Dodway

 

Tec 5 Alton M. Dodway


      T/5 Alton M. Dodway was the son of William Dodway & Josephine Wright-Dodway.  He was born in 1919 and raised at 314 Harrison Street in Port Clinton, Ohio.  He had one brother, one sister, two stepsisters, and three stepbrothers.

    Alton joined the Ohio National Guard's tank company which was headquartered in Port Clinton.  The company was being federalized and they needed as many recruits as possible to fill out their roster.

    For almost a year, Alton trained at Fort Knox. He then took part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk.  None of the members of the battalion had any idea why they were there.  On the side of a hill, the members learned they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many men had figured out they were being sent to the Philippine Islands.  Many of the men returned home to say goodbye to their friends and family.  Others, who were too old, were released from federal service.
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
    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.
    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.
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two weeks.  They were than sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.

    C Company was sent to provide protection to a dam against possible saboteurs.  He also traveled north to Lingayen Gulf as C Company attempted to reinforce B Company.

    After months of falling back, Alton and the other members of C Company became Prisoners Of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942.  He and the other soldiers made their way to Mariveles where they began what became known as the death march.

    Alton like the other defenders of Bataan had gone months on inadequate meals.  When he started the march, he was already ill and suffering from dysentery.  He marched for four days when he collapsed from the lack of food and water.  Sgt. Charles Chaffin, Cpl. Howard Wodrich and Sgt. John Andrews managed to get Alton onto a truck.  He rode in the truck all the way to Camp O'Donnell. 

    Once Alton was in Camp O'Donnell, he was put into the camp hospital.  The hospital became known as "Zero Ward."  Most of the POWs who entered the hospital died.  The doctors in the hospital had no medical supplies other than those they had carried in themselves. The Japanese feared the area so strongly that they encircled the building with a barbed wire fence.

    Without proper medical care, T/5 Alton M. Dodway died of dysentery on Saturday, May 9, 1942.  He was buried in the camp's cemetery in Section D, Row 7, Grave 3.  His family learned in August 11, 1944, that the army had listed him as dead, but they did not learn officially of his death until May 31, 1945.

    After the war, Alton's remains were taken to Manila and buried at a temporary cemetery until his family requested that his remains be returned to the United States.  Tec 5 Alton M. Dodway was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Port Clinton, Ohio.  


 

 

Return to Company C

Next