Buggs_W

 

Pfc. Wayne T. Buggs


    Pfc. Wayne T. Buggs was the son of Arthur H. Buggs and Lillias Broege-Buggs.  He was born on October 5, 1919, in Janesville, Wisconsin.  As a child he lived at 414 North Main Street.  He worked as a pinsetter at a bowling alley.

    Wayne was a member of the Wisconsin National Guard when his tank company was federalized on November 25, 1940.  At Fort Knox, he was transferred to HQ Company when it was formed in January, 1941.  He   was assigned to the company as a jeep driver.  With him in the company were his cousins Lester and Melvin.
    The battalion next was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where they took part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk.  None of the members of the battalion had any idea why they were there.  On the side of a hill, the members learned they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many men had figured out they were being sent to the Philippine Islands.
   
He and his brother returned home to say their goodbyes to friends and family.  Returning to Camp Polk, the battalion was sent over different train routes for San Francisco.  There, they were transported by boat to Angel Island,  It was from this army base that the 192nd left the United States for the Philippine Islands. 
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
  

    The battalion sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on October 29th for Guam.  When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts. 
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two weeks.  They were than sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.

    On December 25th, Wayne and Major John Morley had parked their tank under a canopy of a gas station near Carmen.  Wayne was assigned to one of the three tanks of HQ Company.  Wayne tuned the tank radio to the frequency used by the 194th Tank Battalion and both men listened to the fight.  Morley attempted to follow the battle on a map.  As they listened they shells exploded around them.  When they knew that the battle was approaching them, they withdrew from the area.

    The morning of April 9, 1942, he and the other members of HQ Company were told of the surrender by Capt. Fred Bruni.  They were now Prisoners of War.  The company remained in their encampment for two days before they were ordered to make their way to Mariveles.

    The members of the company lined up along the road that ran past their encampment.  In front of them, they put their possessions.  About that time, a Japanese officer and 300 Japanese troops came down the road.  The Japanese took what they wanted from the Americans.

    Wayne and the other men climbed onto trucks and road down toward Mariveles.  Outside the barrio, they were herded onto an airfield.  They were left there for several hours.  As they sat, a line of Japanese soldiers began to form across from them.  The POWs soon realized that the Japanese were forming a firing squad.  Many believed it was the end of the line for them.

    As they prepared to die, a car pulled off and a Japanese officer ordered the soldiers not to harm the prisoners.  As he pulled away in the car, they lowered their guns.

    Later in the day, Wayne and the other men were marched to a school yard in Mariveles.  Behind them were Japanese artillery pieces.  The guns were firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum.  When the two American strongholds began returning fire, the prisoners found themselves in the line of fire.

    Shells began landing around them and men attempted to take cover.  Five POWs who hid in an old brick building were killed when it was hit.  When the barrage ended, most of the Japanese guns had been destroyed.

    It was from this school yard that Wayne began the death march with his cousins.  They made their way from Mariveles to San Fernando.  During the march he saw men who had fallen shot and bayoneted where they fell.  At San Fernando, the POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars.  Those who died in the cars did not fall down until the prisoners exited the cars at Capas.

    The first camp Wayne was held in was Camp O'Donnell.  It is not known if he went out on a work detail.  What is known is that he was held as a POW at Cabanatuan after the camp opened.  While at Cabanatuan, Wayne was selected for a detail that was sent to Davao.  The POWs were taken to Manila and boarded onto transports.  Since it is not known when he was sent to Davao, he could have been sent on one of two ships.  The  Interisland Steamer sailed on July 1st and arrived at Davao on July 9, 1942, or he may have been on the Erie Maru.  This ship sailed on October 28, 1942 and arrived at Lasung, Mindanao on November 11th.

     At the camp, the POWs were housed in eight barracks that were about 148 feet long and about 16 feet wide.  A four foot wide aisle ran down the center of each barracks.  In each barracks, were eighteen bays.  Twelve POWs shared a bay.  216 POWs lived in each barracks.  Four cages were later put in a bay.  Each cage held two POWs.   
    The camp discipline was poor.  The Americans commanding officer changed frequently.  The junior officers refused to take orders from the senior officers.  Soon, the enlisted men spoke anyway they wanted to the officers.  The situation improved because all the majority of the POWs realized that the discipline was needed to survive.

    At first, the work details were not guarded.  The POWs plowed, planted, and harvested the crops.  The sick POWs made baskets.  In April 1943, the POWs working conditions varied.  Those working the rice fields received the worst treatment.  They were beaten for not meeting quotas, misunderstandings between the POWs and guards, and a translator who could not be trusted to tell the truth.

    On Davao, Wayne built runways and worked a farm.  He remained on the detail until it was disbanded on June 6, 1944.  The POWs were taken to Lasang, Mindano, and boarded onto the Yashu Maru.  The ship sailed for Cebu City on June 12th arriving at Cebu on July 17th.  The POWs remained in the holds of the ship for four days.  They disembarked and put onto the Teiryu Maru July 21st which sailed the same day.  The ship arrived in Manila on June 24, 1944.

    Wayne was held at Bilibid Prison for 11 days.  On July 4, 1944, he was taken back to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Canadian Inventor.  The ship sailed the same day for Formosa.  After stops at Takao and Keelung, Formosa, the ship sailed to Naha, Okinawa.  It arrived at Moji, Japan on September 1st.  

    In Japan, Wayne was held as a POW at Nagoya #5B.  The POWs in the camp were used to manufacture sulfuric acid.  It was from this camp that he was liberated at the end of the war and returned to the Philippines.  He sailed for the United States on the U.S.S. Gospar arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 12, 1945.  He was discharged from the army on March 19, 1946.

    After the war, Wayne married Eleanor Peckham on May 4, 1946, and worked as for the U.S. Post Office.  The couple raised a family in Janesville.  He passed away on November 25, 1985, and was buried at Milton Lawns Cemetery in Janesville in Section G, Row 19.


 

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