motionless. For a good hour the shark thumped and splashed,raying their already tattered nerves. Then it made one last diveand disappeared entirely. That marked a change or the worst in Mac. By day 33,despondent and emaciated, he passed away. Louie and Phil saida quiet eulogy and gave his body over to the sea.
Out of the Frying Pan...
Day 47 brought a welcome sight.Land. They’d foated into the MarshallIslands, 2,000 miles rom their originalcrash site. But relie soon turned toterror when they spotted a Japanesepatrol ship.“Suddenly the thought o being aloneon the ocean seemed more invitingthan ever,” Louie said. Weak and rail, Louie had lost nearly 100 pounds while at sea. Resistance wasn’t an option as the Japanesetransported them to Kwajalein, knownas Execution Island. Shoved into a cellno larger than a dog kennel, the oncea powerul athlete curled his skeletalorm up into a ball and cried. Torture was a daily occurrence to break their spirits and extract inormation.Food was a rice ball, thrown onto thefoor while guards jeered at him as hetried to extract the lth rom it. This, however, was nothing comparedto the island physician’s experiments.Injected with a smoky-looking liquid,the men soon contracted dengue ever. Their misery lasted our weeks, butthe beatings never slowed.“They took great joy in telling us we would be executed,” Louie said.“Every morning we woke up thinking,this is the day they will kill us.” The Japanese, however, had other plans. Louie’s celebrity asan Olympic athlete made him useul. Soon he and Phil weretranserred to Ouna, an interrogation camp in Japan. It wasthere that Louie discovered something even more shocking thanthe abuse he’d suered. A amiliar ace.
When Friends Become Enemies
The moment they’d arrived at the camp, Louie was shuttledinto an oce to meet with the head brass.“Hello Louis,” a memorable voice said. “It’s been a long timesince USC.” There across the desk romhim, stood ormer University o Southern Caliornia classmate James Sasaki. However, here he was ocially known as the headinterrogator o the entire Japaneseprison camp system. And, mostimportantly, he made it clear thattheir ormer riendship meantnothing. There would be no specialtreatment. The conditions at Ouna werephysically and emotionally miserable. Winter orced prisonersto sleep in their clothes with only paper blankets or warmth. Still wearing the short-sleeved uniormhe crashed in, Louie’s only helpcame rom a prisoner kind enoughto spare a coat.On September 30, 1944 thingstook a turn or the worst. Louie was transerred to the prison campo Omori and it was there thathe met his nemesis, Matsuhiro Watanabe, a man simply known as The Bird.“Deranged, brutal beyond belie, vicious like someone who torturedanimals as a child beore turninghis evil talents on people, The Bird,by his mere existence, allowed meto ocus all the hatred I’d let ester,”Louie said.A stickler or clean shoes, The Birdrequired those who returned to thebarracks with soiled boots to lick theclean. The ground was littered with sewage, and to avoid such apunishment prisoners oten wore bags over their bare eet.“My riend would say to me, ‘Louie, why don’t you just look at him with ear in your eyes, just give him what he wants?’
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“I remember lookingdown at the bones o my knees and I cried. Iremembered mysel whenI was a powerul athleteand now I am just skinand bones; a skeleton.”