Aug 282005
 

We were in Boise for the 84th birthday party for my father, Oscar Paulson. The people there were either family or co-workers from his years with Morrison-Knudsen (M-K). I listened in to an interesting conversations about the capture of Wake Island by the Japanese and the M-K construction workers who were taken prisoner.

I did some Google searching and the story is quite amazing. First some background on M-K. According to the Idaho State Historical Society Harry W. Morrison and Morris H. Knudsen:

became partners in March 1912, with six teams of horses, some equipment, and $100 in cash. Their first major job was the Three-Mile Falls Dam in Oregon in 1914.

… In 1926 they built Guernsey Dam in Wyoming, where Morrison pioneered the concept of the joint-venture — several firms joining to bid and complete a single project. In 1929 they built Deadwood Dam in Central Idaho, using for the first time bulldozers and diesel trucks instead of horses. In 1931 Morrison formed the Six Companies, Inc. to construct the mammoth Hoover Dam (wiki). The joint venture concept was also used when M-K worked on the San Francisco side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

… The company began work on foreign construction with projects for the U.S. military — M-K employees were among the Americans killed or captured on Wake Island during World War II. In 1943 the company began projects in Mexico and Canada and quickly spread worldwide. Later M-K projects included Grand Coulee Dam, the St. Lawrence Seaway, railroads in Peru and Brazil, and Karadj Dam in Iran.

According to an Associated Press story about the company:

The projects were big and made a difference in the way people lived. In 1954, Time magazine called Harry Morrison the one builder in history who had done the most to change the face of the earth.

My family has always been an M-K family. Both of my parents have worked for the company, 4 out of the 5 of us kids have worked for M-K, and even 2 of our spouses worked for M-K when we met them. My younger brother and myself were in Viet-Nam (3/1966-1/1969) with my folks during the war on an M-K job and my brother was with my parents in Iran as a high school senior when the Shah was deposed. The school graduated his whole senior class mid-term and the company strongly suggested all family members leave the country.

So, back to Wake Island. Harry Morrison was devastated to have over 1,000 employees of his small Boise, Idaho company captured and/or killed while working for him on Wake Island. The best account of the story I have found is by Major Mark E. Hubbs. It is hard to comprehend the worldview of the Japanese soldiers whose barbaric treatment of the prisoners was based on the fact that they could not understand why these men would surrender unless they were cowards who were unfit to live. All but 98 of the men were shipped to labor camps in Japan and China. Over 200 of these men either died on the ships or in the labor camps. The 98 men who were left on Wake Island were mostly experienced construction hands who could operate the machinery. All 98 of these men were killed before the island was liberated. It is a gruesome tale.

Wake Island Documentary: The real story of a band of forgotten WWII civilian soldiers

Update: I just found out about this documentary. Check it out on the Wake Island Documentary facebook page.
CURRENTLY SEEKING photographs, film, home movies, journals, letters and other items related to Wake Island, especially the 1941 Battle of Wake Island. Please contact us if you can help. Our focus is on the civilian workers and their role in this important chapter in our history… Reach us through via Facebook or at sethrandal@gmail.com

Some books I would like to read:

Here is a list of the articles I found online:

Morrison-Knudsen Blue Book

Update: 09/20/2012: Thanks to David Castiglione for a link to the Morrison-Knudsen “Blue Book” found on the Wake Island Spirit Facebook page.

  128 Responses to “Morrison-Knudsen & Wake Island POWs”

  1. I just read your posting of August 28, 2005, of the Morrison-Knudsen contractors on Wake Island. A cousin of mine was one of those men; he died in a camp in Japan. I heard that M-K had published a “blue book” or yearbook listing information and photos of most of those workers. Do you know anything about that book – its title or how I might find a copy to look at?

    • I have no info on that infamous book..Wish I did..Thanks for the response and I wish you well. RBLC

  2. looking for info on my dad thomas bailey lee captured on wake island…what is out there?

    • Dear Robert, My dad Harvey knew your dad T. Bailey Lee before WWII. The best buddy of my youth was Dick Lee his adopted son, who lived with us the 1951 school year while T.Bailey and my dad worked on Kabinet Gorge dam in N. Idaho. We M-K brats were together again in Sehan Turkey 1953-56 of which I have some (faded)B/W photos of Dick and Colleen,I last spoke to T.Bailey&Marie’s daughter Colleen near Boise 14 years ago..Get in touch Harve age 70 tel:541-531-8173

      • HOT DANG FINALLY A HIT…TBL WAS MY UNKNOW BIRTH FATHER AS MY MOM RITA AND TBL DIVORCED EARLY..I WOULD LOVE AS MUCH YOU HAVE.PICTURES OF COURSE..TBL’S FATHER BECAME CHIEF JUSTICE IDAHO SUPREME COURT..COLLEEN HAS DISAPPEARED… THANK YOU SO MUCH AND I HOPE TO HEAR MORE

    • oh my word.. My dad is Lee Scott. Robert, I have been looking for years for more information on what happened to “uncle Bail.”– I have such amazing memories of Bail… Would LOVE to hear from you. I just got off the phone with Lee (78 years old now), and he asked me to ask about “Bobby”…..

      reply if you can. You dad is a huge part of my history…

      • OMG I have really hit the mother lode.. Lately more stories from Wake Island. Lee’s sister Irene has been sharing so much about the father that I never knew. Lee was a good friend but I lost touch with his

        • Hi Robert… Lee lives in Lewiston now…. His Daughter, my sister Kim is now the custodian of the Family Photos… I am 100% sure we have some of your dad. what is you e-mail address… We will send any and all photos of your Dad. Your Dad was my “uncle Bail” and man was he awesome. LOVED to hear him tell stories….

  3. My uncle, Frank Lemkin, was captured on Wake island and spent the war in a Jap POW Camp. He survived and returned to the states where he lived until his death in the 1970’s. I doubt if anyone still alive remembers him. Frank would have been 106 this year. he worked for Morrison Knudsen on the Boulder Dam project and again on Wake. I remember seeing uncle Frank for the first time in 1946 after he had been released from the Army hospital in San Francisco. We were living in Los Angeles at the time. He had some pretty bad stories about the japs but I was so young, he didn’t tell the worst to me.If anyone has any details about his capture and imprisonment I would appreciate hearing about it.Too many people have forgotten the brutality of the Japs and when I pass on, no one in my family will know or perhaps care.

  4. I too am interested in finding the Morrison-Knudsen ‘blue book’. My dad, Richard S. Crenshaw, was a civilian worker on Wake and spent the war in Jap prison camps. He survived and, while he didn’t much like talking about the experience, he did tell me some of what they endoured. He died at 70 but was in pretty good health until the end, unlike some of the men which suffered health problems.

  5. My father, Wilbur Pearson, of Lewiston, Idaho, was on an M/K construction crew waiting in San Francisco to go to Wake Island, when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor. Their two cargoe ships were immediately sent to rebuild Pearl Harbor, instead. Our family didn’t know where he was until a week or so after they arrived. It was the first time dad had missed Christmas with his family.

  6. My Uncle Jacob Leonard Betts (Dutch) was one of the Morrison Knutsen Crew that were captured. I am Interested in the history.

  7. My Uncle Lacy Franklin Tart was one of the 98 that was killed Oct.7 1943.He worked for Morrison Knutsen.I have been searching all the web sights trying to find any information.Family never heard anything.They had his name & address wrong.Uncle Lacy is from Knightdale, N.C.The War records listed him from Portland,Oregan. Did any one ON Wake Island know him.He is our hero. Were there military decorations & how can I find out.He has 2 sisters living.All these years thy have wanted to find out something & I think it is because no one knew how to contact the family.Lacy had 2 brothers in the Army & one served in the Navy during WWII.Can any one help me?The defenders of Wake Island were all hero and fought heroic for their country. God bless all. If Uncle Lacy is in the blue book ,plese email it to me. JoAnn

    • My dad was one of the 98. We were awarded the P O W ribbon by the U S Marines. I wrote to someone and got a reply, I did forget who I wrote to, but Bonnie Gilbert might know. My dad was Archie H Pratt

  8. My great-uncle, Glen Vent, was also one of the 98 murdered on Wake (Maj Mark E. Hubb’s article fails to list him- but see http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/8/88/Wake_island_WWII_Civilian_memorial.JPG).

