Fourth Marines Band: "Last China Band"
 

THE EDGE

 

CHAPTER THREE - We Were Captured

 

 

Back to the Philippines

Our trip from Shanghai to the Philippines was uneventful except for coming close to a huge Japanese cruiser. It was an eerie feeling seeing that meatball flag waving in the breeze. We all thought the war talk was Just that and somehow we didn’t regard those little brown men scurrying around the deck as our enemies. Boy, were we wrong!

We went ashore in an attractive seaport town named Olongapo. It was a beautiful tropical setting reminding me of the Dorothy Lamour movies although I didn’t see any sarongs. The jungles of Bataan were nearby and I was to see a lot of them later.

Nearby was a very attractive naval base with a large two-story Marine barracks that many said was one of the best duty stations anywhere.

On our first night we were treated to a gigantic beer bust. We sang war songs and speculated about the chances of going to war with Japan. Many of the guys bragged about how we could take them on and never miss a beer call.

We didn’t have much to do there except take part in work parties. Our band instruments were packed away so we couldn’t practice and thank God there were no parades.

 

War Declared

One morning it was December 8 ( December 7 in Pearl Harbor) — I woke up at the sound of somebody shooting off a .45 He was yelling “War has been declared!” “War has been declared!”

We got confirmation from a car radio someone had tuned to a station in Manila. The announcer talked about the terrible destruction in Pearl Harbor and we knew we would be seeing action damn soon.

Actually, the very next day a flight of Mitsubishi bombers flew over Olongapo and dropped some bombs in the city that killed and wounded several civilians as well as some Marines who were on
patrol there.

The band become a rifle platoon in “E” company of the regiment’s Second Battalion. Like Marines anywhere you’re a fighting man first.

We hadn’t unpacked our instruments in any event and we all had regular issue Springfield rifles, of course. Later, the instruments would be blown up by Marine engineers along with everything else we thought might be of use to the Japanese. I really hated to lose my trumpet. It was a Bach Stradivarius trumpet I had bought back in the States even before I joined the Corps. It cost $300 and I could hit a high “C” on it that sounded as sweet as any that Gabriel had ever blown.

We were issued extra ammunition and gas masks. Most of us tossed away the mask and used the canister to hold hand grenades. About two days after the first attack, we went out on the road in full marching order—that means full knapsacks with everything you might need in the field. We didn’t think we’d be coming back to those nice, comfortable sacks in the barracks.

We hadn’t gone very far when we heard this big rumbling sound that kept getting closer and closer. When we saw about 50 Japanese bombers heading our way we ran into a farm yard and hid by some hay stacks. I was pretty sure they couldn’t see us but those airplanes looked awfully big and ugly and I was sure there were some excited bombardiers up there anxious to cream some gyrenes. Fortunately, they didn’t see us because they kept on going.

The brass finally decided to move us down toward the beach but there was still a lot of jungle around us. The idea was to establish lanes of fire so that we could repel the expected invasion. Once we heard some firing and got ready to shoot our first Japanese soldiers. But, it turned out to be a fellow shooting a pig.

We were dug in fairly close to the town of Olongapo and it didn’t take us long to find out that the ice house was still working. We had some big bamboo tubs and there was plenty of beer. We iced down the beer in the tubs and soon had a lot of visitors. Even the colonels and majors came down for a cold one. We were pretty popular guys for awhile. We left Olongapo on Christmas Eve in trucks headed, as it turned out, for the lower part of Bataan and then the fortress island of Corregidor.

Along the road that later would become infamous for the Bataan
Death March, we saw hundreds of Army troops digging in and apparently capable of stopping the Japanese who had landed further north at Lingayen Gulf.

 

Corregidor

Someone said that Corregidor was a heavily fortified island every bit as well defended as the British base at Gibralter. Corregidor is the largest of four small islands in the mouth of Manila Bay and just a couple of miles offshore. Actually, it was a combination of military installations Fort Hood, Fort Drum - which was a sunken battleship—and Fort Mills, the main island fortress.

When we were brought to Corregidor we were impressed by the Army guys who appeared to be well groomed in pressed khakis. We Marines looked like someone who dropped in from the moon.

After looking at all the guns and apparently well trained troops, we wondered how the Japanese could ever conquer this base. It didn’t take very long to find out how!

We bandsmen, now an infantry platoon, a part of the Fourth Marine Regiment, were assigned to a shiny new barracks building called “Middleside” I guess because there was another barracks above us called, naturally: “Topside”.

