that the . . . that the American POW of World War Two had not been looked after to the extent that he should have been looked after by . . . by . . . by his government?

POWELEIT: That's right.

KELLY: And . . .

POWELEIT: I . . . I don't think it's . . .

KELLY: . . . and also that they haven't been recognized not only by the government and the governor, but by the media and . . . of . . . of the sacrifices that they've made.

POWELEIT: They made. Yeah, that's what I say. I don't . . .

KELLY: Are you talking primarily about World War Two, or are you talking about all the wars or . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I'm talking about World War Two, . . .

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: . . . and even the Viet-. . . Vietnam and . . . and Korea.

KELLY: Do you . . . are . . . are you communicating and inter- . . . and talking and interacting with other PWs from . . . from the Philippines now?

POWELEIT: Well, there's not many left. I'll tell you what. I just . 02:15:00. .

KELLY: Is . . . is there a kind of an association where you all get together and . . .

POWELEIT: We did, but [chuckling] I think the last one was two years ago. My wife was living, and that's . . . I got interested in this. They wanted somebody to try to get something at the state capitol because some of these other companies, they go down there at . . . to Frankfort and they go in that museum, which is dark, and they can't park, and they say, "Well, gee! At least Kentucky ought to recognize something that . . .

KELLY: Who is saying this?

POWELEIT: POWs from . . .

KELLY: Other states?

POWELEIT: . . . from Maywood, you know, and . . . and Janesville, Wisconsin, and Port Clinton. They were part of our Kentucky . . .

KELLY: So they've just gotten more recognition up there than you're having here?

POWELEIT: Yeah, and they . . . and they said . . . yeah, they th- . . . they thought that what Kentucky should have is a plaque put at the . . . at the state capitol, or some kind of a picture that would really commemorate the outfit.


KELLY: And . . . and tell the story.

POWELEIT: Tell the story. Maybe in a little bronze plaque you could tell what they did. And that's what they said. They . . . they . . . and . . . and I . . . and I think that . . . .

KELLY: Are you a military historian?


KELLY: Have you read in any . . . any . . . anything that's been published on the . . . on the . . . what went on in the Philippines?

POWELEIT: Oh, I've read most of it.

KELLY: Does . . . is there anything written, you know, that tells the story of who was out there delaying, and . . . and what their . . . what was going on?

POWELEIT: Well, the . . . the delaying action was really with a . . .

KELLY: I mean it hasn't really been written up to . . . to where people know that the 192nd was the guys that . . . that held them at bay. Is that what you're saying?

POWELEIT: No, I . . . I should have done this, really, years ago. But I . . . I'm busy here.

KELLY: Right.

POWELEIT: I run a . . . we run about fifty or sixty or seventy patients a day here.

KELLY: Right.


POWELEIT: And . . . and I usually op- . . . this morning I did four operations. My son is doing practically all the . . . I work and stuff.

KELLY: Your son . . . your son is a doctor, too.

POWELEIT: Yeah. Yeah, he's a doctor.

KELLY: Well, I . . . I know I've kept you forever. Have you got anything else you want to say . . .


KELLY: . . . to . . . to the governor or anybody else?

POWELEIT: I would like . . . I would like to see our governor make something for herself, and she could do this. She could gain something that would last or perpetuate her name for the rest of Kentucky's history.

KELLY: Because . . .

POWELEIT: If she would just put a plaque in the state capitol, or a room in the Old State Capitol, to commemorate the 192nd Tank Battalion.

KELLY: Have you . . . have you ever communicated with her?

POWELEIT: I'm going to do it because I . . . I've reached an impasse with Mr. Donnermeyer, who is our state representative, Mr. Poore, and Mr. Sheehan, and several other men that are interested in it. 02:18:00And they've done what they could, but I think it should be up to our governor. And if the governor is . . . if I were the governor, I certainly would do this.

KELLY: All right. Now, you got any . . . you got . . . is there anything else you want to put on here that we . . . that we didn't talk about?

POWELEIT: Well, we talked about almost everything, right?

KELLY: We've covered a lot . . . a lot of ground.


KELLY: All right. Now, I . . . I'd like to sort of wind this thing up with two things. First of all, you're . . . you were . . . were you married when you were over there?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. Two children.

KELLY: Two children. How many . . . how many children do you have now?


KELLY: Were you ever able to communicate with your wife, family at all while you were in the prison camp?

