SECOND U.S. POW DELEGATION TO JAPAN, OCTOBER 15-23, 2011
(Extensions of Remarks - October 13, 2011)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1853-E1855]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        SECOND U.S. POW DELEGATION TO JAPAN, OCTOBER 15-23, 2011

                                 ______
                                 

                         HON. MICHAEL M. HONDA

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, October 13, 2011

  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor veterans from America's 
greatest generation and thank the Government of Japan for recognizing 
the sacrifices of these men. On Saturday, October 15, seven former 
members of the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps, who fought in the Battle 
for the Philippines at the start of World War II, from December 1941 to 
May 1942, will travel to Tokyo as guests of the Japanese government. 
These brave soldiers and airmen were all prisoners of war of Imperial 
Japan.
  The conditions in which they were held are unimaginable. Their first 
trip to Japan was on aging freighters called ``Hellships,'' where the 
men were loaded into suffocating holds with little space, water, food, 
or sanitation. At the

[[Page E1854]]

POW camps in the Philippines, Japan and China, they suffered unmerciful 
abuse aggravated by the lack of food, medical care, clothing, and 
appropriate housing. Each POW also became a slave laborer at the mines, 
factories, smelters, and docks of Japan's largest companies, including 
Mitsui, Nippon Steel, Showa Denko, Mitsubishi, and Japan Metals & 
Chemicals Company. In the end, nearly 40% of the American POWs of Japan 
perished; compared to the two percent of those in Nazi Germany's POW 
camps.
  The men traveling to Japan this weekend include five residents of 
California, one from Arizona and one from Missouri. There are two 
survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March and four who were captured 
during the surrender of Corregidor. Furthermore, two of the veterans 
believe that they were subject to medical experimentation.
  In September 2010, the Japanese government delivered to the first 
American POW delegation an official apology for the damage and 
suffering these men endured. Although the Japanese government had 
hosted POWs from U.S. wartime Allies, this was the first trip to Japan 
for American POWs. It was also the first official apology to any 
prisoners of war held by Japan.
  I know that the American POWs fought hard for this recognition. I 
appreciate the courage of the Japanese government for their historic 
and meaningful apology. I thank the POWs for their persistent pursuit 
of justice, and commend the U.S. State Department for helping them. 
Now, it is time for the many Japanese companies that used POWs for 
slave labor during World War II to follow the example of their 
government by offering an apology and supporting programs for lasting 
remembrance and reconciliation. Furthermore, I invite my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to join me in a making a small, but 
significant, gesture to show these men that Congress has not forgotten 
their experience and sacrifice by cosponsoring House Resolution 333, 
which I introduced earlier this year.
  I wish these men a fulfilling trip to Japan, and I hope that their 
trip contributes to securing the historic peace between the U.S. and 
our important ally Japan.


