Pfc. George Stanton Garman
Pfc. George S. Garman was
born on October 18, 1917, to Stephen Garman and
Mabel May-Garman. He was raised in Fort
Recovery, Ohio, with his sister and three
brothers. He would later live outside of
Celina, Ohio, and work on the family farm.
On February 5, 1941, he was inducted into the U.
S. Army and sent to Ft.
Knox, Kentucky for basic training.
Being from Ohio, he was assigned to C
Company, 192nd Tank Battalion which had been
an Ohio National Guard tank company.
In the late summer of 1941, George took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. It was after these maneuvers, at Camp Polk, that he learned the battalion was being sent overseas. He received a leave home to say his goodbyes to friends and family.
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.
At Kabu, C Company's tanks were hidden in brush. The Japanese troops passed the tanks for three hours without knowing that they were there. While the troops passed, Lt. William Gentry was on his radio describing what he was seeing. It was only when a Japanese soldier tried take a short cut through the brush, that his tank was hidden in, that the tanks were discovered. The tanks turned on their sirens and opened up on the Japanese. They then fell back to Cabanatuan.
C Company was re-supplied and withdrew to Baluiag where the tanks encountered Japanese troops and ten tanks. It was at Baluiag that C Company's tanks won the first tank battle victory of World War II against enemy tanks. After the battle, C Company made its way south. When it entered Cabanatuan, it found the barrio filled with Japanese guns and other equipment. The tank company destroyed as much of the equipment as it could before proceeding south.
On December 31, 1941, the commanding officer of C Company 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, the company set up it's 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. Lt. 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 it's 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.
The tankers withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after receiving orders from Provisional Tank Group. When they reached the bridge, they discovered it had been blown. Finding a crossing the tankers made it to the south side of the river. Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the Americans took their positions in a harvested rice field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell through the harvested rice. This would cause the rice to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
The tanks were spaced about 100 yards apart. The Japanese crossing the river knew that the Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front of them. The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire.
Lighting the rice stacks, the Americans opened up with small fire. They then used their .37 mm guns. The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill one Japanese soldier.
The tank company was next sent to the barrio of Porac to aid the Filipino army which was having trouble with Japanese artillery fire. From a Filipino lieutenant, Gentry learned where the guns were and attacked. Before the Japanese withdrew, the tankers had knocked out three of the guns.
After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until all the troops were across. The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the Japanese up for a few days. This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.
In addition to serving as a rear guard, the
tankers burnt everything that was being left
behind. They burnt warehouses, banks, and
businesses that would help the Japanese.
The company took part in
the Battle of the
Japanese had lunched an
offensive and were
pushed back to the
line. Two pockets
of Japanese soldiers
were trapped behind the
line. The tanks
were sent in to the
pockets to wipe them
out. One platoon
of tanks would relieve
The tanks would do this
one at a time.
On April 9, 1942, George became a Prisoner of
War when the Filipino and American forces were
surrendered to the Japanese. George took
part in the death march and was held as a POW at
Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan.
shown to the
commander of the
camp, a Lt. Moto,
was called the
because he wore
a spotless naval
He was commander
of the camp for
One day a POW
working on the
Moto was told
about the man
and came out and
ordered him to
When he couldn't
made to carry
the man back to
On July 17, 1944, he was taken to Japan on the Japanese hell ship Nissyo Maru. The ship stopped at Takao, Formosa on July 20th and remained there until July 28th. On that date, it sailed for Moji, Japan. It arrived at Moji on August 3rd.
In Japan, George was held at Fukuoka #3. George and the other prisoners worked in the Yawata Steel Mills. The POWs were given different types of work to do. Some of the POWs were used to push coal carts from the docks to the mill. Other POWs were given to the job of shoveling iron ore and rebuilding the ovens. The POWs were also sent into the ovens to clean out the debris. Since the ovens were hot, because the Japanese would not let them cool off, the POWs worked faster on this detail.
George remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 13, 1945. He was returned to the Philippines for medical treatment and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He returned to the United States on the U.S.S. Storm King arriving at San Francisco on October 15, 1945. George was discharged, from the army, on November 26, 1945.
George married Thelma Jean Schock and lived in Fort Recovery, Ohio. He was the father of four daughters and four sons. George S. Garman passed away in April 8, 1987, and was buried at Saint Mary Cemetery in Ft. Recovery.