From the Spring – Summer 2014 Society Newsletter
For the past two years we have been trying to obtain a photo of the last American war grave we needed to complete our Taiwan POW War Graves Project in the Honour Roll on our website. On Saturday morning January 25th 2014 we received an email that ended more than four years of work and two years of searching for a last Taiwan POW's grave photo.
As our readers will know, we have tried without success to get a photo of the grave of Freddy McCreary who is buried in Warfield Cemetery, near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky.
24 year-old ARM1C Frederick Earl McCreary of Bomb Squadron 18, on the carrier USS Intrepid was shot down on a raid over Taipei and was captured and interned in the Taihoku Prison. He was one of the 14 young men needlessly murdered by a Japanese firing squad inside the prison walls just 57 days before the end of the war. His ashes had been returned home and were interred in the Warfield Cemetery, and we just needed a photo of his grave to complete the task of making sure that every former Taiwan POW's grave location was identified and the grave photographed.
Then this past November after escorting National Commander John Mitchell and Executive Director Stewart Hickey of the AMVETS on a tour to Kinkaseki, they asked if there was anything that AMVETS could do to help us. We told them about McCreary’s grave and how we had tried long and hard to get a photo, and they said they would try to help.
The AMVETS did come through for us, but not in the way we had expected. We thought that likely Stewart would contact a member of the local AMVETS chapter in the Barbourville area to go and take a photo for us. In that email of January 25th was a beautiful photo of Freddy McCreary’s gravestone (above). In talking with Stewart Hickey shortly after, I asked how they got the photo and he said that John Mitchell had personally gone and taken the photo for us. Now this is incredible, as in addition to being so busy in his role as the National Commander of AMVETS, John lives in Knoxville Tennessee, and so he drove all the way to Knox County Kentucky - a distance of 150 miles - to take the grave photo for us. In an email to me later John said that he did it in respect for what we are doing here in Taiwan to remember the POWs. Talk about true dedication to the cause of remembering a veteran who has served and died for his country!
We cannot thank John and Stewart and the AMVETS enough for this help to ensure that Freddy McCreary is remembered along with his mates who gave their lives for their country, and also for their wonderful mark of respect for the work we are trying to do. It is only by working together with caring people like John and Stewart that we are able to make sure that the former Taiwan POWs are not forgotten!