| Pvt. J. C.
Garrett was born on November 24, 1915, in Caddo
County, Louisiana, to Charles & Mattie
Garrett. With his two sisters and three
brothers grew up in Panola County, Texas, on the
family farm. He left high school to work on
the family farm.
In early 1941, he was inducted
into the U.S. Army and did his basic training at
Fort Benning, Georgia. There, he attended
school and qualified as a tank mechanic.
After basic training, he was assigned to the 753rd
Tank Battalion and sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana,
in the late summer of 1941.
When the maneuvers ended, the members of
the 192nd Tank Battalion, which did take
part in the maneuvers, remained behind
at Camp Polk. The members of the
battalion 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.
Replacements for the released men were
taken from the 753rd Tank
Battalion. J.C. had his name drawn
and was assigned to B Company of the
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 later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
Hugh L. Scott
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
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, they were greeted by Gen.
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
On the morning
of December 8,
members of B
His tank and
were sent to
About 12:45 in
as the tankers
At first, the
It was only
that they knew
The 192nd remained at Clark
about a week
to the barrio
of Dau so it
would be near
a road and
For the next
so that the
At Gumain River, the tank
companies formed a defensive
line along the south bank of
the river. When the
Japanese attacked the
position at night, they were
easy to see since they were
t-shirts. It was there
the tankers noted that the
Japanese soldiers were high
on drugs when they
attacked. Among the
dead Japanese, the tankers
found the hypodermic needles
and syringes. The
tankers were able to hold up
the Japanese for several
tankers soon found
themselves in given the job
of holding a defensive line
so that the other troops
could disengage and form a
new defensive line further
south. They repeated
this action over and over.
Battle of the
sent in to
line and than
the line after
members of the
ways to wipe
method was to
on the back of
the tanks with
sacks of hand
tank would go
over it and
from World War
I, one out of
The tank was
spun the tank
The tank dug
into the dirt
The night of April 8, 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. On
the march, J.C. carried Abner Humphrey,
D Company, who had been wounded. The
two men remained friends the rest of their
lives. 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 J.C. remained in the camp or went
out on a work detail. The Japanese closed
the camp and moved the healthier POWs to
Cabanatuan. J.C. was sent to the camp when it
After arriving in the camp, J.C. developed
malaria and diphtheria. He was admitted
into the camp's hospital on June 18, 1942.
He remained in the hospital until he was
discharged on February 1, 1943.
J.C. was still in the camp
when names were posted of POWs being sent to
Japan in July 1943. J.C.'s name was on the
list. Trucks arrived at the camp and took
the POWs to Bilibid Prison.
The POWs were marched to the
Port Area of Manila and boarded the Clyde
Maru on July 22nd. The ship sailed
on July 23rd to Santa Cruz, Zambales, Philippine
Islands. Arriving there the same day,
manganese ore was loaded onto the ship.
Three days later, the ship sailed. This
time it was headed for Takao, Formosa.
While at sea, 100 POWs, at a
time, were allowed on deck form 6:00 A.M. until
4:00 P.M. The ship arrived at Takao on
July 28th and remained there until August 5th,
when it sailed at 5:00 A.M. as part of a nine
ship convoy. It arrived at Moji, Japan, on
August 7th, but the POWs remained in the holds
until the next morning when they disembarked and
formed 100 men detachments.
The POWs were marched to the
Moji train station and boarded a train that
departed at 9:30 A.M. on what was a two day
train trip. At 7:30 P.M. the next day,
J.C.'s POW detachment was disembarked at Omuta,
Japan, and marched 18 miles to Fukuoka
#17. Those too ill to walk were
driven by trucks to the camp.
In the camp, the POWs
were housed in 33 barracks that were 16 feet
wide by 120 feet long with a washroom.
The camp was 200 yards wide by 1000 yards
long. In each of the barracks, there
were ten rooms. Each room held four to
six POWs. Around the camp was a ten to
twelve foot high wooden fence that had three
electrified wires. The first wire was
about six feet off the ground.
The POWs were used as
slave labor in a condemned coal mine owned
by the Mitsui
Coal Mining Company but operated by the
Japanese Army. The POWs worked three
shifts. 100 POWs were assigned to work
on each shift for twelve hours in the mine.
Food for the POWs
consisted of consisted of steam rice and
vegetable soup that was made from whatever
could be found. Every other day, when
the POWs did not return from the mine to
eat, they received three buns to each for
lunch in the mine. The best meal they
ever received in the camp was the day the
Red Cross came to the camp. Then, they
were received the most food they ever had in
the camp. This was so the Red Cross
Inspector would give a positive report on
It is not known if J.C.
was in camp or in the mine when the atomic
bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on
August 9, 1945. Those POWs reported
that they saw a marsh-room shaped cloud over
the city. Many believed that American
bombers had hit a major Japanese ammunition
dump. None of the POWs knew that Omuta
had been the primary target for the bomb,
but the B-29's crew chose to continue on to
Nagasaki because of cloud cover over the
Within days, the POWs
were given a day off from work for the
Emperor's birthday. This was the first
day off the POWs had ever received.
They knew something was up when they
received another day off the next day.
One day, George Weller, a
reporter for the Chicago Daily News
arrived at the camp and told the POWs that
American troops were on Honshu. Some
of the POWs, many from B Company, left the
camp and made contact with the troops.
It is not known if J.C. was in the group.
J.C. was liberated in
September 1945 and returned to the
Philippines for medical treatment. He
later returned to the United States on the S.S.
Simon Bolivar arriving at San
Francisco on October 21, 1945. J.C.
was discharged from the Army, but on July2,
1946, he reenlisted. He was discharged
again on July 1, 1950, but this time when he
reenlisted, he transferred to the U.S. Air
Force. He rose in rank to sergeant.
J.C. retired from the Air
Force and returned to Texas. He
married and became the father of two
daughters and a son. On April 18,
1970, J.C. Garrett passed away in Panola
County, Texas. He was buried at Old
Fellows Cemetery in Carthage, Texas.