Technician 5th Class Julius St. John Knudsen - A story of Sacrifice of Unknown circumstances
Welcome to stories of sacrifice. World War two. American P. O. W. M. I. A's in the Philippines. This is a production of the U. S. P o W m i A Families located. I'm your host and lead researcher. Job technician fifth Class Julius ST John Nixon was born the third of January 1916. The eldest child of Lewis and Betsy ST John Commutes in Brainerd, Minnesota. He entered the service of Fort MacArthur, California, and was first assigned to the 41st division on 31 March 1941. He later requested transfer to Fort Lewis, Washington, being assigned to the 194th Tank Battalion. In late 1941 General Douglas MacArthur made reinforcing the defenses of the Philippines. A top priority. 194 Tank Battalion was created for this purpose, combining National Guard units from Minnesota, Missouri California Company, a 194 tank battalion. The Twitch Kanoute's and was later assigned, had originally been a Minnesota National Guard unit based in Brainerd, Minnesota. Conditions hometown. As the threat of war looked increasingly likely, the War Department federalized the unit on 10 February 1941 on dispatched to Fort Lewis Washington, where it was mustard as a part of the 194th Tank Battalion, but later shipped off to the Philippines that fall on 7 December 1941 hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. They also attacked the Philippines. American and Filipino forces held off the Japanese until General King surrendered the Baton Forces on 9 April 1942. This was the start of the notorious Bataan Death March, a 65 mile march of death Northern POW camps. Many atrocities were done to American and Filipino forces on this march. Pop possibly Julius Witness Accounts said commutes and made a break for the jungle during the mark. Later, those witnesses said, they heard a shot ring out in the direction that Julius had escaped. He was never seen again. Other accounts listed him is dying on 30 June 1942 p o. W. Camp Combat it one. But he doesn't show up in the camp records nor the list of those who were buried at the camp cemetery. He is currently listed as missing in action. This is Juliet's story, called Bhai's nephew Jim and his family struggle to get Julius home. I I'm here today with the gym commutes in. He is the nephew of of Ah, technician fifth class Julius ST John Kanoute's and hi, Jim. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, John. Thanks for interviewing us today. And, you know, I'm, uh, the nephew of Julia ST John Kanoute's. Hey was, uh, one of three boys in my grandparent's family. My dad, Julius in another Uncle Richard in all three of them served in World War Two. My grand parents both came from Superior, Wisconsin, but moved to Brainerd, Minnesota. My grandfather was a county engineer surveyor, and they lived in Brainerd. And my uncle Julius was born January 3rd, 1916 attended the local schools and ended up in the time frame of the Depression like everybody did in the thirties and long about the late 19 thirties. There was not a lot of work in the Brainard area. So he hopped on his Indian motorcycle on the road to California looking for work and ended up with a truck driver out in Southern California. And that would have been in the late thirties, early forties. And the next thing I can say is the family of that. I'm involved with their seven of us siblings. And a lot of us really had no idea about who Uncle Julius was because none of us were born before he perished in the Philippines. So from that perspective, it was my dad. The kind of held it all in a gold mine through his whole life is to not knowing what happened and would love to know what happened. And my dad passed away 10 years ago now and still, of course, didn't know what happened to his brother. But Julius was a cantankerous person. According to my dad, Hey, wasn't a pantywaist. He'd stand up to anybody that I was doing wrong. He was involved in the school and tumbling. Hey! And some friends got involved with community work with Beard growing contest. Hey, wore stilts in the various events and parades, so he was always want to have some fun. But of course, after high school, he had to find work. And that's how he ended up in California. Uh, well in California on March 31st 1941 he enlisted in the California Army Guard and was assigned to ah, the company M 1 63rd Infantry. Well, they were then assigned, uh, two. Go to Fort Lewis, Washington, for training. And that's where my uncle found out that the Brainard 1 94 Tank Battalion was also at Fort Lewis, Washington, for training. He requested a transfer, and they approved it. And yet the records of that transfer have disappeared, possibly in the fire in ST Louis of military records, we don't know, but he was transferred to the 1 94th so he could be with his hometown friends. And so, of course, from Fort Lewis, Washington, the 1 94th among all other soldiers and equipment were shipped out to the Philippines on the USS Coolidge in September of 1941 and were assigned to protect Clark Airfield outside Manila for a pending Japanese attack. And from there the war started December 8, actually, eight hours after Pearl Harbor. And that's where the 1 94 Tank battalion became the first mechanized tank battalion involved in World War Two. So that's the start of my introduction of how my uncle ended up in the death march of Bataan, which, of course, happened in 1942. But that's how he ended up getting there.
Okay. He was He was the oldest out of all. The all the siblings is not correct.
Yes, he was.
was a three year, three years younger, and then another. Uncle Richard was another five years, and my should mention my dad ended up in the Navy flying blimps, and my other Uncle Richard also was in the needy. And I'm not sure what his assignment was. I know it was a ship assignment somewhere, but I'm not familiar with his military background. So all three boys joined the military because that's what they did back in those days.
That's great. Um, so he enlisted there in California after after traveling out there, and he did a lot of time around Washington state. Um, so you were saying that because of the depression, that kind of, you know, him looking for work? It kind of took him out that way. Um what? What kind of work was going on around Brainerd? I mean, what kind of industry was there locally?
