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Swanson, Howard

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Howard Swanson was born on 4 May 1921 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of two children. He attended local schools, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1939. Howard worked briefly, then in July 1940 enlisted in the Marine Corps. Following Basic Training, Howard was assigned to the 4th Marines and, in late 1940, shipped to the Philippines. He was stationed at Caviti, by Manila, when the Japanese attacked in December 1941. In May 1942 Howard was one of many American service personnel captured on the island of Corregidor. Howard remained a POW of the Japanese for forty months, primarily at three locations: Cabanatuan, Philippines (farm work details); Manila (worked as stevedore in the port area of Manila); and Kameoka, Japan (slave labor in a lead mine). Like other POWs of the Japanese, Howard endured malnutrition, mistreatment, and disease; in his opinion, the work in the lead mine was the hardest and most dangerous. Howard was at Kameoka when the war ended in August 1945. Following his evacuation in September from the lead mine camp, Howard returned to the US; he spent time in several medical facilities before being discharged in March 1946. Howard attended the University of Minnesota, earning an education degree; he subsequently worked many years as a parole officer in Minnesota, California, and Hawaii. He also spent ten years living in Japan, as a civilian employee of the US Navy. Retired since the late 1970s, Howard was living in Richfield, Minnesota, when this interview was made in July 2003.


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Howard Swanson - Transcript.pdf (896 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Howard Swanson