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Pronounced "Oh-ree-OH-koo Muh-ROO" The Oryoku Maru Story
(Taken from the Legal Proceedings)

Page 5 of 7

About the 18th, after repeated requests were made to the Japanese to hospitalize a prisoner, Cpl Eugene L. Specht *, USMC, who was suffering from a gangrenous arm, and having no action taken, it became necessary to amputate his arm at the tennis court. There was a mess kit knife for use as a surgical instrument, no anesthetic and no medical supplies of any kind were provided by the Japnese. Specht had been shot in the arm by a guard aboard the Oryoku Maru. It had swollen to incredible size, and the odor from it was overpowering. There was no outcry from the patient, only a few groans and "Oh Doctor." Specht survived a few days and subsequently died. It is alleged that Specht would have had an excellent chance to live if he had been given normal hospitalization. [* This is incorrect. Per Cdr. A. G. Beale, USN (Ret.), the name of the man whose arm was amputated was Cpl. Carl E. Logan, USMC. Beale visited and talked with Logan a few hours before his arm was amputated. Army medics Roland Stickney and Charles Towne held Logan during the operation. Fourth marine records indicate that Cpl. Specht was killed on December 15.]

On the morning of 20 December 1944, 500 of the men were taken to San Fernando, Pampanga and the second group left on the 21st. The first group was placed in the provincial jail, and the second group in the movie house. While there, the prisoners were finally issued a canteen of rice. There was a spigot at the theater with running water and by keeping order everybody received enough water. Ample water was also available at the jail.

About 1800 hours on 23 December, WADA came to the two group commanders and wanted the 15 sickest men to be selected for return to Manila for hospitalization. Among the group selected were Lieutenant Dwight D. Edison, Lieutenant John W. Elliot, Lieutenant Colonel Ulysses J.L. Peoples, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Samuel W. Freeny, Pharmacists Mate 2/c Deenah R. McCurry, Second Lieutenant Herman V. Sherman, Major Wendell F. Swanson and eight other unidentified Americn Prisoners of War.

About 1900 hours, a truck was brought to where the group was waiting and the sick were driven in the truck to a small cemetery on the outskirts of San Fernando, Pampanga. When they arrived at the cemetery there were a group of soldiers who had dug a hole about 15 feet square. When the guards on the truck had dismounted, they took up positions about the hole. Two of the guards brought one of the prisoners to the hole. He was told to kneel at the edge of the hole and to take a position as though in prayer. The prisoner was brought to the hole and he was bayoneted and decapitated. This procedure was followed until all fifteen of the prisoners had either been bayoneted or decapitated. It is alleged that at this execution both WADA and TOSHINO were present, that they supervised and took part in it.

From San Fernando, Pampanga, the prisoners were moved by train to San Fernando, La Union, on 24 December. The prisoners were marched to the railroad station. At the station the men were loaded into boxcars. WADA and TOHINO had returned from the scene of the execution by this time. WADA again apparently in command, instructed the group commanders that 170 to 180 men would be put in each box car, which was actually physically impossible. However, 40 men who were the sickest were allowed to be placed on top of the cars. During the trip the conditions in the train were very bad. The heat was terrific, and due to crowding and lack of air, many men passed out. When a man became unconscious he was passed from hand to hand to the door of the boxcar to revive.

The train arrived at San Fernando, La Union about 0500 hours Christmas morning of 25 December 1944. The weather was bitterly cold. The men were marched from the train to a school house about a half mile to a mile from the railway station. When the group arrived at the schoolhouse, WADA announced that water was available. A detail of men was ordered to dig for water. After digging five feet below the surface, water was found, and iodine was used for purification.

At 0900 on 25 December, orders were received that the men were to line up and prepare for a march to the beach. On the morning of 27 December, after remaining on the beach for two days and two nights, the first group of 236 men was loaded aboard the Brazil Maru. The remainder of the men on the beach was loaded aboard the Enoura Maru. The men were marched to the piers where landing barges were waiting to carry the men out to the transports. While loading into the barges men were compelled to jump from the pier into the barges, some 20 feet below. If a man hesitated before jumping to the barge the guard would push him off the pier. In several instances men broke their legs. In one case, one man missed the barge completely, hitting his head on the side of the barge and falling into the water. When this man was finally dragged into the barge he was dead. All during the time the loading proceeded, it is alleged that TOSHINO and WADA were present on the pier and witnessed all the incidents that occurred during the loading operations.

The Brazil Maru was an old freighter of about 2,500 tons. It was armed and was loaded with sick and healthy Japanese soldiers. During the six-day trip from the Philippines to Takao, Formosa, no food was received during the first two days except the food leavings of the five Formosan guards. This amounted to about one teaspoon of rice per man. On the third day an issue was made which was three men per mess kit of food. On the fourth day there was no food at all. On the fifth day prisoners were issued five Japanese rolls per man. These rolls were a type of hard tack infested with maggots and mold.

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