Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

John Rowland, ADBC Commander

ADBC Commander, 1982-1983

John Rowland PictureJohn Rowland, was born in Westersville, Ohio on July 17, 1917.  He graduated form high school there in 1935.  He was drafted into the Army Jan. 20, 1941.  He took basic training at Ft. Knox, KY assigned to Hq. Co., 192nd Tank Battalion.  After the Louisiana Maneuvers, in September 1941, the group went by train to San Francisco, California. He embarked on the Hugh L. Scott for overseas Oct. 27, 1941, and landed in Manila Nov. 20, 1941.  The battalion was at Ft. Stotsenburg  were bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.


He was captured on the west coast of Bataan and participated in the Death March.  He was first incarcerated at Camp O'Donnell, and then went on a salvage detail on Bataan.  He then went to Cabanatuan and was sent to Batangas and Lipas.  He returned to Cabanatuan and was sent with  with about 2000 other POWs on the Tottori Maru leaving port on Oct. 8, 1942. On Nov. 7, 1942  about 1500 of the men were unloaded at Fusan, Korea.  Some of the men were hospitalized at Fusan.  Rowland went on to Mukden, Manchuria, arriving there in Nov. 11, 1942.


He and several other hundred others worked at a machine tool and die factory (MKK) until the end of the war.  Our Mukden camp was formally released by Russians troops on Aug. 20, 1945.  He left Mukden by train on Sept. 10, 1945, and arrived in Darien China, Sept. 11, 1945.  The next day he sailed out and arrived at Okinawa on Sept. 15.  Then he flew to Manila and on Sept. 27 shipped out to San Francisco arriving there Oct.14, and going to the Letterman General Hospital.  John arrived by train to Cambridge, Ohio on Oct. 20, 1945.  He was honorably discharged at Camp Atterbury, IN on April 8, 1946 with the rank of staff sergeant.


Rowland married Virginia Weibel who he was engaged to prior to his induction.  They wed on March 23, 1946 and had a son and a daughter.  John followed a career in the federal government.  He spent three years with  the Defense Supply Agency, seven years with V.A. Insurance and 16 years with the Dept of the Army  by 1982 when he became ADBC National Commander. He retired from the civil service in 1973 after 32 years of service.  He also farmed while working and sold farm equipment and cattle in 1981.