Hill_R

 

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 Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men 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 8, 1941, the tanks of the 192nd were guarding the perimeter of Clark Field.  The tankers had received the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Ray and the other men noted the planes approaching the airfield.  When bombs began exploding, they knew the war had come to them.

    For four months Ray with his company fought a long slow withdraw into the Bataan Peninsula.  On April 9, 1942, Ray became a Prisoner Of War when the defenders of Bataan were surrendered.

    Ray took part in the death march and went days without food or water.  He then road a train from San Fernando to Capas.  There he disembarked and 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. 


 

 

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