    I have been investigating too but information is hard to come by. I have written twice to MK and they ignored both letters.

    My rant: Congress has failed to pass endless legislation to provide reparations to just even survivors or widows of Wake and other areas in the SP. Ironically, the UK, Canada, Austraila and New Zealand are all paying their POWs since Japan will not.

    Although the US has recently contributed millions of dollars to Americans imprisoned by Germany, our government has no interest in providing just compensation to those who suffered in the Pacific Theatre.

    The families of the 98 men murdered on Wake would have been eligible to receive $1 a day for missed meals, $60 a month for civilian status, and I think $7500 for their death. However, I am curious whether any family member of the 98 ever filed a claim since the information was withheld for so many years.

    Kelly

    Glen Vent was hired as a contractor. He was denied military service due to flat feet. My family guesses that he was kept because he had heavy machine operating experience from his work on the Shasta Dam. He lived in Idaho but was living in Modesto, CA when he left for Honolulu on route to Wake. He took the job so that he could buy a farm.

  9. Regarding any military decorations, I believe there was a “Wake Island Device” – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_Island_Device. An uncle in my wife’s family was also an MK contractor. He died in a camp in February 1844 at age 24.

    FYI: I live near Boise and Morrison-Knudson is now Washington Group International. It’s still based in Boise. My best to everyone trying to find more information.

  10. My grandfather and uncle were on Wake with M-K at the start of the war. Grandfather Frank was killed in the first few days and Uncle Harry was taked POW and died in 1955. Would be interested in anything to read about M-K guys. We have some letters from them, but that is all. Also interested in anything about the “blue book” and where we can see it.

  11. Hello, My name is John W. Hansen, son of Peter W. Hansen who was a Wake Island POW. My sister, Mary-Anne Stickney and I want to visit Wake Island next year. Mary-Anne has just returned from a trip to Japan where she visited the Soto Dam that our POW’s built near Sasebo and the Pine Tree Camp, Fukuoka Camp #1 where they stayed while working on the airport. This is where Dad died 21 March 1945. If anyone has any information about visiting Wake Island please email me hansenshill@isiglobal.net. Thank You. John W. Hansen

  12. Hello Again, just found out a little about visiting Wake Island. The Air Force Base Commander said that currently the base is in need of repair because of Typhoon Ioke. But if you are interested in visiting the Island email him at Nicholas,musgrove@hickam.af.mil with your story and he will notify us if and when the Island is able to accommodate us. John W. Hansen

  13. 1) Morrison-Knudson published the Blue Book for those Wake Is civilian men returning from Japan. Only the men returning received them. There have been two sold on ebay in the last year. I know of no other way to get my hands on one

    2) Even though the official organization of Wake Survivors has ended. They still have a reunion each Sept in Boise ID. you can contact Alice Ingham, pandaingham@aol.com and asked to be on the list to notify.

    A regular group meets monthly at one the Boise restruants for coffee.

    3) Hope you who are looking for your loved ones have Googled Wake Island and found your answers. There are many websites that tell the story and much more. If you haven’t found the info you are looking for about your WAKE ISLAND man, maybe I can help.

    Mary-Anne Stickney

  14. I am interested in any information on Leo Aloys Dressler, JR. He was my grandmother’s younger brother. He too was working as a contractor on Wake Island when he was taken POW. He lived through the ordeal but died shortly after he returned home. Doctor’s list cause of death as Post War Illness. He was only 28-years-old.

  15. My Grand Father John Hickenbottom who worked at the Grand Coulee Dam also worked on Wake and was captured and survied the (Clearance Des Calmps) tourtue, he met my future unckle a Marine on the island. They fought side by side on Peacock point and were moved to Japan on the Nita Maru, they ended up in Mukden China after a stay in Japan after the war ended. I am looking for the blue book from MK also along with a copy of the book written by the Marine ground commander. Any information out there would be greatly appreciated.

    Gary Hickenbotttom

  16. My grandfather Archie Hayes Pratt was killed on Wake. Our family has a copy of the “blue book”, one of the last ones given. We also have his POW medal from the government. I doubt reparations will ever come.

  17. If anyone has any information about my Dad, Peter Wales Hansen, please email me at hansenshill@isiglobal.net Thank You. John W. Hansen, Son

  18. Stan Cohen’s History of Wake Island had on one its last pages a page of M-K booklet of those of survived/died at Wake.

  19. Two of my great-uncles were working for M-K on Wake Island. Both were POW’s. One, Jack Fenex, was part of the 98 men murdered on the island. The other, Elmer Christler, was a POW for four years. I am curious to see if he ever got a blue book. He died in the 1970’s.

    I would love any more information you have.

  20. I am an historian with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA. We are currently looking for civilian workers who worked on Wake Island to interivew. If you anyone knows of any survivors who are willing to speak please contact me at The National World War II Museum 945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130 Attention: Thomas Naquin

    Thank you!

  21. Your answers are on the internet. Google Wake Is–WWII. Next reunion of the Survivors is Oct 3,4 in Boise. Come and meet the people who have monds of information.

    Write Alice Ingham 10490 Wildrose ct. Boise, ID 83704-2744 Give her your email address and she can answer.

    Mary-Anne Stickney Daughter of Peter W. Hansen

  22. Thank you for your help Ms. Stickney! It is much appreciated!

    Thomas N. Naquin

  23. I had soom e-mails from people that wanted information about the 98. My computer crashed and I lost their addreses. Joe Mittendorf was my uncle and one of the 98. If I can I will be glad to answer guestions. I have Joe’s letters from the time he graduated till December 2,1941. I have his 4 medals & his Purple Heart.I have a Wig Wag, dated July, 15, 1941, also the blue book. He was a civilian that helped the Marines man a 50 cal. machine gun on Peal. before that he operated equipments.

  24. I am trying to find out more about my grandfather who was a civilian worker on Wake Island. He evidently died of starvation as a pow on Wake. His name was Ira Boothe, and he was from Alabama. If anyone knows more, please contact me.

  25. WAKE ISLAND-A group of us are trying to visit Wake Island. If anyone knows how, Please contact me. John Hansen hansenshill@isiglobal.net

  26. Hello, my name is Michael Nguyen. I’m looking for my father, Frank Wilson. Frank was an employee of Morrison Knudson working in Vietnam during VN war. Frank was working in Chulai, Danang and Saigon Vietnam. He meet my mother Moc Nguyen in early 70s, he left Vietnam in 1972 when my mother was 6 months pregnant with me. They lost communication in 1975 until now. I came to the US and live in Portland OR since 1990, I’ve been looking for Frank ever since but had no luck. If anyone has any information about Frank Wilson or his relative, Please email me @ michaelmnguyen@hotmail.com. Please help me find my past. Thank you.

  27. My father was a civillian construction worker on Wake. He did heavy welding on wake. His name was Floyd Mick. I am interested in finding out more about his time on wake. I grew up with his stories but would like to find out more about his time there. Thanks

  28. I have worked for the Navy as an civilian for 28 yrs. I have been inspired by the actions of Marines,Navy and civilian personal on Wake for many years.The civilians are the first layer of the foundation of the Navy Seabees.I believe the 98 Rock should be protected from the elements.To be a reminder for future generations. I believe the Rock should be relocated to the Punch Bowl in Hawaii to lay next to the 98.It can also be covered and protected at this location.The USA brought rocks from the moon so I believe we can move a rock from Wake.I have contacted my State Senator and he has wrote me a letter with a reply from the Department of Interior.The Department is investigating this matter at this time.I would like to hear comments from survivors or their relatives if you agree or disagree.

  29. My great-uncle was Claude Campbell, a civilian captured on Wake Island and dying in Japan on March 11, 1944. He is buried in the Punch Bowl National Cemetery. If anyone has info on him, please contact me. My e-mail address is douglas210 “at” yahoo “dot com.

  30. Message for Mr. Tom Browder. My sister, Mary-Anne Collins and I visited the Rock on 11 Dec, 2009. The Rock survived Super Typhoon Ioke where waves covered the evacuated island. I believe that the Rock should remain where it is. If a copy of the Rock was placed at the Punch Bowl, I feel that would be fine. John W. Hansen, son of Peter Wales Hansen, Wake Defender. hansenshill@isiglobal.net.

