| Pvt. Thomas H.
Garland was born on April 7, 1919, in Cleveland, Ohio,
to Thomas A. Garland & Bertha Kiser-Garland.
His family resided in Newburgh Heights and later in
Lakewood, Ohio. He left school after completing
his first year of high school.
Thomas was drafted into the U.S.
Army on March 28, 1941, and sent to Fort Knox,
Kentucky, for basic training. After completing
basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana,
where he was assigned to the 753rd Tank
Battalion. The battalion had been sent to the
base from Ft. Benning, Georgia, but it did not take
part in the maneuvers taking place there.
When the maneuvers ended, the members of the
192nd Tank Battalion remained behind at Camp
Polk. Many had no idea why they
were being kept there. What they were
told on the side of a hill was that they were
being sent overseas. It was at this time that
members of the battalion, 29 years old or
older, were allowed to resign from federal
service. Thomas replaced a National
Guardsman and was assigned to B Company.
The battalion traveled west
by train to San Francisco. Arriving
there, they were taken by ferry to Angel
Island in San Francisco Bay. At Ft.
McDowell, they were given physicals and
inoculated. Those men found to
have a minor medical condition were held back
and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L.
for Hawaii as
part of a
at Honolulu on
2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.
did so in
This for many
soldiers was a
sign that they
ships took on
same day for
They docked at
Pier 7 and the
taken by bus
At the fort,
that the men
had to live in
the main road
fort and Clark
He made sure
that they all
he went to
was the date
members of the
expected to be
The grease was
put on the
belts and did
1st, the tanks
Clark Field to
members had to
be with their
tank at all
The morning of
ordered to the
As they sat in
At noon, the
and the pilots
At 12:45, the
they knew the
At 12:45 in the afternoon on
December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on
Pearl Harbor, the soldiers lived through the
Japanese attack on Clark Airfield. That
morning, they had been awakened to the news that the
Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor just hours
earlier. The tankers were eating lunch when
planes approached the airfield from the north.
At first, they thought the planes were
American. They then saw what looked like rain
drops falling from the planes. It was only
when bombs began exploding on the runways that the
tankers knew the planes were Japanese. The
company remained at Clark Field for the next two
battalion received orders on December 21st
that it was to proceed north to Lingayen
Gulf. Because of logistics problems,
the B and C Companies soon ran low on
gas. When they reached Rosario, there
was only enough for one tank platoon, from B
Company, to proceed north to support the
On December 23rd and
24th, the battalion was in the area of
Urdaneta. The bridge they were
going to use to cross the Agno River was
destroyed and the tankers made an end run to
get south of river. As they did this,
they ran into Japanese resistance early in
the evening. They successfully crossed
at the river in the Bayambang Province.
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 tankers were fell
back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on
December 27th, and December were at San
Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th
and 29th. While there, the bridge over
the Pampanga River was destroyed, they were
able find a crossing over the river.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company
crossed over the last bridge which was mined and
about to be blown. The 192nd held its position
so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog
past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The
192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
Over the next several months, the
battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that
were not designed for jungle warfare. The tank battalions, on
January 28th, 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
attempting landings. B
Company also took part in the Battle
of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese
soldiers who had been trapped behind
the main defensive line. The
tanks would enter the pocket one at
a time to replace a tank in the
pocket. Another tank did not
enter the pocket until a tank exited
the Japanese, two methods were
used. The first was to have
three Filipino soldiers ride on the
back of the tank. As the tank
went over a Japanese foxhole, the
Filipinos dropped three hand
grenades into the foxhole.
Since the grenades were from WWI,
one out of three usually exploded.
The other method
to use to kill the Japanese was to
park a tank with one track over the
foxhole. The driver gave the
other track power resulting with the
tank spinning around and grinding
its way down into the foxhole.
The tankers slept upwind of their
tanks from the tanks because of the
The night of April 9, 1942, the
tankers received the order "crash." They
circled their tanks. Each tank fired a armor
piecing shell into the engine of the tank in front
of it. They also opened the gasoline cocks
inside the tank compartments and dropped hand
grenades into the tanks. Most of the company
waited in their bivouac for the Japanese to make
contact, while others attempted to reach Corregidor
which had not surrendered.