        Second U.S. POW Delegation to Japan, October 15-23, 2011

  Harold A. Bergbower, 91, lives in Peoria, Arizona. He joined the U.S. 
Army Air Corps in 1939 and was part of V Bomber Command, 19th Bomb 
Group, 28th Bombardment Squadron, Far East Air Force. He was at Clarke 
Field when Japan attacked on December 8, 1941. He was knocked out in 
the bombardment and when he awoke he found himself in the morgue at 
Fort Stotsenburg. Bergbower crawled out and went back to his squadron 
to fight in the Battle of Bataan. By escaping to Mindanao after 
surrender, he avoided the Bataan Death March and was captured in May. 
On the Philippines, he was imprisoned at Malaybalay on Mindanao and the 
Davao Penal Colony. In August 1944, he survived the sinking of several 
Hellships only to end up on Mitsubishi's Noto Marti; a trip he has 
completely blocked out. He was a slave laborer scooping iron ore into 
an open hearth furnace at the Nagoya-6B-Nomachi (Takaoka) camp for the 
Hokkai Denka Company which was involved in ferro-alloy smelting. Today, 
the site remains in ferro-alloy business as Takaoka Works. It is, as 
was Hokkai Denka, still part of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd (JMC, 
Nihon Jukagaku Kogyo). Bergbower stayed in the U.S. Air Force and 
returned to Japan (1954-1957) to train Japan's Air Self-Defense Force. 
He and his family lived near air bases in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 
Prefecture and in Fukuoka (Itazuke), Fukuoka Prefecture. After retiring 
in 1969, he became a golf pro for Dell Webb's Sun City, Arizona. He is 
a past Commander of the American Defenders (2005-6) and helped to 
establish its Descendant's Group. POW#89
  James C. Collier, 88, lives in Salinas, California. He enlisted in 
the U.S. Army in 1940 at the age of 16. As a member of U.S. Army 59th 
Coast Artillery, Battery D ``Cheney'' he was captured on Corregidor. 
Before being shipped from the Philippines to Japan on Mitsubishi's Noto 
Maru in August 1944, he was held in Cabanatuan and Clark Field. Collier 
was a slave laborer feeding iron ore into the open hearth furnace at 
the Nagoya-6B-Nomachi (Takaoka) camp for the Hokkai Denka Company, 
which was involved in ferro-alloy smelting. Today, the site remains in 
ferroalloy business as Takaoka Works. It is, as was Hokkai Denka, still 
part of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd (JMC, Nihon Jukagaku Kogyo). 
After WWII, he earned two master's degrees: one in the Teaching of 
English from San Jose State and another in School Counseling from the 
University of Oregon, Eugene. He taught English and Psychology and 
worked as a guidance counselor in a high school and community college 
for 31 years. POW#130
  Harry Corre, 88, lives in Los Angeles, California. He joined the U.S. 
Army in 1941 and was sent to the Philippines as part of the 59th Coast 
Artillery Regiment, Battery C ``Wheeler.'' He was captured by the 
Japanese with the surrender of Bataan on April 9, 1942 and began the 
infamous Bataan Death March. He escaped by swimming, with the 
assistance of a hastily improvised floatation device, the three-and-a-
half miles to Corregidor, where he rejoined his unit. Corre was 
surrendered on Corregidor and imprisoned at Cabanatuan #1 and #3. He 
was shipped to Japan in July 1943 on Mitsubishi's Clyde Maru to mine 
coal at Omuta Fukuoka #17 Branch POW Camp for Mitsui Mining (now 
Mitsui's Nippon Coke & Engineering Company Co., Ltd.). After the war he 
worked odd jobs for several years and then moved to California to work 
in the aerospace industry. He returned to school in 1971 and graduated 
from Western Electronic Institute in Los Angeles as an electronics 
engineer. He worked in the aerospace industry for 40 years with his 
last position at TRW. Corre presently works at the Los Angeles, 
California Veterans Administration Hospital as a Patient Advocate and 
as a Veterans Service Officer for the American Ex-Prisoners of War as 
well as a POW Coordinator for the Veterans Administration Hospital & 
West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Regional Office. POW# 283

