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, 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.  By ferry, they were taken 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.  They were scheduled to join the battalion at a later date.
   
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   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.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. 
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 the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  His tank and the others were sent to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  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.
   The 192nd remained at Clark field for about a week before they were ordered to the barrio of Dau so it would be near a road and railroad.  For the next four months, the tankers held positions so that the other units could disengage and form a defensive line. 

   At Gumain River, 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 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.   
    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.  On this detail, the POWs 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 a work detail.  The name of the detail is not known, but it is known that the POWs built runways at an airfield.  On the detail, Delmon came down with an acute catarrhal fever which meant he may have had a respiratory ailment.  He was discharged on May 27, 1944,  and returned to the airfield detail.
    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.

    In July 1944, Delmon was selected to be sent to Japan.  He boarded the Nissyo Maru on July 17, 1944, at 8:00 A.M.  The ship weighed anchor, but from July 18th to 23rd the ship sat in Manila Bay waiting for a convoy to form.  It sailed on July 24th at 8:00 P.M. as part of a convoy.
    As the convoy made its way north, it hugged the coastline in attempt to avoid American submarines.  One ship in the convoy was sunk on July 26th at 3:00 A.M.  The other ships made it safely to Takao, Formosa, arriving 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.
 
   In Japan, Delmon was held at the main POW camp at Osaka which was known as Honjo Camp.  Delmon remained in this camp until it was bombed out and destroyed by fire.  He and the other POWs were moved twice.  The last camp he was held at was Narumi Camp.  The POWs in the camp were used as slave labor in the manufacturing of wheels.

    After being liberated, Delmon returned to Janesville.  He married, Lorraine Wilkinson, remained in the military, and rose in rank to Chief Warrant Officer.  Lorraine passed away in 1977.  In 1978, Delmon remarried. 

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




 

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