George Bernard Case
|HOME OF RECORD
106 Mechanic Street, New Haven, CT
|NEXT OF KIN
Father, Mr. Herman W. Case
|DATE OF BIRTH
April 11, 1898
January 18, 1918
|DATE OF LOSS
May 30, 1942
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
Cabanatuan Camp #3*
Died as POW
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Master Gunnery Sergeant Case was captured in the fall of Corregidor, 6 May 1942. He was marched to Manila and held at Old Bilibid Prison until 27 May, when he was part of a group selected for imprisonment at Cabanatuan Camp #3.
Case, already suffering from severe malaria, went “out of his head” from the heat and exhaustion of the march. When he grabbed a fellow Marine for support, Japanese guards beat him with rifle butts. The combination of exhaustion and injuries proved fatal, and Case expired on 30 May 1942, just hours after arriving at Cabanatuan.
George Case was buried at the new camp – but if the location was ever found, his remains were unidentifiable.
Purple Heart with two Gold Stars, Prisoner of War Medal, Good Conduct Medal
|LAST KNOWN RANK
Master Gunnery Sergeant
|STATUS OF REMAINS
Buried at Cabanatuan Camp #3, Grave #3.
Manila American Cemetery
* Note: The NARA POW Database lists Case at Old Bilibid Prison. Sergeant Major Charles Jackson, who provided the eyewitness report of Case’s death, states that the incident occurred at Cabanatuan. Case was not entered on the rolls at Cabanatuan, possibly because he died so soon after arriving.
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The pace was absurdly slow, with frequent rest stops. Most of us were hard and tough, and most were young; dysentery, pellagra, beriberi, scurvy, malaria, and malnutrition had hardly laid their blighting hands upon us then…. To trained infantrymen the march was a picnic.
In the same squad with me marched Master Gunnery Sergeant George B. Case, a veteran of World War I and the 2d Division of those days, a companion in the same battalion of the 4th Marines in Bataan and on Corregidor. He had come through unwounded but with a severe case of unchecked malaria. I could see that the heat was beginning to affect of George. He was often urged to fall out; others had done so and no one had been shot. Case refused, saying, “Maybe not yet, but who can tell what will happen to those fellows on the trucks after we get in? The Japanese are an unpredictable race….”
George Case refused to take a chance, and on his arrival in camp he went out of his head. A Japanese officer thought Case’s clutching grasp to support himself on “Old Pick,” a Marine quartermaster sergeant named [Ray Wood] Pickering [B/4th Marines], was an attempt to start a fight, and he ordered his guards to use their rifle butts and slug him down. It might not have hurt a healthy man very badly, but for Master Gunnery Sergeant George B. Case it was fatal.
One hour later he was dead, for we had no American doctors with us. We buried him that afternoon. “Old Pick” gave him his blanket, with the letters USMC on it, for a burial shroud. That blanket could have bought a great deal of food. But Old Pick has been his close friend…. It was so nice of him to have given George that blanket to be buried in, the kind act of a true Marine.
– Charles R. Jackson, I Am Alive! A United States Marine’s Story of Survival in a World War II Japanese POW Camp (New York: Ballantine Books, 2003), 78-80.
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