  Roy Edward Friese, 88, lives in Calimesa, California. He joined the 
U.S. Army in 1941 and became a member of the 60th Coast Artillery 
Regiment Battery E ``Erie.'' He arrived in the Philippines in April 
1941 for basic training. He was assigned to a searchlight battery on 
the tip of Bataan and then evacuated to Corregidor when Bataan fell 
April 9, 1942. He was imprisoned on the Philippines in Bilibid and 
Cabanatuan. Friese was shipped to Japan in July 1943 on Mitsubishi's 
Clyde Maru to mine coal at Omuta Fukuoka #17 Branch POW Camp for Mitsui 
Mining (now Mitsui's Nippon Coke & Engineering Company). After WWII, he 
reenlisted in the U.S. Army and in 1947 transferred to the U.S. Air 
Force. He retired after 20 years of service. In civilian life he was 
employed doing various types of electronics work. In 1975, Friese 
established his own company installing & repairing micrographic 
equipment. In retirement he pursues hobbies of travel, photography, 
woodworking, and collecting antique clocks. POW#173
  Ralph E. Griffith, 88, lives in Hannibal, Missouri. He enlisted in 
the army in 1941 at the age of 17 and received his basic training on 
Corregidor, the Philippines. He was captured on Corregidor in May 1942 
with his unit, the U.S. Army 60th Coast Artillery Regiment Battery F 
``Flint.'' On the Philippines he was a POW in Bilibid and Cabanatuan. 
He was shipped to Mukden, China (today's Shenyang) in October 1942 on 
Mitsubishi's Tottori Maru via Korea to Manchuria. Griffith was a slave 
laborer at MKK (Manshu Kosaku Kikai, which some researchers believe was 
owned by Mitsubishi and known as Manchuria Mitsubishi Machine Tool 
Company, Ltd.) factory working as a planer operator. He believes that 
the multiple shots and blood tests that he received while at Mukden 
were part of human medical experiments conducted by the Imperial Army's 
731st Biological Warfare Unit. At liberation, he walked out the main 
gate of the POW camp and was immediately taken by the hand by a little 
Chinese girl. She brought him to her home where her family had prepared 
a meal for him. This family fed and cared for him until he was 
repatriated. Ever since, whenever he sees a Chinese family dining at a 
restaurant he quietly pays their bill. After the war, he went to work 
for railways both in Missouri and Alaska. Not liking the cold weather, 
he went to work for the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway in northern 
Indiana. After 37 years, he retired from the Railway and returned to 
his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri where he was born and raised. 
POW#552
  Oscar L. Leonard, 92, lives in Paradise, California. He joined the 
Idaho National Guard 116th Cavalry in 1939 and the U.S. Army Air Corps 
in 1940. He was sent to the Philippines to be an airplane mechanic with 
28th Heavy Bomb Squadron at Clark Field. He was surrendered on Mindanao 
in May 1942 and held as a POW in Malaybalay and Bilibid. Leonard was 
then shipped to Japan on Mitsubishi's Tottori Maru in October 1942. In 
Japan, he was held in a prison in Kawasaki and at Tokyo-2B-Kawasaki POW 
Camp (Mitsui Wharf Co., Ltd. known as ``Mitsui Madhouse'') to be used 
as stevedore and steel mill slave labor for the Mitsui Corporation as 
well as mixing chemicals for ammunition for Showa Denko. He was then 
held at Tokyo-5D-Kawasaki POW Camp where he was forced to work at a 
steel mill for Nihon Kokan (Japan Steel Pipe, now part of JFE 
Holdings). He was sent finally to Tokyo-7B-Hitachi POW Camp to refine 
copper ore for Nippon Mining (today, JX Holdings Ltd., Inc.). He 
weighed only 85 pounds at liberation. After World War II, Leonard felt 
he was too old to return to medical school and decided to become a 
pharmacist. He attended Marin College and graduated from Idaho State 
College School of Pharmacy Pocatello in 1954. He still works relief at 
local pharmacies, sometimes helps his youngest daughter plant trees on 
her ten acres of land, cuts and chops his own firewood, and enjoys 
world travel. POW#247

[[Page E1855]]

  Robert J. Vogler, Jr., 90, lives in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, 
California. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in January 1940 at the 
age of 19. Stationed in Manila as part of the 24th Pursuit Group 17th 
Pursuit Squadron, he completed aircraft instrument training and 
attended the University of Philippines to study engineering. He 
serviced aircraft and then fought as an infantry soldier during the 
Battle of Bataan. As a POW, he survived the Bataan Death March, Camp 
O'Donnell, and Cabanatuan in the Philippines. He was shipped to Mukden, 
China (today's Shenyang) in October 1942 on Mitsubishi's Tottori Maru 
via Korea to Manchuria. Vogler was a slave laborer at MKK factory 
(Manshu Kosaku Kikai, which some researchers believe was owned by 
Mitsubishi and known as Manchuria Mitsubishi Machine Tool Company, 
Ltd.), working as a grinding specialist. He believes that the multiple 
shots and rectal probes that he received while at Mukden were human 
medical experiments conducted by the Imperial Army's 731st Biological 
Warfare Unit. In May 1944, he and 150 American POWs were transferred to 
Nagoya-1B-Kamioka, Japan as punishment for bad behavior to be slave 
laborers for Mitsui Mining (now Kamioka Kogyo, a 100% subsidiary of 
Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd.) mining lead and zinc. Mitsui now 
operates a recycling center at the former POW camp site. The mine was 
also the source of one of Japan's four major cases of mass industrial 
poisoning in the 1960s. After the war, he remained in the U.S. Air 
Force, retiring in 1960. He was then employed by General Dynamics as a 
manufacturing and development engineer, but was forced to retire in 
1976 due to health issues caused by his POW experience. In 2000, Mr. 
Volger and his wife returned to Kamioka to a warm welcome from mine 
representatives, town officials, citizens, and school children. He said 
that the visit brought him to tears and helped rest the many demons 
that haunted him from his maltreatment in Japan's POW camps. POW#138 
and #0336.

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