We were assigned to the second floor which was really barren—no cots, no lockers—just a cold, concrete floor. But it did beat the jungle with the bugs and occasional snake.

The next morning I talked a buddy, Francis Hooker, into going with me to a Post Exchange that supposedly had a good supply of wrist watches. I had lost mine in the jungle and wanted a new one. Why keeping time was important I’ll never know.

Much to our surprise we found an ice cream bar in the Exchange selling honest-to-god ice cream bars. We were munching our bars that really tasted good when someone came running down the aisle yelling, “Air Raid!”

The first wave of Mitsubishi bombers dropped their bombs just outside the Post Exchange breaking up the asphalt like it was chalk. Several of us ventured outside to take a look but hurried back inside When we saw the bombers turning back for another run.

A young Army corporal opened what looked like a trap door in the floor and told all of to get in. “You’ll be safe in here,” I recall his saying.

Well, I took one look and knew it would be a death trap to stay inside. Fortunately, everyone listened to me and spread out on the floor of the exchange. I guess they thought I was an experienced combat guy because of the ragtag uniform I was wearing.

A bomb from the second wave did hit a few minutes later taking out the floor and the “safe hole” we fortunately had vacated. After the explosion we noticed a smell that wasn’t a familiar one. An Army guy decided it was gas so all the soldiers put on their gas masks peering at us through their big goggles like we were nuts. Hooker and I, had tossed away our gas masks so we could carry extra grenades in the canisters and we were really worried for awhile.

Fortunately, a refrigeration pipe had been broken and the smell was Freon or some coolant. Hooker and I had about enough of the “shopping tour” and decided to head back to our barracks. We were still inside the building when we saw this soldier crawling along the ground like he was stalking Indians. “Come on in here,” we shouted. “At least you wont get hit by shrapnel.”

Turned out he was the Post Exchange Officer and when I asked him if I could buy a watch he said, “Be my guest!” I picked out a good one and kept it until a Japanese guard “liberated it” some months later.

 

Digging In

Soon after that we were deployed along the sea. We dug foxholes and attempted to fortify the area as best we could, which wasn’t much. That’s where we stayed until the Japanese decided to bomb us out.

It was really a grim period. Toward the end we were getting just one meal a day—usually oatmeal, coffee and sometimes some bread. We tried eating iguana—a big lizard that the Filipinos and people in Central America think is a delicacy. We tried to kid ourselves that it tasted like chicken but I could always see its beady little eyes and long, thrashing tail. We also killed all the mules and they tasted a lot better than the iguana but that didn’t last very long.
Once in awhile we would find some chocolate bars that came from the Red Cross. One bar could last some of the guys a week although it never did for me.

We all were undernourished and getting pretty skinny. No one had a “gunny belly” that good beer drinking over the years had produced for many of the old hands.

 

Face to Face with the Enemy

One day I was on patrol in the jungle with a four-man patrol when I heard a pop then a small explosion. I felt a sharp pain in my calf and saw that the Marine in front of me had been badly hit - apparently by a grenade. I saw this little khaki-clad figure off to one side of the path. Without really thinking I snapped off a shot with my Springfield and hit him right in the chest. He was a Japanese private who apparently had got lost from his outfit and had stumbled on our patrol by accident. He looked awfully young and not the ferocious enemy we had been expecting to encounter. I didn’t think much of my wound - it looked like a small puncture from a grenade fragment. But, later it caused me a lot of misery. Wounds don’t heal very fast in the tropics and this one was no exception. Some weeks after I became a prisoner and just when it was beginning to heal a guard jabbed at it with his bayonet - why I’ll never know and opened it up again. It took several more weeks to heal but by that time I had other things to worry about.

We had air raids every day but no big invasion except for a few landing barges that we creamed pretty good. The Japanese had landed their main force on the opposite side of the island —to the east of us.

 

Under a White Flag

The landing proved to be successful and the enemy soon was in the center of the fortress area. And, on May 8, 1942 the order came down to destroy everything of value.

Maj. James Bradley, our company commander, called us together and told us we had nothing to be ashamed about. He said we had done our duty like good Marines but not to expect much as prisoners of war. He then led us under a white flag to the center of the island where we were met by some Japanese soldiers.

Telegraph received by George's Mother on Mother's Day, May 10, 1942,
five months after Pearl Harbor.
 
