Manuel E. Maestas Sr.

 

P.F.C. Manuel E Maestas was born June 14, 1919 in Southern Colorado. Manuel volunteered for the U.S. Army, on September 9, 1940 and was assigned to the 59th Coast Artillery Corps Corregidor in the Philippine Islands. After continuous bombardment by land and air from the Japanese forces beginning December 7, 1941, on May 6, 1942, P.F.C. Maestas was taken Prisoner of war and put on starvation rations for the next 3 Ĺ years. He was held at Bilibid Prison, Cabanatuan Concentration Camp 1 and Cabanatuan Concentration Camp 3 on the Philippine  Islands. In July, 1943 he would become one of the "First 500" as he was then shipped to Fukuoka Camp #17 Omuta, Japan on the hell ship Clyde Maru. The Clyde Maru was later torpedoed and sunk by the submarine USS Picuda (SS-382) in the Taiwan straights.

Manuelwould be forced to work as coal miner, a slave laborer for the Mitsui Mining Company. As a slave laborer, he was injured in a cave-in and suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and also suffered scrapes on his head and back.

Liberated August 18, 1945 and shipped to Godís country, U.S.A., he spent 6 months in rehabilitation at Dibble General Hospital in Menlo Park, California. He was discharged on May 10, 1946.

He was proudly recognized by being awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Defense Medal w/one stare, Asiatic Pacific Medal w/two stars, Philippine Defense Unit Badge w/two oak leaf clusters, WW II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and 40 year later in 1968, Mr. Maestas received the Bronze Star Medal.   

 

Manuel's Memorial Service

 

 

 

 

Submitted by son-in-law Daniel Rivera

 

 

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