Heroes: the Army
"...recollections of Amador as to the "ground battles and combat against the Japanese as being 'very brutal' and the Japanese soldiers were ruthless"..."
Amador J. Sanchez
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. B., 1st Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: Pacific Theater, New Guinea, Southern Philippines
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 10 September 1924
- Date of Death: 16 April 1999
- Entered Service: San Antonio, TX
We at World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words are attempting to piece together a story with regards to a citizen soldier who is laid to rest at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.
His name was Amador J. Sanchez and he served with Co. B., 162nd Infantry Regiment 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Division, U. S. Army. He was a participant in the invasion of New Guinea, Southern Philippines.
Amador, as many soldiers who experienced the unspeakable horrors of war, especially at the hands of one of the most brutal enemies every encountered in World War II, was very reluctant to discuss his experiences with his family.
We were contacted by his Grandaughter, Bobbie Jo Rivera, who is asking for help in locating any information with regards to the actions of the 162nd Infantry Regiment in the Phillipine Campaign as well as hopefully obtaining information from someone who might have served with Co. B., 162nd Infantry.
Bobbie Jo is hoping to fill in some of the many missing details of her Grandfather's war experiences.
Amador J. Sanchez was born on September 10, 1924, (location--unstated). Amador was married, but the details are not known as of this writing, in Texas some three years after the war ended. He survived until his death on April 16, 1999. During his service he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and also received a Purple Heart among other military laurels. These facts are known from his military records.
On many visits to the cemetery to visit Amador's final resting place, Bobbie Joe has taken Amador's widow. They have visited and discussed Amador and in the hopes of what his widow might recall about his experiences during the ordeal he experienced on New Guinea.
Though her recollections are limited, his widow recalls certain details as to the recollections of Amador as to the "ground battles and combat against the Japanese as being 'very brutal' and the Japanese soldiers were ruthless".
He told her that he was a Staff Sergeant. At one point in New Guinea, a Japanese soldier held a gun at his head. For some unexplained reason, his Staff Sergeant interviened (he was oldest of the two) and stepped forth and told the Japanese soldier not to kill Amador -- but to kill him instead.
The Japanese soldier did kill Amador's sergeant and for some reason did not kill Amador. Shortly thereafter, Amador was then given the rank of Staff Sergeant, replacing his former friend in the ranks.
Amador always told his wife, "I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for him [his sergeant]".
Amador had five daughters [aged 42 to 53 at the time of this writing] and he never told them that particular war story. Bobbie Jo always found that amazing and the fact that her Grandmother mentions this event -- which so altered the life of Amador -- was mentioned so casually!
Amador was like a Father to Bobbie Jo...he raised her. It is her hope of one day locating the family of the Staff Sergeant in Amador's unit that saved his life -- through his own sacrifice. She would like to thank his family!
Bobbie Jo also remarks, "After our visit to Arlington National Cemetery, my Grandmother gave me my Grandfathers flag (the one that was draped over his casket) -- it hads four bullet shells [holes?] in it." She then promised her Grandmother that she was going to do research into Amador's military service.
Bobbie Jo mentions that her 29 year old twin sister recalls vividly a story by Amador. She remembers her Grandpa telling of how they were in the jungle and they watched a Japanese behead a guy. Then they lit a fire around his head. He told her that the Japanese were practicing canabalism.
Bobbie Jo remembers Amador chiding them about eating all of their food. He said this, for when he had become lost at war [in New Guinea], he was forced to live on insects. He was declared MIA (missing in action) at one point. He was very lucky to have survived and returned.
Below are copies of Amador J. Sanchez's discharge papers.
Click on the small image to see a full size image. Much can be learned from reading these impersonal military records. Many hints into the man's life can be read here -- if one looks hard enough.
In looking over the discharge papers,
you will see the military qualifications of
Amador J. Sanchez to read:
His battles and campaigns included:
New Guinea, Southern Phillipeans
Infantry, Asiatic and Markanship Badge
Combat Infantry Badge
His Decorations and Citations include:
Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Medal
with Two Bronze Stars and One Bronze Arrowhead
Phillipean Campaign Liberation Medal with One Bronze Star
Good Conduct Medal
Amador J. Sanchez was wounded in action:
18 August 1944
His overseas service lasted:
One Year, Seven Months and Eleven Days
Click on the images below to view full size...
Some related information regarding the unit that Amador J. Sanchez served with can be located at the following web sites.
Original Story transcribed from e-mail messages submitted 28 December 2001.
Story originally submitted on: 28 December 2001.
September 5, 2002.
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