Pauls Valley Democrat
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
Graveside funeral service with full military honors for MSG (Retired) Jack Cape, 93, of Lawton will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, October 8 in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Pauls Valley with Kerry Malakosky officiating.
Sergeant Cape died Thursday, October 3, 2013 in Lawton.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Becker-Rabon Funeral Home.
Sergeant Cape was born October 18, 1919 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, the second of five children to William Albert “Buster” and Emmie May (Charles) Cape. He grew up and attended school in Pauls Valley. He left home during the Depression and entered the Civilian Conservation Corps in order to help his family.
He entered the U.S. Army on March 8, 1941 and was stationed on Angel Island and later boarded the ship “Republic” and traveled to the Philippines for assignment.
Following the bombing at Pearl Harbor he was moved to the Bataan Peninsula where he stayed until General King surrendered Bataan on April 8, 1942. He became a part of the infamous “Death March” from Bataan up to San Fernando where over 10,000 soldiers died.
At San Fernando he was placed on a train to Cavite and then marched again to Camp O’Donnell where there were not enough well men to bury the dead. He had malaria, beriberi and dysentery.
Later, he was moved to Cabanatuan Camp #1 by truck and was in the hospital for six months. When he got better, he was placed on a work detail at Las Pinas and worked on an airfield out of Manila for the Japanese. He developed heart problems and was sent back to Cabanatuan. Later he was taken to Bilibid to get ready to be shipped to Japan for slave labor.
In 1944 he was placed on the ship “Noto Maru” to travel to Japan. Thousands of men were placed in the hold of the ships with standing room only. They were called “Hell Ships” because men died by the thousands.
Once in Japan, he was sent to Hanawa Sendai Camp #6 and worked in the copper mines for a year until the bombs dropped in 1945 and Japan surrendered. He spent three years and four months as a prisoner of war at the hands of the Japanese.
In September of 1945, after rescue from prison camp, he was taken back to the Philippines on a hospital ship only weighing 98 pounds due to the starvation he suffered. After a month he was sent back to the states and discharged. In 1946 he reenlisted in the Army and remained in the U.S. Army until his retirement on April 1, 1962.
His awards include the World War II Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Ribbon with one Bronze Star, AP Theater Ribbon with One Bronze Service Star, Philippine Defense Ribbon with One Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Commendation Medical Badge with 3 Bronze Stars, Army Occupation Medal (Japan), United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Marksman (M-14 Rifle) Badge.
He is a lifetime member of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC).
Jack lived in Pauls Valley and Lawton following his retirement from the Army. He cared for his parents until their deaths and was always a special uncle to his nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Tom and Buster Cape, and two sisters, Ruby Dell Wilson and Geraldine Lafay Clemons.
He is survived by nieces, Jan Howenstine and Marsha Anderson; nephews, John Cape, Jack Wilson and Jeff Clemons; several great nieces and nephews.
An online guest book and sympathy cards are available at www.beckerfuneral.com.