  31. If my Uncle William Gerdin were alive, I think he would want the Rock to remain where it is on Wake. All one has to do is to visit the Punch Bowl in Hawaii and you will be over whelmed. I welcome any additional information anyone may have. I will never forget the 98. My email: michael.gerdin@us.army.mil

  32. Mr. John Hansen and Mr. Michael Gerdin. I thank you and respect for your input. My concerns about the 98 Rock is protection, not necessarily moving it to the Punch Bowl. Although moving it will provide the best protection. I am concerned about the exposure to the elements and the effects in the far future. Visiting the Rock do you think a protecting cover would help protect it? e-mail tomb12345@live.com

  33. My dad’s best friend, Al Husen, was a civilian working for Morrison Knudsen at Wake Island. All I know is that he was a POW and died at a camp in Japan. If anyone has any information on him I would appreciate passing it along.

  34. My father, Frank (Curley) Mace, was with Morrison Knudsen Company at Wake Island. He was with a group that was shipped out as a prisoner of war on the Nita Maru. After they reached Yokohama, a group of prisoner’s (including my Dad) continued on to Shanghai, Chian. From there my Dad and others were shipped off to Osaka, Japan; and remained there until the end of the war. I remember as a child making the trip to Boise, ID for POW family picnics, and sitting around in groups listening too many Fathers tell their stories too all of us. My Dad will turn 93 in May of this year, and too this day he is still troubled with the memories of what he and so many others endured as prisoner’s of the Japanese. My feeling regarding the Memorial Rock, is it should stay on Wake Island. Protecting it would be great. When you read the article of the 85 ‘Surviovros’ Return to Wake Island it says– “Last month, a group of 85 special guests known as he Wake Island Defenders and Surviovors returned to the island for the first time in 44 years. It was a time to remember the fighting and their eventual internment at POWs and to show their wives and families where it all began.” The article ends saying ” Wake Island was a land of heroes. For the brave and devastating losses they inflicted on the Japanese, it gave our country a lift it needed following the attach on Hawaii military installations.” Why would anyone want to move the rock from this historical place. Let us protect the rock as so many lives protected the Good Ole USA. email: sarajoes@stjohncable.com

  35. My Great-Uncle Carleton Church was one of th “98” who remained on Wake Island, anyone with information about him, and anyone who can send a copy of the blue book (even a zerox copy), kindly contact me at philipmillard@hotmail.com. Please put Wake Island in the subject line.

    I think the 98 rock should remain on Wake Island, and possibly a copy installed in the Punch Bowl.

  36. I thank you for all the comments about protecting the Rock.I contacted my state Senator Lindsey Graham about a year ago.I have received several letters from him and the Dept. of Interior.The last one referred me to an Air Force officer in the Pentagon.The Air Force is responsible for protection.I have been waiting for comments before I send a letter.I am sending my request to the Pentagon in about a week.I will forward this web site to him to review the comments.Ms. Sara Delong you have changed my opinion about moving the Rock.I will only ask for protection. If anyone whats to send a personal letter in support of protection feel free to email for the P.O.C. information. e-mail tomb12345@live.com

  37. My father passed away almost three years ago with few stories he shared from WWII. He would not speak of much at all, sounds typical of the employees of Morrison Knudsen. My father was an employee of Morrison Knudsen and lost contact with his wife and two sons during the war and when he returned, found himself divorced and his sons adopted by another man. All of this caused by his lack of contact while gone during the war and working for Morrison. He received a letter a year after his death from the U.S. Government thanking him for his service during WWII, this was two years ago and it was sent to my mothers address. could he have been a P.O.W. and never told the family about this?? Is this why he could not contact his family at that time?? Now I wonder and would like to know how I could find out if he was on the P.O W. list. It is too late to speak to him now that he is deceased. Can anyone on this site help me with this knowledge and lack of information?

    I want to leave my email address for contact purposes. 3327deals@gmail.com Thanks

  38. My Great Grandpa Walter A. Keyes was a construction worker on Wake when he was in his 50s. He survived the war and lived to raise my father. I knew him when I was a young child. We have locks of hair and a wax head from some of his closest friends from his POW times. He used the mouthpiece of a trumpet to play taps when they got the news in camp that the president was dead. One of our prized possessions is the telegram from the Empire of Japan saying that he was coming home. I would love to see any info on him from the blue book. The stories of his courage are going to be passed down forever in our family. Please feel free to contact me with any info you may have, especially if you have access to the blue book. the.earl.fam@gmail.com

  39. My Grandpa Joe was captured on Wake island and spent the entire war in a Chinese work camp. He did not talk too much about it with me. According to my mother he would have bad dreams and struggled with alcohol his whole life. He died in 1978 when I was 16. I remember a couple of stories that he would play checkers with one of the guards. They used to hang them by their middle fingers to torture them…. He also said that he and 6 other men broke out of he camp and broke into a shoe factory close by and brought back shoes as well as a small amount of food for some of the men who were in bad shape. When it was found out they turned themselves in and were put in front of the entire camp. One of them was beheaded right there. My grandpa Joe thought it was all over for him as well, but the rest of the men were spared.

    I would like to find out more about this blue book that was published. Also, I am interested in any other stories about other “Seabees” that were captured on Wake Island and spent 44 months in work camps and were not compensated not one penny. My Grandfathers name was Joseph Smith and our family is from Marin County in the San Francisco bay area. Any info at all would be appreciated. mcarver4@gmail.com

  40. My childhood with MK was an adventure! In memory of my father, Joffre Dan Swait(born in Arkansas), circa 1919), he worked in many projects in Brazil for MK, like the Paulo Afonso dam in northern Brazil(near where I was born in the State of Sergipe), and the iron ore railroad for the Vale Do Rio Doce mining company CVRD(where he met my Brazilian mom), and that railroad still exports ore on the coast in Vitoria at the port of Tubarao. Growing up in Brazil, I always considered myself part of the MK family also, as it took good care of my dad, and he of us. My brother and I went to American schools in Brazil until near the end of our school years, then moving to the States for college. My father enjoyed reading and Time magazine was his favorite, other than reading about all sorts of subjects. From him I learned to love science and history, which are linked in many ways. I wish MK would let others know its history publically, because it has meant much to many Americans and foreigners who’ve worked for the company! I had seen the documentary about the workers captured in Wake Island, but never knew these had been MK workers, like my Dad! I don’t hate the Japanese culture, but despise the inhumanity they did upon those unfortunate workers, who like my father were working their hearts out for a better future for themselves and their families. ay we take the time to recognize those men just as we would soldiers who gave their lives up in battle to make the US what it became. may that serve as a reminder of what we still need to go back and learn historically to be able to be a great country. Dad died of cancer in 1995 in NY,pleading to the doctors to let him return to Brazil to die, but no airline would take the risk. He died in sadness I believe. Thank you.

  41. My Uncle was on Wake Island and was also a POW for the rest of the war, he has since passed away. Does anyone remember or have information on a Floyd Davis.

    Thank You

    • Elmer Christler was a relative of my mother, Bessie Mae Christler who married my father (same name as mine) in 1914. I was their 3rd child, born in 1930. In about 47 or48 Elmer visited us at our home in Montrose, Mi. We never saw or heard of him again but he told stories of his mistreatment. I believe he was from Wyoming and probably spent the rest of his life there. I am 84 and live near Charlotte, N C. My daughter does geneology and would like to hear more about Wake and the Jap POW camp.

  42. Would like any information on Wayne Mitchell and his brother that died on Wake Island in the final 98. Have been searching – with no luck. If anyone could help – we would appreciate it! Bobbi

  43. My wife had 3 uncles captured on Wake Island, while working for Morrison-Knudsen: H. T. COPE Thomas Truman COPE Joseph Workman COPE All of them were sent to Japan or China for the duration of the war. They all survived (barely). Thomas Truman Cope was interviewed on tape several years ago and told some gruesome stories of what happened to them and others. There were also two other men from our area who were POWS from Wake. Parlin M BETTS and Lester BASS, both survivors. Could these names be verified in that “blue book”?

    • Joseph W, Cope is my father. I remember his amazing stories about his capture, and life in the POW camps. I am currently reading the book about Lois Zamperini, Olympic runner, and POW survivor “Unbroken.” It made me want to look online to see if I could find out anything about Joe, HT, and Truman on Wake Island. I’m sure how I am related to your wife? Who are your wife’s parents?