After the Japanese made contact
with B Company, the members of the company made
their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of
Bataan. They were now officially Prisoners of
War. At Mariveles, the Japanese took blankets
and other items from the POWs that they could
use. The tankers striped anything from their
uniforms that indicated that they were
tankers. They heard the rumor that the
Japanese were looking for them.
From Mariveles, the tankers made
their way north toward San Fernando. They were
given little food or water. When they arrived
at San Fernando, they were put in a bull pen.
In one corner was a slit trench that was the
washroom for the POWs. The surface of it moved
from the maggots.
The POWs were ordered to form
detachments of 100 men. They were taken to the
train station and packed into small wooden boxcars
used to haul sugarcane. The cars were known as
forty or eights since they could hold forty men or
eight horses. The Japanese put 100 POWs into
each boxcar. Those who died remained standing
since there was no place to fall. At Capas,
the POWs disembarked and the dead fell to the floor
of the cars. The POWs walked the last ten
miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished
Filipino Army training base that the Japanese
pressed into use as a POW camp. There was one
water faucet for the entire camp. Disease
among the POWs ran wild with as many as 55 POWs
dying each day. It is not known if Leonard
remained in the camp or went out on a work
detail. The Japanese closed the camp and moved
the POWs there to Cabanatuan. It is not known
if Thomas went right to the new camp, or if he was
sent to the camp after returning from a work detail.
It is known that Thomas was in
the camp when names were posted of POWs being sent
to Japan. Thomas' name was on the list.
Trucks arrived at the camp and took the POWs to
Thomas remained at Bilibid for a little over a week,
when his name appeared on a roster of POWs being
sent to Japan. The POWs were taken to the Port
Area of Manila and boarded onto the Canadian
Inventor. The ship was given the name of
"The Mati Mati Maru" since it's trip to Japan would
The ship sailed on July 4th but,
after a day at sea, it returned to Manila because of
boiler problems. The ship remained in harbor
for eleven days while the Japanese attempted to
repair the boiler. On July 16th the ship
sailed again. After a few days out at sea, it
once again experienced boiler problems. Since
it could not keep up with the rest of the convoy, it
was left behind to fend for itself. It finally
arrived at Takao, Formosa, on July 23rd. The
ship remained in port while salt was loaded onto it.
On August 4th, the ship sailed
again and made its way along the west coast of
Formosa and arrived at Keelung, Formosa, on August
5th. It remained at Keelung for twelve days
while the Japanese worked on repairing the boiler
again. When the repairs were finished it
sailed o August 17th to the the Ryuku Islands.
Once again it was having boiler problems and repairs
were attempted again.
The Canadian Inventor
made it to Naha, Okinawa, where more repairs were
attempted. The ship finally reached Moji,
Japan, on September 1st. The trip to Japan had
taken 62 days with the deaths of six POWs.
When they disembarked the ship, the POWs were broken
up into to detachments and taken to the train
Thomas' detachment was taken by
train to Omine
Machi. Upon arriving at
the camp, he was given the POW identification number
of 396. The POWs in the camp worked in a coal
mine. This was the Japanese propaganda camp
which meant the POWs were treated a little better
than the POWs in the other camps. When the Red
Cross visited, this was the camp they were taken to
see how the POWs were treated, but they were not
allowed to talk to the POWs.
Thomas was liberated from the
camp on September 15, 1945, and taken to Wakayama,
Japan. There, the former POWs were boarded
onto the U.S.S. Consolation and returned to
the Philippines for medical treatment. When he
boarded the ship, records indicate he was in good
health, but that he was malnourished. In the
Philippines, he was promoted to Tec 3 which meant he
held the rank of staff sergeant.
Thomas was returned to the United
States on the Dutch ship, the S.S. Klipfontein
arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 27,
1945. The men were sent to Ft.
Lewis,Washington, for more medical treatment.
Thomas discharged from the Army
on May 3, 1946. He married and became the
father of two daughters and a son. It appears
his first marriage ended in divorce. Thomas
married a second time in 1956, and that marriage
also ended in divorce. He married Vera M. Cook
on June 16, 1960, and worked as a car salesman at a
Thomas H. Garland died on January
28, 1981, in Cahrdon, Ohio. He was buried at
Chardon Municipal Cemetery.