They lined us up and went up and down our ranks taking every thing off us they could. I had a ring my grandfather had given me which I highly prized, It was a gold ring with a ruby, diamond and emerald setting. It was a magnificent ring and I wasn’t about to let the Japanese get it. So, I took it off my finger, turned away and threw it as far as I could in the Bay of Manila. It’s still down there some place and maybe some day one of my grandsons might go diving for it. They did get my watch, though, but that was no big deal.

They marched us about five miles back to the fort to what was called the “92nd Garage Area”. It had been the motor pool and was a large area adjacent to the bay. There must have been at least ten thousand or more prisoners already there huddled beneath makeshift shelters of all kinds and shapes. The sun beat down unmercifully. There was no water and no food.

All I had was a knapsack, with some spare socks and underwear, my canteen and a blanket. No one greeted us and we were directed to a corner of the area where I used the blanket to rig some shade from the blazing sun. There were no latrines and the nearby bay became the toilet for most of us. Even worse than the thirst and the hot sun were the giant, biting blue-black flies that had feasted on the dead bodies of animals and humans but were incessant in their demand for more “food”.

After two or three days the Japanese finally put down a 1/2 inch water pipe. We would line up for hours to fill our canteens - if we were lucky.

We got no supplies from the Japanese but did find some old C rations that someone had buried in the area. They didn’t last long but did keep us going. The Japanese couldn’t have cared less whether we lived or died.

I think we spent maybe about two months in the motor pool area. There were a lot of sick Marines and a couple guys died. Then one morning they marched us to the dock area where there was a big armada of the most ancient sea vessels you could imagine.
 
Death March
I had a really bad fever and didn’t think I was going to make it. Fortunately, a corpsman slipped me some sulfur pills and they made me feel a lot better.

After climbing aboard one of the really dilapidated boats, I laid down on a strip of metal, not more than six inches across, and fell sound asleep.

When I woke up we were just about at the end of Manila Bay. The Japanese jabbing at us with bayonets made us jump into the water which was about waist deep and wade ashore.

We were marched down a narrow, dusty road and passed what looked like an elite Japanese cavalry unit with magnificent horses. They jeered at us in Japanese but didn’t bother us.

We soon came to Manila where large crowds of Filipinos had assembled, watching us—some with tears in their eyes— as we straggled by looking like pretty sad sacks I’m sure. Some of the Filipinos threw us some peanuts and other small items of food which we greatly appreciated.

We finally arrived at an ancient Spanish prison and were marched underground to some really moldy dungeons. Two days later they marched us to a railroad station where we were jammed into boxcars that normally carried livestock. You can imagine the smell.

After about a six hour, hotter-than-hell ride with almost no air and, of course, no water, we arrived at a school yard that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

Some of us talked about trying to make a break for it because it seemed like the only opportunity we might have. But where were we going to go? We had no idea where we were so we decided we might as well stick around and see what was going to happen. I often thought later that it might have been better to have taken our chances in the boondocks.

Because soon we were making what later was called the second of the infamous “Death Marches”. Already in miserable shape, we walked about 6o miles, helping the sicker guys as best we could, all day. And, the next day.

The Japanese followed us in trucks shooting any body who fell by the way. Most of us were in some kind of trance. My goal was to just keep moving and not think about what was happening.

It seemed like forever, but we finally arrived at what someone said was called Camp 3. It already was full, mostly with Marines and Navy.

 
I Witness a Murder
We had just arrived at this desolate spot - tired, hungry, dispirited to say the least, when we came upon four blindfolded prisoners surrounded by Japanese soldiers with rifles. A young Japanese officer surprisingly with tears in his eyes offered the prisoners cigarettes which he put in their mouths and even lit with his lighter. Then, suddenly he stepped away and gave an order to the soldiers who immediately fired into the bodies of the four prisoners.

They had already been forced to dig their own graves. They were pushed into them and a few shovels full of dirt were tossed over them. Later, we learned the four had been caught after escaping from the camp. It was a harsh lesson.

The Japanese assigned us to 10-man squads and we were told by an interpreter that if one tried to escape, all would be shot. But, where would you go anyway?
 
A Miracle?
There I had one of the most unusual spiritual experiences of my entire life. I had dysentery so bad I had to run for the latrine about every other minute. I remember being in a terrible amount of pain and then I completely lost my ability to walk. Some of my buddies helped me to the latrine which, even though it smelled terrible, seemed to be the place to be. I lay down in that stinking place and started talking out loud to myself. A minister later told me I probably was praying and the man up there was listening.