Well, probably in the 19 thirties, there wasn't a lot of industry other than possibly force wood cutting a lot of logging was going on. There was a paper mill and there was also a railroad spur point here in Brainerd, where they did railroad repair on equipment and there were only so many jobs available and even those had tapered off during the Depression. So there weren't a lot. And I think a zey early twenties type of our age. He was probably looking for something more adventurous than working in a paper mill or a railroad depot.
Yeah, I don't blame him. When What was your grandfather doing at the time? You know, you had sent me some audio files that will get into here in just a bit, but he was talking, talking about it. Was that mining or was it logging?
What? My grandfather was the county surveyor N Jr. And they were involved with anybody that had to do mining in the area at go through the county engineering department and serving so that nobody would do any mining operations on public property. But he had a private surveying business before he became the county surveyor. And so he did a lot of serving out in the county around the Brainard area, and my dad and my uncle I'm sure Julius also were helped him in the summer on their summer work, helping hold the rods up in the air while this grandfather looked through his section to find survey corners, section corners. So the surveying was quite prevalent in our family back in those days.
Okay. Okay. Um, so after he got shipped off to the Philippines, you know, the 194th went to the Philippines. Um, you had sent me some files about, um, about the family recording. Ah, albums or records? Thio send over Thio the Philippines to all the members of 194th. Can you tell us a little bit?
Yeah, I'm finding out. Uh, for some reason, we've had these records for years. After my dad passed away out of seven siblings, I'm the only one in Brainerd. So I was, of course, left, left or blesses. You might call it
a lot of stuff. And there were files and books and things and there were some old records that air about the size of a 45 rpm record, but they don't have the big hole in the middle. They've got a small hole in the middle and One day my wife found them while she was cleaning house, and we didn't have a record player that would fit that. So I took it to a local music store that has audio equipment, and they were able to transpose those records into digital format. And for the first time, we listen to these records and they were made at the Brainard Armory. Uh, some organization that my grandmother and grandfather were involved in for supporting the military arranged for a recorder to come to town and be set up in the armory so the local families of soldiers could come in and record a message to their loved one for the upcoming holiday. And so my grandfather made one recording. My grandmother made a recording, and then my dad and my other Uncle Richard made a recording to greet Julius over in the Philippines, And those recordings turned out amazingly clear after they were digitized, including my dad's dog store was a bulldog or a box or, I should say, barking in the background while they're doing their recording. So it's It was an amazing find when we had the recordings done, and my understanding is once they were all done at the Brainard Armory. They're packaged up and sent to Colonel Miller in the Philippines. But it's our understanding. Most likely they never got there because the war had started and a lot of all those records came back. And a few other people in Brainerd have found some, and they had never had them digitized, so they didn't know what they had. But those records all came back to Brainerd basically unopened and unplayed. And so we have recordings, none off. Not only my dad with my grandma and grandpa who have been passed away since the late fifties, and we've never heard their voices before. And here they are, just like they're sitting in your living room. It's really amazing. And those records were being done all over the country. I would encourage people to contact their local army people, legions of the F. W's and see if anybody as remembered these records because they're really a cherished oh, family entity.
Well, I'd like to I'd like to try to try to share the one of your grandmother. Ah, here real quick. I want you to go ahead and listen to it, and I'm gonna give this a try and see if it works out for us here. If not all that, I'll put it on the end of it. Put him on the end of the podcast. But, uh, I want youto go ahead and listen to this and see what kind of calm and she might have after. Hello, Judy, this is Mother. I want you to know that this was deads idea and it's just taking the town by storm. I went downtown to find out first if there was a machine that could be used on John. Linderman is running a machine verse and Dad talked to Henry Bills and thanked Johnson, who were in charge of the local home guard now and got the use of the armory. And the newspaper has been just wonderful, putting him now three different articles about this. They even took a list of some of the boys whose people didn't have telephones. I didn't know how to get in touch with them, to be sure that they knew about it. And so the newspaper took down the names of those boys and their folks of Karl and everybody's had a great time. Everett John Lennon was here half past 12 last night. I love you. Virus were supposed to be Oh, hey. Had a fine time with those people that were there last night. And tonight will be just a bed, if not worse. I guess I telephoned of so many people of some parents that I've never seen him possibly never will. But we've chatted about you boys. Had a fine time about it. Are Alabama a set us a road map yesterday and the building with the attractions of Portland on? I just She's thinking that she's going to get us out risk for the trip. I'm going to wish you a merry Christmas now, Judy,
right? You know, And in that record, I remember she called him Judy because that was her nickname for Julius. And my dad even grew up calling them Judy. And they just found it easier to say. Judy, Julius, I guess. But everyone called him Uncle Judy.
