Tec 5 Raymond M. Hill

    T/5 Raymond M. Hill was born in March 2, 1921, to George H. Hill & Edith M. Barlass-Hill.  He and his sister spent their early childhood in Harmony Township, Rock County, Wisconsin, until his family moved to 123 South Washington Street in Janesville.  In 1940, his family resided on East Town Line Road in harmony Township, Rock County. Ray attended both grade school and high school in Janesville.

    Ray joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville.  He was working as a truck driver in the fall of 1940, when his tank company was federalized.  Ray traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where his tank company, now A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, was scheduled for a year of training.

    After taking part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the late summer of 1941, Ray and the other members of the battalion learned they were being sent overseas.  Ray came home to say his goodbyes and returned to Camp Polk, Louisiana.

    The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco.  By ferry, they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to join the battalion at a later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam.   At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers. 
    On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times.
    The morning of December 8th, December 7th in the United States, the 192nd was ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field.  A week earlier, they had been given assigned positions around the airfield to guard against enemy paratroopers.  At 8:30, the American planes took off and filled the sky.  They landed at noon and lined up near the mess hall while the pilots went to lunch.    
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north.  The tankers believed the planes were American. As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes.  When bombs exploded on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.    
    After the attack on December 12th, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau to protect a highway and railroad from sabotage.  From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th held the position.

    On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta.  It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno 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.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Reed.  The company returned to the 192nd on January 8, 1942.
    On January 28th, the tank battalions 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.  They also took part in the Battle of the Pockets and the Battle of the Points.

    On April 9, 1942, Ray became a Prisoner Of War when the defenders of Bataan were surrendered.  He and the other members of A Company made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  From there he started what has become known as the Bataan Death March.

    Ray went days without food or water.  When he reached San Fernando,  he and the other POWs were put into a bull pen.  They remained there until ordered to from detachments of 100 men.  They were marched to the train station and packed into small wooden box cars known as 40 or 8s.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese put 100 POWs in each car.  At Capas the living left the cars and the dead fell to the floors.  The POWs walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    Like so many other men, the inadequate diet and lack of medicine took its toll on Ray.  When a new prison camp was opened at Cabanatuan, Ray remained behind at Camp O'Donnell.  The reason for this was he was considered to be too ill to be moved.  This would seem to indicate that Ray was already considered extremely ill.

    On Wednesday, July 22, 1942, T/5 Raymond M. Hill died of dysentery, malaria, and starvation at Camp O'Donnell.  He was 21 years old.   He was buried in the camp cemetery in Section P, Row 3, Grave 7.  After the war, his remains were moved to the American Military Cemetery outside Manila. 



Return to A Company