Sgt. Hubert H. Long
Sgt. Hubert H. Long was born in Missouri in 1917. He lived in Buchanan County and married in 1940. He was the father of one son. At some point, he enlisted in the Missouri National Guard.
On February 10, 1941, Herbert was inducted into the U. S. Army at Saint Joseph, Missouri. He was sent to Ft. Lewis, Washington, where his company was designated, B Company, 194th Tank Battalion. He was later transferred to Headquarters Company.
In September 1941, the 194th was sent to San Francisco, there they were inoculated and boarded onto a transport for the Philippine Islands. Arriving in the Philippines, the soldiers were sent to Ft. Stostenburg. They would spend the next several months training.
On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after Pearl Harbor, Herbert lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield. He would spend the next four months attempting to keep the tanks of his battalion supplied.
The evening of April 8, 1942, the tankers were informed that Bataan would be surrendered the next morning. It was on April 9th that Herbert became a Prisoner of War.
He took part in the death march and, at San Fernando, was packed into small wooden box cars that were used to haul sugarcane. The cars could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100 men into each car. At Capas, the POWs climbed out of the cars and walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
The conditions in the camp were so bad, that the as many as 50 men died each day. There was only one water faucet for the entire camp. The situation was so bad, Hubert volunteered to go out on a work detail. At this time, which detail he went out on is not known.
After the detail ended, Hubert was sent to Cabanatuan which had been opened to relieve the conditions at Camp O'Donnell. He remained at Cabanatuan until October 1944, when his name was posted for transport to Japan. This was done because U. S. Forces were approaching the Philippines, and the Japanese did not want them to be liberated.
When Hubert's group of POWs arrived at the Port Area of Manila early October 1944, they were boarded onto the Arisan Maru. They had been scheduled to be boarded onto the Hokusen Maru, but since one of the POW detachments in his group had not arrived on time, the Japanese switched groups and put another group of POWs on Hubert's ship.
The POWs were packed into the ship's number two hold. Along the sides of the hold were shelves that served as bunks. These bunks were so close together that a man could not lift himself up while laying down. Those standing also had no room to lie down. The latrines for the prisoners were eight five gallon cans. Since the POWs were packed into the hold so tightly, many of the POWs could not get near the cans. The floor of the hold was covered with human waste.
The ship sailed on October 10th and took a southerly route away from Formosa. It arrived at a cove off Palawan Island where it dropped anchor. This resulted in the ship missing an air attack by American planes. During their time off Palawan, the POWs managed to hot wire the hold's ventilation system into the ship's lights. the Japanese had removed the light bulbs, but they had not turned off the power. For two days the POWs had fresh air. The power was turned off when the Japanese found out what the POWs had done.
The Arisan Maru returned to the Manila nine days later. There, it became part of a twelve ship convoy bound for Formosa. On October 21st, the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea. The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with "red crosses" to indicate they were carrying POWs. This made the ships targets for submarines.
According to the survivors of the Arisan Maru, on October 24, 1944, around 5:00 pm, POWs were on deck preparing the meal for those in the ship's two holds. The ship was near Shoonan, off the coast of China. The POWs watched as the Japanese on deck ran to the bow of the ship. A torpedo from an American submarine passed in front of the ship. The Japanese next ran to the stern of the ship and watched a second torpedo pass behind the ship. There was a sudden jar which was caused by the ship being hit by two torpedoes amidships. The ship stopped dead in the water. It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was the U. S. S Snook.
The Japanese guards fired their guns at the POWs on deck to drive them into the holds. After they were in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders and put the hatch covers on the holds. They then abandoned ship. Some of the POWs in the first hold were able to climb out and attached and lowered the rope ladders to those in the first hold. They also dropped rope ladders down to the POWs in second hold.
Many of the POWs attempted to escape the ship by clinging to rafts, hatch covers, flotsam and jetsam. Others stuffed themselves with what was their last meal. Most of the POWs survived the attack but died because the Japanese refused to rescue them. The Japanese destroyers in the convoy deliberately pulled away from the POWs as they attempted to reach them. Other Japanese crews pushed the POWs away from their ships with long poles. Those who attempted to climb onto the ships were beaten with clubs.
According to the five POWs who had reached an abandoned lifeboat, the Arisan Maru sank slowly into the water. At some point the ship broke in two where it had been struck by the torpedoes. The exact time of the ship's sinking was not known since it occurred at night. The cries for help slowly ceased until there was silence.
Sgt. Hubert H. Long lost his life when the Arisan Maru was torpedoed in the South China Sea. Of the 1803 POWs on the ship, only nine survived the sinking. Eight of the men survived the war. Since he was lost at sea, Sgt, Hubert H. Long's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.