“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
This website was created to honor the men of the U.S. Army, 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery (36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard) and the survivors of the USS Houston (CA-30) who became Prisoners of War (1942-1945) under the Imperial Japanese Army. For almost 30 months of their 42-month captivity, their fate remained unknown, earning the name of the “The Lost Battalion of Texas”. In the jungles of Asia, they endured torture, starvation, unsanitary living conditions, monsoon rains, rampant disease and little to no medical care other than natural “cures” derived from their surroundings. For them, the battle was not only the war, the battle was to survive imprisonment.
These brave men suffered the cruelest of hardships and through blood, sweat and tears, built “The Death Railway” from Thanbyuzayat in northern Burma (present day Myanmar) to Ban Pong in southern Thailand, a distance of 258 miles.
The Railway was intended to be a more efficient supply route for the Japanese army, but it took exacted a toll on countless POWs and native laborers (Romusha). Not all Americans returned and the sacrifices these men endured on behalf of their country should not be forgotten. All were brothers in arms and to those that survived, forever were they bound by fate. “We Play The Game” was the 131st’s unit motto – and through this, we forever honor and memorialize your sacrifices.
As you journey through this site, we hope you gain insight to the brave men of The Lost Battalion - young men all - sons, brothers, fathers, who answered the call to duty for God and Country. The website is a collaboration of those dedicated to preserving the history of the Lost Battalion of Texas – generally, children of the men who were there. We have attempted to maintain accuracy in the stories presented to the best of our ability.
We wish to thank the members of the Lost Battalion Association, the Thai-Burma Railway Museum, the Texas Military Forces Museum and the Wise County Historical Society (Decatur, TX) for the information they’ve shared to help create a more complete story of the Lost Battalion of Texas. We want to tell a complete story and welcome suggestions, corrections and contributions that enhance the website. Contributions or correspondence can be remitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we invite you to visit www.usshouston.org for a more detailed account of the USS Houston and those who toiled alongside the men of the Lost Battalion in Japanese POW camps.