Defenders of the Philippine

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Poetry coming from the hardened battle conditions reflects desperation and a seeking of sense.   There are numerous poems here.  They follow each other in alphabetical order by title.

Henry Lee is known at the Poet of Bataan-see his page for more on his story.  His books are copyrighted and we are working on permission to print

APRIL 9th OF ‘42


A bloody day I say to you,
That 9th of April’42.
When we had backed right to the shore,
Beyond which lay Corregidor,
Across the channel in the bay
Her guns were silent, as if to say,
“You fought them hard, we know you’re
Our guns would help you, if they knew
But jungles hide you, we don’t know
We might hit friend—instead of foe.”
Bataan surrendered!—Hope had gone,
And left the “Rock” to carry on
She rose to make one final thrust
And then fell back, mid blood and dust.
You fought in jungles, mountain, plain,
You fought for life, it seemed in vain
You learned to dodge both bomb and shell
You learned to laugh, when life was hell
You learned to fight without a gun
You learned to stick and never run.
You’re tired and hungry; sleepless nights
These jungle trails; Manila lights.
A gun that jammed, a screaming mare
Her guts ripped out, a burning flare,
A crippled tank, that hit a mine,
A heavy hit and weakened line
A field pieces split, right to the breech.
A landing boat upon the beach
A plane that fell and failed to rise
The pilot dead; His staring eyes,
A sniper hid up in a tree
Observers looking—Hard to see,
The setting sun—A flash of steel
A breathless scout, too numb to feel.
A guarded match, a flickering light
They must attack, no morn this night
A whispering challenge, “foe or friend?”
Good God!  This night will never end
Where is the help they said would come
Where is the help?  We’re nearly done
The line is falling, can’t reform
We’re falling back—How long til morn
“The C.P. Please Must stop this route,”
“I’m sorry sir, the line is out”
A flag of truce unfurled to breeze
A gallant force brought to its knees
And slowly cam the realization
No cheer of joy and no elation.
They’d done their best, the going’s tough
Their best was good, but not enough…

  by William E. Galos

May 1942

BATAAN By Frank Tiscareno

APRIL 1942







 For my friend Capt. Kermit Lay, U.S. Army (survivor) Awarded
Silver Star Bronze Star (2) Purple Heart (2)

Poem by Frank R. Tiscareno, VFW

BATAAN by Grayford (Peter) Payne


9 April 1942 a day we remember well, for
it was the living Hell.
In a far, far distant land there was a little
spot called Bataan.
The real estate we held near the end, they
said it only measured, ten by ten.
The fighting was fierce just for a delay, so
MacArthur could prepare to return someday.
When the artillery ceased, and the smoke
cleared away, white flags were raised,
that sad day.
There were hundreds of lives lost and
much blood shed that day, so you could
live the American way.
So think of them kind, and with a smile,
cause that has been a long, long while.

 Grayford (Peter) Payne  Bataan Vet.


Bataan Falls!  Bataan.
Like the tramp of feet on the road of doom,
Like the bomber’s roar…like the canon’s boom.
Like the drums of death the words command
Men and women of every land
To stop! To listen! To understand!
To pulse our hearts to the weary beat. . .
Advance. . .retreat. . .advance . . .
There is glory in such defeat.
For every man gave the best he had,
Bearded veteran. . .beardless lad
Gave of his strength, his hope, his life
For mother, brother, friend and wife.
Unknown heroes whose fame is sung
When “Bataan” is uttered by any tongue.
Take those banners from wounded hands
And carry the battle to stricken lands.
Work and sacrifice, hope and give.
That glorious word must forever live,
Symbol of courage.  That splendid name
Should be stamped with blood and seared
With flame
On the heart of every woman and man,
Dare to forget it . . .if you can!


By Don Blanding April 9, 42


Battling Bastards of Bataan

We're the battling bastards of Bataan;
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces
And nobody give a damn
Nobody gives a damn.

by Frank Hewlett  1942

 The Warriors Lament

I’ve been to Mindoro and Mindanao
Out of Shanghai and Chinwantao
I’ve been a P.O.W. because of MacArthurs
Enslaved by the Japanese was not jolly.

 I’ve been to conventions
To recall the good days
Where the warriors were suits
And the ladies Nosegays.

 While I look at our thinning ranks
The chaplain say a prayer of thanks
I remember the dried fish for those
Who managed to get it past their nose.

 I remember the rice and the mongo beana
Now this all seems like a dream
But the dream becomes real
When we look at the fact
That Doug out Doug left us holding the

 Starvation and slavery
Had taken its toll
Too late for some men
When we learned
That General MacArthur
Had finally returned.

 The landing craft with staff hand picked
Hit the beach while the cameras clicked
They waded ashore with the greatest of
While the troops in Manila fought the

 Hand to hand combat no rest in sight
The Japanese were no match
For American might.
This is all in the past
And it may be too late
To keep American warriors
From the same Fate.

 Ben Lohman, U.S.M.C.
University of Southern Pacific

Boot Hill

No monuments nor flowers there
Amid the fields of cane.
No birds their songs to fill the air
No trees to shield the rain.

We've watched these things through tear-dimmed eyes--
We've felt a sense of shame.
But now we see as time goes by, 
That we're really not to blame.

No, it's surely not the best,
No glory does it claim--
It's just the place where we've laid to rest
Our friends who've lost the game


Note:  Boot Hill was what the men called the crude cemetery at Camp O' Donnell. One man said there were no ceremonies or prayers for the corpses piled up and placed in a common pit.






By Larry Voss 

Honorable men with a burning desire
To be set free from the cruel barbed wire.

 Prisoners of War is what they claim
Prisoners of Hell is a better name.

 Starvation, disease, torture and pain
Pressures of cruelty driving men insane.

 Forced labor camps when they could hardly stand
Enduring degradation as long as they can.

 Brave men were lost as they passed through the fire
The legacy of love from behind barbed wire.


God Bless all of you men who survived
the horrific hell of the POW camps.  Thank
you for your dedication, your bravery and
the great sacrifice you made to keep our
country free.  We will always be in your
debt as we carry you in our hearts.



We have no fathers and do not care;
We have no mothers anywhere,
We have no Uncle Sam at all.
Just the same we’ll never fall
“The Bastards of Bataan.”

 Miracle Men our fame did spread
Miracle Men whom the Japs did dread.
A brave little band, both near and far,
But to the Japs we always were
“The Bastards of Bataan.”

 We drink and fight and drink again,
A toast to those whose life did end,
But when the Japs do choose to strike
They always meet men able to fight
“The Bastards of Bataan.”

 We live on rice and carabou,
We fight as only God knows how,
Mid Tropic fever running high,
Causing brave white men to die
‘Mong “The Bastards of Bataan.”

 Protectors of an orphan isle
On which the Japs did land.
To them it was a promised land:
Until they came upon our stand,
We “Bastards of Bataan.”

 We live on fame and hope to fly.
We pray and pray, too brave to cry,
But now our dreams and our prayers
Has gained nothing but despair
For the “Bastards of Bataan.”

 We must fight on another day
For our country on its way,
And we’ll be in Manila Bay
To help us save this fight today
For the “Bastards of Bataan.”

 Wainwright’s warriors when McArthur fled,
Wainwright’s warriors of whom half were dead.
Always fighting without a grumble,
Until the east defense did crumble
On the “Bastards of Bataan.”

 Surrender! Throw down your arms!
Return to your store; your market; your farm.
We go back to our occupation,
Which we know has long been taken
From the “Bastards of Bataan.”

 Now in a prison camp are the remainder.
Tormented by hunger, illness, flies, lice.
The battle is over, we did our best.
The men who follow must do the rest
For the “Bastards of Bataan.”
Peace at last to a troubled world,
Homeword bound to our best girl.
A draft dodger she did wed,
While on Bataan brave soldiers bled
Mid the “Bastards of Bataan.”

 Strikes, taxes, tariffs, and tolls
Will destroy the weak and disgust the bold.
Communism, socialism, Nazism too.
With life and living I am through.
I go West and hope for the best
With the “Bastards of Bataan.”


Written by a Service Man while a prisoner of the Japanese.

 In a concentration Camp in the Philippine Islands. 

Writer unknown.


There are clouds across the sun
In this south Pacific Isle
Yes, dark clouds across the sun
And white men no longer smile.
We had comrades who were foolish
That to give "Escape" a try
For they know our captors story
For "Escape" someone will die.

There are widows by the fireside
Who know not of their loss
There are orphans in the classroom
Who must soon take up the cross
That was thrown in useless gesture
By these hopeful waiting lads.
But the loss would have been greater
Had they taken nine more lads.

