Monona County

Mason Blair



Onawa Man Held Prisoner by Japs
Rescued by Yankees in Philippines
Mason Blair Safe; Best News Family Ever Has Received

Onawa, Ia.—Special: There was nothing but happiness in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Blair here Thursday after they were informed that their son, Mason Blair, 33, has been rescued from a Japanese prison camp in the Philippine Islands by Gen. MacArthur’s forces.

There was happiness in spite of the fact that Mason’s father has been an invalid for years and only recently underwent the amputation of one of his limbs due to infection.

“I’m too excited to talk,” was about all the mother could say at first, after being informed that her son was rescued. “It’s the best news we’ve ever had,” she said in a trembling voice.

Lived in Tekamah.
Assured that from all indications her son was safe and well and soon would be home, Mrs. Blair regained her composure and told of her son’s activities.

Mason was born in Council Bluffs and moved with his parents to Tekamah, Neb., when he was 2 years old. His father was a contractor there. When he was 18, Mason enlisted in the army at Fort Crook, Neb., and was serving his second “hitch” in the Philippines when he was taken prisoner on Bataan.

He was not in the army at the time of his capture, however, as he had been discharged from the army in 1941 and was immediately appointed chief superintendent of the quartermaster construction corps in the Philippines. He had returned to the Philippines five years ago after visiting his family here. The Blairs moved here from Tekamah eight years ago.

Reported Prisoner.
Many lonely months passed without word from him and Mrs. Blair said, “We prayed continually that he was alive and safe. Finally they received word that he was a prisoner of the Japanese and was being held in prison camp No. 1, in the Philippines. In December 1944, the family received two cards from him and that was the last word from him until the most welcome news arrived Thursday. In the first card Mason mentioned that he was not feeling well, but in the second card he said that his health was improved.

In addition to the parents there are two sisters and a brother, Mrs. Fred Miller of Onawa, Mrs. Kenneth Huff of Omaha, and Charles Blair of Omaha. Charles is in defense work in Omaha.

Mason is the oldest of the children and a reunion of the family has never held is in the making when Mason returns home.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, Thursday, February 1, 1945


Onawa, Ia. – Special: United States rangers’ dramatic rescue of 513 men, prisoners of the Japanese, from an enemy prison camp, reached into the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Blair, bringing happiness with the news that their son, Mason Blair, 33, was among those saved. Although he had served in the army, Mason had been discharged, and was serving as chief superintendent of the quartermaster construction corps in the Philippines at the time of his capture on Bataan.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, February 2, 1945 (photo included)