Genesis is your dad. I want to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We're all busy here, huh? We've got a big job in the North country, Done, and Mr Carlton and several of the boy that you know we're working for me. We're going to be busy all winter here on Dhe, our Spring Valley job going along. We're fighting some great great right now so we can get a ship. You are. We're going to develop this thing in the spring. Andi, I think that we'll have a lot of things for you boys to do when you get back to this country, which I hope will be soon. Oh, I sure getting so much. I know that you're in the other end of the world and you're having here someone now. But do what you can, fella. I wish you a merry Christmas again. I hope you get along good shape, right? Soon I do, old boy. This is your dog. There's gonna one down their temperature here getting the dying cool stage. Thought about the time you hear this record, we will have had 40 below, but I won't be here to feel it. Anyway, I'm going to the Anderson School of Aeronautics in L. A. I expect to be there in November sometime. Jim Ottomans and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. No, it's during the Delaware in town. All my pals in the Army Air Corps. Joe Graham. He's married. No. Bob man in ST Paul working for him. Mark Gustafson asked about you once in a while and so does al Know And Dr Pinson gassing. Still fissures in California, working on an airplane factory. L fellow Zane and our beers Still around kickers. Married and working for S R. Dick guys in Seattle. Nice. Carl's up. You want to know how it is? DuPont, right? Yes, about you. I guess that's all I got to say. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. No way. Oh, I'm about six foot tall not doing the way. 100 and 58 Pond of the Union High school on a vice president class. What subjects are English and American? Misty Arctic drying and cabinet making. Making a cheater test cabinet, making problems going to be a pretty big I'm on the state doing working on the junior class right now. We had a hard time to get him in here, but he finally came out of a can of dog food in. Come in. We're going to make the record yesterday one needs, but, uh, door was in Iran at the right time. so we had to wait till noon that day. Good bye. And good luck. It's kind of cool that you got that family history now, you know, and being able to hear their voices and beings that they past before you really got to meet him, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. And none of us had much chance to be with them because they passed the early in their lives compared to to these lifestyle, but to remember their voices, I think seven or eight years old when my grandfather died, So I never remembered his voice. I was. We lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for quite a while while they were in Brainerd. So we'd only see him maybe once or twice a year. So it was really fun to hear their voices.
Yeah, It's too bad you don't have a recording of Julius. Yeah,
that was the flip side of what he could have sent one back.
Exactly. Exactly. So he would They got over to the Philippines, and and, uh, it was just Ah, December 7th. Like like you were saying? Just a few hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Philippines was attacked as well, and they were they were stationed at Clark Filled, weren't they?
Yes, that's my understanding is they were spread out the 1 94th and the 1 92nd Both the tank groups were more or less surrounding the area around Clark Field, tucked back into the trees in the bushes just in case of a pending attack in the they were spread out pretty wide, talking with while Straka, who is still alive here in Brainerd, the only remaining 1 94 tank number. He's 100 years old now, and he said we were spread out so far, he said. I never saw Julius after we were dispersed, he said, until the death march itself, and he said, because we all had orders and constantly on the move. Once they started to move, he said, it was an experience that you didn't get to share except for the guys on either side of you, which could have been 100 yards away each way. So he said it was a different set up than what they had a port. Louis,
did they? Did you ever find out what his position was in the unit did He was the driver.
I ask. Yeah, that's I was really curious about that. And Walt Straka, but I just talked to him here on Veterans Day. Uh, the memorial service. We had a veteran stay here in Brainerd and I asked him, and he's got a tremendously clear minded 100 years old. They said, You remember what my uncle did? Did he drive a tank radio man mechanic? You know what was then? He said, Once we got over there, he said, Everybody get everything because you were a one man unit and that's it. And somebody couldn't do something. Somebody else picked up the challenge. He said, I don't know what his particular job might have been, but since he was a Tech five, he might have been advanced to something different than the guys that were in the tank with him. That we're just private. Nobody really understands. You know those duties. Once you get in those tanks, it's everybody. For the group, it's not one man, so there's no idea what his actual challenge was. But being he was a truck driver in California and might have had a mechanical inclination, my guess is he might have been involved with repair and possibly a leadership position in his tank group in his tank.
Yeah, and they had the old Stuart tanks. Isn't that correct?
I don't know how much equipment their tank group had. I know they had motorcycles for relaying information. There were jeeps, and I'm guessing there must have been some half track, but because they were a tank battalion, everybody's mind just goes to the idea of a tank all the time. And so he might have been the Han Show in charge of ah, repair for a lot of different kinds of equipment or assign certain guys could go do a job on that jeep or that half track or that motorcycle, and he would guide them. I'm guessing only because of his background is being a truck driver, but who knows? You know, it's just said that the records were destroyed of how he advanced from private and company M California unit to attack five and a tank group. It's just hard to understand without the paper trail.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That's too bad a lot of that. A lot of those records, like you were saying earlier, were probably lost in the 73 fire there. ST Louis? Yeah. So, uh, they went on the day of surrender on on 8 April or 9 April. Um, they were at the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula when General King surrendered. Um, and what you were telling this is the last that anybody really ever saw them was at the start of the march. Where would you go? Do you know if it was at the start or midway through our at exactly when it waas?