Too men of "Faith" the sun still shines
And soon there will be a day
When the sky will show the sunshine
And dark war clouds "Go Away"

Written by Major Small, 31st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Department, U.S. Army on the day of the execution of Lt. Colonel Biggs and Breitung and Lt. Gilbert U.S. Navy for trying to escape Sept.-Oct. 1942 from POW Camp No. 1, Cabanatuan, Philippines

(We Americans had posted men along the interior face of the fence.  The Jap guards in the towers would, and did, fire into our compound.  Unfortunately, they had me posted as a guard--closer to the road when this event occurred.)

Note:  The Japanese policy was if one man escaped, 9 others would be shot


Look God, I have never spoken to you--
But now-- I want to day "how do
You do."
 You see, God, they told me You
didn't exist--
And like a fool--I believed all of
Last night from a shell hole I saw
Your sky--
 I figured right then, they had told
 me a lie.
Had I taken the time to see the
things You made,
 I'd have know they weren't
calling a spade a spade.
I wonder, God, if you'd shake my hand?
Somehow--I feel that You will
Funny--I had to come to this hellish place
Before I had time to see Your
Well --I guess there isn't much
more to say.
But I'm sure glad, God, I met You
I guess the 'zero hour' will soon
be here.
But I'm not afraid, since I know
You are near.
The signal-well, God--I'll have
to go.
I like you--This I want You to
Look, now--I'm going into a
Who knows?  I may come to Your
house tonight.
Though I wasn't friendly with
You before
I wonder, God--if You'd wait at
Your door?
Look--I'm crying!  Me!--
Shedding tears!
I wish I'd known You these many
Well I have to go now.  I'll say
Strange--since I met you, God--
I'm not afraid to die.
--Miss Frences Augermayer


Following is a little ditty, song, or poem, or whatever you want to call it.  This was what myself and other men in our battery "C" 59th Coast Artillery) were feeling as the war went on.  Stating the face radio "Cebu" made announcement to mark Feb. 14 on your Calendar.  Myself and Dave have here a little ditty for your approval.  If you wish to sing this, the tune of 'America' will do.

Corregidor, Corregidor,
that guards Manila Bay,
Your 12" disappearing guns
might well be thrown away.
Corregidor, Corregidor
Japs throw their scrap at thee.
You cover up and dig right in,
Deep as the China Sea.

Corregidor, Corregidor,
Ye house thousands of fools
who might have stayed in the U.S.A.
a sitting on bar stools.
Corregidor, Corregidor,
Ye lost forsaken rock,
Oh, would that you had never been
pulled out of Spanish hock.

Corregidor, Corregidor.
Gibraltar of the East.
We hope your promised help will come,
Before we are deceased.
Corregidor, Corregidor,
We bid thee fond adieu
If only we had angel wings,
We'd fly and say, (Nuts to you).

Composed Feb. 20, 1942
David Brenzel
Clement P. Schmitt
59th Coast Artillery
Battery C.
Corregidor, P.I.

sent in by Clement Schmitt

(author unknown)

The following poem was written on the back of a letter post marked, Prisoner of War Mail, March 1943.  The letter was addressed to James D. Culp U.S. Navy. G.M. 1/c (from his wife Lois Culp); the letter was received by him (via the Red Cross) while he was in a prisoner-of-war camp in Osaka Japan.  The author is unknown but assumed to be one of Culp's fellow prisoners captured on the Philippine Island of Corregidor.

I lived awhile on Corregidor Isle
That sun baked God cursed land
Where bomb and shell made life a hell
with death on every hand;

I got the thirst there, of the cursed
with no water to be had
I heard men scream in hellish dreams
and watched my friends go mad;

Tis no mans fault the water salt
or that the food is gone
The guns are manned by men full dammed
facing each new dawn;

And when our bones blend with the stones
you'll hear the parrots cry
The men who owned these splintered bones
were not afraid to die.


As the years steadily pass per God’s plan
Bugles seem to play taps more often
throughout our great land
for those brave men, and women who
defended Corregidor and Bataan
Let those of us who remain
never let die the eternal flame
of the courage and bravery

of those brave men, and women who
defended Corregidor and Bataan
Let us remember of their suffering,
and of their pain
of their endless days of hunger,
and of a hope that would never wane
those brave men, and women who
defended Corregidor and Bataan
Children of those brave souls
preserve their memory for the ages
teach our young people about
the courage and bravery of
those men and women who
defended Corregidor and Bataan
Let their legacy stand as a beacon
for all the world to see
and how their courage and bravery
preserved the freedom of our country
for people like you and me
those brave men and women who

defended Corregidor and Bataan
By Dick Mroz

Son of POW Stanley Mroz, TM1, USN
Sendai Camp #6 (Hanawa)

The Defenders

B neath the sleeping lady of
A cross the Pilar_Bagac
T hrobs the hearts and the souls
    of our Comrades,
A vowing an
A llegiance, to
N ever, never turn back.
C ollect all your strength and
O rder your soul to
R esist
R epel from these shores forever,
E nemy whose rule by fist,
G od gave us all our courage
I ndividually, we met the test,
D awning on what we called an
O utpost, is a
R epublic that God destined to
    be of the best.

Robert B. Eul
M/Sgt USAF Retired
Batt. A. 59th CAC
Corregidor, P.I.


Down where there are no 10
And a man can raise a thirst;
Lie the outcasts of civilization
Victims off life at its worst.

Down on the gin soaked islands
Are the men that God forgot
Victims of the ever present fever
The itch and the tropical rot.

Into Manila on payday
To squander our meager pay
We raise merry hell for an evening,
And are broke as usual next day.

Vermin at night on our pillows,
Ills that no doctor can cure;
Hell now, we're not convicts,
We're U.S. soldiers on foreign tour

(Author unknown but was probably written prior to WWII)


Note:  See : Poem "Philippines" (same words plus additions at the end, said written by William Ferguson"


 A Dream?  I Wish It Was

I dreamt last night of a prison camp
Which I had reached after a tedious tramp
And had been by good sound advice
To take life easy, this was “Paradise.” 

I dreamt last night of a large dry farm
With Donald Duck and Air Raid to give it some charm
And the big detail to gather hay
To feed  our Caraboa every day. 

I dreamt last night I was eating rice
And soup that had a greeny spice
And corn starch pudding to sweeten our taste
And watery Lugao, good substitute for paste 

I dreamt last night of a bamboo bed
Upon which I lay my weary head
And that thousands of bed lived in all the cracks
And that my clothes were full of little grey-backs. 

I dreamt last night I had beri-beri
And to me my chow they had to carry
And chill and fever would take me down
And make me shake like an ole coon hound

 I dreamt last night I had dysentery
And to the latrine I could not tarry
And paralyzed joints from dreadful Dip
And vitamin deficiencies that I could not whip 

Dreams like that would make any man quake
But HELL!  Who was asleep?  I was awake. 

Written in 1963 by Michael Pinkevsky


Once upon a time, a little piece of Red, White and Blue, floated over BATAAN, in the bright sunshine of a PEACEFUL world.

Then came Pearl Harbor and the Peaceful World . . .vanished into the past, and OUR COLORS became stained with the blood of men women who were wounded and died . . .for the FREEDOM it represented; WET. . .with the tears of those who WAITED; AND. . .Trampled in the dust of a dry season; buried in the MUD of a tropical rainy season. . .BY. . .W-A-R1

BATAAN. . .became a symbol; As BIG as the world. . .and the WAR.  It's scope of employment knows no bounds. . .except. . .the SIZE of the SOULS. . .the strength. . .of the CHARACTER, and . . .the LOVE, and the FAITH, in the HEARTS . . .of MEN and WOMEN who Do their duty.

Mae Murphey 8 April 1945


We all remember Manila
And Caviti across the way
We spent our pasoes on San Miguil
And we have been to Subic Bay
Had a few trips to Baguio
When they said we needed a break.
Pine trees and cool night breezes
Was something we could always take.

The 31st had the best duty
At Intramuros or Estada Major
Remember the rainy season
My God how it could pour.

The Navy inflated prices
Whenever they came ashore
And we could tell the men that came from
the "Rock"
By the hat band that they wore.

We had taxi;s, carromata and calisa's
To take us where we wanted to go
But twenty-one buck on a payday
Was not a whole bunch of dough.

Tom Dixies had super "Frog Legs"
Joe Bush was the "Cleaner" of lore
And Manila was the Pearl of the Orient
Until the nips started their stinking war.

From Lingayen and up from Batangas
Our forces converged on Bataan
And put up a battle to hold the nipa
While they waited for a helping hand.

Pilar-Bagac and Balanga
Cabcabin and Cochinis Point
The nips ran into a wall of steel
And learned what it meant to get burnt.

Pt 13s and P40's
Were trying to steam a war
And all the promised reinforcements
Landed on some other shore.

April the 9th is little remembered
Unless you were part of that team
Half starved and racked with malaria
and sick of the Banzai scream.

Herded like ignorant Carabao
Shoved and prodded and cursed
Little knowing man's inhumanity
To see them rejoice at your thirst

Up the roadway they pushed you
To protect their artillery galore
And frustrate your comrades behing you
As they aimed from Old Corregidor.

