Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

Colonel Morris Loeb SchossCol. Morris Loeb Schoss Picture

 

Col.  Morris Loeb Shoss was born April 10, 1915, in Houston and passed away Aug. 4, 2004.  The third of five children born to Harry and Annie Shoss, he grew up in a tough neighborhood but proved to be a good student, graduating as the top male student of Jefferson David High School.  In 1933, he began attending Rice Institute (now Rice University) planning to get a degree in chemical engineering.  Three years later, he went to West Point after he received a commission to their military academy and graduated in 1920 as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps.  He married Flora Gordon of Wharton Texas on Sept. 22, 1940 and served as Executive Officer of Battery C, 91st Coast Artillery defending Manila and the Subic Bay regions.  A year later, his wife was evacuated from the Philippines as suspicions of an imminent invasion grew.  His anti-aircraft unit was credited with shooting down the first Japanese planes of the Philippine islands.

 

He helped in the defense of Bataan, but was then transported to Corregidor in a last ditch defense against the Japanese.   He was sent by boat to the Davao Penal Colony working as a slave laborer in the rice paddies.  He boarded the Shinyo Maru to go to Japan to work, but the American submarine the Paddle hit the Shinyo Maru.  His boat rocked violently.  Shoss managed to escape by swimming out to sea for ten hours despite an injury he sustained from machine gun fire.  He washed ashore over a coral reef on an island held by Japan.  Some friendly aborigines helped him to get well and hooked him up with a band of Filipino resistance fighters.  He fought with them until the USS Narwhal evacuated him to Australia.  He then reunited with his wife and after recovering from his wounds he went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for his next assignment.  His son Robert was born in Brazil, and next he went to Texas where his daughter Maurie Lynn was born.  He continued to travel throughout the US and Europe.

 

He earned a masters degree in Bioradiology from Berkeley, went to Chemical Warfare School in Edgewood, MD, and studied nuclear physics at the US Naval Academy.  He then went to the US Army Artillery and Missile School in Fort Sill, OK, made two tours in Germany, serving as troop commander of an artillery battalion and Deputy Inspector General of Nuclear Warfare Organizations.  He then went to Washington, D.C for two tours.  His medals included the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, one with an Ok Leaf Cluster and two Bronze stars. 

 

After ending his military career, Morris joined the faculty of San Antonio College serving as chair of the Technical Mathematics Program, teaching students how to apply math to their daily lives.  After leaving the College in 1981, he designed and taught swimming classes to senior citizens.  He told stories of his war years and gave numerous interviews to journalists and historians.  In June 1987 he was featured in a television documentary, “P.O.W. Americans in Enemy Hands,” sponsored by the USAA.  He kept active in POW and VA groups, particularly the Survivors of the Shinyo Maru group.

 

Col. Shoss stayed active and physically fit and participated in local and regional swimming competitions, including the National Senior Olympics in Baton Rouge in 1993.

 

Morris was treasured for his instant smile, his enthusiasm and energy, his patriotic ways, and his willingness to teach and share with others what he knew.    Col. Schloss is interred at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.