MahoneA

Pfc. Arthur Glen Mahone


    Pfc. Arthur G. Mahone was born in April 8, 1907, in Arkansas to Eugene G. Mahone and Dolly Mae Peeples-Mahone.  With his two sisters and two brothers, he and grew up in Tennessee, Arkansas, and later lived at 527 South Sixteenth Street in Macon, Texas.  He was known as "Glen" to his family.  Arthur married and was a widower living in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, with his parents and daughter, when he was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 24, 1941, in Oklahoma City. 

    Arthur did his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and, after basic training, was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had been sent there from Ft. Benning, Georgia, but did not take part in the maneuvers that were going on at the time.

    The 192nd Tank Battalion did take part in the maneuvers and was ordered to Camp Polk, after the maneuvers, where they learned they were being sent overseas.  Since the battalion was made up mostly of National Guardsmen the men, who were married or 29 years old or older, were allowed to resign from federal service and replacements for these men were came from the 753rd.  The 192nd also received the M3A1 tanks of the battalion.

    It is not known if Arthur volunteered to join the 192nd, or if his name was selected during the drawing for replacements, but when he joined the 192nd, he was assigned to Headquarters Company.  One of his first duties was, with other members of the company, to make sure that the battalion's tanks, trucks, and jeeps were loaded onto flatcars. 
    The battalion was sent over different train routes to San Francisco, California, and boarded a ferry and taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island where the tankers were given physicals and inoculated.  Some men were replaced while other men were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.

   The battalion sailed from on Monday, October 27th, as part of a three ship convoy, which arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a two day layover.  Most of the members of the battalion received shore leave and allowed to explore the island.  The ships sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th, for Guam, and took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  At one point smoke was seen on the horizon, the escort cruiser revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off after the ship.  It turned out the ship belonged to a friendly nation
    When the ships arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. 
It was during this part of the voyage that the ships, in total blackout, passed an island.  Many of the men believed that this was proof that war was coming.  The ships arrived at Manila Bay, at 8:00 in the morning of Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Manila later the same day.  The soldiers did not disembark until 3:00 P.M. and were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those men who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section of HQ Company remained behind to help with the unloading of the tanks.     
    At the fort, the tankers were met by Colonel Edward King ,who welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.  He remained with the battalion until they had settled in and had their Thanksgiving Dinner.  Afterwards, he went and ate his own dinner.
    On Monday, December 1st, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers.  The 194th Tank Battalion guarded the northern portion of the airfield and the 192nd guarded the southern portion.  At all times, two members of each tank and half-track remained with their vehicles.  Meals were served to the tankers from food trucks.
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the 192nd were called to an office and informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  All members of the tank companies were sent to the airfield.  HQ Company remained behind in their bivouac. 

    All morning, American planes were flying overhead to guard the airfield from attack.  B-17's were loaded with bombs and prepared for an attack of Formosa.  At 12:30 in the afternoon, the fighters landed to be refueled and the pilots went to lunch.

    At 12:45, the soldiers noticed planes approaching the airfield from the north, which they thought were American.  It was only when they saw the bombs dropping to earth and the explosions did the soldiers know the planes were Japanese.  Since they were not equipped to fight planes, HQ Company could do little more than watch. Since HQ Company had no weapons to use against planes, they took cover.  After the attack they saw the carnage that had been done to the airfield.

    The battalion remained at Clark Field until it 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 26th Cavalry.
    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, but they successfully crossed the river.
    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, when the tanks fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan, and at San Isidro, south of Cabanatuan, on December 28th and 29th.  While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was destroyed, but once again, they were able find a crossing over the river.

