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,
had one brother, one sister, two stepsisters, and
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
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.