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Transcript of Ghost Soldiers
By: Hampton Sides
One of the most tragic but unknown stories of WW2 told by the victims
Where- Bataan, Manilia, and Cabanatuan in the Philippines.
When- It takes place during the World War 2 era when American and Allied forces try to liberate the Philippines from the invading Japanese Imperial Army.
- Captain Robert Prince
- 31st Army Infantry
- 121 Army Rangers
-Colonel Henry Mucci
The Battle of Bataan when the 31st infantry were forced to surrender to the Japanese. The Surviving soldiers were forced to walk from Bataan to Cabanatuan and were held captive there. The Military handpicked 121 Army Rangers to rescue them. The prisoners were faced with malnutrition, weather and the guards. The 121 Rangers were faced with the terrain and a plan to liberate the camp. They all battled diseases and other jungle typed problems
Chapter 1- The 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry regiment lay in fox holes and ditches, pinned down by heavy Japanese artillery. Doctor Ralph Hibbs who had a severe case of malaria, was responsible for the 700 men's health. Most of the soldiers actual enemy were all the diseases, then the actual Japanese. The General of the Americans ordered his men to surrender, since most of them were dead anyways, which led into the Bataan Death March
Chapter 2- The 121 Rangers get the orders to go liberate and rescue the captive prisoners. While they are hiking to the prison camp they are forced to evade many passing japanese soldiers.
This book takes place from the prisoners and the rescuers point of view, switching from chapter to chapter
Chapter 3- The starving and thirsty prisoners are tortured, beaten and deprived of everything. They are placed in front of a cool, running stream and forced to stand there to watch and listen to the flowing water. One prisoner broke and took a drink of the water and was decapitated by a guard.
Chapter 4- The 121 Rangers meet up with the Philippine guerillas and advance towards the prison camp, while walking dead birds started to drop out of the sky because of disease, but the locals think its the mythical "demon" their ancestors spoke of.
Chapter 5- The prisoners are forced to work for most of the day in the blistering heat of the day. They are only given a dirty stream to drink out of and a ball of rice the size of a baseball. If they stop working, they'll be beaten or killed. To make room or just to kill, the guards would make 20 people dig a giant trench, and then the guards would shoot them and out them in the trench. These trenches were called mass graves and over 100 of them were found after the war.
Chapter 6- The 121 Rangers and the guerillas arrive in a small village and camp there. Without them knowing, the village had prepared a giant feast for the soldiers before their raid on the Cabanatuan prison. This time was fun, but stressful because they were worried about planning and that one of the villagers might be a scout for the Japanese.
Chapter 7- Talked about brave civilians that would smuggle resources into the prison. Most were farmers but some were undercover Americans who risked their lives for the prisoners. This risky process was controlled by priests outside the prison. They would hire scouts and runners to carefully watch and record Japanese movements inside and outside the camp. One American lady named Margaret Utinsky, who worked at a night club was also a spy. She would be captured and tortured by Japanese officials and later released
Chapter 8- The rescue forces near the camp while American Alamo scouts were drawing a map of the prison. Alamo scouts at that time were considered the elite of the elite scouts. They would dress up as farmers and walk up to the front gate and sell vegetables while scouting the inside. Then at night the Rangers would begin their slow crawl across the rice paddies towards the prison.
Chapter 9- Being in the prison for more than 10 months, the prisoners begin to make good of the situation. The diseases are going away, and the Japanese forces are leaving the area. Since the Japanese forces were very minimal, the prisoners raided the pantries and gathered everything. They killed the livestock and gathered everything in sight.
Chapter 10- The Rangers and guerillas crawl to their positions. As the fear of being spotted was gradually increasing, the soldiers were becoming more intense. Prior to this they had called in a distraction to draw the Japanese's attention away from the others. This plane was a p-61 and was very weird looking for the time age. As the plane kept the guards busy, the soldiers slowly got into their positions.
Chapter 11- A large force of Japanese were stopping through the prison, so the night before the raid, there were more Japanese soldiers in the camp then there were POW's. As the place became more crowded, sanitation became a concern again. Flies started to come back and they were everywhere. The constant racket of tanks and trucks kept the prisoners paranoid and deprived them of sleep.
Chapter 12- As the raid was started by the Americans, the onslaught was major. Dead Japanese soldiers were being killed merciless and awoke the prisoners from their sleep. The prisoners thought this was just a prank to get them vulnerable to be killed. As the Rangers started to extract people, the prisoners were being stubborn and hid like "Scared children. " The Rangers were starting to drag and throw prisoners outside the gates. For hours the Rangers were finding hiding prisoners and forcing them to come out.
Chapter 13- While the Rangers were extracting prisoners back to friendly lines, the guerillas were in the fight of their lives. Fighting for nearly an hour or so, the guerillas headed home.
Never leave a soldier behind
"We are all ghosts now, but once we were men"
-Unknown diary recovered from the Cabanatuan prison camp