UNKNOWN NAVY LT.
possibly Baumgardner, Earl G. USN Lt from Yonkers, NY
August 10, 2005
Well I do and I don't have a name. From the beginning: my mother's best friend and her husband visited us in MD after said husband had been rescued by Rangers from Cabanatuan. I believe this was 1945. I had never met them before nor have I seen them since. Ghost Soldiers brought back memories and gave me a desire to find the name of this stranger (to me) who had endured more than I can imagine. Mom died in 1955, so I can't get help there. Her sisters & brother are also deceased.
My clues to this man are that he worked for RCA in Manilla and was inducted into the Navy when Japan invaded the islands.
The National Archives II in College Park MD have many rosters of prisoners at Cabanatuan for the Army, Marine Corp, but not much for the Navy. One document puts Navy prisoners in Cabanatuan at 67 with no delineation between officers and enlisted. Since he was an officer, that eliminates some like the enlisted man from Brooklyn.
My best clue is from the movie, Back to Bataan with John Wayne & Anthony Quinn. But only the first few minutes are concerned with the Cabanatuan rescue. As the rescued men march to freedom the movie highlights four including one Baumgardner, Earl G. USN Lt from Yonkers NY. Since Mom & Dad lived in the Bronx, this could be the one. But not definitely. Could be coincidence.
This morning at Archives I viewed a film of a Navy Board of Inquiry questioning 3 officers, all lieutenants regarding their time in Cabanatuan. This was followed by two of them being given the key to San Francisco, etc. by the mayor. Earl was one of these men.
Somehow I know that an accurate roster exists for the Navy personnel at Cabanatuan. Where I'm clueless for now. After 35+ years with the Navy Department, I know that there is a piece of paper with the name of an RCA communications specialist who became a Navy Lt., was interred at Cabanatuan, and was rescued by the 6th Ranger Battalion. They do make and keep these types of records. My task at hand is to find where that paper is.
Mankind is still searching for the Holy Grail. So why not find a mere Navy Lt?
Donald J Vitale aka "Don"
August 18, 2005
The officer in question was in the Navy and the archives in DC are full of Army & Marines, but scant on Navy. The gist of the problem is I don't remember his name. I was only 10 and it was 60 years ago. I believe he and his wife lived in NYC or thereabouts, and do remeber that he worked for RCA before being sworn in as a Naval Officer as the Japanese Army swarmed over the Phillipines. Yes he was at Cabanatuan and one of the rescued. I have two potential candidates. As I get some additional info I will send it.
or be added to my POW/Internee e-mail distribution list,
please let me, Tom Moore, know.