Affidavit Of Billy Alvin Ayers
Cpl, 7th Materiel Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group, US Army Air Corps
In re: War Crimes Trials
State of Washington )
County of Pierce )
I, Billy G. Ayers (the initial “G” is a typo), of lawful age, being duly sworn, on oath dispose and say:
I am Cpl. Billy G. (A is written in) Ayers, ASN 18029998. My permanent home address is 2009 E. Grant, Marshall, TX. I was captured on Bataan Peninsula on April 9, 1942 by the Japanese. (next sentence redacted until confirmed) At the time I was a member of the 7th Materiel Squadron. From July 1942 to July 23, 1943, I was confined at Cabanatuan. From July 23, 1943 to August 10, 1943, I was enroute to Japan aboard a ship of unknown identify. From August 10, 1943 and until my release by American troops on September 10, 1945, I was confined in Camp 17, Omatu, Japan.
At Camp 17, Omuta, Japan, in January or February 1945, an Australian, David Runn was tortured by the Japanese. A new group of Australian prisoners arrived at the camp. While working in the mine, Runn told them not to work too hard. A Japanese guard overheard the remark and reported it. As punishment, runn was forced to remain in a kneeling position for seven days. A bamboo pole was placed under his feet so that it pressed against the top side of the instep. This stopped the circulation and caused his feet to freeze. It was later necessary to amputate both feet. During the period of this punishment, he would be beaten by guards whenever he fainted or fell from the kneeling position. I do not know the name of nor can I give a description of the guards involved in this. The Commanding Officer of the Camp was 1st Lt. Fukahara a man about 30 years of age, 5’5” in height and weighting 135 lbs.
In January or February 1944, a member of the 59th Coast Artillery known as “Gumdrop” was ill and refused to work in the mine. He was placed in the guard house for five days without food or water. His toes froze requiring the amputation of toes on both feet. The same persons were responsible as that set out in the paragraph above.
Another torture which took place during the period that 1st Lt. Fukahara was the Commanding Officer of the camp was to shock men with electric current. The men were forced to hold iron bars in each hand. The bars were approximately 8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. They were attached to electric current of approximately 100 volts. Water would then be poured on the bars and the juice turned on. The men would then become unconscious, but would revive in about 10 minutes. This would be repeated about every two hours for a period of several days. Cold water was also poured upon their clothing which was never permitted to dry. This punishment was administered for failure to salute the guards, walking in the barracks with shoes on and other minor infractions of the rules. I cannot recall the names of the men who suffered this type of punishment.
I wish to place some of the blame of such treatment of the men on Lt. Little (U.S. Navy) and T/Sgt. Bennett who collaborated with the Japanese authorities by reporting infraction of the rules to the Japanese authorities rather than dealing with them in their own way. Lt. Little was in charge of the mess hall. T/Sgt Bennett was in charge of camp duty.
Sammy Young, Quinlan, Texas and Kenneth Luton, Houston Texas (formerly with the 7th Materiel Squadron) can corroborate my statements, as they were in the camp during the whole period of my confinement. I can give no further details concerning the matters described in this affidavit.
Billy G. Ayers, Cpl. ASN 18029998
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 11th day of October 1945 at Fort Lewis, Wash.
Arthur G. Bouley
Asst Adjutant General
ASFTC Fort Lewis, Wash
Roderick M. O’Connor
Agent, SIC, 9 SC
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