Finding Our POWs

The Recovery and Evacuation of POWs
from Japan, 1945

"Those are our boys, go and get them"

Main About Us

Remembering the Days of Liberation

"An indescribable scene of jubilation and emotion"

The first relief supply drops on POW camps in mainland Japan was around August 25, 1945. Only those who were there can really describe the elation and fulfillment of hope... a dream that had truly come true. The sight of those planes dropping supplies were an immense morale booster and would forever be etched in the memories of the POWs. The men and women involved in the search, supply, evacuation and recovery efforts are among the many unsung heroes of WWII.

Following are excerpts from the many reports by various Task Groups and evacuation vessels. Links to the full reports and much more can be found at the end of this webpage. For a summary of the evacuation of POWs from Japan, China and Taiwan, see this US Pacific Fleet PDF, also "CINCPAC Report of Surrender and Occupation of Japan" (full documents below); see this zone map for areas of responsibility for the fleets.

From Black Sheep One by Gamble

Task Group 38.1 - USS Belleau Wood report:

Aug. 25, 1945

Aug. 26, 1945

Aug. 27, 1945

Aug. 28, 1945

Aug. 29, 1945

Aug. 30, 1945

The same Task Group also took part in this momentous event:

Task Group 38.1 report:

Task Group 38.3 - USS Wasp report:

Some technical info:

Task Group 30.6 report:

British Token Force (Task Group 38.5, 30.8):

Aug. 8, 1945

Aug. 30, 1945

Sept. 2, 1945

Fifth Fleet report:

Click on photos for larger image

NOTE: Col. Griffin (seated in center of photo) is listed on many POW Index Cards as the
Allied Forces authority
to whom the Japanese handed over POWs.

Task Group 55.6 - USS Mugford report:

Task Group 55.7 - USS Haven report:

Task Unit 56.5.2 - USS Hopping report:

Task Group 30.6 - USS Rescue report:

Because of your fighting qualities and the fighting qualities of our brothers in arms of all services, our beloved land has not know the ravages of war, our dear ones at home have not been endangered. Give praise to God Almighty for this and give humble and grateful thanks that He saw fit to use us as His instruments.
From Admiral Halsey speech, Aug. 15, 1945, 1300 hours

See also:

The Liberation of POWs, Sept. 1945

Recovery and Rescue of Prisoners of War, September 1945

USNHS Rescue (AH-18) -- The Evacuation of POWs in 1945 by United States Navy Hospital Ships

Original Documents:

Liberation and evacuation of POWs - Occupation of Japan:

4th Marines Ops Log 1941-12-08to1942-05-03 Part 1.pdf - R-2 Journal, HQ, 4th Marines, Fort Mills, P.I.
4th Marines Ops Log 1941-12-08to1942-05-03 Part 2.pdf

Fukuoka Occupation Force Operations Report 1945-09to11 (RG38).pdf
Fifth Amphib Corps - Occupation of Japan 1945-11-30 Part 1.pdf
Fifth Amphib Corps - Occupation of Japan 1945-11-30 Part 2.pdf
Second Marine Divison - Occupation of Japan 1945-12-01.pdf
Occupation of Japan - Page 812.jpg - Location of Japanese Army and Navy Airfields

