REMEMBERING WT2c CARL ELLIS BARNES, PALAWAN MASSACRE
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Monday, December 16, 2019
Mr. COX of California. Madam Speaker, today, I ask my colleagues to pause in memory of 139 soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors who perished 75 years ago this month. On December 14, 1944, in the midst of World War II, on the Philippines island of Palawan they were massacred as prisoners of war (POWs). They had just completed building a Japanese airfield that is used today as the Antonio Bautista Air Base, an important anchor of the U.S.-Philippines alliance.
One of the men murdered, Water Tender 2C Carl Ellis Barnes, hailed from the Central Valley in California. He had arrived in the Philippines from China aboard the Yangtze River gunboat USS Ohau (PR-6) days before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. During the next five months of combat, the warship operated in and around Manila Bay on inshore patrol. Barnes became a POW on May 6, 1942 when the island fortress of Corregidor was surrendered.
In August 1942, he was taken to Palawan Island on the Sulu Sea with over 300 POWs, most of whom had survived the infamous Bataan Death March. The POWs were tasked with building an airfield for the Imperial Japanese Army. They endured arduous manual labor while being starved, denied medical care, and routinely and capriciously beaten. By December 1944, only 150 POWs were still held on the island and American forces were beginning to liberate the Philippines.
At noon on December 14, 1944, the POWs were sent to their recently constructed air raid trenches. Quickly, the Japanese troops doused them with buckets of airplane fuel and set them afire with flaming torches, followed by hand grenades and machine gun fire. Miraculously, 11 men escaped to the sea and were rescued by Filipino guerrillas.
Thus, today we remember these brave souls who labored and perished so far from home. The airfield they built is one of the sites of our Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines that helps bind our historic alliance with the Philippines. WT2c Barnes is buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri with most of his fellow POWs from the Palawan Massacre. Never Forgotten.
Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 203 [Page E1595]
Sad, very sad .... just about the same time as The Malmedy massacre in Europe (and about the same amount of US POWs ...RIP brothers)...ReplyDelete