Boardman

Pvt. Emery B. Boardman


     Pvt. Emery B. Boardman was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1919 to Charles W. Boardman & Edna Leeman-Boardman.  With his two brothers, he was raised at 731 Highland in Glen Ellyn and attended Glenbard High School.  Before the war, he worked in his father's reality and insurance business.

    Like many young men, Emery knew that the recently passed draft act would most likely result in his serving in the army. To fulfill his military obligation, Emery joined the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Maywood, Illinois, in August 1940.  In November of 1940, the company was federalized and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to train. It was there, that the 33rd Tank Company became Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.  

    In January, 1941, Emery was transferred to the Headquarters Company of the 192nd Tank Battalion when the company was formed with members from the four letter companies and made the company clerk. 

    In the later summer of 1941, he continued his training during the Louisiana maneuvers.  After the maneuvers he was sent to  Camp Polk, where the battalion was notified that it would be sent to the Philippine Islands.
    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
  At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.

    Emery and the other members of the battalion lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Field.  For the next four months, the battalion fought to slow the Japanese advance in the Philippines.  On April 9, 1942, the Filipino and American defenders of Bataan were surrendered to the Japanese.  On this day, Emery became a Prisoner of War. 

    It was at Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan that Emery began what became known as the death march.  When the march started, he was already suffering from dysentery and was very weak.  Pvt. William Hauser and another GI helped Emery by carrying him between them.

    The second night of the march the POWs were held by a stream from which they were able to get water.  The men began to share stories of where they wanted to be instead of where they were at at that moment.  Emery began telling the other members of the 192nd that he would like to be at a restaurant in his hometown of Glen Ellyn.  He described what he would be eating if he were there.  

    As he spoke, another POW not to far from him heard Emery.  When Emery named the restaurant the other man looked to see who was speaking,  It turned out that this second GI was Harold Baker who had grown up with Emery in Glen Ellyn.  The two friends talked about the good old days and the meals they ate at the restaurant.

    The next day during the march the POWs heard a rumor that men who were too ill to march would be taken by truck to the next bullpen.  Suffering from dysentery, Emery left his company and attempted to make this arrangement. 

    As it turned out, the rumor of sick prisoners receiving rides on trucks turned out to be untrue.  Emery attempted to continue on the march.  It was at this time, outside of San Fernando, that he had an attack of dysentery and went to the side of the road to relieve himself.  A guard approached Emery and raised his gun to hit him with the butt.  Emery raised his arms to his face to soften the blow.  Seeing this as an act of defiance, the guard bayoneted Emery in the stomach.   When Emery did not die after being bayoneted the first time, the guard bayoneted him a second time.  This time the guard left the bayonet in Emery until he slumped over onto it.  Knowing Emery was dead,  the guard pulled the bayonet out of him.

    On April 18, 1942, at the age of 23, Pvt. Emery B. Boardman died near the town of Balanga.  His body now lies in Plot F, Row 15, Grave  62, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.   


 

 


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