Roland Kenneth 'Ken' Towery

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army

HOMETOWN
Raymondville, TX

HONORED BY
John C Burkhardt, AAG MOPH, Chapter 1919, Austin, Texas

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

INDUCTED JANUARY 26, 1941, AT FT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS. SHIPPED OUT TO CORREGIDOR PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. ASSIGNED TO BATTERY C, 60TH COAST ARTILLERY AND COMPLETED HIS BASIC AND ADVANCED TRAINING AS CREWMAN 75MM ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS. SIX WEEKS BEFORE THE WAR STARTED, THE MEN MOVED OUT OF THEIR BARRACKS AND SLEPT BY THEIR GUNS. WITH THE FALL OF THE BATAAN PENINSULA ON APRIL 9, 1942, THE JAPANESE COULD NOW FIRE UPON CORREGIDOR. HE WAS WOUNDED ON MAY 6, 1942, HOURS BEFORE GENERAL WAINWRIGHT SURRENDERED. HE REMAINED BEHIND WITH OTHER PRISONERS TO BURY THE DEAD. AFTERWARDS, THEY WERE MARCHED THROUGH MANILA AND SPENT FOUR MONTHS IN CABANATUAN CAMP #3. SOON HE AND OTHERS WERE SHIPPED TO MUKDEN, MANCHURIA, CHINA. HE WAS VERY ILL WITH TUBERCULOSIS AND PNEUMONIA WHEN HE ARRIVED. ONE OF HIS FIRST DUTIES WAS TO SERVE FOOD TO THE OTHER PRISONERS, WHERE HE WAS GIVEN HIS ETERNAL NICKNAME, 'CHOW DIPPER.' AFTER RECOVERY HE WAS SENT AS A PRISONER LABORER TO WORK AT THE MKK FACTORY TAKING APART EQUIPMENT. THE JAPANESE WOULD MAKE BLUEPRINTS OF THE PARTS. THEY REASSEMBLED AND SHIPPED THE ITEMS OUT TO BE PLACED INTO SERVICE. WHAT THE JAPANESE DIDN'T KNOW WAS THAT THE CREW HAD BECOME FRIENDS WITH A CHINESE LABORER, THEY TRADED ALL THE BEARING FOR FOOD ITEMS, RENDERING ALL EQUIPMENT SHIPPED AS USELESS. AWARDS AND COMMENDATIONS: EXPERT RIFLE; AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE RIBBON WITH ONE BRONZE STAR; ASIATIC-PACIFIC THEATER CAMPAIGN RIBBON WITH TWO BRONZE STARS; PHILIPPINE DEFENSE RIBBON WITH ONE BRONZE STAR; GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL; DISTINGUISHED UNIT BADGE WITH TWO OAK LEAF CLUSTERS AND THE PURPLE HEART.