A Most Unlucky Man

Quote of the Day

Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Figure 1: Grave of Joe Kieyoomia. I Cannot Find His Photograph.

Figure 1: Grave of Joe Kieyoomia. I Cannot Find
His Photograph (Source).

I watched an interesting video about the survivors of Hiroshima on CSPAN this weekend. While the main topic of the video was interesting, I was surprised to learn that there were a number of Americans POWs that were present at Hiroshima and died. They also mentioned an American POW that was near Nagasaki when it was bombed named Joe Kieyoomi. Joe, a Navajo soldier, has a war story that is almost unbelievable.

  • Survivor of the Baatan Death March.
  • He was mistaken by the Japanese as an American of Japanese descent. This subjected Joe to additional torture because he was viewed as a traitor to the Japanese people.
  • Since Joe spoke Navajo, the Japanese used him to try to break the code developed by the Navajo code talkers, which he did not know. When he failed to break the code, the Japanese subjected him to more torture.
  • He ended his imprisonment in Japan at a POW site 60 miles south of Nagasaki. He was at that camp when the atomic bomb was dropped.

His WW2 service literally spanned the entire American-portion of the war from beginning to end. You can read the details yourself on Google books.

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