Bushaw_D

 



Sgt. Delmon R. Bushaw
    Sgt. Delmon R. Bushaw was born on August June 25, 1919, in Mellen, Wisconsin, to Frank Bushaw & Mollie Albright-Burshaw.  He was one of the couple's five children.  When he was two, his family moved to Janesville where he lived at 1549 South Willard Avenue.  He attended local schools, and after high school, worked as a cook in a local restaurant.

    Following in the footsteps of his brother, John, Delmon joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville.  To get into the National Guard, he lied about his age.  

    As a National Guardsman Delmon was called to federal duty when the 192nd Tank Battalion was formed from National Guard units on November 25, 1940.  Traveling to Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28th, the Janesville Tank Company was designated as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.   Delmon and the other Guardsmen remained there for almost a year until they went on maneuvers in Louisiana.

    Upon completion of the maneuvers, Delmon 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.  Delmon was given eight day leave home to say his goodbyes and settle any unfinished business.  It was at this time he married Lorraine Wilkenson.

    The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco, California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Some men were simply replaced.
   
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th, as part of a three ship convoy. 
After the members of the battalion got over their seasickness, 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.  The soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island. 
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam. 
During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.
   
When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they 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.   The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M., and were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those assigned to trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained 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 that they 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.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.

    On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times.
    The morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. Many believed this was the start of the maneuvers they were expecting.  After hearing the news, they returned to their tanks around the airfield.  About 12:45 in the afternoon 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.  Since the battalion's bivouac was near the main road between the fort and airfield, the soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks and trucks.  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.
 
   The company, on December 12th, was ordered to the barrio of Dau so it could protect a road and railroad line from sabotage. 
From there, the company was sent to rejoin the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  There, the battalion, with A Company, 194th, held the position so that other units could withdraw.
    On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta.  It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno 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.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.

   At Gumain River, on December 31st to the morning of January 1st, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts.  It was there the tankers noted that the Japanese soldiers were high on drugs when they attacked.  Among the dead Japanese, the tankers found the hypodermic needles and syringes.   The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese for several weeks.
    On January 1st, the tanks were holding the Calumpit Bridge allowing the Southern Luzon Forces to cross the bridge toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was attempting to hold the main Japanese force coming down Route 5 to prevent the troops from being cut off.  General MacArthur's chief of staff gave conflicting orders involving whose command the defenders were under which caused confusion.  Gen. Wainwright was not aware these orders had been given.  
    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.
   
On another occasion the company was in bivouac on two sides of a road.  They posted sentries and most of the tankers attempted to get some sleep.  The sentries heard noise down the road and woke the company.  Every man grabbed a weapon.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  The tankers opened fire with everything they had.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion.  
    On January 6, 1942, A Company rejoined the 192nd.  The two tank battalions leap frog-ed past each other as the last two units withdrawing toward Bataan.  The 192nd held a position until the 194th passed then would withdraw.  The 194th would then hold the next position as the 192nd withdrew passed the battalion to forma new defensive line.  When A Company crossed the bridge over the Culis River, before the bridge was blown up, it was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    It should be mentioned that on January 8th, the tank battalions received their first meals from their own battalion kitchens.  Up to this point, the tankers were fed on the run by food trucks.  Often, when they arrived at a truck, the food meant for them had been eaten by others.
    During the Battle of the Points the tanks were sent in to wipe out Japanese troops that had broken through the main defensive line and than trapped behind the line after the Filipino and American troops pushed the Japanese back.  According to members of the battalion they resorted two ways to wipe out the Japanese.
    The first method was to have three Filipino soldiers sit on the back of the tanks with sacks of hand grenades.  When the Japanese dove back into their foxholes, the tank would go over it and the soldiers would drop three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the ordnance was from World War I, one out of three hand grenades would explode.
    The second method was simple.  The tank was parked with one track across the foxhole.   The driver spun the tank on one track.  The tank dug into the dirt until the Japanese soldiers were dead.
  
