Bushaw J


1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw

    1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was born to Frank Bushaw & Mollie Albright-Bushaw on August 5, 1913, in Milton, Wisconsin, and was one of the couple's five children.  When he was eight, his family moved to Janesville, where he attended school.  After he completed his education, he worked at the Rock River Woolen Mills and was the custodian for the National Guard Armory in Janesville. 
    John enlisted in the National Guard on October 14, 1931.  He rose in rank from private to sergeant.  On June 11, 1933, he was promoted to first sergeant. 
He also married, Julia Ann Courtney, on April 10, 1934, and together they had three children; Thomas, Raymond and Doris Ann and lived at 1009 Harding Street in Janesville.      
    In the National Guard, he was joined by his younger brother, Delmon and his brother-in-law, Dannie Courtney.  After ten years as a member of the National Guard, he resigned as an enlisted man, on November 24, 1940, and was commissioned a second lieutenant on November 25, 1940.  This was done because the company had been federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, and men too old for military service had been released.               
   Traveling to Fort Knox, Kentucky, by train, the tank company was joined by an Illinois National Guard tank company which had been designated B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  At Ft. Knos, he was a tank platoon commander and would later become tank maintenance officer and transferred to HQ Company.

    Upon completion of the maneuvers, John and the other tankers learned that they were being sent overseas.  Although, where they were being sent was suppose to be a secret, most of the men figured that the code word "PLUM" meant Philippines-Luzon-Manila.  John was given leave home to say his goodbyes and settle any unfinished business.

    It was also at this time that many of the men of battalion officers, who were considered "too old" to go overseas, were released from service.  When Capt. Fred Bruni was made commander of HQ Company, John became the battalion's maintenance officer.  He was promoted to first lieutenant on September 6, 1941.
    Over different train routes, the companies of the battalion arrived in San Francisco.  They were ferried to Angel Island.  There, the battalion's doctors gave them physicals and inoculations.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S. S. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
    At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.   
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
   On Monday, December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard it against paratroopers.  The 194th Tank Battalion was assigned the northern half of the airfield while the 192nd protected the southern half.  At all times, two crew members had two remain with their tank or half track and received their meals from food trucks.
    About 12:45 in the afternoon, on December 8th, as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded was in use.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
    That night the members of the company slept in a dry latrine that was near their bivouac since it was safer then their tents.  They had no idea that they had slept their last night on a bed.  The next morning, they saw the bodies of the dead lying on the ground.  Pilots who had night duty lay dead in their tents.

   On December 21st, the 192nd was ordered to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf to relieve the 26th Cavalry Philippine Scouts.  HQ Company was to support B and C Companies.  Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.  When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.

    The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5.  Doing this would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff. 
    Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River.  Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted.  From January 2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown up.  The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw.  A Company was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
The tank battalions , on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.

    During the Battle of Bataan, John served as the battalion's tank maintenance officer was so successful at doing this job that he received the Silver Star.  In one case, he commanded the effort to recover a disabled tank that the Japanese were using as cover.

    John also attempted to do his best to supply his tank crews with the necessities of life.  On one occasion, he managed to get beans to feed his tank crews.  He sent a radio message out to his tank crews that he had food for them.  Before the crews arrived, the beans had been eaten by officers of the 192nd who had heard the message and came for a share of the food.  When the tankers arrived, there was nothing left to eat.

    When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, April 9, 1942, John became a Prisoner Of War.  He took part in the death march with Sgt. Ozzie McDonald and Sgt. Alva Chapman.  It took the three men 14 days to complete the march to Camp O'Donnell.

    When Col. Theodore Wickord, the 192nd Tank Battalion Commander, went out on a work detail, John was selected to command the battalion's men still in Camp O'Donnell.

    It was while he was a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell that John developed spinal malaria.  When Cabanatuan opened in May, 1942, the healthier prisoners were moved there.  It was determined that Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was too ill to be transferred to Cabanatuan, so he remained at Camp O'Donnell.

    On Saturday, August 8, 1942, at approximately 10:00 in the morning, 1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw died of spinal malaria and was buried at the camp cemetery at Camp O'Donnell.  He was 29 years old.  After the war. his family requested that his remains be returned to Janesville.  This was done in 1949.  After a funeral mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1st Lt. John. F. A. Bushaw was reburied in the Veteran's Section of Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville.   



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