      Amelia Christopherson, maiden name Amelia Cope. Mother was Glenna Thurman. Siblings: Marydean, Joe, Sarah, Carol, Stacy, and Chris.

  44. I am looking for information for my grand father John Hickenbottom worked at the Grand Coulee Dam and also worked on Wake, he was captured and survied the war. My uncle (Pvt Clearance C. Descamps, who used the nick name of Chick)were together and they both survived the tourtue and abuse. They fought side by side on Peacock point and were moved to Japan on the Nita Maru, they ended up in Mukden China after a stay in Japan. I am looking for the MK Blue Book or any information with a list of the civilians on Wake. Any information out there would be greatly appreciated.

    Gary Hickenbotttom

  45. I am looking for archives, anecdotes, any information on the Chamorro (Guamanian) civilian employees who also worked on Wake Island and were captured and shipped with the rest of the Americans to prison camps in China. I know of one survivor still living today on Guam. These men were not US citizens at the time, so information on them is scant. You can contact me at santosben29@yahoo.com

  46. I am seeking information about my father Albert Frank Vasquez and Uncle Patrick Casey Kimball who were employed by M>K on wake Island. They are both deceased now, and I am having a hard time finding out anything about there lives on Wake and there intermint as POWs . Any information anyone cansend me would be greatly appreicated.

  47. I just finished reading the book “Given up for Dead” by Bill Sloan about the military and civilians from the Wake Island battle and surrender and later POW’s from there. I recommend that any of you on this site whether M.K. worker’s relatives or Military relatives read this book.

  48. mom’s maiden name is Arterburn. My grandfather was Joseph Hugh Arterburn and he was a Morrison-Knudson employee and civilian Wake Island POW. just the other day my mother said…..”dad never held any bitterness toward the Japanese people, did I ever tell you why?”……I said no… “toward the end of the war while they were pow’s in Japan, the soldiers quit feeding them. The Japanese people were sneaking food to the POW’s. Without that food, the POW’s would have starved!” mom has Alzheimers and why she told me that story seems to be GOD revealing himself in a mysterious way, hope this brings healing to others as it did to my grand father

  49. The valor, the honor, and the fight that the men on Wake Is. put up stopped the japs dead in thier tracks. What these men did gave the U.S., and yes the world a lift in moral that was a million time’s more powerful than the small island meant in the big picture. It showed to all that a few men, with honor and right on thier side could stand up and stop the wicked of the world. The courage to fight, with only death the likely outcome, against all odds, is the American way. We will die to do what is right and just. The men of Wake Is. will alway’s be giants among men, and true American hero’s for time immortal. From the son of a Marine Sgt. from 39 until 1945, I thank god every day that thier were men like him when this country needed them the most. Do to that generation of the men and women, the world has been able to see and reach some of it’s destiny. Only due to these men and women, let us never forget nor deminish the greatness they never realized they truely were. THANK YOU FOR ALL I HAVE AND FOR ALL MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN HAVE !!

  50. Hello Looking for info about the MK Blue Book or any information about Charles Robertson from Wyoming (My grandfather). Mom thinks he was killed in a coal mine in China but have found info he died building a dam in Japan.

    Thank you,
    Roger Buckle
    Bellevue, Idaho
    idbernese@msn.com

  51. My grandfather “Roy Cramer” was an employee of M-K and was a prison of war. I was told this by my father. He said my grandfather died outside of San Francisco harbor of malnutrition. I have no other information. My dad is dead and I would like to know any information on my grandfather. Who do I contact to get records showing his life on Wake Island and his death certificate? My grandfather “Roy Cramer” was from Ola, Idaho

    My Email is carmarcn@comcast.net

  52. I am seeking information on PFC L. D. Orr he served in the 1st Marine Defense Bn on Wake Island. Captured and survived the POW Camp. Mr Orr was from my home town, he is now deceased with no family living here. I am researching Veterans form my home town and County. If anyone has any info please email me Thanks Gregg

  53. My grandfather, Allan A. O’Guinn was a plumber working on Wake. He was on the Nitta Maru voyage and survived to teach me wood carving and a love of sculpture and all living things. My mother, Helen Marguerite O’Guinn wrote a conical of her father’s life and times during WW2. A copy of it is in the Hoover Archives, Roger Mansell collection:

    http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/8n/kt209nd88n/files/kt209nd88n.pdf

    Inventory of the Roger Mansell collection Processed by Samira Bozorgi. Hoover Institution Archives Stanford University Stanford, California 94305-6010 Phone: (650) 723-3563 Fax: (650) 725-3445 Email: archives@hoover.stanford.edu © 2011 Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

    Box/Folder: 25 : 10-11 O’Guinn, Allan Asbury, 1940s, 1990s Scope and Content Note Includes memoir titled “V.O.C.” and one compact disc

    I would very much like to see a Blue Book to see if my Grandfather is listed and perhaps the M-K Blue Book can be digitized so it can be available to all.

    Please contact me to facilitate this. Brent Scott at brentscottbrent@gmail.com

    • October 2012, as per my request, I received a photocopy of the “Blue Book” from W. Bruce Waters CRM URS Corp (M-K) 208-386-5000. It came with a nice cover letter and copy of a letter (report) sent to Mr. Harry Morrison (co-founder of M-K) from Tom S. Hoskot of the Pacific Island Employees Foundation giving an account of the siege.

      I’m very grateful to have the copy. Though, I think there is enough interest from survivor’s families to do a hardbound printing. Contact me if you are interested.

      Brent Scott (Schaefer), Grandson of Allan Ashbury O’Guinn

  54. My fathers first cousin was one of the Civilian casulties( Jack Feenix). Iwas very young when I spent amonth or so with the Feenix’s in Cody, Wy. My dad spent countless hours as a Highway Patrolman in Montana trying to find out what happened to his cousin Jack. The family knew he was on Wake. finally one day he came home and told my mom what had happened. this was in the early 50’s. i remember him crying as to how to relate it to his aunt and uncle. I never had the chance to meet Jack but I did meet his brother Bill. who did serve in WW11. But I will never forget Jack’s youngest brother Floyd who I had great fun wirh that summer. And I will always love and respect Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Floyd. I think of them very often.\, hench this note of rememberence. Thank you for letting me orate. Ray ODonnell

    • My father’s uncle was John Fenex Not Floyd, he triedfor years to find out what happened to his cousin Jack to no avail so he never came home crying to his wife. I contacted this site to find out as much info to what happened to the 98, not to orate.

  55. My dad Kai Wong may be the last survivor of the 59 or so Chinese Americans who worked for M-K as laborers, during he Wake project. my dad was shipped to Shanghai’s Kiangwan POW camp.

    My dad have been silent about the POW experience until about 15years ago. He did asked a tour guide in Shanghai if a certain hill was still there in a location outside Shanghai, when we visited China in 1979. It was the MT Fuji Project where they move a dirt hill back and forth several times. I read this labor project, in an diary or article by Emmett Newell. It was to keep the prisoners busy while captive in the camp.

    I’m a firefighter for San Francisco and meet a fellow FF whose Grandfather(Hong Wong) was a Wake survivor as well. I had arranged the son of Hong Wong to meet my father shortly before he had died. He never got to know his dad well because he was too young to come over to the US before WWII. My friend Vince Wong and I have been looking for more info regarding the people who went to Kiangwan POW camp. Both my dad and Vince GP was released from Sendai Camp #11B in October 1945.

    When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I remember a kind of a year book my dad had by M-K. Is that the Blue Book? Unfortunately, we didn’t know the significance of the book and destroyed it. I remember my dad had paste a picture of him walking down a ship’s gangway after the war. We tore the picture up as well. Very sad, not knowing the significance of the Wake issue.

  56. I am looking for information about my uncle’s duty station on Wake Island. When he arrived, which atoll he was assigned to etc. His name is Billie E. Emerick, USMC, Pfc. If I remember correctly he was assigned to search lights. I don’t know if it was on Wilkes. Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated.

  57. My name is Frank Towler, my mother is Margaret Pratt. Her father is Archie Hayes Pratt. Archie was one of the 98 killed on Wake. I am very interested in any news about recent identification of remains. This website has my permission to post my email address: frankandliz04@yahoo.com Thank you for the work you are doing in keeping the memory of these men alive….they are our family.

