Joseph F. Monfort was born December 22, 1918, in Skiatook, Oklahoma. The family lived in Oklahoma and Kansas before moving to Arizona. He enlisted in the U.S. Army prior to World War II.
While serving with F Battery, 59th Coastal Artillery (Harbor Defense) on Corregidor, Philippines he was captured by the Japanese on May 6, 1942. Pvt. Monfort was transported by the Japanese to Manila Bay and then to Bilibid Prison in small WW I boxcars “40 & 8″ (40 men or 8 horses) but there was about one hundred men to a boxcar. About a month later he was moved to a camp called Cabanatuan #3. Conditions were horrible with 40 to 50 men dying every day from disease.
In 1944 the Americans began an offensive. They were getting closer and closer to the Philippines forcing the Japanese to evacuate the American Prisoners of War to Japan. On July 1, 1944, some 1500 American POWs were transported on old ships, in cramped quarters, with little water and food. Dysentery and diarrhea were common for everyone on the ships. The ships left Manila Bay and joined a convoy on its way to Formosa. Unfortunately, U.S. submarines sank some of the freighters transporting the POW’s. After arriving in Japan, the POWs were sent to forced labor camps working in mines, 10-12 hour shifts a day, seven days a week. With little food, suffering from malnutrition, disease, abuse, and torture Joseph F. Monfort died while in captivity on January 17,1945.
After WWII, Pvt. Monfort’s body was taken from Japan and returned to the United States. On January 26, 1969, he was buried in plot C1639, The National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
Medals Received: Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal Bronze Campaign Star, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal Bronze Campaign Star, World War II Victory Medal, (3) Distinguished Unit Citations, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Philippine Defense Medal Bronze Star, Philippine Liberation Medal, Philippine Independence Medal.