Death March into Oblivion
Is an Epitath for those that fell
There's a hole in a field in San Fernando
That survivors remember too well.

"Into this world willy-nilly"
Is a quote from Omars Rubaiyar
When they declared us all expendable
Did they know this to be part of our lot.

Take up your positions form Malinta
Repulse this oncoming horde
Artillery from Fort Frank and Topside
Sure welcomed the nips aboard.

It was all over by late morning
And every Flag was cut from its mast
The nips had tanks on the island
Corregidor had fallen at last.

We all had our own opinions
Of just how effective we had been
Five long months of fighting
It was lack of supplies that did us in.

And in all the nips conquering journeys
Southward by land and by sea
Not a one set a foot in Australia
Who should thank God for such as we.

Cabanatuan, O'Donnell and Bilibid
And all the work camps we knew
Each had its own share of horrors
And a grave yard for more than a few.

But leave it to jap ingenuity
They saved the best to the last
Shipped to Japan in tin buckets
Sitting ducks for a torpedoes blast.

Crammed in the hold of the coal boat
Listening to depth charges roar
Dear God to ease now my conscience
I'm not sure who I rooted for.

We all remember our unit Commander
I would like to comment on mine
A Captain, graduated from West Point
I believe the class of 1939.

A whole regiment of nips rolled together
Couldn't begin to equal this man
Went down from what we now call
"friendly fire"
On a Hell ship bound for Japan.

And for those who survived this surrender
Of being written off for some other war
Must try to endure all their ailments
Of a body that is sick and tired and worn.

After 35 years of liberation
Appeals are still being made
To the Honorable Mr. This or That
Who don't know the price that these men
have paid.

Damn all their regulations and guidelines
For the likes of us they can rewrite the book
Come up with a simple blanket coverage
To help erase all the abuse that we took.

And with all the frustrations and
Just let one enemy cannon roar
And up front among your defenders
Will be the men of Bataan and Corregidor.

Robert B. Eul
Oxon Hill, MD

Faith in Old Montana

Faith in old Montana
Has brought us home alive
Faith in old Montana
Alone made us survive
Hardships we have told you
Of just a very few
But faith in old Montana
Is all we ask of you.
Presented to my buddy

James M. Morehead
This 27th day of March, 1946
His buddy Frank E. Zimpel


Oh father dear, the time's at hand,
To join your brother in Bataan.

The ones who fought with you so brave
The ones Chance kept behind to die.

Against the Japanese Bonzai wave,
They held the line at Abucay.

They proved their metal man to man,
And defied the Emperor of Japan.

Through prison camps, on prison ships,
'Neath tropic sun, no food, no water,

The hunger pangs, the swollen lips,
The March of Death. . .that vicious

They proved their metal man to man,
And defied the Emperor of Japan.

So few of you would journey home,
To piece together the quilt of life.

In restless sleep we'd hear you groan,
Recalling some distant fire-fight.

No doubt, you proved yourself again.
And defied the Emperor of Japan.

Your sleep tonight will not restless be.
No attackers storm your lines.

No cannons, no mortars, no infantry,
No tangled jungle vines.

Oh father dear the time has passed.
To join your brothers at long last.

By Tim Moore
Son of George B. Moore


Note:  The following poem was written in pencil and found on the back of a letter post marked, Prisoner of War Mail, 22 May 1943.  The letter was addressed to James Daniel Culp, Gunners Mate First-Class (from his sister Nadean) the letter was received by him (via the Red Cross) while he was in a Prisoner-of-War camp in Osaka Japan. The author was probably a member of the 4th Marines captured on the Philippine Island of Corregidor.

In a camp of Nipa Barracks
Lost deep in the Philippines
Are a bunch of worn out warriors
With nothing left but dreams

They're fighting a greater battle
Than the one they fought and lost
It's a battle against the elements
A battle with life as the cost

Some came thru the awful tortures
Like days and nights in Hell!
In that struggle for the Philippines
Where many a brave man fell.

But now it's not how much you know
Or' how quick you hit the ditch
It's not the "rate" you once held
Or whether you're poor or rich.

No one cares who you were back home
Or what kind of a life you led
It's just how long you can stick it out
That governs your life instead

This battle we're fighting at present
Is against mosquitoes, flies and disease,
But with decent living conditions
We'd win this battle with ease.

It's rice for breakfast, noon and night
And rainalmost every day
We sleep on bamboo slats at night
For no better place to lay.

We eat from any old tin can
That we're lucky enough to get
And the medical supplies we're supposed to have
We haven't seen as yet.

Yes, we're the forgotten men of corregidor
Fighting the greatest battle yet.
Struggling for bare existence
through hunger and sickness and sweat.

Through days of sadistic torture
Through nights of searing pain
Just living human skeletons
Much more insane than sane.

But those of us who do come through
Perhaps can prove our worth
When we tell the strangest tale yet told
Of veritable hell on earth.

Written by E.H. Middleton
Cabanatuan Nov. 1942


We sit in round chairs
with white hair and clinched teeth
waiting for peace in our hearts.

Images of ghastly horror rewind daily
twisting our minds with ancient memories
growing stronger as we weaken.

Memories of lost youth and broken bodies,
starvation, pain and torture profound
leaving us helpless in despair.

Thoughts of lost Quan and
departed friends
taken way too long before their time
because no one else cared to care.

Homecoming way too long in coming
leaving only one in three
to feel the constant loss forever.

Is fifty years too long to hide the pain
or is it still easily concealed
from all but oneself.

Why us and not them still walk
among the living growing older
feeling guilty we live.

As we age, history repeats itself
again we are forgotten
living only to survive.

We are dying, you and I
from tropical diseases long past
that burrowed in and stayed.

Our comrades gone fifty years
wait in understanding
for us to rejoin the rolls.

They were the lucky ones
not us, no never us
only for them the pain ended.

Grieve not for me
or any others that leave
for we have a place at the fire.

Spoon in hand
surrounded by friends
waiting to share the Quan.

Waiting in time for all
to gather back
for the final roll call.

All clean and young
strong again forever
till then...farewell.

Copyrighted by Jeffrey W. Woodall, March 96


Fighting for our freedom
Was on thing he knew well.
Serving our country for many years,
Oh, the stories he could tell.

He was a very courageous man,
The bravest I ever knew.
Surviving the Death March of Bataan
During World War II.

The faith he had, it kept him strong.
"Help is on the way."
Waiting for so very long,
Each and every painful day.

And when the war came to an end,
The time came to depart.
My grandfather was this great man
Who felt forgiveness in his heart.

By Ashley Aron (In loving memory of Hayne Wesley Dominick, Jr.)


Our days of bondage are no more;
The nights of terror gone.
The enemy is driven back;
Our mighty struggles won.
Hail our friends we welcome thee,
You come from the land of the free.
Hear America our prayer
Of gratitude to thee.

Arise you sons of liberty
And join our gay victorious throng.
Vanish the tears--
Dispel the fears
As we recall our great story.
Hills and valleys now gladly ring
With a stirring mighty song.
Therefore, rejoice comrades and sing
The song of victory!


What do Today's Bureaucrats care
About the soldiers who marched away
For country's honor and homeland so dear--
Those who served for Freedom's peaceful day?

They sit so comfortable-like
In their offices and easy chairs
What about he blood spilt
In strange lands "over there"?

What do they know of a tortured mind
Witnessing horrors of blood and tears--
What do they care of pale white faces
Strained because of inhuman torture and fears?

Oh, they sit so smug and comfortable-like
In their big offices and easy chairs--
They think only of liquor in fancy glasses,
Not blood in pools by souls laid bare.

What consideration is given to America's honor?
They only see the comforts that monies provide.
Country Clubs, Trips, Prestige and all--
America is a name--just on the side.

Oh, they sit so smug and comfortable-like
Dreaming of political power and prestige.
The blood and guts spilled to make and keep
America and all free, is a forgotten siege.

These men who fought and were brought to their knees
Groveling and crawling on strange lands over-seas--
With minds left tainted by torture and blood--
And America stands trembling for what they withstood.

And the Bureaucrats, forgetting, loll in lies and deceit
While America remains ransomed by the
sacrifice of such men.
Oh, America! the land of the Valiant and the Free--
May our country always remain thus, for you and for me.

Julia Vache Schelin Heinbach
February 28, 1987

I Told You So

We came to this island to fight a war
Not for pleasure or vacation I'm sure
The country we're fighting, which is Japan
Captured us, the fault of no one man
But some people think he didn't do right
By not getting us away or letting us fight

What is our country doing, some of them say
But don't you worry, "They're working night and day
Some day you'll see Old Glory flying high
Then it will those fellow all in a rush
"See didn't I tell you they come for us."

