Machinist's Mate 1st Class, Fred E. Branchaud POW/DNB
Home: Brainerd, MN.
Ship: USS Pigeon (ASR-6)
Service # 3281511
Awards: Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal
Captain: Lt. Comdr. Frank Alfred Davis
Mission: Defense of Bataan and Corregidor
Date of Death 17-Nov-42
Location: Prisoner of War Camp, Mukden, China
Cause: Died of Diarrhea, Beriberi, Pellagra, and Bronchitis
The Submarine Rescue Ship USS Pigeon (ASR-6) was sunk on May 4, 1942, by a dive bomber while her crew was ashore assisting in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor. At least sixteen of her crew died in the Philippine Islands, during transport to POW camps in Japan, or in the camps themselves. The listing below may be incomplete.
USS Pigeon Crew POW/DIS
Lt. Comdr. Frank Alfred Davis
Fred E. Branchaud
Laverne Andrew Buchenau
Robert T. Duncan
Herbert W. Grizzard
Anthony A. Gutierrez POW
Myron L. Jenkins
Frederick W. Macdonald
George R. Mitchell
James M. Myler
Denzel E. Muggy
Ralph L. Smith
Howard G. Thomas
Joseph H. Wise
USS Pigeon (ASR-6)
Pigeon was laid down by the Baltimore Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Baltimore, Maryland; launched on 29 January 1919; sponsored by Mrs. Joseph B. Provance; and commissioned in the Norfolk Navy Yard on 15 July 1919.
In November 1941, the 4th Marines evacuated Shanghai and ships of the Yangtze River Patrol were withdrawn from China. Pigeon was one of the ships ordered to escort the American gunboats from Chinese waters. She departed Cavite for Formosa Straits 28–29 November 1941.
Pigeon rendezvoused near midnight of 30 November-1 December 1941 with the gunboats Luzon and Oahu (flagship) and minesweeper Finch. Pigeon sighted Corregidor Light and the convoy entered Manila Bay. On receiving word of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Comdr. Richard E. Hawes immediately prepared to get Pigeon underway and stood by to evacuate the Cavite Navy Yard. By the end of December, Manila Bay was no longer a suitable area for submarines. Since Japanese warships outside Manila Bay made it impossible for her to escape, Pigeon remained behind with Canopus, a few old gunboats, and small craft to fight with the Army of Bataan.
On 5 January 1942, Lt. Comdr. Hawes turned over command of Pigeon to Lt. Comdr. Frank Alfred Davis, USNR, and became first lieutenant of submarine tender Holland. Under Davis, another leader of heroic stock, Pigeon continued her fearless struggle. Bataan fell on 9 April, and—rather than surrender to the enemy—Canopus backed away from the dock and sank at the hands of her own crew. That night, Pigeon made rendezvous with fleet submarine Snapper under the enemy guns in the south channel off Corregidor. Snapper had brought 46 short tons (42 t) of food and stores for beleaguered Corregidor and Pigeon hurried to load the cargo before the start of night bombing raids. After the fall of Bataan, Pigeon's crew spent the days on shore and returned to their ship for night operations that included dumping Philippine currency in the channel south of Corregidor. She continued to serve until the afternoon of 4 May, when a bomb from a dive bomber exploded on her starboard quarter. She sank in eight minutes but her crew was on shore.
The Japanese later captured these brave sailors but many survived the war. Lt. Comdr. Frank Alfred Davis carried on the fighting tradition and valor of his command while interned at the infamous prisoner-of-war camp at Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands.
MM1C, US NAVY WORLD WAR II
Gravesite Details Re-interred on 10/10/1949.
Sponsored by Ancestry