December 7th started like any other Sunday in the service -- a day off. I slept in which means I didn’t have breakfast and was going to a later mass at the Chapel. Well, the next thing that I heard was a lot of noise so I jumped out of bed to see what was going on. As I was running to the window someone said that we were being attacked by the Japs. After being rudely awakened from a sound sleep I ran to the balcony in my shorts where I had an excellent view of the harbor. Looking up, I could see large formations of aircraft going to other targets. As I turned my head to look over the harbor, the Jap torpedo planes and dive-bombers had a nice clean run at the Battleships. Watching them drop torpedoes and bombs I could feel the percussion of the explosions as they annihilated everything on Battleship row…Some of the men on the ships were firing back, but it was a losing battle. Without any opposition, the Japs had everything going their way. It was damned sad. The clear air that was over the harbor was now being encompassed with smoke, and the clean water was now turning black with oil. *
Glenn Frazier was a young man, angry… and with one reckless act, needed to just get away. Lying about his age, he entered the service. Not long after he arrived in the Philippines, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the entire world was in a bitter war for freedom.
After the attack at Pearl, they were told to prepare for the Japanese to attack the Philippine Islands. The soldiers worked as quickly as possible, getting the barges unloaded (ammo) before the bombing started.
…As the day went on, we watched again as more waves of bombers hit Clark Field, Subic Bay, Nichols Field, Cavite Naval Station, and Corregidor. We weren’t sure what other targets had been hit, but we knew—with the Japanese flying around wherever they wanted, and with no opposition—we were in deep trouble. **
Frazier writes about several skirmishes and work details. His honest approach to what the soldiers did and how they lived, fought, and felt toward their fellow American’s, the Filipinos, and the Japanese may not necessarily be sugar-coated, but the reader knows they are real.
At the Bataan location, they took down the flag and buried it in a sealed container intending to return and fly it again. Almost escaping with a fellow Army buddy, the Japanese caught them laying low. The loss of the battle, the devastating surrender, brought him to the empty feeling of shock that they had been captured and what was later called the infamous Bataan Death March had begun.
Our soldiers became slaves to the Japanese’s every whim and Frazier was now Hell’s Guest. They were treated horribly, inhumanely, without passion. Frazier doesn’t hold back but gives the reader the truthful story of American courage and strength for those who did and did not survive the Japanese POW camps.
A Japanese officer gave Frazier the chance to speak any final words before his execution. When the officer didn’t understand what he said, Frazier was asked to repeat his words:
“He can kill me but he will not kill my spirit and my spirit will lodge in his flesh for his entire life! The Americans are coming and any Japanese who kills an American without just cause will have their spirit haunt them forever!”**
Hell’s Guest is written by Col. Glenn Frazier. It has been featured in Ken Burns’ documentary “The War” and may become a movie in the future. It is a story that will fill any reader with a multitude of emotions. Frazier’s honesty about himself and the devastating and horrifying experiences led him to admit that he needed to forgive. The story was healing, not only for himself but also for anyone who reads his story with an open mind.
The book is available on Amazon.
Visit Col. Frazier’s website
** Quotes from Hell’s Guest by Col. Glenn Frazier
* H P Lawrence WWII Memoirs