We are in a prison camp on a small island
No chance to escape or it would have been done
But if you are capable and think you are
"Just try and get out from behind this wire
Now I don't know--I'm usually mistaken
But you'd better look to heaven, It'll be a long vacation
by Clay Brunbrough, Texas


After being sent to Corregidor a place both bright and white,
We waited for an enemy and our plight.
This enemy would come as the daily sun in the sky,
When we heard Bataan surrendered we asked how and why.
Bombs and artillery pounded then day and night,
And of all the nightmares none could imagine such fright.
Word of tanks on the "Rock" and talk of surrender in the air,
Smashing weapons, with tears in eye, no man could bear.
And thoughts of the almighty coming to the rescue now washing away,
Total chaos and confusion now control the day.
The day's survival was now at the hands of an enemy,
Who's only thought in mind was put us on our knees.
Beatings regular, starvation the norm,
As they distributed us for detail, we weathered only part of the storm.
Followed by the death camps at Bilibid and Cabanatuan,
What transported us between was itself a death-train, is what we were on.
At a place called Lipa, rumors of liberation were about,
Only due to Navy planes dropping bombs would we shout.
Get the Sons a Bitches and just give us a bout,
Soon we would board, a "Hell Ship" we would call,
Our Navy would put them and us, almost up against a wall.
Not all would survive, but my luck for now would hold,
To a harbor and Formosa, our captors were certainly bold.
Held on the island to harvest some cane,
We were soon on our way in a direct shipping lane.
Soon in Japan where that sun would soon set,
Taken by train and by foot as far as they could get.
At Sendai we would dig both lead and zinc,
For a company called Mitsubishi, or so we think.
Again the end we know is near,
When all Jap guards just took off, just disappeared.
Supplies were dropped in mass from the air,
Two packages too weighty broke with despair.
Fall as they did into the buildings or shelters,
More damage they did with deaths of two fellows.
With that, our liberation did finally come,
I as well as others will not forget the bright Philippine sun.
Men fought and died, but I for one,
Would be proud to say we never really were outdone.
For our spirit was like that of no other,
But without supply this fight would be for another.
And now our government does forget I do think,
But remember this all, we were a drop in a very big sink.
A call to arms we would serve,
If again needed I would go, without flinching a nerve.

Dedicated to my father Cpl. Joseph H. Via, who served from 1941-1942 with Battery C (Wheeler) 59th Coast Artillery, Fort Mills, Corregidor, Philippine Islands.

Joseph H. Via, II
May 11, 1998

"Medical Care For Life if you spend twenty years on active federal service." From the U.S.Army Recruiting Service

Just sign here said the recruiter,
Smiling, as he thought of the strife.
"You will see the world, and if you
Stay for twenty years,
You will have medical care for life."

Through boot camp the recruit sweated,
Pull ups, sit-ups, marching and tests--
It seemed like 24 hours a day of Hell!
Then finally graduation day of "rest."

Proudly, the soldier went on leave,
Wearing his uniform with pride,
He met other buddies in uniform
(Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen.)
Now, because of Medical Care lies, have those
Young men been "Taken For A Ride?"

For over twenty years he served his country
Serving in wars, some popular--some not,
He saw his buddies die on the battlefield.
The smell of death, he never forgot.

On the day he retired, he stood proudly
As the troops passed by in review.
During the days that followed--
The Army kept its Medical Care promises, true.

Then one day he heard about TRICARE!
Some called it TRISCAM--some TRISCARE!

Who was protecting our medical benefits?
Many thought it was CONGRESS, that's who!
They have been sending us to war for decades!
Now a loss of benefits accrue!

After all these years of faithful service,
What does the soldier have to show?
Very little...for the U.S. CONGRESS
Has sold the soldier's soul to the HMO!


Edna Blythe Elwell

A Million Men

A million men in uniform
A million men to fight
A million men, a million guns
To prove that might is right
A million human bodies
To suffer and to bleed
A million men in uniform
Consigned to cannon feed
A million lives to depart too soon
A million men to die
A million hearts will cease to beat
 And yet no one knows why
A million men to take their places
A million for the cause
A million more are yet to fight
A war to end all wars

by Willie

Motors in the West

The old man with the whiskers was pointing straight at me.
He said "Your Country needs you.  So I signed up for three.
The Recruiting Sargeant told me of the life that was the best,
But not a single world was said about the Motors in the West.

He spoke to me in dulcet tones, as to a man of means.
"Travel's what you need," quoth he.  "Why not try the Philippines."
So now I'm here the war is on:  I never would have guessed
What this small phrase could mean so much--"Flash!!  Motors in the West."

There was a time here on the Rock when life was filled with cheer,
And our main concern was how to pay our monthly bill for beer.
But the club is bombed, the beer is gone, we're in the bomb-proof pressed.
Quiet!  Silence!  There it goes again--"Flash!!  Motors in the West!"

Somewhere the sun is shining, Somewhere there is some rest.
But there's peace no more on Corregidor--there's Motors in the West.
But MacArthur's boys will carry on, and each will do his best
To throw a great big monkey-wrench in those Motors in the West.


Help me O God to accept death, as I have life, for whatever it may offer--
That the agonizing torments of this world will  not continue after death.
That the pains both physical & mental will be gone forever & I will be free at last--
Help me forgive as you have asked us all to do.
And Lord, help people to realize that the term "Battlin' Bastards of Bataan" are not
intended to cast a reflection on our forebearers; but rather in the terminology of "The
only time I'm called is when something must be done"--Like a bastard child.
Bless our country & all its people--Democracy is the perfect idea which is being implemented
by we people of imperfections--
Please help others to help the ExPOWs--we all need help, for the loss of one's freedom
is indeed a traumatic experience--
And Dear God, Please I implore you to help my family--They have suffered much over
the years, but have come up smiling.
Thank you & Goodbye world--

                                     Glenn Milton 


  The following poem was written on the back of two different letters addressed to James D. Culp while he was a Japanese prisoner of war.  The letters were from his wife and mother and dated May 18th and June 30th, 1943 respectively.
The Nagato Maru was the Japanese prison ship that transported Culp from the Japanese prison ship that transported Culp from the Philippine Islands to Japan.  Not knowing these ships contained American POWs, several of the prison ships were sunk by the U.S. Navy submarines.  After reading this poem, it appears the author may have been an Army veteran captured on the on the Philippine island of Corregidor. Adrienne Culp (son on POW James Culp)

Down in the sun baked Philippines
where we tasted of tragedy
There were countless things will forever cling
In a soldiers memory.

'Twas there a bunch of Americans
were loaded on a boat
In Manila Bay on a torrid day,
and there on put afloat.

Shoved below by their hated foe
was this gang so far from home
Resembling scenes of packed sardines
with destinies unknown.

1500 Americans sweltering heat untold.
1500 Americans stinking in the hold.
Hungry, grimy, bearded men
living in hell 'tell Christ knows when.

We're heading north it looks as tho we're going to Japan
They can take this lousy scow to hell for all I give damn.
There's a lot of guys on board this tub who'll never stand the trip
They'll keep them here until they rot, then throw them off the ship.

Starving men asking food from soldiers and recruits
The enemy, who months before could not have licked their boots.
But now we're forlorn prisoners who'd been beaten and deprived
And we're begging scraps of food to keep ourselves alive.
A hunk of fish, a bit or rice or that salty curried slime
The laws of preservation make a man a beast in time.

Long lines awaiting turn to get in a fetid head
Fevered, dysenteric men to be numbered 'mong the dead.
Half living men who time before had been the Army's best
Those to whom now death would bring that long awaited rest.

For 19 days they lived like dogs in that crawling filthy hold
From Manila's heat the ship steered north into the winter's cold.
Chilling rains, stormy seas, raw winds with typhoon blows
Striking weak, heat tempered men in scanty tropic clothes.

And all, that they knew well, would lie beyond those salty waves
Was months and years of work, and tears as lowly prisoner slaves.


The leaves are falling,
Winter is calling;
Time will soon be,
When we shall see
The snow dripping fast;
Truly then, Autumn is past.

Then we take to shelter,
Winds blow helter-skelter;
And blasts on icy cold
Seek their way, blustery and bold,
Into every cranny and nook,
While we browse in a book.

While we daily the winter through,
Think of friends true-blue.
Also of the time coming in May
When to Boston we go to stay,
And see again our friends of yore.
We met and lived with in days of war.

Now and then, let our minds dwell
On the life we spent in hell;
In prison camps across the land
Of that small empire we called Japan;
And thank our Gods we are alive
To enjoy a convention in '55.

In old Boston town,
Let us sit ourselves down;
Enjoy a brew, two or three;
And talk of times that used to be.

There's just a few of us--you and me.
Add another and that will make three,
To reminisce and keep alive,
The spirit we had in '45.

So hasten now and make your bid.
In Boston town we'll blow the lid;
Start planning now--in a short while,
The '55 convention, we'll do in style.

