to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

18d. pre-war Java

Upon their arrival at Surabja in early JAN 42, most of the TXNG troops boarded trains to the city of Malang in east central Java. There they affiliated with members of the 19th Bomb Group who had evacuated their B-17s from the PI but had to leave behind their ground crewmen. So at the Dutch airfield at Singosari the 2/131 became the ground crew as the AAF pilots flew bombing and recon missions.

A dozen or so of the Guardsmen qualified as gunners on those B-17. The first two casualties occurred when one of this planes was shot down while on a test flight during the initial Japanese air raid on the field.

As the IJA invasion force approached the island, the AAF evacuated to Australia. They offered to ferry out the 131 but the the US Forces Java Command had other plans and assigned the 131 to assist in the defense of the island. LTC Tharp transferred 12 of his men to the AAF and they departed to Australia while the others prepared for the pending invasion as part of Black Force.

Meanwhile, various Australian and British units were arriving at Batavia. The latter were mostly anti-artillery units some of whom found their way to Singosari.

The British and Australians documented their presence on Java more so than the US personnel. The first gallery are of Australian troops:

The Dutch comprised the largest — if not the best trained — number of troops on Java:

Within the ABDA Command on Java, the Americans comprised the smallest contingent. Their senior officer was ADM Hart. Besides the 131, the other two contributing entities were the USS HOUSTON and USS MARBLEHEAD.

Senior Officers of the ADBA Command
(American, British, Dutch and Australian)

The IJA invasion force landed on 1 MAR 42 and by 8 MAR the Dutch could read the writing on the wall and capitulated. Thus beginning the POW ordeal for tens of thousands of Allied military and DEI civilians. There were many more civilian camps on Java than military POW camps.

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