    On April 9, 1942, Delmon became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  He took part in the death march and was held as a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. 

  While a POW at Cabanatuan, Delmon was assigned to Barracks 5, Group 3, and given the POW number of 4707.  He was assigned to the kitchen detail and prepared the meals for all the POWs in the camp.  When meal time came, Delmon would sneak extra food to the other members of A Company.

    At some point Delmon was selected to go out on what was called the what became known as the Las Pinas Detail arriving at the Pasay School in August 1942.  The POWs on the detail were housed in a school at Pasay School in eighteen rooms.  Thirty POWs were assigned to a room.  On the detail, the POWs were used to extend and widen runways for the Japanese Navy at Nichols Airfield.  The plans for this expansion came from the American Army which had drawn them up before the war.  The Japanese wanted a runway 500 yards wide and a mile long going through hills and a swamp.
    Unlike the Americans, the Japanese had no plans on using construction equipment.  Instead, they intended the POWs to do the work with picks, shovels, and wheel barrows.  The first POWs arrived at Pasay in August 1942.  The work was easy until the extension reached the hills.  When the extension reached the hills, some of which were 80 feet high, the POWs flattened them by hand.  The Japanese replaced the wheel barrows with mining cars that two POWs pushed to the swamp and dumped as land-fill.  As the work became harder and the POWs weaker, less work got done.  This resulted in the brutality against the POWs to increase.
    At six in the morning, the POWs had reveille and "bongo," or count, at 6:15 in detachments of 100 men.  After this came breakfast which was a fish soup with rice.  After breakfast, there was a second count of all POWs, which included both healthy and sick, before the POWs marched a mile and half to the airfield.  Only 50 POWs were allowed to be sick each day, so the healthier POWs carried the weaker POWs between them.
    After arriving at the airfield, they were counted again.  The POWs went to a tool shed and received their tools; once again they were counted.  At the end of the work day, the POWs were counted again.  When they arrived back at the school, they were counted again.  Then, they would rush to the showers, since there only six showers and toilets for over 500 POWs.  They were fed dinner, another meal of fish and rice and than counted one final time. Lights were turned out at 9:00 P.M.

    Delmon came down with an acute catarrh fever which meant he may have had a respiratory ailment.  He was sent to Bilibid Prison and admitted to the hospital on May 24th and discharged on May 27, 1944.  He was returned to the airfield detail until the detail ended.
    On July 3rd, Delmon was returned to Bilibid and admitted to the hospital suffering from osteoarthritis which is bone growth in a joint caused by an injury to the joint.  No date of discharge is shown in the records.
    Of his treatment in the camps he said, "The lower ranking enlisted men were not so bad.  The officers were the tough ones.  If an officer ordered an enlisted man to beat a refused or didn't do it hard satisfactory, the Japs would be beaten just as bad.
    Jap soldiers are treated very harshly by their own officers.  In the Philippines we saw a rookie beaten to death just because he did something wrong while drilling. 
    The food the Japs get isn't so hot either.  While we were working in the galley in the Philippines we got some fish that were crawling with maggots. When we pointed this out, we were told to wash them out and cook them anyway.  No one would know it anyway." 

    Later in July, Delmon was selected to be sent to Japan.  Once at Pier 7, they were boarded onto the Nissyo Maru on July 17th at 8:00 A.M., and the Japanese attempted to put them all in one hold.  When the Japanese realized they could not fit all the POWs in one hold, they opened a second hold.    
    The ship was moved on July 18th and anchored at the harbor breakwater from July 18th to July 23rd.  At 8:00A.M. on the twenty-third, at 8:00 A.M., the ship moved to a point off Corregidor and dropped anchor at 7:00 P.M.   The next morning, the ship sailed as part of a convoy which attempted to avoid American submarines by hugging the coast line of Luzon.
    At 3:00 A.M. on July 26th, one of the ships, the Otari Yama Maru, was  hit by a torpedo from the U.S.S. Flasher which was a part of a three submarine wolf pack made up of the U.S.S. Crevale, the U.S.S. Angler, and the U.S.S. Flasher.  When it exploded the POWs saw the flames from the explosion shoot over the hatch of the hold.  Several other ships were sunk.  The remaining ships in the convoy reached Takao, Formosa, at 9:00 A.M on July 28th.
 