    The battalion took part in the Battle of the Points from January 27, 1942, until February 13, 1942.  The Japanese had been landed on two points and been cut off.  The tankers were sent in to wipe out these positions.  According to Capt. Alvin Poweleit, the battalion's surgeon, the tanks did a great deal of damage.
    At the same time, there was another battle taking place known as the Battle of the Pockets which lasted from January 23rd until February 17, 1942.  Japanese troops had advanced and been pushed back.  Two pockets of Japanese were cut off behind the battle line.  Tanks from B and C Companies were sent in to wipe out the Japanese in the Big Pocket.  According to members of the battalion, two methods were used to wipe out the Japanese.
    The first method was to have three Filipinos sit on the back of the tank with bags of hand grenades.  As the tank passed over a Japanese foxhole, each man dropped a hand grenade into the foxhole.  The reason this was done was the grenades were from World War I and only one out of three exploded.
    The second method was to have the tank park with one track over the foxhole.  The tank would spin on one track and grind its way into the ground killing the Japanese in the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of the tanks because of the smell of rotting flesh in the tracks. 
   

    The battalion took part in the Battle of the Points from January 27, 1942, until February 13, 1942.  The Japanese had been landed on two points and been cut off.  The tankers were sent in to wipe out these positions.  According to Capt. Alvin Poweleit, the battalion's surgeon, the tanks did a great deal of damage.     At the same time, there was another battle taking place known as the Battle of the Pockets which lasted from January 23rd until February 17, 1942.  Japanese troops had advanced and been pushed back.  Two pockets of Japanese were cut off behind the battle line.  Tanks from B and C Companies were sent in to wipe out the Japanese in the Big Pocket.  According to members of the battalion, two methods were used to wipe out the Japanese.     The first method was to have three Filipinos sit on the back of the tank with bags of hand grenades.  As the tank passed over a Japanese foxhole, each man dropped a hand grenade into the foxhole.  The reason this was done was the grenades were from World War I and only one out of three exploded.     The second method was to have the tank park with one track over the foxhole.  The tank would spin on one track and grind its way into the ground killing the Japanese in the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of the tanks because of the smell of rotting flesh in the tracks.      The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni, HQ's commanding officer, gave his men the news of the surrender.  While informing the members of the company of the surrender, he waved his arm toward the tanks and told the men that they would no longer need them.  As he spoke, his voice choked.  He turned away from the men for a moment, and when he turned back he continued.  He next told the sergeants what they should do to disable the tanks.  During the announcement, Bruni emphasized that they all were to surrender together.   He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and any supplies that could be used by the Japanese.  The only thing they were told not to destroy were the company's trucks.  The men waited in their bivouac until ordered to move.  Somehow, Bruni had found enough bread and pineapple juice for what he called, "Their last supper."

    On April 11th, the first Japanese soldiers appeared at HQ company's encampment.  A Japanese officer ordered the company, with their possessions, out onto the road that ran in front of their encampment.  Once on the road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along the sides of the road with their possessions in front of them.  As they knelt, the Japanese soldiers, who were passing them, went through their possessions and took whatever they wanted from the Americans.  They remained kneeling alongside the road for hours.

    The company finally boarded their trucks and drove to just outside Mariveles.  From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited.  As they sat, the POWs noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them.  They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.

    As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer pulled up in a car in front of the soldiers.  He got out of the car and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail.  The officer got back in the car and drove off.  As he drove away, the Japanese sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.

    Later in the day, the POWs was moved to a school yard in Mariveles and were left sitting in the sun for hours.  The Japanese did not feed them or give them water.  Behind the POWs were four Japanese artillery pieces which began firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum which had not surrendered.  Shells from these two American forts began landing among the POWs, who could do little since they had no place to hide.  Some of the POWs were killed from the incoming American shells.  One group of POWs that tried to hide in a small brick building died when it took a direct hit.  The American guns did succeed in knocking out three of the four Japanese guns.

    The POWs were ordered to move again by the Japanese and had no idea that they had started what became known as the death march.  During the march they received no water and little food.  At San Fernando, they were put into small wooden boxcars, used to haul sugarcane, and taken to Capas.  The cars were known as "forty men or eights," since they could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese packed 100 men into each car and closed the doors.  Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the cars at Capas.  From there, the POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O' Donnell.

    Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino training base that the Japanese pressed into service as a Prisoner of War camp.  It turned out to be a death trap with as many as fifty POWs dying each day.  There was only one working water faucet for the entire camp.  To get a drink, men stood in line for hours.  Many died while waiting for a drink.