But, I remember saying, “Well, George, you’re close. But, hey, if I’m going to die, let me die now. But, if I’m going to live, then give me the courage to live like a man.”

Then, I fell asleep but once I woke up, looked out at the sky and saw clearly the beautiful Southern Cross constellation which is so bright in that part of the world. When I woke up the next morning, my dysentery was gone!

Even doctors I have talked to since say it couldn’t have happened that way. That it was impossible. Well, it wasn’t impossible and that’s just the way it happened. It was a miracle.

I’m not sure how long we stayed at this camp. It was almost unbearable and the Japanese finally closed it because even they considered it unlivable. So, they moved us to the largest POW camp at Cabanatuan, located about 6o miles north of Manila. There must have been upwards of 3000 prisoners there—a mixture of Marines, Army and Navy.

Unfortunately, I came down with a severe case of malaria with a fever raging above 105 for several days. I wouldn’t have made it had it not been for Dr. J.E. Nardoni—a doctor I had known in Shanghai, who gave me some me some quinine pills (see foreword). That broke the fever and I slowly recovered enough to go back on a work detail. We were assigned to clear a large area of land for crops of some kind—I never found out what.
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was also written by George some years later.
“OnIy That One Hour”
Gene Roberts was afraid of snakes. Trapped on a beach with a tidal wave approaching, a Bela Lugosi vampire bending over his bed these were scant fears compared to his vision of a Cobra, head raised, hood extended, striking viciously at his defenseless body.

He remembered the rattlesnake that killed his dog on the steps of his Grandfather’s mountain home. He remembered too the way he died. Now, here he was in the middle of cobra country, rice snakes and pythons. The python you could struggle with, the other two were slithering death warrants.

Don Ford, Air Force, Jay Burton, Marine corporal and Doc Wendall, Navy medic, the ant bangers they called themselves. Also known, by their Japanese captors in this P.O.W. camp in Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands, as ichi bon exterminators of red ant hills.

They gathered around in the early dawn, squatting, oriental fashion as they passed a long brown stogie for each to get a puff or two. “Where in the hell is Megaphone,” Don rasped, his early morning voice still hoarse. “Son of a bitch is always screwing off if he’s not trying to beat us to death.” Jay’s voice was bitter. “Here he comes now. Bet he’s had the Honcho Domo biting him in the ass for more work from us lazy, free loading captives.”

Don’s last remark got him a prod from the long rod the Jap carried in his hand. “Bakka, domi da na,” he motioned them to their feet. In broken English punctuated with Japanese he laid out the day’s work. “Honcho say, you lazy bums, no good, beat you more. Today we break seven ants or you all die tomorrow.”

“O.K. bakka bastards, we go.” Doc led the way across the open land toward a distant ant hill. Megaphone kept pointing out the direction away from a long line of gathering prisoners. They were all mostly armed with picks and an occasional shovel, a gigantic cultivating machine impeded only by the eight-foot-high ant hills.

As they approached the ant hill, Megaphone, his hands cupped to his mouth yelled at them that any snakes were his. “Doc, do you have anything in case we get bit?” Gene’s voice was tense, fright already straining at his vocal cords. “Nothing kid, my old kit bag has a few compresses with a little tape to hold it and that's all. Wait a minute! I think I may have a vial of morphine left. That could ease your suffering a little.” He laughed. Doc. liked his little morbid jokes.

The ant bangers started hacking at the ant hill. Their bare feet shuffling to avoid the huge, red, jigger ants that were pouring from their sanctuary deep inside the hill. Occasionally someone would jump and cuss the red insect that had bitten him. Megaphone, his face imperturbably set, would only look away.

Jay Burton, the Marine from Corregidor, was busy following a small hole that led deeper and deeper into the ant hill. Gene was watching him closely anticipating his own quick departure if a snake emerged. Jay’s pick crumbled another small tunnel when, with an almost imperceptible motion, an eight foot cobra was at his feet.

Everyone jumped back along with Jay. The snake coiled it’s body erect, hood flared, ready to attack. Gene, his face white and taut, screamed for Megaphone who had wandered off to gossip with the other guards. “Let him be, Gene.” Jay’s face was flushed, his pick ready to hit the snake. “Let him be. If we kill the snake that’s one less for him.”

