Air Drops to Newly Liberated POWs and Liberation Procedures:
Planning for Air Drops to newly liberated POWs began long before the surrender of the Japanese following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those plans are contained within "Operation Blacklist" which was the plan for occupation of Japan and Korea following the surrender, whenever it would occur. If you want to read the entire plan (almost 1,500 pages), it is available at the Combined Arms Research Library (CARL) at Fort Leavenworth, KS. That library has made portions of the plan available in PDF format. Selected portions of Operation Blacklist that may be of interest to descendants of POWs have been posted to this web site as follows:
United States Army Forces, Pacific letter dated 10 August 1945 forwarded Appendix A to Annex 4 (Operations to air-drop emergency supplies) of Operation Blacklist to all major commands within the Pacific Theater of Operations. These documents show the extent of coordination required to get the air drops accomplished. Click Air Drops to see these papers. The charts "Detailed information and location of Prisoner of War and Civilian Internee camps" as cited in paragraph 4 of Appendix A are separately attached for faster loading. NOTE: The quality of these charts is not good and the print will be very small at first. Use the zoom feature at the top of each page to get a better view. I find that I can zoom up to 150% without getting too much image distortion. At 75% zoom or more, the print becomes legible. Click Confirmed to see the list of confirmed camps in Japan and China or click Unconfirmed-Japan for a list of unconfirmed camps in Japan only.
Annex 5f of "Basic Plan for Operation Blacklist" is "Care and Evacuation of Allied Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees". It delineates the plan to provide for them adequate food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Appendix 2 of Annex 5f begins on page 6. Pages 6 through 22 contain a list of information about all POW camps in Japan (insofar as it was then known to U.S. forces). Pages 23 & 24 give similar information about POW camps in Korea. Page 25 is a map of Kyushu Island with POW camp locations indicated. Click Annex 5f to see these papers.
To read about the execution of Operation Blacklist, read "Reports of General
MacArthur" which is on-line at the U.S. Army Center of Military History web
site. The link below was provided by Robert Hudson and goes to Chapter IV,
"Relief of Prisoners of War and Internees", of the book.
As you will see, the implementation of Operation Blacklist went even faster than anticipated in spite of the fact that the condition of POWs and Civilian Internees was even worse than anticipated.
You can get to the beginning of the book by clicking on this link:
It is interesting to note that the January 1966 Foreword to this book is written by General Harold K. Johnson, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. On December 13, 1944 he was a Lt. Col. and was one of the 1,619 POWs boarding the Japanese Hellship Oryoku Maru at Pier 7 in Manila.