PHILIP N. RUTH
Ruth served on many Navy ships and submarines and shore stations for a period of 30 years, six months and retired as a commissioned chief warrant officer on June 25, 1959.
Ruth arrived in Cavite, P.I. on May 6, 1939, and was stationed at the submarine base and ammunition depot there. According to Ruth...
"We were bombed by the Japanese on Dec 10, 1941. Had two submarines along side of the torpedo shop and on other side was the marine railway with a destroyer on it. The bombs hit the shop, submarine and the destroyer also. Sank one submarine and numerous small tugs. Also the shop was bombed and set afire. Our air raid shelter was the ammunition depot. Bombs dropped all around it.
After the bombing, some of us stayed and salvaged everything we could load on barges to be sent to the USS Canopus, Corregidor and Mariveles, P.I. by tugs.
On December 24 two other men and I loaded up trucks to take any food supplies, etc., and drove through Manila to join our group at Mariveles. Were delayed now and then as the Zeros would strafe us and the Japs came in and took over Manila on Dec. 25, 1941.
Turning the supplies over to the group commander at Mariveles, we joined the beach defense with the U.S. Navy Bn. Nicknamed “the Battlin Bastards of Bataan.” We defended the Lingayen Beach until Feb. 22, 1942 when a group of the battalion were boated over to Corregidor for beach defense. I and two other sailors were to dig out a machine gun nook on the other side of the hill at Crocket Ravine with an air cooled 50 caliber machine gun. Had to climb a rope ladder to the gun, and at air raids we had to use the road culverts for shelter. One of our gun crew was killed by shrapnel.
After the surrender on May 6, 1942, we were herded to bottomside Corregidor along with 15,000 others and no shelter, food or water for two weeks, then over to Manila and put in box cards and railroaded to Cabanatuan, then the long march to Camp No. 3 and started this camp.
We were put on work details, burial details, etc., and after all this time in the herding of the POWs no ventilation in the box cars. No facilities, no water or food on the march to Camp No. 3 then I broke ranks and ran over to a caribou pool and drank some water and almost was bayoneted and I got deathly sick from the water. On an empty stomach, but made it. Our toilets were open trenches and no seats, almost everyone had dysentery and malaria.
I was sent to Nichols Field, Pasay, P.I., and worked under “Pistol Pete” and the “White Angel.” It’s impossible to describe in words how terrible the treatment was there. I got wounded in my shin bones and it was bared to the bones. Finally I was the first one to ever leave Nichols Field alive and sent back to Cabanatuan No. 1. I stayed there until a group of 500 was sent to Camp No. 17 at Omuta, Japan and we had nine sections of 50 men each to work in the coal mines. I was a CPO and had number nine section and we worked in the hard rock building and shoring tunnels to lead to coal veins. I got an ulcer in my left eye and stayed in camp and a dark room for one month then back to the coal mine when later I had fungus and just dripped with it and they put me back in camp again. The coal mine had a ramp and it was tunneled under the bay about 1200 feet.
We would receive the other POWs into camp; English, Dutch and others as the Japs retreated.
I was topside when the bomb hit Nagasaki, and it was the most beautiful sight to behold. It was real white at the base and continued to bellow out and in the center was a pinkish red color and as it continued to climb, it was awesome.
This was on Aug. 9, 1945."
Credit: History of the Defenders of the Philippines Guam and Wake Islands 1941-1945 Turner Publishing Co
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