                                    The Mad Poet


He had come that day to pay homage to this buddies that had fallen
and many survivors that time had claimed, who had answered another "callin."

Heaven surely belongs to all of them, cause each spent their time in hell
and their journey began from Corregidor, soon after the island fell.

Now, hat covered with ribbons for bravery shown in the face of relentless foes,
memories recorded in blood, the extent of only heaven knows.

But he remembers, remembers well, each face of comrades dear
who "stood their ground" and duty bore, in spite of horrific fear.

Prisoners, with only one hope, that they'd be free again
and claim once more their rightful place with family and friend.

Oh, so young then and so old now!  Is age a gift from God
that's given to some to memorialize those resting under the sod?

To tell their story, to feel their pain, to speak to their loved ones dear--
this question always remains to him and he'll come again next year.

If God is willing and grants to him, another summer, another fall--
if not, contented and satisfied, he will answer "the bugler's call."

Oh, what a debt is owed to those, those precious honorable few,
whose only reply, whose answer to life, is "We did what we had to do!"

Written by Tony Carnahan (a Vietnam Vet after attending the
Memorial Service at Western States, A.D.B.C, Oct. 2006


We're proud of you, our Heroes of Bataan,
Tho' Mothers eyes are wet and sore from tears.
Our hearts are bleeding for the boys we loved
We're proud of you, and shall be through the years.

You gave your all, you had no more to give
You fought it out, you braved until the end.
You didn't have a chance, these yellow beasts.
We're proud of you and shall be through the years.

You braved the cruelties of callous beasts,
Who cannot fight as men do on the up,
They sneak behind your back, to knock you down
We're proud of you and shall be through the years.

You took the murk, the mire, the lash, they gave.
You took it proudly with a yankee grin,
You took it all for Uncle Sam and me
We're proud of you and shall be through the years.

And now you're gone, a Hero to the world;
To me that little boy, I carried 'neath my heart.
Oh, Son ask God, to help me bear the blow.
We're proud of you, away up there with him.

Your brothers here are marching on ahead.
To finish up the job, they'll shed no tears.
OH SON ask God to comfort all the Moms,
We're proud of you and shall be through the years.

And while you're with Him, ask Him in his mercy,
To end this war and see us safely through.
To spare our son's the tortures of Bataan.
We're proud of you and shall be through the years.

Sheila Nickerson, April 1942


We're out on the edges of nowhere,
Ringed around with a cordon of steel;
We've been battered and numbed til
Some of us have forgotten how to feel.

We've forgotten the clasp of friendly hands,
And hearts that are loyal and true;
We've forgotten to laugh, and some us,
Have forgotten the pals we knew.

But dog eat dog, nor to Hell with you,
Do not nor never will rhyme;
With brotherly love, or truth of God,
Or carols at Christmas time.

Let's remember that tint of autumn leaves,
And the beauty of drifted snow;
Let's remember that songs and smiles we shared,
In the warmth of a campfire's glow.

Let's remember the folks back home,
On the ones who watch and pray;
That the same swell guys who left them,
Will be coming back someday.

(Believed written by someone on Fort
Drum, the concrete battleship in Manila Bay)


Down where there are no Ten Commandments
And where a man can raise a thirst
Lies the outcast of civilization
Victims of Life at it's worst,
Down in the gin-soaked Islands
Are the men that God forgot,
They battle the ever present fever
The itch' and tropical rot.

Nobody knows they are living,
Nobody gives a damn,
Back home they are soon forgotten
These flying men of Uncle Sam,
Living with dirty old natives
Down with the Far East Powers
11,000 miles from home.

Drenched with the sweat in the evening,
We sit in our bunks and dream,
Of our sweetheart and loved ones,
Drowning ourselves with liquor,
It dams our memories stream.

Into Manila on Payday
To squander our Meager Pay
We raise Merry Hell for an evening
And are broke as usual the next day.

Vermin at nite on our pillow
Ills no doctor can cure
Hell no, we're not convicts
We're just the 17th Pursuit Squadron
On foreign tour.

This poem was written by William Ferguson, 17th Pursuit Squadron, Army Air Force, Nichols Field, P.I.

POW American Hero

My world goes on since you got off
But to me it's not the same
I wonder now just why and how
Each person plays his game
When you crossed to foreign waters
To abuse in foreign land
You survived three years of utter hell
And you took it like a man
You never shirked your duties
Looked them all straight in the face
Took all troubles through your entire life
At such a patient pace.
The trick you said was getting up
When you had fallen back
When you once again are righted
Just push forward tighten slack
Another adage you embraced
Was to happiness within
Omit jealousy and hatefulness
Take life square on the chin
I find when I review your life
From cradle to the grave
I can sum it up in a single word
The life you lived was brave.
To David Levey, 1917-2004
Survivor of the Bataan Death March
By Phyllis Levy 2006

Prisoners of War

It is a melancholy state
You are in the power of the enemy
You owe your life to his humanity
Your Soul to his compassions.
You must obey his orders,
Await his pleasure;
possess your soul in patience.
The days are very long.
The hours crawl by like paralytic centipedes.
comrades quarrel about trifles,
and get the least possible pleasure
from each other's society.
You feel a constant humiliation in being
fenced in by railings and wire.
Watched by armed guards
and webbed about with a tangle of
regulations and restrictions.

Winter 1944-5

Red, White and Blue...
God Bless You

by Francis Scott Kazerski
(Frank, Jr.)

Across our land
A flag is waving freely
Above the sand
The deserts to the sea

A living symbol
Of freedom blowing brightly
A burning torch
Of our liberty
She's our flag for you and me

She's the emblem of the free
Our flag for you and me
From mountains
To the sea

May our flag wave above
For the land that we love

1990 Words and Music by Francis "Scott" Kazerski
Arrangement by Dana Suefert
This American anthem is dedicated
to the men and women who have
fought for
the service men and women of the
Armed Forces of America

Footnote:  On April 9, 1942, Bataan fell
in the Philippines during WWII.  Over 10,000 died
in the infamous Bataan Death March.
U. S. Army Operations Sergeant Frank Kazersi, 27. survived yellow
jaundice.  He survived malaria.  He survived dysentery.
He was subjected to starvation and 40 months
brutalities as an American Prisoner-of War.  "RED WHITE AND
BLUE ...GOD BLESS YOU"  is a tribute to the service men
and women who have fought and died for 'Freedom."

by Edgar Guest

There was a book he'd planned
to write,
Which none will ever read.
He gave his life in one swift
To serve his country's need.
And there was one who might
have found
A gentler way to fame
He sleeps today in foreign
Upon a cross his name!
Who know how great is  free-
dom's price,
Or who can truly tell
The sum of all their sacrifice
Who fought for truth and fell?
But 'tis the glory and pride
Of freedom's brave and bold,
For what is right they put aside
The joy of growing old.
They gave the books they might
have penned
And all they might have done,
Closing a lifetime's dreams to end
Twixt dawn and set of sun.

The Silent Warrior

The wife, the mother, the children too
Who support our soldiers, each day anew.

Who raise our families through the days
When soldiers are called to duties away

Whose strengths prevail through thick and thin
Who are determined their families will always win

They care, they nurture, throughout the years
They help their soldiers face their fears

The silent warriors receive no public acclaim
No speeches, no statues, no medals, no fame

They know in their hearts they are one of a kind
Without them their husband and country would be left behind

We know your courage, your commitment, your sooul
Without you our lives would not completely unfold

Know that you're honored each day of the year
Know that you're loved and held in our hearts so dear

                                            Carol Wells Hebert
                                            Daughter of Commander and Mrs. William Wells

 A Soldier in Old Bataan

 The air-o-planes ceased their bombing,
The guns stood grim and still.
The smoke and the haze of battle,
Hung low over distant hill.
The sun was slowly sinking,
Its golden rays shot down
Upoon the dead and dying;
Upon the battle ground.
And one among the dying,
A youth, not yet a man,
Who was drafted from “Dear Georgia.
”To fight in old Bataan.

 His brother knelt beside him,
As his life blood ebbed away,
And bent his head in pity
To hear what he might say.
The dying brother looked up then,
And whispered, “Brother Jack?”
Take this message to our dear Mother,
If ever you get back.
Jack’s tears again fell faster.
As he clasped his brother’s hand
To listen to the message
He must take from Old Bataan.
Tell mother how I died, Jack;
On Bataan’s wide battle field,
Where bullets rained so thickly
And flashing steel mat stell. (?)
Tell how they used to promise
They’d send more men, ‘n guns, ‘n planes.
And tell her how we waited Jack,
For ships that never came.
And how this hope was always burning
In the heart of every man.
But at last we knew ‘twas hopeless,
For the boys in old Bataan.

 Tell her how we fought, Jack,
Together, side by side.
And death which swept around us,
Was like a soothing tide.
Tell he how we lived, Jack,
With only rice to eat,
Boiled coconuts, banana stalks,
And at times caribou meat
Tell her not to weep for me, Jack.
For waiting I can stand
At the Golden Gates of Heaven
Built for the boys from Old Bataan.

