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   Harold J. Hart
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 91st Bomb Squadron, 27th Bomb Group
Service Location: Philippines; Japan; Pacific Theater
Rank: Corporal
POW: Yes
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Joining the Army Air Corps in order to become an aircraft mechanic; no money for college; first duty station at Bowling Air Force Base; transfer to Savannah, Georgia. (01:48) Being informed they were shipping out; thinking they were headed to Australia; evacuated to Bataan Peninsula; food shortages; living off the land. (03:40) Combat mentality of Japanese; where his battalion was when they surrendered; strategy of American commanders in choosing to surrender. (03:52)
Eating water buffaloes, iguanas, and snakes before capture; once captured, forced to get rid of identifying insignias on uniforms; forced to stand in columns and then to march; no water; men being beheaded and killed; nearly losing a friend who had cerebral malaria; learning to keep mouth shut. (06:16) Falling out of line on march; falling asleep; waking up to no one around; trying to decide what to do; recaptured, but not killed. (01:14) Volunteering for work detail in the hope of getting fed; digging up material that the Americans had buried when they surrendered; weighing only 95 pounds. (02:47)
Work detail as a gardener for a year; transfer to Japan; brutal conditions on ship; arrival in Japan; work in nickel mine. (02:50) Knowing that the Americans were close; being given American cigarettes from the Red Cross packages; started to get medicines, clothes, and food; commandeered a train to go to Yokohama; startled to see white faces. (03:05) 
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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