John D. Lukacs, Author of Escape From Davao
Gallery


Click on an image to see an enlargement.
The guerrilla flagship USS Athena was, in the words of Melvyn McCoy, perhaps “the strangest flagship that ever flew the Stars and Stripes.” Credit: Jack Hawkins The 370-foot, 2,730-ton USS Narwhal docked at Nasipit pier on November 15th, 1943 to evacuate three Marines and civilians.  Credit: Bill Azbell (From L to R) Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn McCoy, Major Stephen Mellnik and Major William Edwin Dyess in General Douglas MacArthur’s office in the A.M.P. Building in Brisbane, Australia, on July 30th, 1943.  Credit: MacArthur Memorial Major Sam Grashio giving a speech on the war bond circuit, circa. 1944-45. Credit: The Grashio Family Through posters such as these, government authorities channeled Americans’ anger at the atrocities stories into the war effort.   Credit: National Archives
Lt. Michiel Dobervich at Marine Basic School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1939.   Credit: Lois Dobervich This aerial, retouched photograph provides a birds-eye view of the Davao Penal Colony.   Credit: Kyle Richards Sixteen prisoners of war were buried in the American cemetery at the Davao Penal Colony which, at war’s end, appears almost overwhelmed by lush undergrowth.   Credit: National Archives Inside each Dapecol barracks, between 150-200 POWs were sardined into 15-foot intervals of space called bays.  There were approximately sixteen bays per barracks, eight on each side.   Credit: National Archives From left to right, Major Steve Mellnik, Lt. Cmdr. "Chick" Parsons, Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn McCoy, Capt. Ed Dyess and Capt. Charley Smith pose for a rare photograph before commencing their trek to rendezvous with the USS Trout.
Major Clyde Childress became one of the most capable guerrilla leaders on Mindanao, as well as a trusted friend to the escaped POWs.   Credit: MacArthur Memorial Lt. Col. Ernest McClish, commander of the guerrilla 110th Division, circa. 1953.       Credit: Clyde Childress Nurse Fely Campo was known to the American POWs as “The Florence Nightengale of Dapecol.” Credit: Fely Yap A young Lt. Jose Tuvilla would receive the Bronze Star for successfully shepherding the escaped POWs out of Davao Province.   Credit: Jose Tuvilla The last surviving escapee, Colonel Jack Hawkins, just prior to his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1965.   Credit: Jack Hawkins
This cartoon conjoins Austin Shofner’s football background with his role as Deputy Chief of Staff, or G-2, with the Mindanao guerrillas.   Credit: Stewart Shofner A crime of passion earned Benigno de la Cruz a prison sentence, but his pivotal role in helping the American POWs escape from Dapecol would earn the young Filipino a pardon from Philippine president Manuel Quezon.   Credit: Mercedes Brolagda A recently-liberated Bert Bank (left) is reunited with Sam Grashio in San Francisco in early 1945.   Credit: The Grashio Family This brave band of Filipino guerrillas under the leadership of Sgt. Casiano de Juan (first row, fifth from left) intercepted the Japanese search party sent from Dapecol to recapture the American prisoners of war.  Lt. Commander Charles “Chick” Parsons in his favorite uniform – shorts and tennis shoes – and in his element: behind enemy lines in the occupied Philippines.   Credit: Peter Parsons