POWELEIT: No, for two years . . . see, they . . .

KELLY: Did they know . . . did she ever know you was a prisoner?

POWELEIT: Oh, yeah. She . . . they told her I was missing in action.

KELLY: But they didn't . . . she didn't know you were captured, though.

POWELEIT: Well, oh, yeah. She knew we were captured. Well, then she got that I was a POW.

KELLY: When did she get that?

POWELEIT: I think about two years after . . . after Bataan.


KELLY: For two years she didn't know whether you were alive . . .

POWELEIT: Or dead, no.

KELLY: . . . dead.


KELLY: Or what your . . . and she . . . did she have any idea at all that you all were being mistreated, malnourished, and . . .

POWELEIT: Well, she really didn't know anything about that. We got to send a . . . I . . . I got one letter from her, and that was . . . she . . . it was about three years . . . well, it was about the third year in a prison camp.

KELLY: You were in Formosa then?


KELLY: You were in Formosa?

POWELEIT: Formosa, yeah.

KELLY: What was that experience like getting one when you hadn't heard from her for three years?

POWELEIT: Well, I was [chuckle] . . . I was wondering where this . . . [son?] was about two years old.

KELLY: Oh, so you didn't really know?

POWELEIT: No, a son, and she's talking about the baby, how it . . . Judy was about two years old then, and . . . and then I . . . then they allowed us to write a thing back, a little card. And so I . . . I didn't think they'd get back, so I wrote on them, "Buy Liberty Bonds." And she . . . she figured I was all right. She says anybody 02:20:00who would write something like that . . .

KELLY: Is okay.

POWELEIT: . . . must be living. [Laughs]

KELLY: Yeah. Yeah.

POWELEIT: That's how she figured I was still living.

KELLY: This was toward the end of the war, too?

POWELEIT: Just before the end of the war.

KELLY: All right. What was your father's name?

POWELEIT: Charles.

KELLY: And when did the family come to the United States, do you know? It's been here for generations?

POWELEIT: Let's see. I just figured one of my grandfathers was . . . great-grandfathers was in the Civil War, and now related to Bunning, by his wife. They're cou- . . . third cousins. And my . . . and one of my uncles, they were in the Spanish American War, and my father was in World War One. And then one of my great-grandmother's brother- in-laws, she married the youngest one, they were killed at the Alamo. 02:21:00Their name was Thomas.

KELLY: Your . . . on your mother's side?

POWELEIT: My mother's side, yeah. [Chuckle] And I . . . we would always kid, you know. We . . . she'd . . . we'd . . . they'd say well . . . she'd tell about the Thomas who was killed at the Alamo. I was about five or six years old, and I thought . . .

KELLY: Your great-great . . .

POWELEIT: Great-great grandma, yeah. And I says . . . so I said when Al and the kids were down and we were going down to Mexico. Alli was about seventeen, and I said, "Let's go over and see if they . . . if that's really true," and sure enough, there was the name Thomas on the damn bronze on there. And I said, "I guess she was telling us the truth." I says [chuckle] . . . I said . . . and then . . .

KELLY: Who . . . who was that who told you that, your grandmother?

POWELEIT: Great-grand-. . . . yeah, my great-grandmother. She was telling us that, you know, when we were kids. She was real old. She was about . . .

KELLY: You were just a little guy.

POWELEIT: . . . ninety, yeah.

KELLY: You remember that?


KELLY: All right. Do you . . . do you remember what Thomas it was that was killed there?

POWELEIT: I don't know, just Thomas. They wrote . . .

KELLY: T-h-. . . .


POWELEIT: T-h-m-o-s, a-m-o-s, or something like that, I don't remember.

KELLY: All right. You . . . you had two children when you were in prison camp?


KELLY: Did you have any more after you got back?


KELLY: Can you just say a few words about that reunion, when you came back, what that was like?

POWELEIT: Well, when I got home, Loretta was up getting the house . . .

KELLY: Did you come right from Formosa into the United States, or did you go back to the Philippines?

POWELEIT: No, I went to the Philippines and was there for awhile.

KELLY: Manila?

POWELEIT: Yeah. And then strangely, we were on this boat and we were going out on this boat and we were going through the Straits of San Bernardino, you know, and they sighted a land mine. I guess it would have been night we'd have blown up with that damn land mine. And . . . and they hollered, "Land mine ahead!" So they got . . . they opened up on there and blew it up the . . . the Marines on the boat blew the thing up.

