Marrs

 

Pvt. LD Marrs


    Pvt. LD Marrs was born on March 28, 1917, in Taylor, Texas, to William Clarence & Bertha Ellen Cornell Marrs.  His parents named him "LD".  He was known as "Red" to his family and friends.  With his four brothers and sister, he grew up and worked on the family farm,  On January 15, 1941 he was inducted into the at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. 
    He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  After basic training he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana where he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.  It was during this time that he volunteered to join the 192nd Tank Battalion which had been ordered overseas.  LD replaced a National Guardsman who was either married or considered "too old" for overseas duty.
    LD was assigned to the tank of S/Sgt. Walter Mahr.  With LD in the crew, were Sgt. Ray Mason and Pvt. Quincey Humphries.  
    Traveling west from Camp Polk, the 192nd made its way to San Francisco.  They were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  On the island, they were given physicals and  inoculations before being sent to the Philippine Islands.

    The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th, for Guam.  When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King 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.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
  
    The morning of December 8, 1941 LD and his battalion learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just ten hours earlier.  They were ordered to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  All morning as they stood guard, American planes filled the sky.  At 12:30 the planes landed and their pilots went to lunch.  B-17s, which had been loaded with bombs, sat on the runways awaiting orders to take off to bomb Formosa.
    At 12:45, the sky was again filled with planes, this time the planes were Japanese.  Bombs began exploding on the runways.  The wounded and dead were everywhere.  LD did and the other tankers could do little more than watch since their weapons were of no use against planes.  After the attack he witnessed the devastation caused by the attack.
    On December 21st,  the tanks of B Company were ordered north to the Linganyen Gulf Area were the Japanese had begun landing troops.  The first tank battle of World War II involving American tanks took place the next day.
    The tankers often found themselves performing the rile of rear guard to allow the infantry to disengage and withdraw.  It was in this role on December 29, 1941, that LD's tank had a track blown off it by the Japanese.  The crew was trapped in the tank.  The Japanese ordered them out of the tank.  LD, Pvt. Quincey Humphries, Sgt. Ray Mason, and S/Sgt. Walter Mahr came out of their tank expecting to be taken as Prisoners of War.  Instead, they were ordered to run by the Japanese.
    The members as the tank crew ran toward their own lines.  The Japanese opened fire on them with a machine gun.  Sgt. Mason was killed instantly.  Mahr, Humphries, and LD were wounded but made it to the sugarcane field and hid.
    The next morning, American and Filipino troops retook the area.  S/Sgt. Mahr was found in the field and taken to a field hospital.  LD and Humphries were not found and listed as Missing in Action.
    LD was not heard of again until other members of his battalion were sent to Bilibid Prison in Manila as Prisoners of War.  When they arrived, LD was already a POW there.
    During his time as a POW, LD was held at Bilibid Prison until sent out on a work detail.  He worked on the Port Area Detail at Manila from June 13, 1942 until July 17, 1944.  On this detail, the POWs loaded and unloaded ships for the Japanese.
    On July 17, 1944 LD boarded the Nissyo Maru.  This transport carried American POWs in its holds to Japan.  The ship sailed on July 17th and arrived at Takao, Formosa on July 27th.  It sailed the next day for Moji, Japan arriving there on August 3rd.
    In Japan, LD was held at Kamioka Camp.  The POWs, from this camp, were used as minors in zinc and lead mines.  He would remain there to the end of the war.
    LD was liberated in September 1945 and returned to the Philippines for medical treatment.   On the U.S.S. Yarmouth, he returned to the United States on October 8, 1945, at San Francisco.  When he returned home, he married Willa Rae Ware.  The couple had a son and a daughter.  LD remained in the military for another 26 years as a member of the U.S. Air Force.  He retired on June 30, 1965.  After he retired, he moved to Sherman, Texas.
    On July 15, 1993, LD Marrs passed away in Sherman, Texas.  He was buried in Section  P  Lot  217 in the Veterans Field of Honor at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park in Sherman, Texas.



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