 There was another, brother Jack,
The little Dixie girl,
I am sure that she is waiting
On the other side of the world.
She kissed me as we parted.
And said, “Goodbye-dear John,
I’ll be waiting here in Georgia
In the town of Old Macon.”
So take this little trinket,
Tis’ but a golden band;
To my sweetheart who is waiting,
For her soldier in Bataan.

 Now raise me up dear brother,
So I may see the sun,
Gleaming on the stars and stripes
Before the day is done.
He saluted to the flag—so slowly—
A tear stood in each eye
As he said, “farewell Old Glory,
It’s not so bad to die!
Beneath your silken folds
I never more shall stand,
So farewell Old Glory, n’ mother
Sweetheart—Father—and Old Bataan.

His brother saw him falter,
So he laid him gently back,
And heard him softly whisper,
“I must leave you now dear Jack.”
As they closed so very slow—
He realized that his brother
Was here on earth no more.
Oh God! Receive this lonely soul,
‘Tis the brother of my childhood
Who’s just died here in Bataan,

 That night the pale moon rose.
And calmly it shone down
Upon a solemn, little funeral
On Bataan’s scarred battle ground.
His buddies offered up a prayer
Beneath that mango tree.
While some of them began to sing,
“Nearer My God to Thee.”
Even the bamboos bowed their heads
There in the war torn land.
While another boy was laid to rest
“In a grave in Old Bataan.”


Written by Cecil Carmichael while a prisoner of war in the Philippines.


Lyrics & Music by Frank Warman

Dedicated to POW's. MIA's
and their families
POW/MIA  Recognition Day, July 17, 1981

They say the war is over and soldier's work
is done
But still a battle rages til' I hear about my
They listed him as missing so many years
I need a better answer, I have the right to

I've heard that there's a calm that follows
every storm
A post-war readjustment, a time to be reborn
The wounds of war can heal, and we can
 mourn the killed
But when someone is missing, the void
is hard to fill.


Prisoners of war and countless MIA's
You deserve our recognition
You have earned our highest praise
"Old soldiers never die"
They say you only fade
But we will not forget
The sacrifice you made

My husband was a prisoner, but now, thank
God, he's free
His sleep is still uneasy, some nights he calls
to me
He asks me how I'm doing, and is the
family well?
He's lying right beside me, but he's in some
private hell.

I tell him that he's home now, there's nothing
more to fear
The enemy is distant, the ones he loves are
Though prison doors are open, captivity
It takes a long, long time to resolve the years
of pain.


I've had these visions; I've dreamed these
I could swear that I have been there!
And witnessed the torment, heard the
and felt the dark despair
of men imprisoned in tiny cages,
silently hearing their inner rages
And those who refused to sell their souls,
who were crudely locked in putrid holes,
or marched naked and ill for their captors'
or crowded in a ship's holds from port to
No food, no love, no home, no pity;
existence in a forgotten city.
Their last possessions stripped away--
is this the price they have to pay
for schemes they did not devise
or believing politicians lies?
Bravely they fought, frightened they fell.
No need to tell them that war is hell.

by Bonnie Willadsen McBroom
Proud daughter of Gerald F. Willadsen

Sugar in the Mush

Note:  During the time we were in Manchuria
(October 1944 to August, 1945) our standard
breakfast was a bowl of cornmeal mush.
On Wednesday mornings we
usually had a bit of sugar in it.

When peace and plenty come again
And all the world is gay;

When foes agree and we are free,
Where children laugh and play;

When luxuries are common-place
And pocket books are flush;

When war is over and we're in clover,
Deep and thick and lush;

Remember, friend, the years forlorn
When we were thrilled on Wednesday morn

With sugar in the mush!
With sugar in the mush, my friend,
A tiny bit of sugar in mush!

When you are sated with the sweets,
Where milk and honey flows;

And you're blase three times a day
When good old chow-call blows;

When time is marching on again
And we've joined the rush;

When men neglect to pray, perhaps;
And maids forget to blush;

Remember, friend, the days of grace
When we were thrilled, with just a trace
Of sugar in the mush!

Of sugar in the mush my friend,
A tiny trace of sugar in the mush!


If the fence around this prison camp
Were to imprison both my body and my mind,
Then all beyond that fence would cease to be
And death if it came soon would be most kind!

But no barbed fence now all shall ever be
That can block off the freedom of my thought,
Nor torture twist my mind toward enmity
To bury happiness fond memories have wrought.

A friend, a book, or merely reminiscing
Will keep time's secon-hand from standing still,
And I still survive to gain what's missing
And live on memories and hopes until, until, until, until!!!

Gordon D. Nelson
Cabanatuan Prison Camp
September, 1942


Day is done, gone the sun
from the lake, from the hill,
from the sky.
All is well, safely rest.  God is nigh
Thanks and praise for our days
'neath the sun, 'neath the stars,
'neath the sky
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

There's a Transport in the Harbor

I have heard the bullets whistle
I have seen the bolo kill
I have heard the war tribes singing
From the outposts on the hill.

I know the plague smell of Manila
And the Chinese wily ways
And what it means to be a soldier
On seventy cents a day.

My heart is sad and weary
And I wish that I could say
There's a transport in the harbor
And I'm ordered home today.

I have seen the moro in the palm trees
Murder gleaming in his eyes
Heard my comrade shouting "mother"
As he was laying down to die.

I have seen the fateful mark of black death
On those gone just along
Fought and wrestled with a leper
In a panic stricken throng.

So the wanderlust has left me
And I wish that I could say
There's a transport in the harbor
And I'm ordered home today.

I saw the Pasig boatman
In his banca floating by
In the muddy reeking waters
Where the Spanish Armada lies.

I have slept in the running rivers
Hiked up burning hills
I have sat, shook and shivered
With the fever and the chills.

All these oriental jewels
For these words I'd gladly pay
There's a transport in the harbor
And I'm ordered home today.

Hark! I hear he siren mooning
Just beyond Corregidor
'Tis the gray old army transport
Coming from the homeland shore.

It is calling, gently calling
From far away the sea across
Where a mother and a sweetheart
Long and look and wait for me.

But my soldiering days are over
And I need no longer stay
For there's a transport in the harbor
And I'm ordered home today.

Soldiers in the Son


Jesse M. Knowles

Strange things were done under the tropic sun
By the men in khaki twill.
Those tropic nights have seen their sights
That would make your heart stand still.
Those mountain trails could spin some tales
That no man would even like;
But the worst of all was after the fall
When we started on that hike.

T'was the 7th of December in '41
When they hit Hawaii as the day begun;
T'was a Sunday morning and all was calm
When out of nowhere there came the bombs.
It didn't last long but the damage was done--
America was at war with the rising sun.

Now over in the Philippines we heard the news;
And it shook every man clean down to his shoes.
It seemed like a dream to begin;
But soon every soldier was a fighting man.
Each branch was ready to do its part--
Artillery, Infantry, Nichols and Clark.

And then they came out on that Monday Noon
They hit Clark Field like a typhoon.
That Monday night the moon was clear;
They razed Nichols from front to rear.
As the days went by more bombers came;
And soon only a few P-40s remained.

Then the orders came and said retreat,
That no man would be seen on the city streets.
So across the bay we moved at night
Away from Manila and out of sight,
Deep into the jungles of Bataan
Where 15,000 were to make a stand.

Here we fought as a soldier should.
As the days went by we spilled our blood.
Tho' the rumors came and went by night
That convoy never came in sight.

April 7th was a fatal day
When the word went around that we couldn't stay,
That the front line was due to fall;
So the troops moved back one and all.

The very next day the surrender came,
Then we were men without a name!

You may think here's where the story ends,
But actually here's where it begins.
Tho' we fought and didn't see victory
The story of that march will go down in history.

We marched along in columns of four
Living and seeing the horrors of war,
And when a man fell along the way
A cold bayonet would make him pay
For those four months he fought on Bataan.
Then they'd kill him 'cause he couldn't stand.

The tropic sun would sweat us dry
For the pumps were few that we passed by.
But on we marched to a place unknown--
A place to rest and a place to call home.
Home not that you might know.
But home to man that suffered a blow.

Then to O'Donnell Camp en masse
Some never back thru' those gates to pass.
In Nipa huts we lived like beast,
Bad rice and camotes were called a feast.

Our minds went back to days gone by
When our throats were never dry--
Of our wives, our mothers, and friends,
Of our by-done days and our many sins.
And about four thousand passed away
And how many more no man can say,
For no tomb stone marks the spot
Where thirty to fifty were buried in lot,
Piled together as a rubbish heap--
The remains of men
Who were forced to retreat.

Now I want to state and my words are straight,
And I bet you think they're true--
That if you gotta die it's better to try
And take them with you too.

