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
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. 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.
The ship 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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 192nd and part
of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line
the night of December 27th and 28th. From
there they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan
River which they were suppose to hold for as long as
possible. The tanks were
at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28th and
29th serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
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. On
a road east of Zaragoza, on December 30th, the
company was bivouacked for the night and posted
sentries. The sentries heard a noise on the
road and woke the other tankers who grabbed
Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.
As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode
into their bivouac. When the last bicycle
passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on
them. When they stopped firing, they had
completely wiped out the bicycle battalion. To
leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over
As the Filipino and American forces fell back toward
Bataan, A Company took up a position near the south
bank of the Gumain River the night of December 31st
and January 1st. Believing that the Filipino
Army was in front of them allowed the tankers to get
some sleep. It was that night that the
Japanese lunched an attack to cross the river.
As the Japanese
attempted to advance they were cut down by the
tankers. The tankers created gaping holes in
their ranks. To lower their losses, the
Japanese tried to cover their advance with a smoke
screen. Since the wind was blowing against
them, the smoke blew into the Japanese line.
When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had
lost about half their men.
At Guagua, A
Company, with units from the 11th Division,
Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack
against the Japanese. Somehow, the tanks were
mistaken, by the Filipinos to be Japanese. The
11th Division accurately used mortars on them.
The result was the loss of three tanks.
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.
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
American and Filipino forces were withdrawing from
the Pilar-Bigac Line, the battalion prevented the
Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting
off the withdrawing troops. The morning of
January 27th, a new battle line had been formed and
all units were suppose to be beyond it. That
morning, the tanks were still holding their position
six hours after they were suppose to have
withdrawn. While holding the position, the
tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at
point blank range, three Japanese units causing 50
On January 28th,
the tank battalions 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
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
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.
The soldiers were
hungry and began to eat everything they could get
their hands on to eat. The Carabao were tough
but if they were cooked long enough they could be
eaten. They also began to eat horse meat
provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry. To make
things worse, the soldiers' rations were cut in half
again on March 1, 1942. This meant that they
only ate two meals a day.
On March 2nd or
3rd, during the Battle of the Points. The
tanks had been sent in to wipe out two pockets of
Japanese soldiers who had been landed behind the
main defensive line. The Japanese were soon
cut off. When the Japanese attempted to land
reinforcements, they landed them at the wrong place
creating another pocket. Both of
the pockets were wiped out.
The Japanese also
were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantly clad
blond on them. The Japanese would have been
more successful at getting the Americans to
surrender if the picture had been hamburger, since
the men were so hungry that they most likely would
have surrendered for a good meal.
The company's last
bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of
Marivales and looking out on the China Sea. By
this point, the tankers knew that there was no help
on the way. Many had listened to Secretary of
War Harry L. Stimson on short wave. When asked
about the Philippines, he said, "There are times when men must
die." The soldiers
cursed in response because they knew that the
Philippines had already been lost.
On April 4, 1942, the Japanese launched an
attack supported by artillery and aircraft. A
large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat
and descended down the south face of the
volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions
of defenders and left a large area of the defensive
line open to the Japanese. When General King
saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated
surrender talks with the Japanese.
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
"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
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.
know how well I like tea --- well, that's what
we have been drinking for the past three and one
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
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.