Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

ADBC Commander, 2006-2007, and 2000-2001

Joseph Alexander


Joseph Alexander, born Joseph Trejo was born in San Antonio Texas where he was born in 1927.  After persuading his non-speaking English speaking grandmother to nod yes when he told her, she gave the Army recruiter the impression that her grandson was old enough to enlist.  Thus, he entered the Army in July 1941 at only 14.  He was assigned to the Army Air Corps and stationed at Clark Air Field in the Philippines as a member of the 440th Ordnance Aviation Bombardment Squadron/  He became a POW of Japan at 15 when the Americans surrendered May 6, 1942.  He was sent on the Mitsubishi's Hellship Tottori Maru to Japan via Korea in October 1942.  Alexander became a slave laborer for a Mitsui steel mill in Kawasaki (Tokyo 2B Kawasaki aka "Mitsui Madhouse") turning out structural components for ships.  Later, he was transferred to a number of POW camps working as a stevedore or in steel mills.  He ended up in the Tokyo Base Camp #1 Omori, where POWs mainly engaged in constructing the camp.  He was liberated on August 25, 1945, two days after his 19th birthday.  Returning home he spent two years at Brooke Army Medical Center recuperating and legally changed his name to that of his biological father, Alexander.  Returning to active duty, Alexander was assigned to the motor pool at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. Alexander retired at 37 as a tech sergeant having had spent seventeen years at the Base.  He remained at Kelly as a civilian Civil Service employee until 1983, first in the supply and logistics areas and then in SA-ALC's Distribution Directorate where he expedited parts for use in the TF39, J79, F100 and T56 engine overhaul programs.  After retirement Alexander did  a series of odd jobs and generally enjoyed his free time.  Mr. Alexander was twice elected National Commander, American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) in 2000 and 2006.

Article from Airman magazine, January 1982m  about Joe, A Singular Man.

Joe's home page