Bushaw John


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.  He was one of five children.  When he was eight, his family moved to Janesville.  There, 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. 
    John would be joined in the National Guard by his younger brother, Delmon and his brother-in-law, Dannie Courtney.  As a National Guardsman, he served as the armory custodian.  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.
    John Bushaw was called to federal duty when the 192nd Tank Battalion was formed from National Guard units on November 25, 1940.  John married, Julia Ann Courtney, on April 10, 1934, and together they had three children; Thomas, Raymond and Doris Ann.  They lived at 1009 Harding Street in Janesville. 


    Traveling to Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Janesville Tank Company was designated as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  John and the other Guardsmen remained there for almost a year until they went on maneuvers in Louisiana.

    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 soldiers boarded the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott which sailed on Monday, October 27th and arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd at 8:00, and the soldiers received shore leave.  The ship sailed on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam.  Arriving there, the ship took on water, bananas, vegetables, and coconuts.
    Sailing, the ship arrived in Manila Bay the morning of November 20, 1941, at 8:00.  The soldiers disembarked the ship about three hours after it docked.  Most took buses to a train station and rode a train to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    At Ft. Stotsenburg, the soldiers were greeted by Col. Edward King who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He remained with the battalion until every member had had Thanksgiving dinner.  Afterwards, he went to have his own.

    A little more than two weeks later he lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  The tankers had been ordered to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  The sky was filled with American planes as the soldiers set in their tanks.  At noon every plane landed and the pilots went to lunch. 
    While the tankers were getting their lunches at food trucks, they saw planes approaching the airfield from the north.  As they watched, raindrops began to fall from the planes.  It was when the "raindrops" began exploding on the runways that the soldiers knew the planes were Japanese.  Since most of their weapons could not be used against planes, the tankers could do little more than watch. After the attack, they saw the carnage done from the attack.

    During the Battle of Bataan, John served as the battalion's tank maintenance officer.  He 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.

    John was first held at Camp O'Donnell.  When Col. 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.   



Return to Company A