My Great Uncle, John Arthur “Peck” Shoaf served in the Army at Fort Mills, PI before the start of World War II. Fort Mills is also known as Corregidor Island in the Philippines on 9 April 1942 Bataan fell to Japanese forces and a month later on 6 May 1942 Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese forces. My Great Uncle Peck was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war in various locations. Over the next several Amanuensis Monday’s I plan on transcribing his journey as told through the letters exchanged.
SERVICES OF SUPPLY
Office of the Adjutant General
In Reply Refer To
AG 201 Shoaf, John A. (5-21-42) EB
May 21, 1942
Mrs. Eacle Shoaf
1616 Superior Avenue
Dear Mrs. Shoaf:
According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency address of Staff Sergeant John A. Shoaf, 6,397,667, who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter. In the last days before the surrender of Bataan there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department. Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly of other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war. At some future date this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been take prisoners of war. Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information.
The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information of the contrary is received. It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At that time you will be notified by this office in the event his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war. In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action,” in the absence of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.
Recent legislation makes a provision to continue the pay and allowances of person carried in a “missing” status for a period of not to exceed twelve months; to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments made by persons held by the enemy during the time they are so held; to make new allotments or increase allotments in force to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress. The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as have been designated in official records. Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance should be advised to approach their local chapter of the American Red Cross who will assist them in obtaining any benefits to which they may be entitled. In the event dependents require financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from the pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.
Very Truly Yours,
The Adjutant General.