Autobiography of Herbert Lee Boyd:
I was born at Bristow, OK on 30 September 1917 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 16 August 1940 at Fort McArthur, CA. I went to bootcamp at March Field, Riverside, CA. I was then sent to Weather School at McLelland Field, Sacramento, CA. I was then transferred to the 93rd Heavy Bombardment Squadron of the 19th Bombardment Group. I was then sent to open Albuquerque Air Base in April 1941. In September 1941, I received sealed orders to report to 'Plum', which turned out to be Clark Field, Pampanga Province, Philippine Islands. This turned out to be 'Plum to Hell'. On 8 December 1941, approximately 10 hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Japanese attacked Clark Field. We lost 28 of our B-17's. We retreated to the Bataan Peninsula on 25 December 1941. We worked to help build an air strip until 5 February 1942, when we were sent to combat duty with the United States Air Force of the Far East (USAFFE). We made our final stand at Vega Point, Mareveles until 9 April 1942 when General Edward P. King had no choice but to surrender us to the Japs. We were promised a ride, but we ended up walking 88 miles to San Fernando, Pampanga Province. Those who survived were shoved into a narrow gauge boxcar, 100 or more to a car, and hauled 50 miles North to Tarlac. From there, we marched to Camp O'Donnell, a camp prepared for Filipino Constabulary prior to the war. Malaria hit me again, and I volunteered for any detail to get out of that dump!
We were then sent back to Bataan to load US armament for the Japanese. I got sick again with Malaria and Dysentery. The Japs then hauled me to Cabanatuan Prison Camp #1. After going blind and surviving the farm and burial detail, I was then sent back to Clark Field. This time, it was not like my earlier detail since we worked everyday except Yasume (Japanese for Sunday).
In early 1944, I was hauled back to Cabanatuan #1 and shortly thereafter, they sent me to Bilibid Prison in Manilla. On 1 July 1944, we were loaded on a captured Canadian freighter, which was christened the SS Canadian Inventer. We had nicknamed it Mati-Mati Maru, which meant 'wait a minute'. After 62 days at sea, we finally landed at Moji, Japan. We marched across a railroad trestle to Simoneske, Honshu, Japan. We boarded a train to Omine Machi, a Jap coal mine. The Japs had used Russian POW's to work this mine back in 1906 as slave laborers. For 11 months I worked in the coal mine, obtaining a knee and finger injury in December 1944. I was the camp bugler and still have the Jap bugle I had used.
I was liberated 15 September 1945 at Wakayama, Japan after 41 months, 8 days, and 7 ¾ hours as a 'Holio' (Japanese for prisoner). I was honorably discharged 18 March 1946 at Camp Chaffee, in Fort Smith AR. I received the following medals:
Conduct Medal with Clasp
After my discharge, I became a furniture merchant. I met and married my lovely wife, Lahure Gant on 3 November 1946. We have 3 wonderful children, Frank, Karen, and Debra Kay. We have 5 grandchildren. I retired after 35 years as an antique dealer.
Life was always a pleasant surprise for me, and though, not a perfect child, I had perfect parents, both being ordained ministers. I always knew I had a praying mother, even in my darkest hours, and because of that I was able to survive the worst hell a soldier could ever experience.