Cravens_M

 


Pvt. Maynard C. Cravens


    Pvt. Maynard C. Cravens was born on October 16, 1918, in Booneville, Kentucky, to William D. Cravens and Mary Belle Jaaggers-Cravens.  With his sister and two brothers, he grew up in Hart County, Kentucky.  He also had three half-sisters and four half-brothers.  He left school after eighth grade and worked on the family farm until he became a truck driver.
    Maynard was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 21, 1941, in Louisville, Kentucky. and was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training.  It is not known what specific training he received during basic training, but it is known that he was assigned to D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, at that time.  The company had been a Kentucky National Guard Tank Company from Harrodsburg and the Army attempted to fill the company out with men from its home state.     
   
    In the late summer of 1941, the battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and took part in maneuvers there.  It was after the maneuvers that it was ordered to remain at the base instead of returning to Ft. Knox.  The soldiers had not idea why they had been ordered to remain at the fort.  About two weeks later, on the side of a hill, the soldiers were informed they were being sent overseas.  Those who were married or 29 years old or older were allowed to resign from federal service.  Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. 

    On the island the soldiers received inoculations and physicals.  Those found to have minor medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  The battalion traveled west to the Philippine Islands.  There, they were taken to Fort Stotsenburg and housed in tents along the main road.  It was during this time that D Company was attached to the 194th Tank Battalion.
   
The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh  L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th, for Guam. 
    When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila. The remaining soldiers unloaded the tanks from the ship's holds.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.  At this time, D Company was suppose to be transferred to the 194th Tank Battalion, but the transfer was never completed, so the company remained under the command of the 192nd.
    The morning of December 8th, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  During the night, word had been received about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At exactly noon the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. 
To get their lunch three tankers from each tank were allowed to go to the food truck that had been sent to the airfield to feed them.  Most of the soldiers were in line at the truck when they saw planes approaching.  No one was alarmed by this since they did not believe that the Japanese would attack.  It was only when bombs began exploding that they realized they were wrong.
   After the attack, D Company was ordered to Mabalac on Delores Road.  They remained there until December 10th.  They were next sent to Klumpit to look for paratroopers.  While there, they guarded a large bridge from saboteurs.   

    On December 13th, the tankers were moved 80 kilometers to do reconnaissance and guard beaches.  They remained there until December 23rd, when they were sent 100 kilometers north to Rosario to assist the 26th U. S. Cavalry because the defensive lines had broken.

   
    Christmas Day, the tankers spent in a coconut grove.  As it turned out, the coconuts were all they had to eat. 
From Christmas to January 15, 1942, both day and night, all the tanks did was cover retreats of different infantry units.  The tanks were constantly bombed, shelled, and strafed.   

    The tankers were next assigned to guarding the Bataan and Cabcaban Airfields.  They also guarded against beach landings and paratroopers.  They would continue this duty until April 7th.  On April 8th, the tankers were sent Trail 10 and Mount Samat.  The lines had broken.  They fought there until receiving the news of the surrender.     
    During the withdraw from the Abucay-Hacinda Road, the tankers were ordered to hold a position as long as possible.  If a tank was disabled, its crew was to continue fighting until it became apparent that they had to abandon their tank.  The crew was than to abandon the tank after destroying it. 

    The morning of April 9th, about 6:45 in the morning, the tankers received the order "crash."   They destroyed their equipment and tanks.  Spome of the members of the  D Company took off for the hills but were picked up later by the Japanese.  Maynard was one of sixteen members of the company that escaped to Corregidor.

    After arriving on Corregidor, Maynard volunteered to be sent to Ft. Drum.  He remained there until Corregidor surrendered on May 6, 1942.  The prisoners were sent to Corregidor and held on the beach for two weeks before being by barge to a point off Bataan.  From there, they were march ed to Manila and Bilibid Prison.  It known that he was held as a POW at Cabanatuan and remained in the camp until late July 1943.
    At that time, Maynard was one of the POWs selected to go to Japan and taken by train to Manila.  On July 23, 1943, the Clyde Maru sailed from Manila and arrived at Zambales the same day to load manganese ore.  It remained in port for three days before sailing again on July 26th. 
    During this part of the trip 100 POWs were allowed on deck at a time from 6:00 A.M. until 4:00 PM. each day.  The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, on July 28th and remained in port until August 5th when it sailed as part of a nine ship convoy.  The ship arrived at Moji, Japan, on August 7th but the POWs did not disembark until the next morning.
    The POWs were taken by train to the Fukuoka area.  From there, they were taken to
Fukuoka Camp #17.   The camp had a ten foot high wooden fence around it with three electrified wires at the top.  Fifty POWs were assigned to each barracks which were 20 feet wide and 120 feet long and were divided into ten rooms.  Four to six POWs shared a room.  The POWs in the camp worked in a condemned coal mine. 
    As a POW, this was the worse camp to be held at since the stronger preyed on the weaker.  While he was in the camp Lieutenant Commander Edward Little turned in Marine Cpl. James Pavlokas.  Cravens said, "I knew Pavlokas well. Pavlokas was in my section.  He was turned over to the Japanese.  The first time in September 1943, he spent 15 days in the guardhouse.  The second time, time two months later, he lasted 38 days - until he died. He wasn't allowed water or food or even bedclothes."

    About a year later, another POW, Pvt. William H. Knight, was turned in to the Japanese by Lt/Cdr. Little, "After they put Knight in the guardhouse, we heard licks being given to him.  He lasted five days."
 
   Scams were run, by POWs, to get the money from other POWs.  One, which was run by another member of the 192nd, was so successful that the Japanese shut it down.  POWs traded their food for cigarettes and referred to as future corpses. 
    One morning, the POWs got up for work and were told it was a holiday.  This was the first holiday they ever had in over three years.  The next day the POWs were told the same thing.  They were called together and told that the war was over.
    American planes appeared over the camp and dropped food, clothes, and medicine.  One day, George Well, a reporter for the The Chicago Daily News came to the camp and told the POWs that Americans were on the island.  Some POWs, including many members of the 192nd who were in the camp, left the camp to find the Americans.  It is not known if Marvin was one of them.

    Maynard was taken to the Dejima Docks in Nagasaki and boarded a transport, on September 21st, 1945, that returned him to the Philippines.  He received medical treatment there and was promoted to staff sergeant.  When he was healthy, he was returned to the United States and was not discharged until November 5, 1946.  It is known that he married Marie Garcia and was the father of a daughter.
    In 1951, Maynard was admitted to the Veterans Administration hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.  According to medical records, Maynard Cravens passed away at the hospital on August 30, 1951, from tuberculosis which he most likely developed while a POW.
    Maynard C. Craven was buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, in Louisville, on September 1, 1951, in Section C, Site 636.


 

Return to D Company

Next