April 23, 2012
The novel, Ghost Soldiers is a great book written by Hampton Sides. It depicts the true horrors of war, friendship and hope. The story takes place in the Philippines during the Japanese takeover of the island from 1942 until the year 1945, after the outbreak of World War II, when the Japanese assaulted the Philippine islands and captured it. This resulted in many prisoners of war. The American armies ran out of supplies and were tired from fighting and it led to the surrender of the American army, the Bataan death march and the imprisonment at Cabanatuan camp. The American navy was not able to evacuate completely. Most of the soldiers were left behind and taken as prisoners by the Japanese army. Hundreds of the American soldiers were taken to the Cabanatuan Camp where they were taken as captives. The Japanese were brutal to the prisoners. They tortured the prisoners, starved them, and they did not give them necessary supplies to survive, no medicine, and adequate food. In chapter one, the book focused more on April 1942. During the time nobody thought that the Japanese would attack the Philippines. American forces that were in the Philippines were relaxed thinking that the Japanese would not attack and after months of siege the American defense collapsed. During the defense, Major General Edward King was the commander of the forces at Bataan. The Japanese attack is sustained, vicious and victorious, forcing Filipino and American armies to surrender. After the surrender of the American Army in Bataan, they were grouped to form the Bataan death march. They were forced to walk through the mosquito infested jungle, with the hot temperature reaching nearly one hundred degrees. Most of the soldiers died in the Battle of Bataan, as they reached the camp many of the soldiers were sick and starved by the Japanese. After being held at the war camp for three years, the Japanese war ministry issued a “Kill All Policy” which meant that they will exterminate all the war camps in the Philippines, killing all the US prisoners in the camp. At the camp named Palawan, over a hundred U.S. soldiers were forced into gasoline filled trenches and burned alive. At camp Cabanatuan the American prisoners were loosing hope, they believe that they are forgotten by their comrades and their country. They called themselves the “Ghost Soldiers”. In January 1945 at the 6th Army Headquarters, Colonel Henry A. Mucci had been selected to devise a plan and to lead the rescue mission to camp Cabanatuan. Mucci was a tough and ambitious leader. He had been assigned to find a way to free the prisoners behind enemy lines before it was too late. It appeared to be strategically impossible for them to rescue the prisoners. They would face the heavy resistance by the Japanese and greatly outnumbered. But Mucci was ambitious; despite the extreme challenge ahead of him he still took the task. Mucci selected a young Captain Robert Prince to lead the raid who came up with a brilliant yet daring plan. He hand-picked 121 elite rangers and Alamo scouts to go into 30 miles deep into enemy territory and make a surprise attack on the camp. The U.S. joined forces with the Filipino resistance to increase their chances of success. The resistance was led by Captain Juan Pojota who had knowledge of the land area that helped them guide the group to their goal.