KELLY: By shooting it . . .



KELLY: . . . with a . . .

POWELEIT: Gun, yeah.

KELLY: . . . with a gun.


KELLY: And you'd have thought that'd be a heck of a way to go.

POWELEIT: And we came into Los Angeles. About 400 miles we come into Los Angeles. They had hams packed up on the deck, and . . . and potatoes. And I said to that Marine-he was guarding it, you know, had a gun-. . .

KELLY: Who . . . who had these . . . these things?

POWELEIT: The Americans did.

KELLY: Was this . . . was this a ship loaded with prisoners, or was it . . .

POWELEIT: Yeah, P-. . . POWs and we were on this POW ship.

KELLY: Was it a whole bunch of you?


KELLY: Well, by this time, were you fattened up any or were you still as skinny as a rail?

POWELEIT: Still skinny, and I says to the . . . I said, "What are you going to do with these hams?" And that guy . . . that Marine said, "We're going to throw them overboard." I says, "The potatoes, too?" And he says, "Yeah." I says, "Hey," I says, "how about letting some of these POWs?" I said, "They'd like to have one of those hams." He says, "Go ahead." And he went over to the other side of the boat, and the next . . . when he come back, there wasn't a ham or a potato left.


KELLY: They got hold of them and ate them.

POWELEIT: Yeah. And so when we got into Frisco, this Summerville, this General Summerville, we had the . . . we had these bags, you know, and . . . and they had them open them up and see what they had in them. And they all had hams and potatoes [chuckle] and . . . and, you know, he had a . . . . looked like he was crying when he saw that.

KELLY: Saw you all? Who was it, the mayor?

POWELEIT: Summerville. General Summerville.

KELLY: Oh, General Summerville.

POWELEIT: Did you ever hear of him?

KELLY: Yes! I mean, the sight . . .

POWELEIT: He's dead now, I guess, isn't he?

KELLY: Yeah. But just seeing you all just . . . had empathy for you?

POWELEIT: Well, yeah. Hell, we all weighed 110 pounds.

KELLY: Well, what . . . what kind of welcome did you get on the . . . on the wharf? Did you get a band and people singing and . . .

POWELEIT: Not many.

KELLY: Uh-huh. Was your wife there?

POWELEIT: No, she was home with the kids.

KELLY: So when you come home to your family, tell me about that.

POWELEIT: Okay. I went to Letterman [Air Force Base] and then . . . and then went home and let's see. I came . . . let's see, I 02:25:00can't. How in the devil . . . where in the devil did they send us? Oh, they sent us to . . . on a train. I was going home on a train and I got off at Louisville, and then I come back on a train and up to Covington and I got off there. There was nobody there, you know. And I had this . . .

KELLY: Exited and . . .

POWELEIT: . . . no. There was no other train. They didn't have buses. They were coming up on a train, and got off their train and I got a . . . got a cross-. . . cross-town streetcar and went over to . . . I got a Covington . . . Newport and Covington street car, and got over . . . went down and got a car . . . a cross-town, and I had just about lugged that junk along that I had. And then I got cross-town and I got a Bellevue and Dayton. We lived in Bellevue. I got off there and . . . and I had this bag on there, 02:26:00and some woman looked at me and she thought she knew me. I guess she knew me but I looked so darn bad, I guess she didn't even know . . . know who in the heck I was. And she . . . and I got in the house and . . . and Judy, she was only two years old when I left, and she was six . . . five or six, and she looked at me and she says, "Who are you?" I said, "I'm your father!" She says, "Daddy?" And I says, "Yeah!"' She says, "Are you away from those Japanese monkeys?" [Laughs]

KELLY: Ah! Well, this lady that you didn't recognize, who was that?

POWELEIT: I don't know who she was, but . . .

KELLY: Yeah.

POWELEIT: . . . I thought she . . .

KELLY: But anyway, you just came right on home, and then you . . . and then you saw your little child there, who was six now.

POWELEIT: Yeah, uh-huh.

KELLY: What . . . what'd your wife . . . what was her reaction? She was . . . .

POWELEIT: Oh, she was so glad to see me and she . . .

KELLY: Was she shocked?

POWELEIT: . . . she started crying. And . . .

KELLY: Because of . . . of your appearance?


KELLY: Yeah. So how long did it take you to get . . . get all that 02:27:00out of your system and . . .

POWELEIT: Well, . . .

