Lloyd A. Ponder
Tech Sergeant
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/31/1939 - 03/16/1946
, 27th Bomb Group 16th Bomb Sq.

He was born in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, to Amos and Nona Phillips Ponder. Amos, a World War I veteran, worked as a carpenter. Lloyd graduated from Pleasant Hill High School as valedictorian in 1938. When he turned 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Barksdale Field on October 31, 1939. After basic training he was sent to Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa. Stationed in Savannah with the 116th Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group in 1941, he helped load equipment for moving to the West Coast, and then to the Philippines. They shipped out on the USS President Coolidge, arriving in Manila on Thanksgiving. When his unit received word of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the men were issued Springfield rifles. The unit was ordered to an airfield on the Bataan Peninsula where they repaired aircraft. Lloyd contracted malaria, making the final days of the battle "kind of a blur," he recalls. Along with a group of infantry Lloyd retreated to Corregidor where he was taken prisoner when the position was surrendered on May 6, 1942. Incarcerated at Camp Three at Cabanatuan, Lloyd says he suffered from malaria until he was able to eat a garlic. His fever and chills ceased. He was sent to Bilibid Prison in Manila as part of a maintenance crew for that facility where he remained for 18 months. He says he was mistreated only once (slapped in the face with a shoe) although he saw others suffer at the hands of brutal guards. Lloyd received a few parcels from American Red Cross after about six months in captivity. On July 18, 1944, he was sent to Japan aboard the Nissyo Maru, an unmarked freighter, which held about 1,600 prisoners. They were fed and given water twice a day, when guards lowered rice and water buckets into the holds. He arrived in Moji, Japan in early August and was sent to a prison camp in Narumi. He worked at a locomotive factory in nearby Nagoya. That fall, Lloyd was thrilled to see B29s overhead. Later, bombers hit Nagoya and damaged the factory. When the war ended American planes dropped food into the camp. Lloyd was taken by boat to a hospital ship where he was stripped and deloused. He sailed on the Yarmouth to San Francisco, and was discharged at Fort Sam Houston on March 16, 1946 as a tech sergeant. Back home, Lloyd began carpentry work. In May of 1949 he graduated from an industrial arts trade school at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches where began teaching. After retiring as head of the program in 1980 he began lecturing about his POW experience. He married Joyce Wiggins on August 12, 1950. They have two children and two grandchildren.