Well, that's again the multiple ideas that come out of the paperwork. Colonel Miller's notes that air from the Washington Archives, uh, occurred Colonel Miller states that he was last seen near the town of Libel, which is in the very northern end of the march before they got to O'Donnell. And yet another situation. His actual death notice says he died in Camp Cabanatuan, which means he would have gone past so Donald and then all the way to Cabana one. But that cancels out if Miller's recollection is true that he was last seen a lowball. And then while Straka says the last song was that banana and he ran into the woods and they heard shots fired a little later in that general area and the next day that when the march started back up, they never saw Julius again. And they just talked amongst themselves that he must have got killed in the woods overnight, and that's what the chance were. And then there's, ah, historian out of, Ah, Dover, Washington, that was working on his case, trying to help us get an idea. And he said, There's also some thought that a lot of the healthy guys along the death march we're often pulled off of the march and loaded into half tracks and trucks and hauled off to repair bridges and roads. And there's one book I read recently by a local Brainard lady who had ever interviewed another member of 1 90 forth by the name of Harold Peck and Pecs. Governments to this lady during the interview said that he was on the mark and saw Julius canoes and in the back of a big truck, and that he had ah, bad hip and he had been limping. And he said they either took him for a work detail, which doesn't make sense if you're wounded or hurt or they were carting off the ones that couldn't walk anymore and took him somewhere else and got rid of him. So there's again a lot of assumptions about where in the march he might have disappeared, and where did they end up taking them? And if he was on a work detail, those could go off 10 15 miles in any direction to fix a road or a bridge for the Japanese. And if he crossed somebody the wrong way, he could have been done in on a road work details somewhere. And then they just pushed him off into the woods. Nobody ever buried him, so we really are totally 100% up on the year as far as where he might have ended up. But if he did make it to pass Banga and up to a ball if he did make it to, uh, O'Donnell, He never showed up on ah list there with the other POW, and if he did make it to Cabanatuan, he never showed up on the list there, either. So we're up in years. Far is officially where he waas, but the army's official records say, died of dysentery Camp Cabana twan. Yet there's no record to back that up anywhere.
Wow, right? So how long if it has your family worked on this case with the defense POW. My account changed agency.
Well, I should say my dad started when he retired. He was in the seventies and he started writing letters trying to find out some background. And this would have been back in the mid 80 mid 19 eighties when he started doing research on the Internet was not yet available. So he was writing hand written letters and the Congress money into the Army in this kind of thing, and it was really hard to get information. Everybody said all those records were destroyed in the fire in 1973 and kind of like pushing them off and saying, Don't bother us. We don't have any information. And once my dad was ill and getting ready, pass on the Internet had started coming alive with more access to more information, and I told him I would pick up the gauntlet and carry on, and that's what I've been doing since about 1995 and I've learned a lot of information and made contact with the d. P. A. In the Fort Knox. People that help families try to find information, and they've been pretty good at responding and giving information. I had to file a Freedom of Information Act requests, and then we finally got ah list of his medals and awards. We never knew he had any. The family never received any. All the family ever had to know about Uncle Julius was a plaque saying by President Truman, with condolences from the maid sees government. And that's a glass rained, uh, kind of certification type of thing and that hangs in my youngest sister's house. Her name is Julie. She was named after Julius, so she came to the namesake of the family. Okay, but that Yeah, and that, uh, trying to go down that road of information. It's just like a bottomless pit that you can always get a little of this. A little of that. Something new comes up, but I've always had response when I contact our caseworker in Fort Knox, and there's also a researcher that has, ah, file that if anything comes new of Uncle Julius way, that would end up in his hands and my oldest daughter out of two daughters and her husband. They attended DP, a meeting in Minneapolis. It's about six years ago now, so they're kind of up to speed on everything that I've been doing on duh. I keep them informed of anything. I find it's new. And then we also went through the process of our local military cemetery near Brainerd called Camp Ripley. And they could, Julie says, Am I A is eligible for a grave plot and a headstone. And so we applied for that and got it, and it's in place. And here, coming up on December 14th they have an annual re clean ceremony at the Camp Ripley Cemetery and will be attending that and place in the reef. So we've I got a place for him to come home, and we just hope that you know they have. Ah, I hope that the Army takes up won't work approach to examing unknown, displaying that with today's D. Any technology that leaving room in a grave until they have a paper trail that says all this might be Julia. I feel that they should examine every unknown that's in a group grave or an individual by himself. I'm not saying to do anything with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, anything like that, when over in the Philippines, where they have so many group graves with mixed bones that they should be examining everything DNA and everything and then put all the pieces together as best they can and then try to find families with their DNA on file so they can make matches. And Artie DNA has been on file both male and female, uh, about four years now. And we just sit back and hope and yet keep digging.
Yeah, there's a There's quite a few these families that I work with that, you know, that died acrobatic along. And that's that. You know, that's kind of the big issue is a lot of those remains were co mingled. Um, Yep, after after they were exhumed and, uh, you know, disinterred and taken to Manila to be identified in the mausoleum. And, uh, unfortunately, they used in Ballmer's to try to work with these remains that were just, you know, skeletal, uh, there by that time. And, uh, it kind of made a mess of things and, uh, you know, they ended up getting co mingled worse and those that they thought they could identify. They did and knows that they didn't think they could identify that, you know, they were buried is an unknown in the Manila American cemetery. Um, but one of the interesting fact that that, you know, people don't know is is ah, these remains, you know, being how they were so co mingled, Uh, even the ones that were sent home, you know, after being identified in the 19 late 19 forties and early 19 fifties, Um, actually, they didn't get the complete remains home, you know, it was a little mixture of everybody and so right. That's one of the reasons why the you know, the d. P. A. Is wanting a 60% family reference sample 60% of those associated with the ah group burial. They want 60% family reference samples on file before they'll disinter the remains that to make the identification. And, you know, I don't know if that's arbitrary or not. You know, there's different opinions on that, but, uh, and I I agree with you. Um, you know, a lot of the families that I've been working with, you know, that you're all saying the same thing. You know that they need to come up with a lead DNA process, you know, lead DNA process where they dio, you know, disinterred the remains, Uh, get the DNA samples and the reason why I think it's very important. The longer those remains were in the ground, the more they degraded, the DNA gets in the bone. And, uh, exactly he won't after a few more years would be hard to get any DNA out of him at all. And then the other is It doesn't
make sense to me that there there's any delay in doing exactly what you're talking about because the deterioration is only gonna get worse. And then in 10 years and somebody finally finds a piece of paper that says, Oh, this might be tolling. So in this certain unknown grave and by then, the the remains air so far gone that DNA might not even be possible. It makes no sense to do any more waiting Now, back in the seventies and eighties, even it might have made sense on Lee because the had not advanced. But now that it has good grief, they can get DNA off a hair because they can get the any out of a bone. So it's it's time to do it.