KELLY: . . . get on with your life?

POWELEIT: . . . I tried to get some . . . because we started eating. Well, I . . . you know, the funny thing was, you know, you . . . the . . . the meat, you know, it was rationed.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: So . . . so the . . . the fellow says, "You can only get a certain piece of meat." [Chuckle] "Well," I says . . . you know I thought, "Only a piece of meat?" I says . . .

KELLY: You had been doing without meat for four years.

POWELEIT: Yeah, been doing . . . yeah.

KELLY: Three years [Inaudible].

POWELEIT: Yeah. But I got pretty . . . when they really tried to feed us enough.

KELLY: Did you feel a euphoric feeling when you kind of got back on the food again? One of the . . . Hourigan was telling me that, you know, once he got to eat a little bit, you know, he had a . . . felt like he'd taken on . . . like he'd taken a drug or something, he got so high.

POWELEIT: You know, I . . . I . . . they dropped the food down on Formosa on us, and it killed a . . . one of the Formosans. And I . 02:28:00. . you know, those army cups, you know how big they are.

KELLY: Umhmm.

POWELEIT: And they . . . I took . . . drank two of those. I hadn't drank any coffee for about three years or so, and I drank that coffee. You know, I got dizzier than the devil. My heart beat like the devil and I . . . you know, I said, "What's the matter with me? I think I'm getting palpitations of the heart," tachycardia. Here it was that coffee. And the guy, when we came back to the psychiatrist, he could barely speak . . . hardly speak English. He says . . . I told him about that and he says . . . he says, "Did you eat . . . when you ate meat?" I said, "We ate some [carba?]." I said, "It made me sick." He said, "What'd you do?" I said, "I threw up." He says, "Well," he says, "don't you think that was your imagination?" I says, "Yeah, but," I says, "I tried some more of it, and I got sick again." And he said, "Well, how about the next day?" I said, "Well, I did some more, but I didn't throw it up anymore."


POWELEIT: Let's see.

KELLY: Well, did . . . would you . . . would you be able to 02:29:00say that after going through that experience, that . . . that you appreciate just about everything you . . . every blessing you've had since?

POWELEIT: Listen, I'm going to tell you this. There is no place like the United States. There's no country that has a Constitution that we have. Why do you think these people want to come to the United States? Because of our Constitution! And yet we have liberals, extremists, socialists, communistic people that want to change it. They want to change this . . . this Con- . . . you've probably read this conservation . . .

KELLY: This freedom, yeah, that we have.

POWELEIT: . . . cause. Trilateralists, genocides, the . . . this new states American Constitution and this Constitutional Convention. And if our . . . if our congressmen or our representatives didn't do what they do, we wouldn't have all this deficit.

KELLY: Are you saying that . . . that you're . . . you mean your 02:30:00appreciation for your freedom is . . . is . . .

POWELEIT: I'm a patriot! I'm a . . . I'm strong for nationalism, and I . . . and any man who runs for our country should uphold the Constitution of the United States.

KELLY: Are you saying that having gone through that experience, that it . . . that it . . .

POWELEIT: That's what I . . .

KELLY: . . . increased your appreciation for the Constitution . . .

POWELEIT: I should say it did!

KELLY: . . . tenfold or something or many times?

POWELEIT: I think it's . . . I think it's the greatest thing we have in this country.

KELLY: Did you think that before you went over there or . . .

POWELEIT: I always thought we were . . . I was always an American. My father was an American, and he talked a lot, and so did my grandfather.

KELLY: But the . . . but the experience enhanced your . . . your . . .

POWELEIT: Well, I'm sincere.

KELLY: Your appreciation for it.


KELLY: Okay. Anything else you want to put on the record?

POWELEIT: I hope we get something down there at Frankfort, not in the museum, but in the state capitol, and I hope our governor does it.

KELLY: Dr. Poweleit, I want to thank you for taking time to share these experiences with me and posterity, and . . . and I'm . . . have 02:31:00had some experience with military history. I'm . . . I'm . . . had thirty years in the service. I . . . I was . . . studied retrograde operations, and what you have told me about the . . . what the 192nd did speaks very highly of . . . of their morale, their discipline. A delaying operation is the most . . .

POWELEIT: Crucial.

KELLY: . . . difficult to do, and . . . and I'm glad to get this information, and I'll . . . I'll try to find out some more on that subject. Thank you.

[End of Interview]