The snake was swaying from side to side lost in it’s own internal rhythms. Its tongue flickered in and out of its mouth in a deadly osculating caress. The sun was barely up but the perspiration was beginning to run down the faces of the ant bangers. Doc spoke quickly, “Be careful, there could he two.”

All eyes went to the small holes proliferating the ant hill. Don looked quickly, “No snake. Where in the hell is that no good Megaphone.”
Letter received by George's Mother on March 20, 1943 - ten months after the "Missing Pending Further Information Telegram".
 
“Snaku, Aii-ah, me kill.” Megaphone pushed the group back and dropped to his knees in front of the cobra.

Gene thought he looked as if he had come to pray until he saw the small stick in his hand. Megaphone began to imitate the slow undulant sway of the serpent. Slowly his right hand moved higher and imperceptibly closer to the moving head of the reptile. His hand, with the swiftness of a practiced magician, dropped the stick and grasped the snake behind the head.

Gene’s sigh of relief was audible as the rest of the group dropped their picks and squatted on the ground. The cobra was wrapping his tensile body around Megaphone’s arm struggling to be free. With a long sharp knife Megaphone was cutting into the mouth of the snake removing his fangs and then probing deeper for the poison sacks.

When he had finished, washed and examined the snake’s mouth he released his grip. Free, the snake mouthed his way up Megaphone’s arm in a futile attempt to bite him. The men were lined up ready to move to another ant hill when Megaphone turned and tossed the snake high on top of their heads.

Gene, who had stood relaxed in the middle of the group found a wildly flailing eight foot cobra wrapping itself around his neck. No nightmare would ever be this real. He pulled the irate snake from his neck and looked around for Megaphone, who happy with himself, was strolling away. Gene, cupped his hands to his mouth and yelled, “Megaphone, you son of a bitch.” His angry voice caught everyone’s attention. Megaphone, his cap perched jauntily on the back of his head, never looked around.
EDITOR’S NOTE: George Francis was Jay Burton
 
Another Encounter with Megaphone
I was to have another encounter with Megaphone. Some days after the cobra incident I was
squatting in the field digging. Most of us prisoners could never master the Oriental technique
of squatting on our haunches. It was another way guards found to torture us. Anyway, I stood up
to ease a cramp in my legs when I was knocked to the ground with a blow to my back. I was
momentarily stunned and then I was seized with a fit of rage that I couldn’t control. (jumped to my feet and was eye to eye with Megaphone who had knocked me down. I started for him with an intent to kill him with my bare hands. He just smiled and unsheathed his bayonet which he jammed into my stomach inviting me to attack. I quickly decided that death in that field was no revenge at all. So I turned my back and bent down to continue my digging.

Received by George's Mother on September 8, 1943 - another similar card was received on December 16, 1943, two months after George was sent to Japan.

 
Volunteer to Japan
I was in the Cabanatuan camp about nine months and was trying to adjust to being a POW. It wasn’t easy! I tried to concentrate on my great love for music and literature and I think that kept me going.

Sometime in October 1943, I joined some 500 other Marines who had been ordered to report to the
train station. For some reason dumb I found out later - I had volunteered to transfer to a camp in Japan. (think my reasoning was that perhaps (would be closer to a food supply. That wasn’t the best thought I ever had.

We were quickly loaded onto one of those terrible box cars and taken back to Manila. We couldn’t
see much of the city but obviously the Japanese were in complete control. We saw no friendly crowds and no one threw us any food scraps. I’m sure the Filipinos were feeling the pain of
being under Japanese rule, too.

They marched us onto one of the most derelict tramp steamers I have ever seen—much older and
more decrepit than the one we had been on before. Two strange things happened on that trip to
Japan—which we soon found out was our destination. We were allowed to stay topside as the ship
moved out of Manila Bay. I was up forward on the bow and looked out to see the largest snake I
had ever seen swimming alongside. That sucker had to be 20 feet long. I think it must have been
a python but it scared the devil out of me just thinking what might happen if I fell overboard.

On our way to Japan across the China Sea we ran into a terrible typhoon that tossed that old bucket around like it was a tea cup. I bet the waves were better than 40 feet high and how we stayed afloat remains a mystery.

But, actually that trip to Japan wasn’t that bad after we cleared the typhoon. We ate the best chow we’d had since becoming POWs. We even got some kind of meat once in awhile. The Japanese crew left us alone for the most part— no beatings, no work parties.

One day we heard some pinging sounds that seemed to come from the hull. We guessed it might have been sonar from an American submarine bouncing off the ship. I’m glad they didn’t decide to send a torpedo our way if that really was what we were hearing.