It's they that took us that fatal day,
It's they that made us pay and pay,
It's they that counted us morn and night,
It's they that again we wanted to fight,
It's they that made us as we are,
But it's not they that'll win this war--
For the men in khaki will come some day
And take us back to the U.S.A.

"They Said"

They said we were soft, were aimless,
They said we were spoiled past reclaim
We had lost "The American Spirit"
We were blots on America's name

We were "useless, weaklings and drifters"
And the last youth census reveals
We had "broken Faith with our Fathers"
We had sacrificed muscles for wheels.

The old men wept for their country
And sighed for the days of yore
And somehow we half believed them
But that was before our War.

Before we had heard the bombs shriek
And the howling ugly shrills,
That ripple across the rice fields
When the "Nippy" comes in for the kill.

Before we had lived on hunger
And rumors and nerve and pain
Before we had seen our buddies
Die, in the shattered cane.

"Our War!"  Our own little rat trap
The hopeless defense of Bataan
An advance guard with no main body
Yet, a thorn in the flesh of Japan.

So now we can laugh at our elders
And know we give them the lie
We held the line that cannot be held
When they struck us at Abucay.

Soft?  And weaklings and shameless
Go where the steel was sowed
Ask of the countless fox graves
That dot the Hacienda Road.

And ask of the boundless thickets
Deadly and green and hot,
And the bloody Pilar River
And the shell torn slopes of Sumat.

Ask at Limay and Balanga
Where the outposts burrowed like moles
And the sky-trained Flying Soldiers
Who dies in their Infantry Holes

And last seek the silent jungle
Where the unburied remnants lie,
Asleep by their rusting rifles
The men who learned how to die.

Who squeezed the garands trigger?
Who met the tanks on a moor?
Who flew the primary trainers
When "Zeros" were high in the air.

Who watched the bomb bays open?
Day after endless  day
Who stayed with their anti aircraft
With tons of H.E. on the way

Who led the Scouts at Quinan?
Who stopped the break at Mayon?
Who but your "Parasite Youngsters"
The desperate men of Bataan.

So now we have learned our lesson
And how to apply it to
And this is its application
The things that they said were true.

We were soft, were weaklings and aimless,
We had lived for ourselves alone,
But we are tempered with fire
And ready U.S. to come home.

Submitted by Harold R. Nelson CPHPM U.S.N. (author unknown)

Note:  After finding a book of Henry Lee Poetry this appears to be almost identical to his poem
which was called "Vindication"

Their time was passed in living hell
they had no food to eat
no medicine or bandages,
no shoes upon their feet
they had no mail from family
no chance for freedom dear
only the guarantee of death
which hovered ever near.
With nothing to be counted on
save courage in their heart
No vict’ry dance and no parade
would ever play a part
with captors brutal all around
and one breath at a time
they left their stamp on history
with bravery sublime
And though their victory can’t be told
in just a verse or two
each sacrifice they made, in truth,
will shine in hist’ry’s view
the prisoners of the Japanese
with lives so hard and bleak
do not require the written word:
their actions for them speak

 Dedicated humbly with respect to
Senor Paul Sandoval from Mike
Jones on Veteran’s Day,
November 11, 2002

To Be An American the Hard Way

In 1900 the Philippines was a Colony
under U.S. flag;
And nineteen year later I was born
to face the facts.
The big translation from Spanish to
English language;
A new school system was preparing to
teach and manage.

Growing up in a small town with just one
movie house;
Silent American movies became ou
favorite hangouts.
After high school I left my friends to study
in Manila;
Still daydreaming that someday I am
going to America.

When I enlisted in the U.S. Army,
Philippine Scouts;
Tension around the World was just
waiting to explode.
Then it happened in Pearl Harbor, the day
of infamy;
And all of a sudden we were facing a
seasoned enemy.

Though the invaders were well equipped
with new arms;
We held our grounds during the many
battles in Bataan.
In four months of fighting they suffered
heavy casualty;
By then being weak and hungry, we
surrendered our dignity.

Came Jan. 45, we surviving Scouts were
again in uniforms,
Deployed in Manila on security duty as
M.P. Battalion.
In Oct. 46, before Judge Phillips, I raised
my right hand;
Took the oath on the Manila Hotel lawn to
be and American.

By:  Larry L. Pangan
Msg., U.S. Army (Ret.)
2233 Fox Glen Drive
Fairfield, CA  94533-1058

To the Sperrs
Who Weren't There

You were missed at San Antonio
With good reason we now know.
But you were there in spirit
As the evidence will show.

Spirits experienced added lift
There was a burst of applause,
When Huff announced your generous gift
To be used for a worthy cause.

There was a short discussion
Very brief it was
How best to use the money
Who would choose the worthy cause?

It was suggested the funds be invested
In spiritual stocks no less,
We would surmise that spirits would rise
How much was everyone's guess.

The motion carried as suggested
(There being none who protested)
Soon the contents were ingested
And you earned another applause.

Yes, you were there in spirit,
As were spirits measured in fifths
Thanks to your generous spirit
And your most generous gift.

We hope you approve as your money
was spent.
It served to improve our social event.
There was fun with levity, but one lament
That you weren't there to share the event.

Now all say thanks to Roy and Lois
For "generosity bestoweth",
You are remembered in our prayers,
Next year we shall see you there.

Jim Fossey
Anadarko, Oklahoma

A Tribute to Bataan

And Major Robert P. Chrisman

 The mind can’t comprehend
the atrocities of war;
The battle and the blood shed
that was left on distant shore.

 For those who gave their life,
In the “March” and then beyond:
Your memories will never die;
 “Oh Warriors of Bataan.

 An eternal flame will glow
As a remembrance of your fight;
And a silent tear be shed;
In the quietness of night.

 The ones we loved are gone;
Their pain and strife is one;
But there’ll be that great reunion:
When we reach God’s heavenly shore.


                 By Gloria Mari Gray


Major Robert P.Chrisman  0293059

Sunk at sea—Oyroku Maru—63 Inf, (PS)

Twenty Years Later

We meet tonight to drink and dine
And for the past we will not pine.
We'll talk awhile about soldiers dead
And how the beaches flowed with red.

We'll tell big lies and make good cheer.
And end up crying in our beer.
But most will see a jungle shore
A hump of rock, Old Corregidor.

A peaceful isle in days gone by
Became a place for men to die.
There was a time I do recall
When we were heros one and all.

When shot and shell it rent the air
The name "Bataan" was everywhere,
But ask most anyone today
Of Subic Bay so far away.

They know not of that foreign land
And further more don't give a damn,
But drink your beer and dry your tears
And think no more of yesteryears.

Just look around and you can see
We must still fight if we stay free.
We fought the game but did not score
Our Republic needs HELP as never before.

Warren M. Smith
August 14, 1965


We're not ashamed of our uniform,
And if you are a friend
You'll not say against it
Any words that may offend.

It has covered heroes bodies
And by heroes has been worn;
Since the day of the republic,
When the Stars and Stripes were born.

Uniforms have many patterns,
Some are khaki, some are blue;
And the men who wear them,
Are of many patterns, too.

Some are of wealthy parents,
Some are college graduates;
Some have manly virtues,
Some are simply reprobates,

We have may skilled mechanics,
Men of brains and letters who;
Loyally serve the country,
They're a credit to.

No indeed, we're not all angel's black-
But we have some of those;
When they came into the service,
They all wore civilian clothes.

Men of all kinds when they're drinking,
Misbehave, act rough and swear;
Drunken soldiers or civilians,
Are disgusting anywhere.

Grant us then this kind forbearance,
We'll appreciate it more;
Than a lot of noisy cheering,
When we're leaving for a war.

If you meet a soldier,
On the street or anywhere;
He doesn't rate a sneering glance,
Or patronizing stare.

For we have an honored calling,
As our garments plainly show;
You may be thief or parson,
How on earth are we to know?

We don't care for your profession,
Occupation, what you do;
If you're looking at a soldier.
And he's looking back at you.

Who on earth is there to judge you,
As you stand there man to man;
Only one, the Great Almighty,
Name another if you can.

Drop your proud and haughty bearing,
And your egotistic pride;
Get acquainted with a soldier,
And the heart and soul inside.

Test and try to analyze him,
Criticize him through and through;
And you'll more than likely find him,
Just as good a man as you.

Author Unknown

The Unknown Soldier

(Among the many poems composed during the war in the Philippines, authors unknown for most of them, there aren't many that are rhetorically good--but their message comes clearly through. Bob Levering includes several poems in the appendix of his book, HORROR TREK.)

The morning after surrender
We were trooping up the hill
The sound of trampling tired fee
Broke the unaccustomed still.

The weary eyes of the men that morn
Saw a scene not soon forgot,
Of broken guns and broken men,
Whose bodies were left to rot.