I I agree. I agree. You know, there's I was not gonna
mention earlier when I started getting off on that engine of Eden either. But I think just so everyone knows whether it's the one name, the fourth or the 1 97 tank group and pretty much probably every soldier over in that campaign. When we found out that he had never received his awards and medals and we finally were able to get that and we had a formal document from the armory and it says Julius, it earned the Bronze Star medal. The Purple Heart, the prisoner of War Metal American Defense Service Medal with Foreign class Asian Pacific Campaign Medal with one Brown Service start, World War two Victory Medal Presidential unit Citation, Philippine Defense Ribbon with one Bronze Service star and Philippine Presidential unit Citation and those awards went to everybody in the 1 94th 1 92nd as far as I know
they did. In fact, I went to they went to almost all POWs that were in the Philippines. Um a zit kind of a little side story. My got me started on this campaign that I'm on is is ah, my brother in law's uncle died over there and it Ah, in a POW camp and he was actually buried next to you 192nd Tank Battalion and 100 94th tank Battalion men over. It was he was on a POW detail. He left. Oh, Donald there was pulled out of oh, Donald and sent over to ah camp called the Camp Olivia's and where they had to go back out on the Bataan Peninsula and they were a scrap metal detail. And, uh, anyway, he ended up dying of malaria and dysentery there and was buried in an individual grave. Um, his aunt's away. There was no commingling, and he was identified back in the fifties. But, uh um, yeah, that's kind of
commingling, and everything brings back. I did get one document from BP a number years ago, and it's called the UN Recoverable Report from 1951 and, uh, they were looking for my uncle, among others, and in the report it shows they're the date of death is May 7th 1942 the date of f o d. Which I don't know what that stands for.
Finding your 30
of thinking finding of death and was June 30th 1942. But it said the date of death may 7th 1942. So where they might have got that information is interesting,
on to say place of death or last seen Cabana 20. And then it has the case number. And then it was signed by a guy by the name of cats. Kate Easy in May of 52 co signed by Mansfield. Ah, a couple of days later, in 1952 in the case number. So they obviously opened a case thing, and they declared this think seven or eight people on this particular list unrecoverable. And so that kind of got my interest is, Well, if they know that the the death was made seven. Where was everybody on me?
Yeah, that that may 7th date they came up with that is that that's when ah, um right after Craig adore surrendered. Um, there was a lot of men that you know when in April on 9 April when General kings read and surrendered the Bataan forces. A lot of those men made their way or escaped and made their way over to Greg a door to keep fighting. And so they were kind of invalid state. And they actually didn't know exactly everybody that had made it over to correct a door. So they kind of use that Made eight. Ah, a lot of their correspondence,
you know? Interesting. Uh,
yeah. You see that Quite a bit on a lot of these M I A. Cases, Um, where they use that. May the maid eight. So Okay. Did. Ah, did your family? You know, when do you know exactly when your grandparents were notified about his, uh, his death?
We've never had an actual official document that they saved. I'm sure they got something from it will be a telegram and followed up by a letter from the war department. I'm guessing, but unfortunately, they never say that that we ever found in any paperwork after my folks passed. So again, that's a situation where would go by the records that we've been getting from G p. A. And the thing from Truman, of course, was I think that stated in 1945 after they had declared him unrecoverable than he followed up with that plaque and stuff. But we don't have an actual paper document with any accurate information of any kind from the war Department. My dad didn't have correspondence with the one department because he was questioning the life insurance policy. Once he was declared dead, his life insurance should have gone to his mom and dad. And the War Department said that they had, uh, when he Julius filled out his military information joining the military. He didn't give a beneficiary for his life insurance, and so my dad was questioning whether that was ever paid out and again. The Army said, Well, that information was destroyed in the fire, and we have no record of a beneficiary anyway, so they consider it case closed. Well, then, my dad accords think so, huh? They're trying to avoid paying out money that he should hit. The family should have gotten because, he said, my folks never talked about getting a check from the government for the $10,000 life policy.
Right? Right, Well, that's crazy. That's crazy. It's it's it's It's sad, you know a lot of them guys didn't even list, you know, on some of their records, they didn't even show that they were with their religious affiliation was either, You know?
know, you know, this is when they enlisted in stuff. This is all pre war. They there not really thinking about. We're gonna go to war and you know, that's right. You know, they didn't put a lot of that information down, but, you know, that's would be be interesting if those records could ever turn up.
Yeah, in my dad. I remember. After he got that letter, he sent one back and said, Well, then show me a copy of the check that you said to my parents. So I know that the proceeds went to the family and he never heard back from that letter.
It was probably
a little a little snarky, so
yeah, I get I get some of that back from them, too. Uh, they did. It'll never wanted an answer me back on some things, but So Ditte currently, um, with his case. Do they? I I didn't take the time to get on the d. P. A website to look, but do they have enlisted his active pursuit, meaning that they they're gonna try to identify him? Or is he just still in? Ah, an end might a status.