  58. Copied and pasted from Tom Browder 2009~~~~~~~~

    I have worked for the Navy as an civilian for 28 yrs. I have been inspired by the actions of Marines,Navy and civilian personal on Wake for many years.The civilians are the first layer of the foundation of the Navy Seabees.I believe the 98 Rock should be protected from the elements.To be a reminder for future generations. I believe the Rock should be relocated to the Punch Bowl in Hawaii to lay next to the 98.It can also be covered and protected at this location.The USA brought rocks from the moon so I believe we can move a rock from Wake.I have contacted my State Senator and he has wrote me a letter with a reply from the Department of Interior.The Department is investigating this matter at this time.I would like to hear comments from survivors or their relatives if you agree or disagree. Comment by Tom Browder — September 12, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

    I totally agree with Tom Crowder on this issue of the 98 Rock.

    It should be near the mass grave of The 98 buried in the Punch Bowl, where family members can visit it. It can and should be moved.

    My dad was Archie Hays Pratt one of the “98”

    Molly Sharon Pratt ~ mollymtngrl@mlode.com

  59. Thanks for this forum for scattered family and friends of the Wake Islanders to read and post comments. My dad, Ted Olson, was captured on Wake and survived. I am a historian and have done a lot of research on Wake and the civilian contractors. There has been a recent discovery of skeletal remains on Wake and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command is seeking family members of the 98 and those who died in Dec 41 and early 1942 for possible DNA matches. See website http://www.jpac.pacom.mil. I am helping JPAC locate the families and send DNA kits. Families of TART, VENT, CERNY, PRATT, MITTENDORF, CHURCH, MITCHELL, FENEX have posted here, and there may be others who are reading. PLEASE contact me at the email below and/or JPAC. I also have the Blue Book (“A Report to Returned CPNAB Prisoner of War Heroes and their Dependents”)containing photos of about 750 of the 1145 contractors on Wake at start of war, will be glad to confirm names, scan photos, etc. Working on getting release from URS Corp to share on web. Bonnie Gilbert bonita.gilbert@gmail.com

  60. Please forward a DNA kit to me, my Great Uncle Carlton was one of the “Wake 98″. Either myself or my mother (Carlton’s niece would be more than happy to provide the required DNA). I will forward my mailing address.

  61. My father,Lewis H Smith,was also captured on Wake Island. He and my mother hosted many get-togethers of Southern Oregon survivors at our home in Rogue River. This would have been an excellent time to get some first hand knowledge but we kids were not allowed to be around when the men started talking. It was strictly a time for the men to talk amongst themselves since that was the only therapy available to them. Thanks to Mary Ward the Survivors of Wake group was formed & she and her husband lived near Butte Falls,Oregon for a short time. I was 8 years old when daddy returned from Japan and I became aquainted with many of the local POW’s.

  62. My father Nicholas Kurt was one of the last surviving civilian contractors from Wake. He passed away at 96 yrs. of age on November 30, 2009. He enlisted as a naval rating on the island and fought with the 1st. Defense Battalion. He endured torture (bamboo canes on the bottoms of his feet) and for the first years of marriage would some times wake in the middle of the night crying out in Japanese. He was in a camp on the Japanese mainland when the war ended. He often spoke fondly of the local farmers who would offer food to POWs on work details.

  63. My father Harry Forsberg and his brother Roy were also civilian survivors captured on Wake. He like many others never talked much of his experiences until the last few years of his life. He also spoke kindly of the local Japanese people and their kindness. He also spoke of leaving Japan through Nagasaki not realizing the cause of the devastation and it’s potential effect on his health. There was another Forsberg on the island, no relation, that volunteered to stay behind in place of my dad to not break up the set of brothers. I can remember attending a couple of the Workers of Wake conventions in Coer d’Alene in the early 60’s. Looking back now I concur that these meetings were therapeutic in an elementary way since nothing else was available or considered beneficial at that time. I would appreciate obtaining a copy of the Blue Book when/if it becomes available.

  64. Ms. Bonnie Gilbert, my uncle, Lacy F. Tart was one of the 98 POW on Wake I was so glad to read your post. I have searched so long for information & pic.Please send DNA kit. email me what I need to do. thanks .

    Ms. Bonnie Gilbert, email me at josaphene7 (@) netzero.net. thanks JoAnn Parrish

    JoAnn

  65. I’m a grandson interested in discovering any specifics about Arthur William Yeamans. He probably went by Bill though his nickname of “Dynamite” may have been used, too. He was 41 when sent to Wake as part of the MK effort. He survived to return home with nightmares that were soothed with alcohol until his death in 1967. It is my understanding that he had compiled a diary during the pow period that he lost track of in the late ’40s. His given name wasn’t in the prose but the author may be noted by his nickname, Dynamite. mark_kull@yahoo.com

    YEAMANS ARTHUR W,CIV,,BYD,CPNAB Wake,601,Fuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)

  66. The Web Site belongs to Ron Skates who was raised on Wake Island as a child. I am the organizer of the latest Wake Island Spirit Reunion to be held in Las Vegas on Sept.19 through Sept. 22, 2012 at the Riviera Hotel. Anyone that has worked or lived on Wake or just loves Wake Island as we do is invited to attend. Please contact me, Richard White, at: rjwhite222.com for all reunion information and cost. I have a lot of history on Wake myself but the best I know on this subject is Bonnie Gilbert who has posted earlier on this page. Bonnie is not working on finding relatives of the 98 civilians that were murdered by the Japanese in 1943. Two reasons: They had served their purpose and the island was under steady blockade and almost daily attacts by American Naval and Air Forces. Food was short and many were starving so the Japanese could not affort to was the food feeding these 98 brave civilian workers. I do have a list of the 98 but Bonnie Gilbert would be the one to contact as she is a great historian. Her email is: bonita.gilbert@gmail.com. There has recently been found a large group of bones and this is believed to be some of the 98. Bonnie has identified about 15 and is looking for help in trying to identify the others, if possible. Don’t forgot to contact me if you are interested in the Wake Island Spirit Reunion. Thanks to all of you for your interest in wonderful Wake Island. I worked there from 1968-1971 as an Air Traffic Controller and my wife taught in the Wake Island School which was adminisered by the Federal Aviation Agency at the time. They gave up the Island after the Viet Nam War slowed down in 1972 and gave control of the island to the Air Force.

  67. I was glad to find this website.My grandfather was on Wake island at this time also.His name was Lawrence Wedin,he has since passed away in 1997.I was glad to see that these men have not been forgotten.He ,too was on Wake,as a civilan construction worker.He came home to find everything had changed in his family,also too have horrible nightmares.Glad to see they have not been forgotten.

  68. Thank you Bonnie Gilbert for letting us have a look at Wake Island. Your efforts are so welcome to me, and my family.

    I’m so happy the ” Rock ” is going to be protected. It’s a symbol of strength from those 98 helpless men abandoned by our government.

    Yes I am very unhappy about the way they were murdered, and why they weren’t rescued. Sixty nine years has not lessened the pain of the loss.

  69. Here is a list of the names of the men that were not rescued by our government. This act of cowardice by the Japanese officials will not be forgotten.

    Based upon monument names & cross referenced with CPNAB Missing List- Other civilian men had perished earlier but rosters not available. History of Wake Island capture; Link to Story of Massacre Monument [Complete list of military available upon request]

