Party Unites Three
Orange, CA Register, July 23, 2008
Santa Ana, CA
. Staring into the computer, doing research on World War II, 51
year-old David Sanchez couldn’t believe the face that he saw smong a
sea of faces in a picture of Americans and Filipinos surrendering to
Japanese forces on May 6, 1942, at Malinta Tunnel, Corregidor, in
“He was right in
front ---leading the men out.” Sanchez said. “I saw him, and it was
like looking in the mirror at myself. There is my father.”
Huntington Beach, excitedly met with his father, Bill Sanchez of
Monterey Park, to verify whether the face in the photo really was
Sgt. William Sanchez, who would have been 24 in the picture. “His
jaw dropped when he saw it,” David Sanchez said.
some other pieces of an unlikely puzzle were in a room together as
David threw a surprise 90th birthday party for his father
in Santa Ana.
Harry Corre, 85, was
there. Bill Sanchez has known Corre for 10 or more years through
veterans meetings. What they didn’t realize until four months ago
was that they are standing right next to each other in the historic
propaganda photo from Malinta Tunnel. At one of the former POW
meetings, Bill Sanchez showed the photo to Corre. “He says, “That’s
me outside the Malinta Tunnel,” Corre said, “and I say:’Gee, that’s
funny. That’s me standing next to you.’ We never knew it for
Read on for the whole story
The Living Truth of War:
Getting it from the Veterans who lived it.
nation’s recorded truth is not shared among all countries, the timeline is
warped and history and education become a clash of parables. Even 45 years
after WWII, when a large Japanese news media came to America to visit
Major Gordon, and other Veterans like him who had spent over three years
in Japanese camps, the reporters repeatedly said, “We never knew American
POWS were tortured...We never knew...”
Is it possible that the Japanese people did not know?
Or was it that they did not want to know?
After all, on the other side of the
coin, there are
some in our country, who heard that our troops were torturing the enemy
- and they simply refused to believe it - or they just did not want to know.
Like most of us, I'm going to give my
country the benefit of the doubt. After all, we are the good guys, aren't
we? Do you suppose those on the other side think the same about their
country? What do you think? You will know when you finish this story.
Courage of a POW
Getting it from the Veterans who lived it.
By Roy Livingstone
Harry Corre was a witness, a participant and a
victim of the savagery of war few men can attest. The Japanese captured
him, not once, but twice. He fled the Bataan Death March; he escaped in
shark infested waters; he nearly died from disease; he was among the first
American prisoners to be shipped into Japan; he was beaten, tortured and
made to work as a slave in a condemned section of a Japanese mine; he
survived two cave-ins and was buried alive, and finally he witnessed the
bombing of Nagasaki.
Harry was eighteen years old when he
enlisted in the U.S. Army in May of 1941. He was given the choice of serving
in Europe or the Philippines. I was going to be smart, said Harry. I
wanted to stay as far away as possible from the fighting in Europe, so I
chose the Philippines (Even though the U.S. had not yet entered the
war, Harry knew that it was only a matter of time until the Americans were
Within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Corre and the other
troops on the Philippine Islands saw Japanese reconnaissance planes in and
around Luzon Island. Corre was sent to Bataan to help turn hundreds of
civilians into soldiers. After he was on Bataan three weeks and under
constant attack, 12,000 Americans and 60,000 Filipinos were ordered to
surrender to the numerically superior Japanese. Corre was a part of the
Bataan Death March and suffered for two days with no food or water. Corre
witnessed hundreds of men shot, bayoneted for falling from exhaustion,
dehydration and battle wounds. Corre knew he had to escape and on a dark
night, dove off the side of the road into the jungle. For three days, Corre
fled and made his way to the shore on the other side of the Island. Corre
found some driftwood and a tree log and made his way through shark-infested
waters. After what I had seen on the march, I was more scared of the
Japs than what was ahead of me. Corre made his way to Corregidor and
one month later again, was surrendered to the Japanese.
After a couple of weeks on
Corregidor, Corre was shipped to Manila and from there to a Japanese prison
camp where he contacted Diphtheria. He was shipped to Zero Ward, the last
stop for most prisoners - the men were dying at the rate of 171 a day.
Since Corre could walk, he was placed on burial detail. The men were beaten
daily with clubs, rifles, bamboo poles and anything the Japanese soldiers
Within a year, Corre was shipped
to Kyushu, Japan in a group of men forced to work in Japanese coal mines.
Corre and the others were known as the first 500. He was compelled to
work in a condemned section of the mine, often 10 - 14 hours a day. While
working there, Corre came down with yellow jaundice, and constantly suffered
from a running fever and wounds that would not heal. One day, while working
with a pick, the sharp end bounced off a rock and went through his foot.
Fortunately for Corre, the pick went between the bones in his foot. Since
the bone was not broken, he was forced to continue working. When his shift
was over, he and the other men were forced to march for two miles back to
camp. The last meal of the day was a cup of rice and if lucky, watered down
soup. We were starving and very weak, yet the Japs forced us daily
as slaves to work in the mines to further the Japanese war effort.
While working in the mine, Corre was caught in two cave-ins.
He suffered numerous cuts and bruises on his head and body the first time,
and the second time, he was trapped for more than six hours under coal,
rocks and timber. He was buried so deep it took more than two hours to dig
On the morning of August 9, 1945 Corre was working topside due to
his injuries from the cave-in. Suddenly, from across the bay, Corre saw a
flash and then heard a tremendous roar from an explosion. Looking across the
bay to Nagasaki, I saw a tremendous cloud rising. It was like some time
later, he said, I learned I had seen the mushroom cloud associated with an
A few days later, Corre woke and found that all the guards had fled
the prison. Marine fighter planes buzzed his camp and food was dropped into
the site by American bombers. In a matter of weeks, Harry, and thousands of
other Americans were on their way to their homeland, and freedom...
ordeal never ended. "I am
still frightened to go into a room that is not lit up and I constantly wake
up thinking I am in a cave in. I still think of the 150 - 170 men I buried,
day after day. I still remember starving men with hollow eyes and skin
stretched over bones and legs and feet blown up like balloons with
beriberi. I still remember the men who were shot and bayoneted because they
were sick or wounded. I still think of the indignity of being beaten for no
reason other than I was an American. I still remember trying to swim
against the current in shark-infested waters. I remember. I cannot
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
In 1945, upon my return to the USA, I was 22 years old and had
been a POW 3 ˝ years under the worst conditions imaginable. Having survived
the Japanese I realized I could survive anything. After various jobs and
ongoing education, I moved to California and went to work in the Aerospace
Industry and became an Engineer working on spacecraft, missiles and laser
design, participating in launch activities at Cape Canaveral, Florida and
later became assistant Project Manager on the Star Wars Project at White
Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Upon retiring from TRW after 26 years;
finding myself bored with retirement I joined Lear Jet Aeronautics as a
Quality Engineer working on military and commercial aircraft design and
In 1999, I became
acquainted with another POW and started going to the VA in West L.A.,
joining with other
POWs to apply for VA benefits. The following year I was asked to take
over the office of the POW Service Officer. Since then I
have been the POW National Service Officer for Greater Los Angeles VA
Hospital Center which includes three hospitals and at the request of The Los
Angeles VA Regional Office.