As far as I know it's gonna be strictly Am I at this point once that a document from 1952 says un recoverable, they're not doing a whole lot about digging deeper unless some information turns up that Fort Knox or Dover, Washington that might find some history that leads them somewhere. My understanding is there several large groups of military currently in the Philippines doing exclamations, but I don't know what their priority is. What part of the Philippines. It could be anywhere in Luzon for that matter, or Corrigan or who knows. And we have no indication as far as what direction they might take to search further for my uncle because so many of our soldiers over there on that goes back to our discussion earlier. There's so many is that are unknown. And let's let's just bring along together and separated by deity. Give them a temporary burial, whether it's in Hawaii or regular Manila gentility, and the man shows up something. Let's get get the gang together and do the job should be done right now.
Oh, I agree. 100% on that too. Um, you know, I think, uh, I think our government could do a better job in the d. P. A. Uh, could do, ah a lot better job if they would partner with Maur government mental organizations and others that have, you know, these labs that could act actually help support, eh? My effort. Um,
You know, there's there's a lot more that could be done and we just don't have a government at this point that's willing to do it. Released. Go all that
Well, no. I remember the shake up their number years ago in Hawaii because of the misuse of information and the squelching of complaints from field teachable where the upper echelon was saying, We don't want to go down that road. We're gonna stick to the old program. Well, finally, I don't know if it was John Eakin or Erickson. There's a number of guys are very active private citizens in trying to shake the government into doing their job. And they had a major shakeup. The head of the Defense Department in Washington finally called him on the carpet. If my understanding is, they reorganized the Hawaiian effort and move people from the top and put him a little further down. That kept him in place and there was still a mishmash. But at least I understand they opened a new investigative unit in Omagh High and often their court space help take the overload. Well, if they got that much work that they have toe open a second office, then obviously they're starting to move in the direction that we think they should move. But not fast enough. And if that means another shakeup in Hawaii and adding more staff and bringing the right private contractors, whatever it takes, you know the government should be given him a blank check for doing whatever needs to be done.
Yeah, I agree on that. Um, you know, there's, you know, at the current rate, even after the reorganization from D P M Oda d P. A, um at their current rate, and I think they're making right what? Last year was a little over 200 idea, and I I D s, you know, with your number. But just the number of world War two m I. A's that they're still on the books. I think there was, like, 78 or 79,000 total, but a lot of those deep water losses, But the ones that they actually have listed his active pursuit cases, meaning that they could be identified. And that's mainly the ones that air, you know, buried as unknowns or, ah, terrestrial plane crashes that they could potentially find. Um, right, that's their, you know, somewhere between 30 and 38,000 of these active pursuit cases that are on the books. And ah, you know, right now that you know, without a without a lead DNA process or without a program in place, ah, from our federal government to go after, you know, to publicize and really, really go after her family reference samples, um, it's gonna take hundreds of years to just get the M I. A's identified at this current rate? Um, absolutely. So they
must have a tremendously large database in the d. P. A. Of anyone who's inquired about a missing loved one. In the last 20 years, there must be a database of contact information that could be receiving a twice a year. Uh, notice on goes to whatever the current addresses and saying, If you have not submitted your DNA sample, we strongly encourage you. It's free. Contact our office. I mean, from a businessman's perspective. That's how I would do it twice a year every year until somebody sends in a d n a sample or return to sender address no longer ballot whatever. Make some effort to get those DNA samples from the current family members. It isn't hard, and you do a cheek swab with a Q tip kid, and that's it. It's really simple in a street. In fact, our female family member that had to be contacted because she was a saint gone. They wanted the, uh, maternal side of the family. And the only Saint John maternal side of the family is a cousin of mine that lose in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Duh! I'm still in contact with her, she said. Yeah, I'd be happy to Onda Fort Knox sent to get to Scotland, and she did the cheek swab. So I did mine from the male side and seeded earth from the female side, and it was so easy and free. No expense for anything. So I think the public just needs to know that that really is a high priority to get the living family DNA of record. So that will be easier. And then, if they started accumulating hundreds of the any family samples from people alive, more people than her mentally aware of the type of searches that are available. And that might be additional pressure on the government to up the ante and do a more vigorous exclamation, especially where there's a stone that says unknown here in the records, throw eight, dig him up. Let's find out who they are.
Yeah, yeah, you know, I agree with that 100% and not only just for the ones that are M I A. They need that family reference apples for the ones that were actually identified back in the forties and fifties. Wait, get a full accounting of all these M. I. A's.
Some of the pictures that I've seen that come from Jim, Opal, Oni and others that are involved with a lot of Internet use right now, and all of a sudden a picture shows up out of somebody's file that nobody's seen in decades and There's either 10 or 12 sets of bones laid out in the ground, you know, respectfully buried, but no names. No dog takes no dental records or anything, but there they are. Well, those people have family somewhere, and it's not that difficult to pick up each one DNA, all the remains that were there for each one. Put him in a box if you have to and put him in a temporary thing and find out if the DNA matches anything of record. And if it doesn't then give that person a burial as an unknown with all the information DNA information available in case it doesn't show up someday. It just seems so simple in my mind.
