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Washington D.C.
United States Senator John Cornyn
News Release
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Cornyn Commemorates 75th Anniversary of Texas Lost Battalion

Celebrates Texas Soldiers who Sacrificed for our Freedom

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today submitted a statement to the Congressional Record to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the capture of the Texas Lost Battalion, the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment from Camp Bowie in Brownwood, Texas, by the Imperial Japanese Army on Java on March 8, 1942.

“This week, we remember the brave men of Texas who gave so much to preserve freedom in the Pacific and survived the greatest horrors of World War II. Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment from Camp Bowie Texas, a Texas National Guard unit, were fighting alongside Australian forces on Java, an island in Indonesia, against invading Japanese forces,” said Sen. Cornyn.                                     

“March 8th 2017, marks the seventy-fifth year since their capture on the island of Java and these Soldiers deserve to be remembered for their heroic service and sacrifices in the Pacific theater of battle.”

Full text of the statement entered into the record is below.

“This week, we remember the brave men of Texas who gave so much to preserve freedom in the Pacific and survived the greatest horrors of World War II. Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment from Camp Bowie Texas, a Texas National Guard unit, were fighting alongside Australian forces on Java, an island in Indonesia, against invading Japanese forces.

“On March 8th, 1942 the Americans and their Australian allies were captured by the Japanese. A report was never filed by the Japanese to identify the captured unit. As a result, the Texas soldiers had disappeared and were dubbed ‘The Lost Battalion.’ They were combined with survivors of the USS Houston (CA-30) which had been sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942 and dispersed to POW labor camps located in Burma, Thailand, and Japan to work as slave laborers. They worked on the Burma-Siam Death Railway building a railroad through the jungle and into the coal mines, docks, and shipyards in Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.

“For forty-two months the men of 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery and the USS Houston suffered together through humiliation, degradation, physical and mental torture, starvation, and horrible tropical diseases, with no medication. Five hundred and thirty-two soldiers of the Battalion, along with three hundred and seventy-one survivors of the USS Houston were taken, prisoner. As many as one hundred and sixty-three soldiers died in captivity and of those one hundred and thirty-three are estimated to have died working on the railroad.

“In August of 1945, after forty-two months of captivity and forced labor, the survivors of 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment and the survivors of the USS Houston were returned to the United States. March 8th 2017, marks the seventy-fifth year since their capture on the island of Java and these Soldiers deserve to be remembered for their heroic service and sacrifices in the Pacific theater of battle.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.




Remembering Jim Guidry


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