An American Soldier’s Courage and Faith in Japanese Captivity
“Corporal Joseph O. Quintero, the Don Jose of the title, was a WWII hero who spent most of his life after military service in Albuquerque. This book, written by two retired military officers, explores the unique arc of Quintero’s life, from his early years as a Mexican immigrant to the U.S. to his military experiences on Corregidor in the Philippines and his fate as a prisoner of war of the Japanese after the surrender of American forces in the Philippine Islands.
“Having a degree in American history, along with my 26 years of military service, has helped me develop an attraction to most things involving WWII history. I found Don Jose: An American Soldier’s Courage and Faith in Japanese Captivity particularly interesting because I have visited the Philippines, where my wife was born, and also spent three years in Japan with the Air Force. The descriptions of Quintero’s formative years living with his family in three cabooses in the Fort Worth, Texas railyards provided an insight into the development of his character and patriotism, as well as the closeness of his family.
“The heart of this book is the account of Quintero’s military years. I enjoyed how the authors enhanced—with historical references and personal accounts of other prisoners of the Japanese—Quintero’s firsthand accounts of his experiences. The descriptions of the defense of Corregidor are vivid and especially interesting because Quintero was assigned to an anti-aircraft artillery unit, whereas most other accounts of WWII come from the perspective of infantry, airborne and mechanized units.
“Quintero’s account of the terrible transition from the Philippines to Japan aboard a Japanese ship, and his appendectomy while on board by another prisoner using crude instruments and little else, is a tribute to American courage. Being a prisoner of the Japanese was no picnic. The brutality of the camps is vividly portrayed in this book and rivals, to a degree, that experienced by American POWs in North Vietnam.
“In the face of it all, Quintero tried his best to make life better for his fellow prisoners and retained his optimism even under the toughest conditions. When liberation finally came, it was Quintero who was seen waving an American flag he had arranged to have made by another prisoner from hidden scraps of material. Quintero was a true hero. Anyone interested in WWII history, and especially the accounts of an American hero of Mexican descent, should read this book.”
--Jim Maher, Local IQ, Albuquerque, New Mexico