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
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.
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.