    NAME HOME TOWN Abbott, Cyrus W. Jr.,Oakland CA Allen, Horace Lester,Sacramento CA Anderson, Norman Alfred,Portland OR Andre, Roland Albert,Pendleton OR Anvick, Allen Elmer,Eureka CA Baasch, Carl Alfred,Walkerton IN Bellanger, George,San Francisco CA Bowcutt, Don R.,Logan UT Boyce, David M.,Grand Island NB Cantry, Charles Arthur,San Francisco CA Carlson, Stanley A.,Portland OR Cavanagh, Allen Alonzo,San Francisco CA Chambers, David Samuel,Grants Pass OR Chard, Donley Dean,Wake Island Cormier, Louis Marcel,Ozone Park NY Cox, Karl Leslie,Asotin WA Cummings, David Edgar,San Jose CA Cunha, James Alexander,San Francisco CA Davis, Joseph Royal,Mullan ID Dean, George W.,Emmett ID Dobyns, Harold Leonard,Vallejo CA Dogger, Martin, Dreyer, Henry Milton,Aplington IA Dunn, Joseph Morris,Boise ID Fenex, Jack Anderson,Cody WY Flint, Howard Allen,Idaho Falls ID Fontes, Glen B.,Emmett ID Forsberg, Floyd Frederick,Hollywood CA Francis, Dale Gale,Bell CA French, Albert Peter,San Francisco CA Froberger, Lawrence George,Brooklyn NY Gerdin, William Paul,Little Falls NY Gibbs, Charles A.,St Petersburg FL,CPNAB says George Ernest Goembel, Clarence Robert,Los Angeles CA Haight, Ralph,Winfield IA,CPNAB says Henry John Haines, William Henry,Boise ID Hansen, John Vernon Leroy,Wahoo NB Harris, George,Redwood City CA Harvey, Wilbur C.,Kittery ME Hastie, Frank,Charleston WV Hettick, Howard LeRoy,Rome NY Hochstein, Ernest August,Newberg OR Jenson, George A.,Parlier CA,CPNAB says Jensen Jones, Alfred Alyayne,San Bernadino CA Keeler, Ora Kenneth,Waterloo IA Kelly, Martin T.,Roseburg OR Kennedy, Thomas Francis,San Francisco CA Kidwell, Charles Allen,Alton IL Kroeger, Woodrow,not on CPNAB list Light, Rolland Edwin,Noonan ND Ling, Henry,not on CPNAB list Lythgoe, Gene,Vancouver WA Marshall, Irving Earl,Lowville NY Martin, John,Spokane WA McDaniel, James Benjamin,Los Angeles CA McInnes, Thomas Laertos,Long Beach CA Migacz, Frank,Milwaukee WI Migacz, Melvin,Milwaukee WI Miller, Irwin Edward,Price ND Mitchell, Howard H.,Duchesne UT Mitchell, Wayne Elmo,Duchesne UT Mittendorf, Joseph F.,Mayer AZ Mueller, Carl W.,Patchogue NY Myers, Richard Beverly,Clarkston WA Olmstead, Cliff Anicel,Gridley CA Pease, Gordon Henry,Lander WY Pratt, Archie Hayes,Los Angeles CA Preston, Donald William,Lewiston ID Rankin, Morton Banning,Seattle WA Ray, William Henry Jr.,Downer Grove IL Reynolds, William Harrison,Cherryville OR Robbins, Sheldon Grant,Los Angeles CA Schemel, Charles Martin,Uniontown WA Schottler, Herman,Redwood City CA Shank, Lawton Ely [MD],Brook IN Shepard, Orrin Randall,Portland OR Sherman, Glenwood Harold,Rockford IL Suriner, Gould Henry,Sioux City IA Sigman, Russell James,Idaho Falls ID Simpers, William Thomas,Wapati WY Smith, Charles Elmer,Grant FL St John, Francis Carl,Pacagoula MS Stone, Willis Charles,San Francisco CA Streblow, Alvin Louis,Wisconsin Rapid WI Stringer, Wesley Wayne,Lakeview OR Susee, Arthur Joseph,Hillsboro OR Tart, Leroy Franklin,Portland OR,CPNAB says Lacy Franklin Thompson, Glenn Harold,Cadiz OH Tucker, Earl Edward,Macdoel CA Vancil, Vernon,Snyder CO Van Valkenburg, Ralph William,Tacoma WA Vent, Glen,Modesto CA Villines, Charles Mahona,Salt Lake City UT Williamson, Frank E.,Tacoma WA Wilper, Redmond James,Boise ID Woods, Charles,National City CA Yuen, Harry T.K.,Honolulu HI

  70. I feel fortunate to have found this site and will contact Ms. Gilbert. My grandfather was one of the construction workers and I remember him telling me some things when I was a small boy. I do not remember the details of what POW camp he was in or anything of that sort and am looking for any information or source available. His name was Joseph A. Anderson and he would have been 52 years old when the war began. I have a letter he wrote dated November, 1941 that states that about 30 workers arrived at Wake Island aboard the USS Curtiss on October 22 but due to high seas could not disembark until October 28th. I see references to the “blue book” but am uncertain what that is. My Name is Don Morgan and e-mail address is donsbarn@msn.com

  71. My stepfather John A Grancich, (Granich in some records) was a civilian worker, M-K? on Wake Island and was in Fukuoka POW Camp #1 according to the National Archives. The website listed above is a project to document the genealogy of all the POW’s civilian and military who were on Wake. All info is eagerly sought either by email eldonclark@earthlink.net, on Geni. com or snail mail at Eldon Clark 9073 Priscilla St. Downey, CA 90242. I am also looking for a copy of the “blue book”

  72. It looks like the website does not show with the message so here it is again.

    http://www.geni.com/projects/Japanese-prisoners-from-Wake-Island-Guam-and-Cavitie

  73. We were glad to learn of this website regarding Wake Island. David’s father Otto Luleich was a prisoner at Wake Island. We have a Bible that Otto found along a road and used this Bible as a diary while a prisoner. The Bible tells of where Otto helped bury his fellow prisoners. While we were in Omaha, NE this Bible was taken to the Air Base and they helped transcribe this information in the Bible as it beginning to be hard to read. I never had the opportunity to meet my father-in-law, but David has told me what a fine man he was. We will be attending the Wake Island Spirit reunion in Las Vegas September 19th through September 22nd, 2012. We will be bringing the Bible and trascripts to the reunion. The Bible does tell of 5-6 fellow prisoners would meet at Harry’s (Forsberg) and a lot of other details. We can be contacted at the following e-mail address luke1937@hotmail.com

  74. All of the 98 and many more are now on http://www.geni.com Most have only the bare essentials name, date and place of death but some have 2 or 3 generations of family. If you send me any genealogy data on them I will enter it or you can do it yourself. You have to join and enter yourself but basic membership is free and allows you to enter up to 100 relatives. Geni is kind of like Facebook for genealogists, interactive and real time with collaboration. Take a look, the price is right.

  75. Progress report! I now have 166 POWs entered but it is a slow process. I have a couple of promises of information but nothing has shown up yet. I was hoping to have a lot of the POWs done by Memorial Day but It doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Again if you have any genealogical data for any of the Wake POWs, please send it to me at eldonclark@earthlink.net

  76. The civilian “Survivors of Wake, Guam, and Cavite” group holds an annual reunion in Boise, ID, every September. The group officially disbanded a few years ago, but living survivors, widows, and many of us “next-gens” – including those whose relatives did not survive the war – enjoy the opportunity to get together, talk, share documents and photos, and honor the Wake men who are with us and those who are gone. This year’s reunion will be September 14-15, 2012, with banquet Saturday night. If you haven’t already, please consider joining our “Wake Family.” Alice Ingham sends out registration forms in early summer and you can contact her for more information at pandaingham@aim.com or me at bonita.gilbert@gmail.com.

  77. My father was John Meek of North Plains Oregon; was called “Rigger” by his fellow prisoners of war. He ran the big cats on Wake Island for Morrison and Knunsen. I went to a few conventions with my mother and father, in the later years they truly enjoyed the fellowship they experienced at the conventions. I was told, (not by him) he was one of the guys who kept the run ways open after the daily bombings. And ran the cats while the men kept the Japanese off the beaches for days. I remember the blue book as a kid, and how interesting the pictures were, it was well worn and used by us. I believe one of my brothers’ have it, along with a bible my dad carried.

  78. My father, Laurence (Larry) Grant was working for MK on Wake Island and taken prisoner by the Japanese. He was one of the fortunate ones who came home alive (barely) in 1945. My father talked very little about his imprisonment and died in 1972. I am trying to find out which prison camp(s) he was in and some information about the experiences in those camps. How would I obtain a “Blue Book”? My e-mail address is rgrant7341@aol.com

  79. Made an amazing discovery the other day while going through some old boxes that belonged to my great grandmother. In one of the boxes was a smallish green metal lockbox, it was in that box that I found an envelope, marked with the simple return address of:

    869 Wake Island

    M.I.

    it bears a postmark of San Francisco Dec 27, 1941.

    Inside the envelope there was a beautifully preserved Christmas card and also a mimeographed “card”, from my Great Uncle Carlton G. Church, one of the Wake 98. Written on the outside of the envelope in what had to be the most painful 3 words my great grandmother ever wrote was “last letter recieved”

    There was a poem written on the mimeographed card that I would like to share, as it must have been written after the siege began. It leads me to believe that the card was sent out on the Navy PBY that departed Wake Island on Dec 20, 1941:

              "Christmas"
    

    Each year’s most beautiful Holiday – Everlasting with cheer.