It is. It is. You know it, you know, it would be a lot of work, you know, and her, and time to roll up the sleeves and get it done. What else would liketo like to add to what you're just saying? They're about about the DNA and family reference apples. You know, the government that the military has one heck of a huge database of DNA already on file for all service members. I think since the eighties or nineties. You know, they where they have taken blood samples? Yeah. Uh, I I would almost bet you you could link a lot of m i A's back to just those samples alone.
There you go. I hadn't even thought of that. That's right.
Yes. To the armed forces DNA, DNA laboratory, the same place that collects the samples for the families. They've got a huge database already on file. Um, as soon as, ah, if they exhumed the m I A. Today and was able to extract the the necessary DNA out of the out of the remains, Um, you know, they they could possibly get hits back. Just that database alone.
Yeah, It could be a second generation grand nephew that's currently in the military or even retired military with the d n. A sample on file in all with sudden bingo. Here's a match.
Yeah, the bells ring and
the smiles and everybody's Hey, this is exactly how it's supposed to work.
Exactly. And you know, there's even larger database that they could probably tap into if they go back to the the Veterans Administration, the V A hospitals, and things like that for these older veterans that? Yep. We're not in service at the time. They actually started taken, you know, blood before you know, when they enlisted, you know, even capture that DNA. Um, I I would bet we we could solve a lot of them. AII issues. Just right there alone.
Absolutely. I think that's a major, major issue. And I wish our elected politicians would be more responsive to enquiries. And so on, I know are put a plug in for our local 1 94th regiment, which is a volunteer group. I belong to that based out of our armory here in Brainerd. And we're all just for the keeping the memory alive of our 1 94 Thanks, guys. And is one of our ventures is the fiber one c three. We raise money toe, promote things within the one the 94 reach. We have an annual marathon that's attended by almost 400 people. Now it just went huge. And we have a lot of fun and a lot of retired guys and military past guys, and we just gather and do things and we addressed a letter to our two state senators. Uh oh, gosh. This would have been three years ago and never got a reply, asking for information on how death March markers on the trail over in the Philippines were being destroyed by highway construction, Vandals and being the desecrated. And could not the but many monument commission that manages the cemetery in Manila be responsible for maintenance and upgrade on the Death March markers. And we're asking for their help with ideas on how to do something. And we never got a reply from either one of that kind of makes you mad that at least say I turned this over to somebody so insult or thank you for your letter. I'll look into it. We never even got a reply. And that tells me that sometimes of politicians and meet up I call it a Gibbs head slap. Come on, you gotta wake up, smell the roses, respond in act. And it's not that hard
you have. If it wasn't for Bob Bob Huts and over there in the Philippines Yeah, you know, if it wasn't for him and his wife taking care of a lot of those markers, there wouldn't be anything left, you know, and kudos to Bob and what he's doing and and you know well and then and there
that guy over there done with 70 years old And you know, how long can one person take on the gunman? Although I think he's starting to get some help. And yet, the couple days ago, another monument was desecrated by some project and he can't do it alone. And he's not gonna live forever. And neither money and I know he'll probably listen to this podcast. But I think those people do such a tremendous job of trying to keep things visible and appreciated, You know, by the local communities over there. And the least we could do is get the monument commission involved, because that stays there forever. And those people in the Monument Commission, the maintains cemetery in Manila. They change staff and people move on and they appoint new staff. There's always somebody there. Well, they could be a maintenance crew that goes out and maintain these things on a regular basis. And there you have your long term program in place. So when Bob has to retire from doing that heavy work, there's somebody to pick it up for him.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Him a lot. There's a lot of, you know, American veterans that were living over there that do an excellent job, you know, trying to keep things up. And, uh, you know, I really appreciate everything that they're doing. And I think like a Bob, everyone smile, has little fundraisers. Um, if you if if listeners want to get on Facebook on there's a Facebook page called Battle of Bataan and ah, Bob's one of the oh authors of that page and, you know, get a hold of Bob and she would see what you can do to help him out.
Yeah, because I'm pushing 70 myself and there's no way I'd be out there on my hands and knees with Russian, a scraper for very long in the hot sun, in a humid environment, a lot of rain and, you know, trying to maintain the things it's not always easy. And then working with the local government units that are moving on because they want to redo a road or change the curb or a car runs into one of them. And it's a lot of work, and those guys just hang in there and they're troopers.
Yeah. Did you Did you have a chance? You know, we were talking. You were talking about getting talking to your state senators and not in any responses back. Um, you know, the, uh I guess it was the congressional one of the congressional committees here about a week or so ago, had a a hearing with the D p. A and and, uh, the League of Families and ah, group called History flight That's been doing a lot of stuff with Tarawa. Uh, Marine Sun in my eyes. Did you have a chance to watch that hearing?
No, I didn't, Uh, which I could have.
