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"Lo Joe" : Memoirs of Archie L. McMaster, 1940-1946: Finding Aid

Published in August 2019

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 515
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: "Lo Joe" : Memoirs of Archie L. McMaster
  • Dates: 1940-1946
  • Size: 0.13 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 folder containing 1 volume
  • Creator: McMaster, Archie L.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Archie L. McMaster was a Captain in the United States Army Reserve. The Archie L. McMaster memoirs, entitled "Lo Joe," span from 1940 until 1946, although their exact date of authorship is unknown. The memoirs detail McMaster's experiences as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve in the Philippines during World War II, including the fall of Bataan to the Japanese and McMaster's time as a Japanese held Prisoner of War in the Philippines.

Biography of Archie L. McMaster

Archie L. McMaster, of Taylor, Nebraska, was born on October 23, 1907. McMaster served as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve, assigned to the reception center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on October 4, 1940. In December 1940, he was ordered to duty in the Philippines with the 1st Battalion, 45th Infantry. Following the fall of Bataan to Japanese forces in April 1942, McMaster was held as a Prisoner of War at Camp O'Donnell, Camp Cabanatuan, Davao Penal Colony, and Bilibid Prison. Following his liberation from Japanese captivity in Manila in February 1945, McMaster was flown back to the United States to recuperate at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver. McMaster retired from the United States Army on February 2, 1946, and returned home to Taylor, Nebraska. He then attended college on the GI Bill and became a soil conservationist in January 1949. Archie L. McMaster died on January 25, 1992.

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Description of Contents

The Archie L. McMaster memoirs, entitled "Lo Joe" (alternately expressed as "'Lo Joe"), comprising 0.13 linear feet of material in a single volume, span from 1940 until 1946, although their exact date of authorship is unknown. The memoirs detail McMaster's experiences as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve in the Philippines during World War II, including the fall of Bataan to the Japanese and McMaster's time as a Japanese held Prisoner of War in the Philippines.

McMaster's memoirs are divided into 98 chapters, typically ranging in length from one to three pages, focusing on a single theme or anecdote. The memoirs are prefaced by a section of photographs depicting McMaster's sailing from San Francisco aboard U.S.S. U.S. Grant (Transport: AP-29) in January 1941, arrival in Guam, crossing-the-line ceremonies, street scenes in Manila, agricultural scenes in Mariveles, street scenes in Baguio, and native Filipinos. The memoirs proper open with McMaster consenting, as a reserve officer, to being ordered to the Philippines in December 1940. McMaster continues to detail his arrival in Manila in February 1941, his assignment to 1st Battalion 45th Infantry at Fort McKinley, duty guarding ammunition in Bataan from Infantry Base Camp, interactions with locals, and recreation in Baguio.

Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7 (in the chapter entitled "80 Ships at Sea"), McMaster discusses the Japanese invasion of the Philippines beginning on December 8, 1941, the destruction of most of Clark Field's B-17s, the defense of Bagac Bay, American counterattacks along the Abucay Line, losses to C Company during the withdrawal to the Pilar-Bagac Line, the Battle of Toul Pocket in January 1942, depletion of the Allied Air Force, the effects of hunger on the troops in Bataan, Japanese propaganda, operations along the Pantingan River, and the American surrender at Bataan (as described in the chapter entitled "Surrender").

McMaster's captivity as a Prisoner of War begins in the chapter entitled "The Pass." The memoirs follow with descriptions of the Bataan Death March to Camp O'Donnell, the harsh living conditions for the American POWs, transfer to Camp Cabanatuan, attempts among the prisoners to engage in recreational activities, the implementation of work detail, Japanese methods of punishment and torture ("Arbitrary Justice"), and the "blood brother" system of distributing punishment. Beginning with the chapter entitled "Trip South," the memoirs discuss McMaster's transfer to the Davao Penal Colony (DaPeCol) on Mindanao, farming detail at the Furukawa Plantation, getting run over by a Chevrolet truck, gleaning news from Japanese propaganda newspapers, the receipt of British Red Cross supplies in February 1943, continual efforts to supplement the daily rice rations, additional Red Cross supplies in 1944, the evacuation of DaPeCol prisoners to Japanese cargo ships as American forces advanced on Japanese positions, transfer to Bilibid Prison in Manila, and liberation from Bilibid on February 2, 1945.

Prior to McMaster's chapter on the outbreak of World War II in the Philippines is a section of maps pertaining to the Japanese invasion.

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"Lo Joe" : Memoirs of Archie L. McMaster are organized into 98 chapters, with a preface, a section of photographs, and a section of maps.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

"Lo Joe" : Memoirs of Archie L. McMaster are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Cook in December 1991. Accession No. 91-66.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional copies of McMaster's memoirs are available at the United States Military Academy Library and the Nebraska State Historical Society.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

"Lo Joe" : Memoirs of Archie L. McMaster, MS 515

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in August 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in August 2019.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Bataan Death March, Philippines, 194
  • Japan. Rikugun
  • McMaster, Archie L.
  • Prisoners of war -- Japan
  • Prisoners of war -- United States
  • United States. Army -- Officers -- Biography
  • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 45th
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Philippines
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Prisoners and prisons, Japanese

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Memoirs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

"Lo Joe : memoirs of Archie L. McMaster", undated

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