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.
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.
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.