You know, it was it was really interesting to me because the congressmen and women were starting to ask some really hard questions of the d p. A. Um, but it kind of seemed like they were kind of getting their answers. Were kind of getting blowing off about, you know, how responsive the D p. A is to the families. And and, uh, you know what more could be done? And it just seemed like everything was money, money, money, you know, is what what they were saying. Um, they were talking a good game about how they're partnering with all these other agencies of it, you know, like like we were just talking about a few minutes ago. You know, there's a lot more that could be done and
well, then those politicians have to get on board with the right questions. And they should be saying, the taxpayers that air paying for everybody in the room at this hearing are asking very simple thing to be done. And that's to do what logic says to do. And that's Exume. Begin the example and ah, try, attempt, Command and have a more rigorous attempt to get more family, the samples. And there was an opportunity for both those units to be held kind of to the taxpayer. Come and say, Come on. If you need more money than tell us what you're gonna do with it and we'll get the money and the money's there, it always is there for anything that seemed,
Yeah, I I agree. Um, and you know, hopefully hopefully your ah, your congressmen and senators are listening. We'll get to listen to this. This this podcast learn more about you know, the issues that are World War Two families are facing with the need for family reference samples. And hopefully, you know, like we've been talking that they moved to a d n a lead process where they actually exhumed these graves and get be any out of these out of the r M eyes. There are unknowns. Yeah. So? Well, is there anything else you want to add to the to the conversation, Jim? Anything we might look overlooked or
well, it's kind of been looking through my notes here, and we've covered such a a wide swath of information and, uh, updates and unique things that have happened on our particular family case. And I think we've kind of gone over everything from what I can see on my notes. And I'm comfortable that we covered the primary ones that need to be talked about so that maybe other families can say, You know, that doesn't sound like a bad idea what we should do, that that's what I encouraging families of M I A. To do is and whether it's from the Philippines, World War Two or Indonesia or Vietnam or Korea. If the families out there have not submitted to the family reference samples, they should and if not for those particular immediate family, perhaps their Children in the future might take an interest in whatever happened to Uncle Fred or Grandpa John or something. And somebody another 10 20 years down the road. Let's find out what happened. Well, get those samples in now, and that's gonna help shake the tree a little bit with the D. P. A. And also, the more samples there are, the more public eye there's going to be on the whole process.
Yes, sir, I agree. 100% on that. Yeah. It seems like you know, the families. Don't you know, they might have heard about a relative that died somewhere overseas during award. And, uh, it's not until that they they actually get down like ancestry dot com and start researching and and doing a little bit of family history that they actually realize that they're still missing in action and that they learned that something actually be done and and, uh, hopefully, hopefully ah, more families will hear about this and start providing family reference apples and then the other thing. You know, one of the things that I do on helping families is when they get a case record. Um, they share that case record with me so I can actually search out these families and find current current descendants that air viable family reference sample donors. And, ah, I give him that information so they can talk. Contact the other families to provide that fr s. Um And there have been a few cases here where we ran into where, um, families, you know, they kind of believe in the sanctity of the grave. And they don't think those graves should be. You know, their loved ones grave shouldn't be disturbed, even though they're listed as an unknown. But again, it all comes back to that that co mingling of the remains. And and, ah, you know, that's not just their loved one in that grave. You know, it's it's other families and and hopefully they aside that, you know, they should provide that family reference sample as well.
Well, and the family thinks that that particular soldier in the family was not, well, bone. Maybe there's no long term family behind him to do anything except maybe one person, and they might just have the thought of mind that let's leave him over there he's been gone for a long time. Well, that's true. But on the flip side, if they get the deity, they can confirm that's who it is. And, yes, we will leave him here. If that's your Children's, they have a choice. They could leave him in the Philippines,
the other guys buried with him. It might be somebody that they want Bracco back home here in the States. So let's let's help everybody get what they want. And, uh, and they don't have to be involved, you know, they can see, Here's my sample. And they could say Yet we found that third cousin of years And would you like him brought back home and he could say, Don't leave them where he's comfortable and that's the end of it. And that's why I'm okay with that.
Yep. And the guy, you know that the POW of am I that was in the Philippines, you know, blocked over in the Philippines, the big difference areas will be actually be buried under a marble cross. It has his name on it.
That's right. Exactly right.
Yep. And given him the honor and the dignity that he deserves for the sacrifice that he paid for our country and for our freedom. That Julie. Yeah, Absolutely. Well, Jim, I really, really appreciate you doing this and telling tone Julius a story and and getting information out there to the other families about you know, what steps that they can take. And and, uh, you know, my my big My big thing to you is don't give up, you know?
go to the hills there to get Julius back. Contact your here. You're senators and your congressman and Congress, women and and, you know, insisted something happens. You know, that's the only way things will get done is when they, you know when they hear about it.
Well, and that's, uh, kind of. When I promised my dad before he passed it all, I'll pick it up and run with it. And as I approach retirement, he's in the future way. I'll pass it along, Thio my kids and they could pass it along to my grandkids. You know, the information will be there, whether in paper, digital format for them, too. Pick up and build on. And then the future. You know, maybe we'll have that place in camp Ripley opened up and bring Julius home.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Well, thank you again, Jim. And, uh, you know, we look forward Thio here and hearing about Julius getting identified.
Well, thank you so much for your work on. And I'll be linking your podcast to all my siblings and family and friends that kind of follow along on this search. And we enjoy the information that we get in and the tremendous work involved and doing it. This kind of information. Serkin And I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this.
All right, Well, thank you, Jim. You have a good day. We thank Jim Kanoute's and for coming on our podcast today to tell us his Uncle Julius his story. It is our hope he will be added to the active pursuit cases in some bay be identified and brought home for an honorable burial. We encourage our listeners to contact her congressional representatives and ask them to give additional funding to the e. P. A. Mission fools possible accounting of our World War two missing in action. We also hope they will encourage additional partnerships with agencies and research organizations. Who could help process. The remains of where Emma is were buried as unknowns in our national cemeteries. This has been a production of US beauty, my family locating you can find us on the Web deputy v w dot U. S p o W m i A family locating dot com. Thank you for listening. Yeah.