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Capt. Arthur E. Fouret, 57th Inf. (PS) (Read 4008 times)
Chris_Schaefer
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Capt. Arthur E. Fouret, 57th Inf. (PS)
Mar 11th, 2007, 11:43pm
 
My wife's father, Capt. Arthur E. Fouret, was a member of the 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, during World War II.  He was taken prisoner by the Japanese and died when the Japanese ship Oryoku Maru was sunk on its way to Japan.  We have found it very difficult to get any information at all on Capt. Fouret and would appreciate any help and information you can provide.  Many thanks.

Les Alexander
lesandjudith@aol.com
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« Last Edit: Mar 30th, 2007, 7:16pm by Editor-at-Large »  
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Chris_Schaefer
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Re: Capt. Arthur E. Fouret
Reply #1 - Mar 16th, 2007, 6:00pm
 
For the US Army's official account I consulted "Fall of the Philippines," and I also consulted "History of the American Defenders of the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island - 1941-42," published by Turner Publishing Co. (Box 3101, Paducah, KY 42002-3101) which is the American Defenders Inc's official history and may still be available from the publisher.

No citation for Capt. Fouret appears in "Fall," nor in the Turner publication. The latter does, however, provide recounts of each of the "Hell Ship" voyages including the Oryoku Maru. These were written by a John M. Gibbs who summarized interviews of surviving prisoners (probably in VA hospitals) undertaken in 1946 by the US Army's Liaison & Research Branch - American Prisoners of War Information Bureau.

From Gibbs' recount:
By the morning of Dec. 13, 1944 approximately 1,619 American POWs were assembled at Bilibid Prison in Manila for shipment to Japan. They were transported to Olongapo, put aboard Oryoku Maru and confined below decks. The vessel was one of seven transports in a convoy being assembled at Subic Bay bound for Japan under escort of several destroyers and a cruiser.

[Comment: by this time, a US Navy fast carrier task force commanded by Adm. Halsey had come within striking distance of Luzon. Finding Japanese air defenses light to non-existent, they sortied with impunity over much of central Luzon. As a result of their success, MacArthur decided to "return" at Leyte rather than Mindinao]

Around mid-morning Dec. 14, Oryoku Maru came under attack as a target of opportunity by carrier-based fighters. Damage to the vessel was extensive, the 2d deck fell into the bilge and steam lines ruptured resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 American prisoners and many Japanese guards and sailors. The Japanese however managed to evacuate approx. 493 POW survivors and their own personnel before the vessel sank in Subic Bay. Survivors were transported back to Manila where they embarked to Japan in a subsequent convoy some weeks later.

That's all I have. My guess is Capt. Fouret was one of the unfortunate casualties of the attack on Oryoku Maru and her sister ships on that fateful day in December 1944.  Its an outside chance but possibly one of the remaining members of the American Defenders who survived transportation and imprisonment in Japan may know of Capt. Fouret. I did share a lively correspondence with a Mr. (Pfc.) Donald Lamb (59th CAF - Corregidor) from April 1992 until his death in 1995. Although I've no connection with the Defenders, its possible that John Patterson is perhaps still an associate member, and can provide you and Mrs. Alexander the organization's address.  

With Regards >Dave Nelson
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Chris_Schaefer
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Re: Capt. Arthur E. Fouret
Reply #2 - Mar 16th, 2007, 6:15pm
 
Fouret seems to have been on the last transport that arrived Manila in late Nov 1941, and was sent out to the Philippine Army.  As you know, after General MacArthur took over the Philippine Scouts in Late August we were tasked to send half of our NCOs and 2/3 of our officers to the Philippine Army Divisions.

I have rosters, but so far have not pinned down where Fouret went.  I seem to associate him with "passing through' the 57th, but not stopping.  Will pursue.

Regards, John E Olson.

Note: Col. Olson is the Historian of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.
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Re: Capt. Arthur E. Fouret
Reply #3 - Mar 16th, 2007, 6:31pm
 
Arthur Fouret was assigned to the 91st Inf Regt (PA) so he was likely among the men sent from the PS to the PA as instructors in late 1941.

As a member of the 91st he most likely made the Death March.  He was held at Davao so he most likely was shipped down on the Erie Maru in 1942 and north again on the "Yashu Maru" and Teiryu Maru in mid 1944.  

Fouret was in the forward hold of the Oryoku Maru.   Since that hold was not seriously damaged in the bombing it seems most likely Fouret was one of those who perished in the holds of the ship on the first or second night or that he was lost or shot in the evacuation.

Jim Erickson.

Note: Jim Erickson, a Professor at Texas A&M, has extensively researched the "Hell Ship" movement of POWs from the Philippines in World War II.
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Re: Capt. Arthur E. Fouret
Reply #4 - Mar 16th, 2007, 6:43pm
 
The name Capt. Arthur Fouret  of the 57th Inf PS does not ring a bell.  But Caroline Burkhart, daughter of Capt. Thomas F. Burkhart, one of our officers in Hq. Co., 45th Infantry was on board the same Oryoku Maru to Japan.  She gave me list of American officers she acquired from the National Archives from the 45th. We buried all funds and records when we received word to surrender. We found out we did not have complete records of the 45th Inf. PS after the war. Have a nice day.

Fred Foz

Fred Foz is a past President of the PSHS.
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Re: Capt. Arthur E. Fouret
Reply #5 - Mar 26th, 2007, 3:28pm
 
Capt. Arthur Fouret is mentioned in Col. John Olson's book "Anywhere--Anytime: The History of the 57th Infantry (PS)".  Ordering information is available on our PSHS website bibliography page.  The book lists him as on duty as a second lieutenant with the 57th at the beginning of the war (page 209) and he is in a group photo (page 210).  He may be listed in the text as well.  Editor
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