Held In: O'DONNELL, CABANATUAN, BILIBID MUKDEN MOJI CAB.
Long Interned: 1230 days
after War: SPECIAL AGENT
Jacques V. Merrifield, 80, died February 16, 1999 at the Phoenix VA
Hospital after a long illness. Known to his friends as Jack, he retired
from the I.R.S. after 35 years service. He and his wife Grace moved to
Lake Havasu City from Colorado in the mid-80ís. Grace preceded him in
death two years ago; his son was killed in an auto accident in the
70ís. He is survived by his daughter, Jan.
Jack was a Lieutenant in the 192nd Reserve Tank Group arriving in the
Philippines in November 1941and were stationed near Clark Airfield. In
December 1941, he was sent to Lingayen Gulf to defend against an
invasion by the Japanese before strategically withdrawing to the Bataan
Peninsula to fight the battle for Bataan. He was taken prisoner by the
Japanese on April9, 1942 and survived the infamous Bataan Death March.
He was held in POW Camps in the Philippines until December 1944. When
defeat became evident for the Japanese, they attempted to transport all
the POWs to Japan. Jack was aboard the POW Hell Ship Oryoku Maru when it
was sunk on Dec. 15, 1944 in Subic Bay by planes from the aircraft
carrier, USS Hornet. Many POWs were killed; those that survived and
managed to get ashore were corralled on a tennis court slab. They were
asked by the Japanese who among them were too ill to walk; those that
raised their hands were put on trucks, taken up into the surrounding
hills, removed from the trucks and were all shot or bayoneted to death.
On Dec. 26,1944 Jack and the other survivors were then put on Hell Ship
Enoura Maru and left for the Philippines. This ship was also sunk on
Dec. 31.1944 at Takao Formosa. Those who survived and managed to get
ashore were taken on another Hell Ship, Brazil Maru on Jan. 14,1945
ending up in POW camp Hoten at Mukden Manchuria. He was recaptured by
the Russians on Aug. 21, 1945 and returned to America control at the
Port of Darien, then sent back to the Philippines before returning to
Jack's loyalty and devotion to his country and his former POW friends
will long be remembered by all of us.