Frank C. Stecklein
"These are my WWII experiences as a POW
I was taken prisoner by the Japanese on May 5, 1942 as a direct result of General Wainwright’s surrender to Japan of all U.S. troops stationed in the Philippine Islands. On MAY 24th I and other troops stationed on the island of Corregidor were taken by freighter to the shore near Manila. We were force marched from the docks through the city of Manila, which was later referred to by the Japanese as the “victory march”.
We became to know it as the “Death March”.
Our destination was an old penal compound called Bilibid.
Early the next morning we marched to a railroad station where we were loaded into boxcars and taken to Cabanatuan. Upon arrival to our destination, we were then marched another twelve miles to a Philippine Army Camp called Camp #3. For the next twenty-five months I worked in the jungle. My time was spent building landing fields and working on a farm near camp. On June 25th, 1944, I was taken to Manila and we were loaded on a coal-carrying freighter. This voyage took two months before we reached Japan. We sailed from island to island while dodging U.S. submarines because the Japanese did not mark the ships as carrying prisoner’s-of-war.
After arriving in Moji, Japan, I was taken by train to Omuta, where we stayed at Camp #17. I worked in the coal mine for one year. I was beaten many times for not meeting their standards in terms of daily output.
Japan surrendered on August 15th 1945 and I left camp on September 12th.
We traveled by train, and I finally met up with American troops on September 14th.
I finally returned to the States on October 20th 1945.
It is with a heavy heart I must add this addendum to Frank's page
and post the date of Franks' passing on January 8th, 2013.
We lost a great man, yet Heaven gained a faithful servant.