Friday, January 18, 2019


Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 4, (Senate - January 09, 2019) [Page S99]

Mr. [Brian] SCHATZ. Mr. President, today, we remember the 400 American and Allied prisoners of war who died 74 years ago from friendly fire aboard the Japanese hell ship Enoura Maru docked in Takeo Harbor, Formosa-- modern-day Taiwan. 

Among the dead were men who left their homes in America, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Czechoslovakia to fight an enemy they did not know, in places few of them had heard of, all in pursuit of a common cause: freedom, justice, and equality. These heroes were part of the infamous 45-day odyssey of the last transport of prisoners of war from the Philippines to Japan--captive since the American territory fell to Imperial Japan in the spring of 1942 after fighting to defend the Philippines. 

On the morning of January 9, 1945, dive bombers from the USS Hornet attacked the unmarked freighter holding 1,300 prisoners of war docked in the Japanese colony's harbor. Two hundred died instantly. Nearly everyone else was wounded. For 2 days, the men were left in the floating wreckage before the Japanese permitted the dead to be removed. Their remains were buried ashore in mass graves. 

After the war, the 400 victims of the bombing of the Enoura Maru were exhumed and eventually brought to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. They rest in 20 mass graves marked only as ``Unknowns January 9, 1945.'' Their families did not learn the final fate of their loved ones until 2001.

This past August, we remembered these brave men with a memorial stone on the Memorial Walk at the Cemetery honoring the prisoners of war aboard the hell ship Enoura Maru. The American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society, an organization that represents the American prisoners of war of Imperial Japan and their families, organized the commemoration in Hawaii. 

That memorial stone is a monument to their courage, suffering, and sacrifice. It commemorates their tragic death 74 years ago and marks their final return home. Let that stone and our remembrance of the prisoners of war on the Enoura Maru remind us of our sacred commitment to veterans of all eras to "never forget.'' 

May they rest in peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are welcome to leave a reasonable comment or additional information. We will moderate comments.