We landed someplace in Japan and were loaded immediately into a train that wasn’t quite as bad as the ones in the Philippines. We were headed for Niigata, a good-sized city about 6o miles north of Tokyo on the main island of Honshu. It was to be my home for 22 months and I didn’t know at the time that it would surely put me and my fellow prisoners on the “Edge of Death”

 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is another story George wrote some time ago. You readers perhaps can see the difference in style from his recently-dictated notes.
“Escape to Nirvana”
Jay Burton stood in the last door of the last car as it slowly moved along the siding. This was Niigata. He had seen the sign on the main station they had passed. It was in English despite the war and the Japanese fanatical devotion to end all things foreign to its culture. The train inched its way through the switches and the masts of cargo ships became visible over the corrugated iron sheds that made up most of the buildings. Huge mountains of coal began to appear as the train lost speed and with a great screeching of brakes stuttered to a halt. Jay could see the Japanese soldiers gathered along the embankment and the civilians, some of them in suits, who were now running along side the train gesticulating at the conductors who were standing on the steps of the doors.

Jay had counted nearly 300 men aboard the train. They were all fellow Marines from the Philippines, veterans now of the fighting at Bataan and Corregidor. Most of them skinny and still suffering from malnutrition, beri beri, and malaria which would subside now in the colder climate of Northern Japan.

Some of the men were starting to disembark, pushed by the Japanese aboard the train and exhorted by the soldiers who were standing now at the ends of the cars. Suddenly a short, squatty, soldier ran down the siding screaming, “Bakka, Bakka,” his sword held high above his head, his face flushed and his mouth twisted in anger. Jay knew the word he was screaming as did all the prisoners. The Japanese used it all the time.

One of the prisoners had wandered beyond the last car and was the object of the Banzai charge. The Japanese soldier was now yelling obscenities in the face of the prisoner, cuss words, that only the most profane would know. A mixture of Japanese and English that ended when he brought his sword down across the head of the cowering prisoner. Fortunately the weapon was sheathed and the damage only resulted in a slow leaking wound that soon stopped bleeding.

Someone behind Jay whispered, “He was like a cyclone coming down on poor, Jay.” The name stuck and the Japanese sergeant was named, “Cyclone Pete” from then on. The soldiers were starting to herd the prisoners into a column of twos, yelling the usual cuss words, Bakka, Conyero, accompanied by shoves with their rifle butts and an occasional kick. The newly named “Cyclone Pete” was in the middle of the melee lending his strident voice to the sorting. Jay slung his pack across his shoulder and moved to find a place in the line.

The column straggled out, a long line of white faced Marines, fatigued from the long journey they had made - Manila Bay, then a stop in Taikow on the island of Taiwan. Six weeks of sitting in the middle of the small harbor at Taikow while being injected for Bubonic Plague epidemic in the area. Finally, setting sail in the China Sea with thunderous typhoon assaulting their small freighter with fifty and sixty foot waves, submerging the accompanying destroyer escort for what seemed to Jay an eternity. He had never experienced the violence of winds and the churning of the waters that he had seer that day. For no reason he thought of his Grandmother ministering to a cut eye he had suffered playing sandlot baseball. Her gentle hands wiped away the hurt. He needed her now.

The front of the column stopped and the prisoners immediately put down the knapsacks and blanket rolls they carried. “Cyclone Pete” came down the column yelling at the prisoners and guards alike. Jay started to laugh. “Where,” he said aloud, “would anyone escape to? Swim to China? Were there Communist guerilla bands loose in Japan, eh?” Cyclone coming back down the column bumped him hard in the middle of his back. “Domi da na,” he said, “Toske”. Jay was slow coming to attention and Cyclone brought his fist up in a swift chop across his mouth. Blood slowly trickled down across his chin. Jay knew this would be a losing fight. He wanted to survive Cyclone and Camp 5-B Niigata, Japan.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Again, George was Jay Burton
 
Full Text of THE EDGE Please Click Below for:
CHAPTER ONE - "The Edge" Page 13
CHAPTER TWO - First Duty Stations Page 19
CHAPTER THREE - We Were Captured Page 39
CHAPTER FOUR - In The Camp Page 59
CHAPTER FIVE - Return to Niigata Page 80
From the Diary
The Letters
Poems and Short Stories
"Marines in Review"
Epilogue
Chronology
Bibliography
Page 91
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