I saw the corpse of a youngster,
Just a kid, too young to die,
One blackened, stiffened arm was raised
And pointing to the sky.

Where are you pointing soldier?
What message would you give?
What are you trying to tell  us?
The ones who are left to live.

Do you point to the place called home
That lies beyond the sea?
The land that meant so much to you,
Which never again you'll see?

Or do you point to where you have gone
To the distant golden shore?
Where men can live like brothers
Where there isn't any war.

Are you trying to tell us
As o'er the hill we plod,
To raise our minds from killing.
And leave our thoughts to God?

We must march on and leave you now,
Just a pile of flesh and bone,
You may be better off than we,
Our fate is still unknown.

In twenty years when a maddened world
Is ready to fight again,
We'll remember that Upraised, pointing arm
Perhaps we'll hear your message then.


Autumn invades the trees.
the maples surge red, orange,
sweetgums triumph yellow,
sycamores surrender gold,
heavy, the hickory falls brown--

leaves glittering like gilded fish
in cool shallows of sky.  But
the live oak is a patriot
of ever-green-leaf grandeur.

Sagging branches saluting battle grounds,
vacant lots, the empty square downtown,

unshudderred in winters air,
harbor from the drought, dodger
from the hurricane, quercine.

I remember that day in October,
my father stood on the east rim
of the Grand Canyon,
the cold of the wind bringing his eyes
to tears as he was remembering

the islands of the Philippines,
the copper mines of Hanawa
the Death March of Bataan.

Ann Wood

The Voice of Bataan

Bataan has fallen.
With heads bloody but unbowed, we yielded
to the enemy.
Besieged on land and blockaded by sea,
We have done all that human endurance
could bear.
What sustained us was a force more than
It was the force of an unconquerable faith:
Something in the soul that is immortal!
It is the thought of native land.

All the world will testify.
Men fighting with an unshakable faith
Are made of something more than flesh;
But we are not made of impervious steel.
The flesh must yield at last,
Endurance must melt away.
And the end of the battle must come.

Bataan has fallen,
But the spirit that made it stand--a beacon
to all the world
Cannot fall. . .

Our defeat is our victory.

Wake Island Defenders

I got a little radical; thought I'd take a Sabbatical
And t'was off to a Wake Island Reunion I would go
It wasn't before long and tho' I did nothing wrong
My flight seemed to falter and did go oh so slow

But arrive there I did, and of my luggage was rid
And off to our hospitality room to find
Others there had arrived, it looked like a beehive
And my arrival couldn't have been better timed

Several were drinking beer; while sharing good cheer
So I joined them at their friendly table.
Stories were being told of days when we were bold
But those days are gone and most are no longer able

We meet once a year and some are no longer here
To join in and the times to share.
They have taken all their leave and we do believe
We too, and all too soon, will join them up there!

Be that as it may and to this day
That worries me not at all
We all have to go, some quick and some slow
But for sure!  We will all, "Answer the Call"!

James O. King
1st Sgt. USMC (Ret)
Wake Island Defender

A Wartime Story

A true experience.  This incident happed to Harold J. Sheaff in the Philippines,
shortly after the surrender of Corregidor May of 1942

You have asked me to tell you a story
Of something that happened out there,
A tale of wartime glory
In those islands far off somewhere.

What can I tell you of interest
To an audience such as you
Who will question my every statement
As to whether or not it is true.

Many things I have heard
But its these that caught my eye
That made the deepest impressions
That will remain with me till I die.

There is one that comes to my mind right now.
It happened at La Guna De Bay
And concerns the fate of ten brave men;
God rest their souls where they lie.

One hundred and fifty prisoners were picked
At Camp O'Donnell one day.
Three officers too made up this crew.
When we left it was early in May.

The G.I. trucks we headed south
No notion did we keep
As to where the group was going,
Or where we could stop to sleep.

Thru the streets of Manila
Our detail made its way.
I remember the crowds distinctly.
It was on a Sabbath day.

Our convoy stopped and started
several times throughout the day
But at least we came to rest
At the place we're going to stay.

The Japanese commander in charge of the camp
Thru his interpreter said,
If any of you escape,
I'll shoot you till you're dead.
A movie house not then in use
Was where we were told to sleep
Barbed wire was thrown around us.
A guard was kept in the street.

The following day we lined up for work.
In groups of fifty we stood.
Our job, a blasted bridge to repair.

The wood we hauled from a sawmill
Rocks from the side of the road.
Truck after truck came and went.
The bridge took many a load.
The days went by rather swiftly.
A few had died since we came
Of Malaria, Beri-Beri and Dysentery.
Malnutrition was also to blame.

And then came that fateful night
When the guerillas slipped into town
And before we knew what had happened,
They shot our Jap guards down.

They smashed the locks that held us in.
It was dark, we could hardly see.
"Come with us, they cried "there's boats nearby
Come with us. we'll make us free."

Our captain said with level head,
"Lie down and be right still
There's sick men here too weak to move
To leave for Japs to kill.

The natives threatened and hollered
A desperate band were they.
It made no sense them you see
That we should elect to stay.

About this time more shots were heard.
The garrison had been aroused.
Twas the road a quarter of a mile
That the Japanese soldiers were housed

Running down the road they came.
But they arrived too late.
Our guards were dead, the natives were gone.
What was to be our fate?

They lined us up, we counted off.
One man had run away.
One man perhaps had lost his head
And ran when the captain said stay.

Could it be that all the men
So far from the U.S.A.
Should be made to pay a penalty
Because the men ran away?

The following day at half past three
All those who were able to stand
Were lined up in columns of four.
Was this to be our last Stand?

With heavy guard around us,
It was a beautiful sunshiny day.
We started to march to the schoolhouse
Where Japanese headquarters lay.

Very little was said by the men
As we marched along the way.
Each man had thoughts alone.
There were some who began to pray.

At last we arrived, at attention we stood.
Not a man but wondered his plight.
The interpreter rose, the guards alert.
All friends to my left and right.

The captain recalled his warning
When we came into the charge.
He said there must be a shooting
Since one of us is still at large.

Two numbers were called, five on each side
Of the one Smith had worn.
Would that he had never had served.
Would that he'd never been born.

The numbers had missed me by two.
I offered a silent amen,
That I had not been included
In that unlucky group of ten.

A coconut grove was near at hand.
It was there we took our place.
Ten to die, the rest to live.
We were lined up face to face.

The firing squad stood in between.
Their rifles loaded and ready.
The unlucky ten with their heads held high,
Stood straight and strong and ready.

Not a one there who whimpered,
Not a one who began to cry.
As soldiers they had fought.
As soldiers they would die.

One there who stood on the end,
A smile upon his face
His right arm raised in last salute.
God grant his favorite place.

                Another called a last goodbye                       
to his brother who was still alive.
You think I'm stretching things a bit?
A fairy tale trying to live.

Twin brothers who were in the Death March
and then sent to repair the bridge.

But no my friends all this is true
And more I have to tell
Of how when the first volley was fired,
There were only seven who fell.

One lad knocked down with a shattered knee
Sat up with hardly a cry,
"Give me another here" he said.
Then laid back down to die.

Again and again the rifles roared.
At last they fired no more.
All that was left of those ten brave men
Was a heap of blood and gore.

That night the Japanese soldiers
Burned candles at the the end of the graves.
It was their way of telling us
That those men who died were brave.

And that my friends ends this story
That you have asked to tell.
Just one more little experience
In our daily life in HELL.

The Yanks are Coming

The Yanks are coming--Hurray!
The Yanks are coming today
Come, Men, "Let us Shout"
For the Nips are letting us out
Cheer and Shout!
We are Free!!

No more chisais', no more duds
No more snow and no more mud.
No more rice--no more greens
We'll fatten on meat and beans.
Going to "that Promised Land."

Music, dances, wine and beer
Things you never hear of here.
Radios, movies and blind dates
And a gal who will make you wait.
Sing and Shout, Men
We are Free!!
And Going Home.

Collected at Yokahama , Japan--
congregation of POWS 16-18 Sept.
45 waiting for plane, ship, typhoon to
blow out.  Went on to Manila later.


There is a mountain in the sky far away
Where we took up forty loads every day
There is a Sunday every one day out of nine
If the flag is running short load while there's time.

On this mountain every day we work
As we "Hell-out" every load of virgin soil.
And we our best on rice and tasty stew
We're the members of a tough and hardy crew.

In appreciation of the work we have done
We were given a Track-Field Meet "just for fun"
And because we work with eager every day
We were given a pack of Akatoki (Hair Tobacco) for our pay.

Yasame!!  Yasame!!
To our children we will sit down and say
As we sit there and watch the cars roll by
And tell how we build old Fugi-yama to the sky.

Note:  Use music, etc. of "Goldmine in the sky.

Collected at Yokahama, Japan (POWS) while waiting for an airplane, ship, typhoon to blow away. (16-18 Sept. 1945) on way to Manila.