Jerome E. Okonski
Jerome Okonski was born October 3rd, 1922 in Toledo, OH. he joined the army February 6th, 1941 and was sent to Corregidor on April 22, 1941 to Battery D, 60th CAC. Captured and surrendered on May 6, 1942, Jerome became a POW.
He stayed on Corregidor until August of 1942. next he was sent to Bilibid Prison where he stayed until he was transferred to Japan on a "cattle ship".
In Jerome's own words, "On route to Japan Jerome I was taken seriously ill with an appendicitis attack, stuck in the hole of the dirty ship. Dr. Thomas Hewlett looked at me and told the Japs that I needed an operation now and would they take me ashore for the operation. They told him (Dr. Hewlett) that if he could not do the operation there (on ship) than to let me die. So after a lot of pain all night Dr. Hewlett decided to do the operation himself. So in the morning he had four guys (POW's) hold me down and without any medicine and only a razor blade and hot water and a needle and thread to sew me up, he did the operation and everything came out just fine.
"I retired from the Air force on February 28th, 1961
and now retired and living in Ft. Camp 17 in Japan in coal mines until the end."
Credit: History of the Defenders of the Philippines Guam and Wake Islands 1941-1945 Turner Publishing Co
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