Library of Congress | WWII Reunion: POWs Tell Their Stories (2004)
As part of the National World War II Reunion held on Memorial Day weekend on the National Mall in Washington, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project sponsored several programs presenting compelling accounts of WWII history.
Speaker Biography: Joining the Army in 1937, Richard Francies was transferred to the Philippines in 1939 and was in the Signal Corps as a radio operator and later in radio maintenance. In 1941 he was slated to go home after his tour of duty, but stayed when the war began. He installed radio stations in Bataan, and was there when the Japanese invaded. Francies was among those on the Bataan Death March. While a POW, he became part of a crew that repaired radio and telephones in Manila where crew members sabotaged as much equipment as they repaired. Later he and other prisoners of war were shipped to Japan, where they were sent to Hanawa in Honshu to work in the copper mines of northern Japan from 1944 to 1945. After the war, Francies worked for 35 years for Ohio Bell. He tells his wartime story often at schools, churches, and civic organizations.
Speaker Biography: After graduating from St. Peters College in 1939, Marty Higgins joined the 101st Cavalry Regiment, Squadron C, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was sent to Ft. Devins, Mass. He received his Cavalry commission at Ft Riley, Kan. in 1941, and was assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment in California in 1942. In 1944, he was sent to Africa, transferred to the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division, participated in the invasion of Southern France, and took command of A Company. He was captured at the end of that year, sent to Luckenwalde, Germany, and was liberated by the Russians in 1945. He returned to the United States following his release from service in August 1945, and worked in the playing card industry for 33 years. In his retirement, he has been a literacy advocate and teacher, and has been active in numerous community organizations.
Speaker Biography: Born in Oregon, Jimmie Kanaya enlisted at age 20 in the Army Medical Department in 1941, was assigned later to the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team Medical Detachment as a SSG, and entered the Italian campaign attached to the 34th Infantry Division, receiving a battlefield commission. during this campaign. While attached to the 36th ID in Southern France, Kanaya was captured while attempting to evacuate casualties from the Vosges Mountains. He was taken to Oflag 64 POW Camp in Poland, marched 380 miles West Germany, escaped with the aid of Patton’s Third Army, and was re-captured and returned to Oflag 64. After WWII, Kanaya served as a Regular Army officer in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Hawaii and Alaska as a Company Commander, Intelligence Officer, Field Hospital Commander, Battalion S3, Executive Officer and Commander, and as Executive Officer of the Medical Training Center at Ft. Sam Houston, Tex. He retired in 1974 with 33 years of military service.(c)2018 LOC | SCVTV
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