    Brings joy and happiness to Our loved ones so dear.

    Whether it be far apart Or at home so close,

    Never do we forget The ones we love most.

    Fate has accepted us To dangle on its string.

    And brought us to Wake Island, To hear its bells ring.

    Though the bells not so loud, Nor the spirit so strong,

    We are having our Christmas With carols in song.

    ‘Tis true we miss you, Tho our blessings are miles apart.

    In spirit we are home, So place us deeper in your heart.

    God bless you, May your light always shine.

    A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, With love-o-mine.”

    These men knew their fate, yet still tried to comfort family and friends back home.

    The letter was short and hurriedly written, just a few lines, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  80. For those interested photos of the card and poem, please contact me at philipmillard@hotmail.com, and put “Wake Island” in the subject line.

  81. I am seeking information on my father Albert Frank Vasquez and Uncle Patrick Casey Kimball who were civillian employees of M&K on Wake Island. I would like to get a copy of there Blue book but am having no luck with the search, if any one could possibly help me I would greatly appreicate it.

  82. I have been looking for information about Nicholas D. Kurt, civilian Wake POW (!) I am happy to see your name on this website. I read that Nick suffered a broken leg during a cave-in at a coalmine and other injuries as POW. When I read that some survivors have received medals, I thought I would check to make certain Nick Kurt received one also.

    I have a copy of the Marine’s “official” report of Wake, and have read a couple of books by/about civilian Wake POWs. I would like to know if Nick Kurt is listed in the MK Bluebook.

  83. Wow – what a site I have landed on and only wish I had more time to read the numerous messages and connections to Wake Island. I am one of the few people to have been BORN on Wake Island. 1957 to be precise and lived there for over 15 years. I have two brothers that were also born there. It was a great life and I miss pieces of that life and am so proud of that little island that withstood so much in its making. I have shared its history with almost every person I’ve ever met. Some folks that lived and worked on Wake have stayed in touch and there is a reunion coming up this year. If anyone knows how to get a copy of the book by Bonita Gilbert : Building For War…I’d love to read it!

  84. My dad was a civilan POW who work for Morrison Knudsen. My daughter flew to Wake many years ago and brought back some interesting facts. One being that the KIA’s were buried at sea at night and lulls during the fighting because of high water tables and high tides. Being a former Marine and the son of a civilian POW , I find this battle having a lot of idiocincracies. My dad told the reporters after his repatriation. ” the only good jap is the one you see in your rifle sights”, yet I owe my existance to the Japanese task force commander who stopped the execution of the civilians and remaining Marines on the north side of the island. Anyone who can share their stories please drop me a email. Rich (Cerny) Fahey, son of Harry W. Cerny,and grand son of Frank Cerny, KIA.

  85. Hey! Here’s the “Blue Book” everyone, it’s online on Facebook for all to see. My dad’s on Page 37, Carl John. Anyone with info about my father would be appreciated; dave.castiglione@gmail.com. He use to be a Opera Singer and he told me he use to sing over the graves of the dead POW’s in the camps he was at. I am trying to find out what/where his liberation camp was…somewhere near Hiroshima, I think.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.494563067238308.125751.126855777342374&type=1

  86. Thanks David! I have searched all over for an online copy of the ‘Blue Book”. I will add a link to it on the main post.

  87. The “Blue Book” (A Report to Returned CPNAB Prisoner of War Heroes and their Dependents) was written and distributed to the liberated POWs in fall 1945. The Pacific Island Employees Foundation, Inc., copyrighted it in 1945. The photographs originally appeared in “The Em-Kayan,” the Morrison-Knudsen Company magazine. MK was bought by Washington Group which in turn was bought by URS Corp, which technically holds the Blue Book in its records. There are many errors in the book (it was compiled before full information was known), especially in the lists on pages 26-29. There are 797 photos and 57 of those are of captured contractors on Guam and Cavite, so there are about 740 of the Wake CPNAB civilians (of 1145 total). Lots of families didn’t get the letter requesting a photo or didn’t have one to send. It is still a remarkable record. My book, Building for War: The Epic Saga of the Civilian Contractors and Marines of Wake Island in World War II, will be out next month.

  88. My grandfather, Merle Bernard Enright from Kettle Falls, WA was a civilian worker with Morris-Knudsen on Wake Island and survived the prisoner of war camps for 3 years and 9 months. He passed away in 1995, however, I remain interested in anything to do with Wake Island and WWII. I am glad I came upon this web page.

    Thanks Kevin Bernard Newton, Sacramento, CA.

  89. I would be interested in a copy of your book.

    kevin newton knewton7@sbcglobal.net

  90. My father was captured on Wake Island and survived. His name was Parlan Malcolm Betts Sr. He also worked for Morris-Knudsen.

    Thank Your, Parlan Betts Jr.

  91. My great-uncle John Dolezal was a Morrison-Knudsen civilian worker on Wake Island. He survived the war and died from its effects at age 49 in the year 1958. I have letters from him while on Wake before the war and letters from the prison camp outside Shanghai. In one letter he used Bohemian words to try to convey the horrific conditions in captivity. The letter made it through the Japanese censors! My mother has a robe size piece of a parachute that he tore off from the supply chutes used to drop supplies into the prison camps in Japan after the cessation of hostilities.

    The Omaha World Herald published a story about John on December 7, 2012 called “Wahoo Link to the Battle of Wake Island. You can search for the story on the http://www.omaha.com website. They scanned in a couple of his prison letters for viewing. I do have a letter from the summer of 1941 where he mentions the Marines giving military training to civilian employees just in case of war.

    I am looking for access to the Morrison-Knudsen Blue Book after reading “The Pacific Alamo” and “Given Up for Dead”.

  92. I want to let you folks in the “Wake Family” know that my book is published. The title is Building for War: The Epic Saga of the Civilian Contractors and Marines of Wake Island in World War II, Casemate Publishers. Please take a look at my website when you get a chance: http://www.bonitagilbert.com. There’s more information on the book, photos from my trip to Wake last year, and I write a blog post every week or two. I welcome your comments here, there, or email me at bonita.gilbert@gmail.com.

    Gary, thanks for this great forum, for your help in locating families of the 98 (still seeking families for the JPAC mission to get DNA samples!), and for letting me post about my book.

    Bonnie

  93. Bonnie: I was looking at Wake Island information and came across this web page. I am curious about Wake as my great uncle, Glenn Binge, was a civilian worker who was captured and survived the war. I am trying to contact his grandson Gary Binge as he has a helmet saved by Glen with signatures on the hat and I remember this helmet as I was growing up in Illlinois. What is the content in your book but you must have spent many hours with preparation for your book? I will probably purchase it as I have many books on Wake. My Geat Uncle is shown in the pictures of Pacific Alamo where the men are lined up to board the Nita Maru. He is first in line with his hands in his pocket. I really wish that I had taken more time years ago when Glenn was alve along with his son Maynard to learn more about what he had to experience.

    gary sedgwick

  94. My father was a civilian pow that worked for MK as an accountant. His name was Reynold Carr. He died when I was 2 weeks old. He was murdered. He had terrible physical and mental injuries from his internment by the Japanese. I have much info and am so happy to have found this site. Thank you,

  95. LeeAnne, thanks for your post at this site (and thanks Gary for this great venue!). I am in close contact with the survivors group and think that you and I may actually be close by in north Idaho. The records that I have show that Reynold Carr, an accountant on Wake, died in 1946. I have some other info and questions. Please see my website bonitagilbert.com and contact through my website, or at bonita.gilbert@gmail.com.

  96. Thomas;

    I am doing a little research on the civilian workers captured on Wake Island.

    My mother’s first husband was a civilian worker on Wake Island. His name was Harry Cerney.

    Is there a comprehensive list of civilian employees captured on Wake Island and what happened to them during their internment.

    This would help me in my research.

    Pat Fahey

    • Pat, Your are my cousin. My dad’s name was Ray, your dad’s half brother. I’ve been looking for your family for several years. I have some information you would like about your dad.

