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ICAS Special Program

Dialogue with Former US Prisoners of War in Japan 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013   18:30 - 20:00

Speakers:
  • Phillip W. COON (American prisonor of war)
  • Robert B. HEER (American prisoner of war)
  • Erwin R. JOHNSON (American prisoner of war)
  • Marvin A. ROSLANSKY (American prisoner of war)
  • Lora CUMMINS (Widow of American prisoner of war)
  • Marjean McGREW (Widow of American prisoner of war)
  • Ester JENNINGS (Widow of American prisoner of war)

This program by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entitled “2013 The Japanese/POW Friendship Program”, seeks to promote of mutual understanding between the Japanese and American people by inviting former American prisoners of war (POWs), their spouses and their descendants to Japan as a gesture of reconciliation. The program started in 2010. ICAS is honored to be able to host them again for three consecutive years.

Date & Time:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013   18:30 - 20:00 (Doors open at 18:00)
Venue:
5F, Mita Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
4-1-27 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Moderator:
Robert Dujarric (ICAS Director)
Registration:
If possible, we ask you to register by E-mail (icas@tuj.temple.edu) , but we always welcome participants even you do not register. / 参加登録はなしでも参加できますので、直接会場へお越しください。

Speakers:

Phillip W. COON

American prisonor of war

A full blood Muscogee Creek, was born on May 28, 1919 in Okemah, Oklahoma. He enlisted on September 29, 1941, and spent the following month en route to his first duty station.  Mr. Coon arrived in Manila, the Philippines, on October 23, 1941, where he joined the 31st Infantry Regiment as 30 caliber machine gunner. He was captured by the Japanese on April 11, 1942 and forced to endure the Bataan Death March.  His first stop after surviving the harrowing journey was O’Donnell Prison Camp at Capas Tarlac for two months, then traveling for the next two years across Cabanatuan, Camp Lipa, Camp Murphy, and Bilibid.  In September 1944, Mr. Coon was transported to Sendai, Japan and placed at the Kosaka POW camp.  After his liberation, he returned to the U.S. and was discharged from serviced as a Corporal from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on June 24, 1946.  With his wife, Helen, and son, Michael, he has served as a pillar of the Sapulpa Creek community ever since.

 

Robert B. HEER

American prisoner of war

He was born in Dubuque, Iowa on November 30, 1921.  He served with the 19th Bombardment Group until his capture in May 10, 1942 in Malay Balay, Mindanao.  He was moved to Formosa (Taiwan), where he was held in Karenko and later, Heito #3 for nearly two years.  In 1945, he was transported on an unknown freighter to the island of Honshu, where he was then transported to Taihoku #6 in Hakodate, and eventually, Dispatch Camp #2 in Akabira, Hokkaido.  In Akabira, TSgt Heer was forced to work for the Sumitomo Mines.  In spite of the unconditional surrender on 15 August, he was not officially liberated until early September, 1945.
After the war, he earned a degree in Photography before returning to active duty military service, retiring as a Technical Sergeant 1966.  He is married to Karen HEER, and has four children.

Erwin R. JOHNSON

American prisoner of war

He was born on October 19, 1921 in New Orleans, Lousiana.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on September 17, 1940.  After brief stints in Barksdale Air Base and Hunter Air Field, he shipped out to Manila, the Philippines aboard the USS COOLIDGE, where he arrived for duty on November 20, 1941.  He served with the 2nd Provisional Infantry until falling under Japanese control in April 1942.  After surviving the Bataan Death march, he was held in Cabanatuan until shipping out on the Tottori Maru to Pusan, Korea, via Formosa.  From there, he was transported via train to Mukden, Manchuria, where he worked as a Machinist until liberated by the Russians on August 17, 1945.
After the war, he returned home to New Orleans, Louisiana and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University.  He published a memoir detailing his experiences entitled, By the Grace of God…He has five boys, and currently lives in New York with his wife, Ann JOHNSON.

Marvin A. ROSLANSKY

American prisoner of war

He was born on November 11, 1922 in Minnesota.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he achieved the rank of Sergeant.  He was captured on Guam on December 9, 1941.  From there, he was transported at Zentsuji, Shikoku, and forced to work as a freight laborer for three years and ten months until his liberation in 1945.
He currently resides in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife, Josephine.

Lora CUMMINS

Widow of American prisoner of war

She is a widow of Ferron E. CUMMINS, who was transported to Mukaishima, Hiroshima.

Marjean McGREW

Widow of American prisoner of war

She is a widow of Alfred McGREW, who was transported to Japan and taken to Suwa, Japan, and eventually returned to Yokohama where he was liberated.

Ester JENNINGS

Widow of American prisoner of war

She is a widow of Clinton JENNINGS. He was captured in the Philippines and  was eventually transported to Fukuoka, where he worked as a coal miner.