    The convoy left Takao and sailed through a storm from July 30th to August 2nd.  On August 3rd, the POWs were issued new clothes.  At midnight of August 4th, the ship arrived at Moji, Japan, but the POWs did not disembark until 8:00 in the morning.  On shore they were taken to a dark theater until they were broken into detachments for transport to POW camps.
    The POWs were marched to the train station and road a train to
Narumi Camp arriving on August 4, 1944.  In the camp with him were Sgt. Alva Chapman, Pvt. Lewis Wallisch, and Sgt. William Nolan. The POWs in the camp were used as slave labor in the manufacturing of wheels for railroad locomotives.  The Japanese were extremely brutal with the POWs, especially those caught stealing food.   Delmon was lucky enough to be assigned to kitchen duty in the camp.  He recalled that one Navy man was beaten for three days and then put in solitary confinement on a diet of very little water and rice.  He lasted seventeen days and then died.
    The camp was inline with Tokyo, so the POWs watched the B-29s passing over on their bombing missions.  Of this he said, "Their flight was the prettiest thing you ever saw."
    The factory that the POWs worked was attacked by bombers.  Of the bombings, he said, "The locomotive plant in which we worked was first struck by incendiary bombs.  Later it was hit again hit by fire bombs and then by explosives.  That ended all production in the factory, although we were able to continue with repair work.  At first I was firing the boiler after the raids, but after the raids, I was put to work cleaning up the debris."
    During one air raid, one plane he recalled that one plane was having problems.  He assumed it had been hit by enemy fire.  To lighten its load, the plane dropped its bombs.  Of the event he said, "One plane evidently was hit and got into troubles as it dropped its bombs just outside the prison compound.  As we were eight miles from the locomotive factory, there was no target in sight.  The blast knocked down the prison fence and blew out windows but no one was injured."

    After being liberated, Delmon was returned to the Philippines for medical treatment.  During his time as a POW, his weight dropped from 170 pounds to 124.  One of the greatest thrills he got was on the ship.  " After being disinfected and given new clothing, we were served fried eggs. I don't know, but what I ate 14." 

   It was while he was recovering he had a chance to write home.


    "Hello, Mom --- It sure has been a long time since you heard from me hasn't it ---or has anybody else  for that matter.  Well, you old pal is o.k.  and so is Chip. (Bushaw's pet name for Alva.)  He and I have been through a lot together and have a lot to talk over with you. 
    Most of all we keep talking about your egg sandwiches and pie --- so have plenty when we get there.   You don't know how big an appetite we have.  No kidding when we get home , it's going to be ver a good pieve of pie or cake and plenty of coffee. 

    You know how well I like tea --- well, that's what we have been drinking for the past three and one half years.
    I sure hope everything is fine at home and is going good.  We heard in one of your letters that you have moved, but that won't make a difference. 
    Well, I'll have to close soon if I want to get this in the mail. So, 'til I can write more --- so long and lots of love.  Say hello to everybody.  With Love ---Del"


After receiving medical treatment he was returned to the United States on the U.S.S. Gospar arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 12, 1945.  From Seattle, he was sent to Vaughan General Hospital in Hines, Illinois, and given furlough home to Janesville.  He married, Lorraine Wilkinson, remained in the military, and rose in rank to Chief Warrant Officer.  Lorraine passed away in 1977 and in 1978, Delmon remarried. 

    Delmon retired to Odenton, Maryland, on October 31, 1960.  He died on January 13, 1980, in Maryland and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.




 

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