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    Cabanatuan POW Camp Nueva Ecija Province | Luzon Philippines
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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003
Cabanatuan POW Camp was located four miles southwest of Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija Province in Luzon in the Philippines.

Built prewar by the American colonial administration as a Department of Agriculture station. Later used as a training camp for the Philippine Army 91st Division. On November 14, 1941 Cabanatuan was mobilized as a military camp.

Wartime History
After the Japanese occupation in 1942, converted by the Imperial Japanese Army into the Cabanatuan POW Camp. The rectangular camp spanned roughly 25 acres and was 800 yards deep by 600 yards wide, divided by a road in the center. The camp consisted of a barracks for Japanese guards, barracks for prisoners, a hospital and water tower enclosed by barbed wire with guard towers.

At its height, 8,000 prisoners were detained at this location including thousands of American POWs from the US Army (USA), US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps (USMC) who had survived the Bataan Death March and had been temporary internment at Camp O'Donnel.  The prisoners also included some civilians including one British and one Norwegian citizen. This POW Camp detained prisoners until liberated during the night of January 30, 1945.

Cabanatuan Raid (The Great Raid)
A secret raid by 121 US Army 6th Ranger Battalion "Alamo Scouts" commanded by Lt. Col Henry Mucci, and guerrillas commanded by Juan Pajota and Eduardo Joson planned a secret mission to attack Cabanatuan POW Camp and liberate the prisoners.

The attacking force consisted of 133 U.S. Army soldiers and approximately 250 Filipino guerrillas that assembled at Dagupan the proceeded to Calasio and Gimbu, before marching by foot to Cabanatuan a total distance of 30 miles, into Japanese occupied territory. During the night of January 30, 1945 the Rangers attacked Cabanatuan POW Camp while Filipino guerrillas conducted a diversionary raid at nearby Cabu Bridge. The raid was successful and resulted in the liberation of 522 American and Allied captives. The U.S. Army suffered 2 killed: Cpl Roy F. Sweezy (KIA January 30, 1945) and Captain James Fisher (KIA January 31, 1945) plus four wounded and two of the rescued prisoners died. The Filipino guerrillas suffered 21 wounded. The Cabanatuan Raid was dubbed "The Great Raid" and is considered one of the most successful rescue missions in U.S. military history.

The remains of Cabanatuan POW Camp were removed with the exception of the concrete foundations of the water tower. The American graves in the camp cemetery were disinterred and permanently buried at Manila American War Cemetery or returned to the United States.

The former Cabanatuan POW Camp is open to the public as a historical site with two memorials.

Water Tower Foundations
The only physical remains of the Cabanatuan POW Camp are six concrete foundation blocks from the camp water tower. These are a reminder of the camp that once occupied this location.

Cabanatuan American Memorial
This memorial was dedicated in 1982 with funds raised by the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Foundation.  This large wall has inscribed the names all those who died in Cabanatuan during 1942-1945, including foreign nationals. Today, this monument is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). During 2016, the memorial was under renovation.

US Army Ranger Memorial
Outside the camp memorial, is another memorial dedicated in 2003 to the US Army and Filipino guerrillas who successfully liberated the camp on the night of January 30, 1945. The memorial consists of two memorial plaques: the left plaque in English and the right plaque in Tagalog.

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Cabanatuan American Memorial
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Names Listed on the Cabanatuan Memorial [PDF]
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James C. Fisher
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy F. Sweezy
Ghost Soldiers The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission (2002) by Hampton Sides
The Great Raid (2005) Hollywood film about the Cabanatuan Raid
Thanks to Hubert Caloud, ABMC assistant superintendent of Manila American Cemetery for additional information

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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