Air Force Memorabilia

Vasey, Louis P.

Rank: Corporal
Serial Number: 6848840
Military Branch: Signal Air Wing Company, USAC
Origin: Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 1942-5-22
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

Louis P. Vasey was born March 30, 1913 in Burnham, Pennsylvania. His hometown is listed as Altoona, and his parents were Christ and Ida Vasey. He enlisted in the Army in 1934 and served in Hawaii until his discharge in 1941. He re-enlisted February 21, 1941 and was assigned to the Air Warning Company as part of the 5th Interceptor Command. that arrived in Manila on August 1, 1941 on board the President Coolidge.

They were stationed at Fort McKinley, Manila, until October 18, 1941 when the AW Company's 31 men were transferred by truck to Iba Field on Luzon's west coast. In a book about the event, Cpl. Vasey is noted as the driver of the 14 ton power van that powered the SCR-270B mobile Radar unit. This radar unit at Iba was the only working early warning radar set west of Hawaii. All indications are that it was up and running when the Japanese attacked. Vasey was wounded in action about December 28, 1941 and is listed as being in General Hospital No. 1 at Camp Limay, P.I. from December 28 until January 1, 1942. A newspaper article indicates that he was wounded in fighting around Manila showing that his outfit may have withdrawn from Iba following the initial Jap raid.

 The 3rd Pursuit Squadron flying P-40's also arrived at Iba in October. The 3rd was "essentially eliminated a a functional unit" after the bombing of Iba on December 8, 1941. (Dec. 7 in Hawaii).

Twelve of the AW Company are known to have survived the war. The rest were killed in action during the course of the war either during the initial Japanese attack or subsequent fighting and imprisonment. According to a diary by Sgt. Joseph Pase, a member of Vasey's outfit, they were captured April 9, 1942 at 1600 hours and then participated in the Bataan Death March to Camp O'Donnell on Luzon. Camp records show that Vasey died of malaria May 22, 1942 and was buried at the camp. Subsequent efforts by the Army to identify his body were unsuccessful, however. The survivors from Camp O'Donnell were transferred to Camp Cabanatuan, Luzon, on July 5, 1942, and then sent on Hellship "Tattoti Maru" to a POW camp in Manchuria designated Mukden POW Camp, arriving there November 12, 1942. They were subsequently sent to Kamioka POW Camp in Japan May 29, 1944 where they stayed until the end of the war. Pase's diary lists Cpl. Vasey as one of those who died about April, 1942.

This group contains a huge amount of paperwork from internet research, including copies of newspaper articles, plus Vasey's Individual Deceased Personnel File. The centerpiece is Cpl. Vasey's officially engraved slot brooch posthumous Purple Heart that is un-numbered indicating it is a late issue. Also included is the Purple Heart presentation box.

In the group picture below, Vasey is 4th from left in second row.

SOLD to a collector 04-2021 

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