      Contact me on e-mail and we can start a conversation. Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Dan Cerny

  97. William James Miles died on Wake July 16, 1942. He was my grandmother’s 1st cousin, i.e., I am his 1st cousin twice removed. He was called Will by the family. In the diary of a man who buried him–Lee Wilcox–“16 July 1942–Buried Bill Miles today at the east end of the runway, in Marine casket.” A photo of the grave appeared in the Sept. 24, 1945, issue of LIFE magazine with the name William Miles and date of death written on the horizontal bar of a white wooden cross. A Japanese soldier is depicted bowing to Will’s grave, with the hastily dug common grave of the 98 later-murdered POWs marked by a second cross in the background. The 98 were slaughtered before the Americans invaded to recapture the island. Will is not on the list of the 98. The same Lee Wilcox recorded in his diary on 12 January: “All but 360 of the contractors have been sent to Japan today. [Wilcox assumed the destination was Japan.] Also the service men except 21 Marines who are too badly wounded to go.” The 360 contractors who remained were chosen because of their skills in operating heavy equipment. They would continue the military build-up of Wake Island with the same supplies and equipment that they had used for the U.S. Navy. This time, however, the new architects of the island defenses were the Japanese. Will Miles was one of the 360. I have never read what happened to these men.

    AlanWilliams@Coastinet.com

  98. My uncles Howard and Wayne mitchell were civilian construction workers on Wake Island. they were with the 98 who were killed. would you hapen to have any information about them.? Thank you. Terry Mitchell

  99. Pat Fahey,

    Since my post back to you the other day, I think I jumped the gun a little bit. I had you confused with Nanci Fahey, whose father was Harry Cerny. I now believe you are her half sister. I have been looking to contact nanci for many years, but had no connection until I saw your post.

    I have some information on Harry that you might like to have. Perhaps you can help me in contacting Nanci and/or her brother.

    Contact me at dancerny@cox.net and we can share info.

    Dan Cerny

  100. Richard,

    You and I are cousins, as my dad, Raymond Cerny, was you dad’s half brother. Frank Cerny was my grandfather, as he was yours.

    Contact me so we can start a dialog and catch up.

    Dan Cerny dancerny@cox.net

  101. Dan Cerny, please contact me. I am Richard Cerny (Fahey)’s daughter. Dad just passed at 65 of a sudden heart attack. After his dad Harry passed away, my grandma remarried Harold Fahey. I would like to piece together more of our family history on the Cerny side. Please call 541-450-5712 or email me. We don’t want that legacy to go by the wayside. Thank you~ Shonna

  102. Hey Pop, I know you are in Heaven now, but know that I will not stop searching for your family. I love you and miss you so much. We will have alot to talk about when I get there. xoxo Shoni

  103. My two uncles were on Wake Island and taken prisoner. One of them wrote a diary as to how they were treated and what they went through. Both of them worked for M-K. Both of them haved passed away, in my book they are true heroes.

  104. My great Uncle Ralph Van Valkenburg was one of the “98”. He was a contractor working for Foss Tug based out of Tacoma, WA. Ralph was my father’s uncle, and my father was in the Pacific Theatre (Okinawa and Peleliu) also at the end of WWII. Thankfully, my father made it home safely or I would not be here. Sadly, his Uncle Ralph did not make it home. I did not realize this family history until researching our family tree a couple of years ago. My father never spoke of his Uncle Ralph. I’m sure that is another reason for my father’s hatred towards “the japs”. Thank you for putting this site together. My son and I want to visit the bowl in Hawaii. It’s on my to-do list. I agree the rock should be moved to HI also. Feel free to contact me at “Lisavanval@yahoo.com” and place Wake Island in the subject line. Thanks and RIP Wake 98.

  105. My half-brother was a civilian worker on Wake when WW II started. He had worked on Boulder Dam. I believe he helped string wires on the towers carrying power to LA. We never heard from him after the war started. My father met every ship bringing back survivors until he died in 1944. My brothers name was Bill Reynolds.I could not get your list to print on my computer. I did see a William Harrison Reynolds on the list and that could have been him. I would appreciate the list in a format I can print. If that is my brother it would answer the question as to what happened to him that has been in my mind for many years. Thank you Lou Reynolds Davison

  106. who made the pow braclet for the pow..my uncle was at wake and was moved to japan [fred dyer died 1943].thank you steve banks

  107. I am asking if anyone has any information about my grandfather Wayne Dward Smith. All my info is that he was a civilan pow of Wake Island when the jappannes took over and was sent to Fukuoka pow camp #1.I would like to know what he may have done there . I meet him only a couple of times but was a small boy .By then he was a man of few words but looked like he was thinking about something all the time.Any help would be wonderfull. Thanks

  108. Any info on JOHNNY SWARTZ? My dad THOMAS BAILEY LEE and SWARTZ made an American flag while a prisoner. My 1/2 sister COLLEEN URESTRI LEE has donated it to a museum in Boise? tnks

  109. My uncle, Paul May, was a civilian on Wake Island when the Japanese captured it. He was taken as a POW to China and then to the Kamikita (sp?) camp in Japan in July 1945. I would be interested in anyone who may have known my uncle on Wake Island and during the many years as a POW of the Japanese.

  110. Some how my reply “took a hike” I knew Lee and Irene well. Irene has been giving me so much info. Just the other day I shared a Lee/George Collete story…. Would like to talk more: BUSTERBOY@HUGHES.NET do stay in touch RBLC

  111. Great Scott,,,,,Scott! I would love to visit more. Irene has sent me some good things and there is so much more to learn before I depart this planet. Where do you live? Do you have an email address. I know that there is some “bad blood” with your dad and Irene but none with me. We were at the U of I together and I knew Marie…Burley is small town and my favorite. I wrote a book and would send you a copy if I had your address.Keep on keeping on and thanks again for your reply.

  112. I’m looking for some information in regards to the 45 Chamorro Pan American survivors that were taken prisoners by the Japanese. One of the survivor is my father (Manuel Calvo Guerrero). Not even one name was ever mention or even honored for the war they fought as civilians or a medal for there action during world war ll on Wake Island. It’s sad that Chamorro men that fought to defend the American flag were not even remembered by our government. They were held prisoners of war for 5 years in Japan. They were finally release in 1946 with out any recognition for defending the island of Wake. Please if any one knows or have any information to these Pan American Chamorro survivors please email me. Thank you, Mr. Amon Guerrero

  113. Hi my great grandfather was a civilian worker on Wake Island. I don’t know much about him. His name is George Harris from Redwood City, CA. My grandmother was just a child when he left so not a lot is known. I’ve always been interested in learning about him other than paying my respects at Punchbowl. I hope somebody has any kind of information. Thank you, Annie

  114. I am looking for the list of men that were captured from Wake. Non service men. Thanks

    • Ron, I was able to find lists on the web of all prisoners of Wake down to the camp that they were released…My dad was on a list for Sendai 11b Kamikata…at Aomori Japan…he is one of 196 survivors transferred from Kiangwan POW camp in China, May 1945 to Sendai 11b…all who were shipped to Sendai 11b survived the war. I can’t remember the link to these camps, but you can Google it…I do have a list of the 196 only…I don’t know how to attach it to this reply…

  115. My dad is Kai Wong and a survivor of Wake Island…I last posted in 2011…my dad is now 94 years old. Does anyone know how many Wake survivors are there left? He think he may be the last of the 59 Chinese MK laborers working at Wake…there was only one other left about 5 years ago in SF…(surname Chin?) Since then, I also found out that he was one of only two Chinese civilians who volunteer to fight…He said he “…and a Lum from Hawaii volunteered to help fight”. Since then, I’ve looked through the list and indeed there is only one Lum from HI…his name is Ambrose CS Lum from Honolulu…does anyone know of him or his family? They loaded machine gun belts for the fighters on the first day of fighting…sleeping in the fox hole and running ammo to the guns…Is there a list of the 275 or so civilian volunteers? In the last year of captivity in Kiangwang, my dad said he was asked by a friendly Japanese Officer to work in the hospital at the camp…I wonder if this officer is the Camp Doctor, Yoshiro Shindo, that many Wake captors liked during captivity? also, a family contact in Japan for the doctor? I read some survivors went to visit him in the 1970’s? Anyway, through the years, I’ve been able to track and piece together events from websites and databases…it’s kind of nice to see the whole picture…he was released in mid October 1945 from camp Sendai 11b in Aomori, Japan.

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