Fifth Fleet Action Report - Occupation of Japan 1945-08-15to11-08.pdf
Comtask Group 38-1 - Action Report 1945-08-16to09-02.pdf
Task Flotilla Six - Action Report, Evac of POWs from Tokyo 1945-08-29to09-19.pdf
Carrier Air Group 88 - Reports 1944-08-18to1945-10-25.pdf
Com Fifth Fleet - War Diary 1945-09,10.pdf
Com Phib Group 4 - Occupation Report 1945-09-01to11-08.pdf
Fifth Amph Force CTF54 - Occupation of Kyushu and Honshu 1945-08-15to10-03.pdf
Fifth Marine Div - Occupation of Japan 1945-09-22to11-30 Part 1.pdf
Fifth Marine Div - Occupation of Japan 1945-09-22to11-30 Part 2.pdf
Fleet Air Wing 17 - Lives, Deeds and Heroic Sayings 1943-09-15to1945-09-30.pdf
Pacific Ocean Areas Operations 1945-08.pdf
Task Force 31 - Occupation of Yokosuka 1945-08-19to09-08.pdf
Third Amphib Force - Occupation of North Japan 1945-11-05.pdf
Third Fleet - Ops on Occupation of Japan 1945-08-16to09-19.pdf
Third Fleet CTU 31-3-3 Initial Landing Yokosuka 1945-08-20to09-04.pdf
Torpedo Sqdrn VT-94 - History 1944-11-15to1945-10-30.pdf - pilots describe air drops on POW camps
TU 31-4-2 - Occupation of Yokosuka 1945-08-30,31.pdf
Amphib Grp 12 - Occup Tokyo 1945-08-18to10-01.pdf
Battleship Sqdn 2, TU 38-1-2 Ops 1945-08-15to09-02.pdf
Cmdr Cruiser 12 War Diary Evac 1945-09.pdf
Cmdr Cruiser 12 Action Report Evac of RAMPs from Wakayama 1945-09-09to10-04.pdf
Cmdr Naval Forces Kyushu TG 55-2 War Diary 1945-12.pdf
COMCARDIV5 Comm Task Force 58-1 War Diary 1945.pdf
Comm Task Force 55 Action Report Occup West Japan 1945-11-23.pdf
Comm Amphib 4 CTG 54-1 Occup Sasebo Fukuoka 1945-11-11.pdf
CINCPAC War Diary 1945-09.pdf
CINCPAC Report of Surrender and Occupation of Japan 1946-02-11.pdf - Very good general report on the surrender and occupation of Japanese Empire

USS Lexington War History 1943-1945.pdf
USS Yorktown - Action Report 1945-08-16to09-02.pdf
USS Indiana - Action Report 1945-08-16to09-02.pdf
USS Belleau Wood - Action Report 1945-08-16to09-02.pdf
USS San Jacinto - Action Report 1945-08-16to31.pdf
USS Wasp - Action Report 1945-08-16to30.pdf
USS Bennington - War Diary 1945-08.pdf
USS Boston - Action Report 1945-09-03to11-01.pdf
USS Mugford - Evacuation and Occupation of Japan 1945-09-08to10-28.pdf
USS Hopping - General Action Report, Evac of POWs from Wakayama 1945-09-9to26-s.pdf
USS Cowpens - Action Report 1945-08-16to09-02.pdf
USS Howorth - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS Lardner - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS San Juan - War Diary 1945-08-01to09-30.pdf
USS Wantuck - War Diary.pdf
USS Weber - Ship History.pdf
USS Willoughby - History.pdf
USS Shangri-La History in 3 parts 1942-1945.pdf
USS Reeves History in 3 Parts 1945-04to09.pdf

Fighting Sqdn 47 History 1944-1945.pdf
Collected Songs from the Fighting Sqdn 47.pdf

USS Benevolence - War Diary 1945-08-01to31.pdf
USS Haven Muster Rolls 1945-05to09.pdf
USS Haven - War Diary 1945-09-01to30.pdf
USS Rescue - History and War Diary 1945-01to1945-09.pdf
USS Rescue Muster Rolls 1945.pdf
USS Relief Chronicle 1943-02to1945-12.pdf
USS Relief War Diary 1945-09.pdf

Formosa (Taiwan) evacuation of POWs:

USS Block Island - Lib and Evac POWs Formosa 1945-08-29to09-09.pdf
USS Block Island - War Diary 1945-08-01to09-30.pdf
USS Block Island Pictorial History-s.pdf
USS Brister - Action Report Evac POWs Formosa 1945-09-09.pdf
USS Brister - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS Brister - History 1943-1945.pdf
USS Finch - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS Thomas Gary - Action Report Evac POWs Formosa 1945-08-29to09-09.pdf
USS Thomas Gary - War Diary 1945-08.pdf
USS Kretchmer - Action Report Evac POWs Formosa 1945-09-05,06.pdf
USS Kretchmer - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS Santee - Action Report Evac POWs Formosa 1945-08-29to09-09.pdf
USS Santee - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
USS Santee - History 1940to1945-11-11.pdf
Comm Seventh Fleet - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
Comm Carrier Div 27 - Action Report Evac POWs Formosa 1945-08-29to09-09.pdf
Comm Carrier Div 27 - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
Marine Air Support Grp 48 - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
Carrier Air Group 26 - History 1945-01-10to10-31.pdf
Patrol Bombing Sqdn 71 - War Diary 1945-09.pdf
Taiwan - Civil Affairs Handbook 1944-10-01-s.pdf