    Acknowledging that the conditions in the camp were terrible, the Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.  Arthur and the other healthy POWs were sent to the camp while those too ill to be moved remained at Camp O'Donnell.  He was assigned to Barracks 7, Group 2 at the camp.  It is not known if he went out on any work details.  He remained in the camp until early October 1944, when his name appeared on a list of POWs being sent to Japan.  The POWs were taken to truck to Manila.

    On October 10th, Arthur, with other prisoners, was marched to the Port Area of Manila.  They were scheduled to board the Hokusen Maru, which was ready to sail, but part of the POW detachment had not arrived.  The Japanese switched Arthur's detachment with another POW detachment so the ship could sail.  Arthur's detachment was boarded onto the Arisan Maru the original ship of the second POW detachment.  All of the nearly 1800 POWs were packed into the ship's number one hold which was large enough for 400 men.  The ship sailed and headed south toward Palawan Island, where it dropped anchor in a cove off the island and hid from American planes.  Within the first 48 hours, five POWs had died.

    Along the walls of the hold were wooden bunks.  If a man lay down in one, there wasn't enough space for him to sit up.  Eight buckets served as the POWs toilets, but those who could not reach them simply went on themselves.  Some of the POWs were able to wire the hold's ventilators into its lighting system.  The Japanese had removed the light bulbs, but they had failed to shut off the power.  For two days, the POWs had fresh air until the Japanese discovered what they had done and turned off the power.

    The hold was so hot that the POWs began to develop heat blisters.  Acknowledging that the situation in the hold was extremely bad, the Japanese opened the second hold, which was partially filled with coal, and moved 800 POWs to it.  During the transfer, one POW attempted to escape and was shot.

    On October 20th, the ship returned to Manila and joined a twelve ship convoy, which sailed on October 21st for Takao, Formosa.  On Tuesday, October 24th, around 5:00 pm, the ship was in the Bashi Channel in the South China Sea, off the coast of China.  Some POWs were on deck preparing dinner when alarms and sirens went off, at about 5:50,signaling submarines.  The POWs in the holds began chanting for the subs to sink the ship.  As the POWs on deck watched, the Japanese ran toward the bow of the ship and watched a torpedo pass in front of it.  Moments later the Japanese ran to the stern of the ship as another torpedo passed behind the ship.

    The ship shook and came to a dead stop in thecwater.  It had been hit by two torpedoes amidships killing some POWs. The men in the holds cheered.  The Japanese guards used their rifles as club and hit the POWs, on deck, to get them back into the ship's holds.  After the POWs were in the holds, the Japanese cut the rope ladders into the holds and put the hatch covers on, but they did not tie the covers down.  A short time later, the Japanese abandoned ship.

    Since the hatch covers had not been tied down, some of the POWs made their way back onto the deck.  These men reattached and dropped the rope ladders to the men in the holds who made their way onto the deck.  On the ship's deck, an American major spoke to the POWs, he said, "Boys, we're in a hellva a jam - but we've been in jams before.  Remember just one thing: We're American soldiers.  Let's play it that way to the very end of the script."  Right after he spoke, a chaplain said to them, "Oh Lord, if it be thy will to take us now, give us the strength to be men." 
    For the next several hours, the ship remained afloat but got lower in the water.  The ship's stern, began going under which caused the ship to split in two.  The POWs who could not swim raided the ship's food locker, because they wanted to die with full stomachs.  Others attempted to find anything that would float.  Some POWs swam to other Japanese ships, but they were pushed underwater with poles and drowned or hit with clubs as they attempted to board the ships.

    Three POWs found an abandoned lifeboat that had no oars.  Since the sea was rough, they could not maneuver it to rescue other men.  According to these men, the Arisan Maru sank sometime after dark.  They heard men crying for help, but as the night went on the cries became fewer until there was silence.  The next morning, they pulled two other men into the boat.  Of the nearly 1800 men who boarded the Arisan Maru, only nine survived the sinking.  Eight of these men survived the war.  Pfc. Arthur G. Mahone was not one of them.

    Since he was lost at sea, Pfc. Arthur G. Mahone's name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside Manila.  He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

    A memorial headstone was also placed, by his family, at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chickasha, Oklahoma.  In error, it shows that he died on the Oryoku Maru which was sunk in December 1944.


 

 

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