Cpl. Wade W. Chio
Cpl. Wade W. Chio was the son
of Joseph Chio & Goldie Bodi-Chio. He
was born on May 30, 1919, on the Howard Farms in
Ohio. He was one of the couple's eight
children. His father was a farmer and
brought all his children up farming. The
family resided on Route 1, County Line Road in
Jerusalem Township, Lucas County, Ohio, and later
It is not known when, but Wade joined the Ohio National Guard in Port Clinton, Ohio. On November 25, 1940, Wade with his tank company was called to federal service when his company was federalized. Upon arrival at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the company was designated C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
Wade with the rest of the company, trained for
almost a year. In the late summer of 1941,
the 192nd was sent to Louisiana to take part in
the maneuvers of 1941. It was on the side
of a hill at Camp Polk, Louisiana, that he and
the other members of the battalion learned that
they were not being released from federal
service. Instead, the battalion was being
On December 31, 1941, Company was sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, Lt. Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag. 2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Bill had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
Kennady's platoon held its fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and then joined in the hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the village, through buildings and under them. By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy tanks.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company
was mined and
about to be
The 192nd held
so that the
frog past it
and then cover
192nd was the
unit to enter
On April 8, 1942, Wade was wounded by shrapnel. The next day, April 9, 1942, Wade and his company received the word of the surrender. On that day he became a Prisoner of War.
It was from Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan that Wade began what became known as the death march. The first five days were the worse days of the march. His hunger pains were extremely bad. After the fifth day, he got use to the hunger. It was not until the twelfth day of the march that he received his first food.
It took Wade sixteen days to complete the march. While he marched, he witnessed Japanese brutality. He was POWs bayoneted because they had attempted to get water from artesian wells. Those who fell to the road were shot. He was beaten twice for not moving fast enough and bayoneted once in the shoulder. In his opinion, the lucky men were the ones who died on the march.
At San Fernando, Wade and the other POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. The POWs were packed in so tightly that the dead remained standing until the living climbed out of the cars at Capas. From there, the men walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino military camp. The camp had only one water faucet for the entire camp. As many as eighty men of day died. The food in the camp consisted of a type of cucumber and rice. Only after receiving red cross packages did the death rate decrease dramatically. Wade made his package last two weeks.
While in Camp O'Donnell, Wade was selected to work the burial detail. He recalled that the high water table made this a difficult job. One day after it had rained, Wade and the other men on the detail came to the cemetery to bury the dead. When they arrived, they discovered that the rain had raised the water table. He recalled seeing arms and legs of the dead who had been buried the day before sticking out of the ground.
To get out of Camp O'Donnell, Wade went out on a work detail to Caluan. This detail lasted three months. At this barrio, Wade and the other men built a bridge to replace the one that the retreating American forces had destroyed weeks before. Wade and the other men were housed in a school. There they slept on the floor.
When this detail ended, Wade was sent to Cabanatuan. This camp was opened, at the site of the former Camp Pengatian which had been a Filipino Army base, to relieve the conditions that existed in Camp O'Donnell. In this camp, Wade worked at the camp farm.
On December 12, 1942, when a work detail to Las
Pinas was organized, Wade was selected for
it. There, the POWs built runways for an
airfield. It is
not known if he went on this detail when the
POWs arrived in August 1942, or if he was a
replacement for a POW who had died or been
sent to Bilibid for illness.
It was also on this detail that Wade came down
with malaria. At one point, he was so sick
that he almost died. Because he couldn't
work, the Japanese decided to punish him.
He said, "They hung me
up with Chinese finger traps. I stayed
up there for hours, out in front of a
Japanese guard house. The next day, I
was so weak I couldn't walk, so they hung me
Wade was still on this detail on September 21, 1944, when American planes appeared in the sky. The planes bombed the runways airfield and sunk ships in Manila Bay. It was after this attack, that the Japanese made the decision to send the prisoners to other parts of the Japanese Empire. The next day, the POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison.
Wade was sent to the Port Area of Manila and inspected. He and 1100 other men were selected to be sent to Japan on the Hokusen Maru. His detachment of POWs was scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru, but since Hokusen Maru was ready to sail and another detachment of POWs had not completely arrived, the Japanese boarded Wade's group of POWs on the ship on October 1st.
The ship moved and
dropped anchor at the harbor's breakwater.
It remained there for three days. On the
ship, Wade was reunited with Harold Beggs and
Virgil Janes of C Company. The Hokusen
Maru was a cattle boat were the POWs were
crammed into a 30 foot by 40 foot hold. To
make things worse, the Japanese covered the
hatch with boards and fastened them down with
chains preventing light and air from getting
into the hold. Wade said, "There were a thousand of
us in a hold, 40-by-40. There wasn't
room to lie down or stand up. You had
to sit, and you defalcated and urinated
right where you sat."
The POWs were fed only once a day. The food was dropped down into the hold with a rope. Wade recalled that water was given out even more infrequently. Since he was near a wall, Wade did not get much food.
Wade became ill and appeared to be dead.
He was hauled out of the hold by rope and taken
to the side of the ship. To make sure that
he was dead, a Japanese soldier threw water on
him before he was thrown overboard. When
he moved, the Japanese took him back to the hold
and threw him into it. Harold Beggs would
help Wade regain some of his strength by giving
his position in the hold to him.
The ships were informed, on October 9th, that American carriers were seen near Formosa and sailed for Hong Kong when it was informed American planes were in the area. During this part of the trip, the ships ran into American submarines which sank two more ships. The Hokusen Maru arrived at Hong Kong on October 11th. While it was in port, American planes bombed the harbor on October 16th. On October 21st, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving on October 24th.
On November 8th, the POWs disembarked the ship and were sent to various camps on Formosa depending on their physical condition. In Wade's case, he was sent to Inrin Temporary Camp which was opened for the POWs. The POWs did light work and gardened. The healthier POWs worked at a sugar mill. Wade and the other POWs spent two months on Formosa before being boarded onto the Melbourne Maru on January 14, 1945, at Takao. The voyage from Formosa to Moji, Japan lasted until January 23rd.
Wade's weight was now down to 87 pounds. He and the other men were taken to Northern Japan to Ashio Camp. He and the other POWs were used as slave labor in a copper mine. It is not known how long Wade remained in the camp. It is known that Wade was sent to Sendai #7. The POWs in the camp worked in a copper mine owned by the Kajima Corporation. He remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 11, 1945.
Wade returned home and was sent to Fletcher Veterans Administration Hospital in Cambridge, Ohio, and was discharged on April 26, 1946. He married Marian Jeremy and became the father of four sons. To support his family, he worked as a sheet metal worker and for General Motors Hydromatic. During the remainder of his life, Wade suffered from post traumatic stress which resulted in him being in and out of the hospital,
Wade W. Chio passed away on November 14, 1998, in Toledo, Ohio. He was buried at Oak Wood Cemetery in Curtice, Ohio.