Sgt. Joseph Blum Matheny
Sgt. Joseph B. Matheny was
born in Logan, Ohio, on February 17, 1922.
He was the son of Ervin & Hazel Matheny and
grew up at 72 Hill Street in Logan, Ohio, with his
two brothers. He was known as "Joe" to his
family and friends. His family later moved
to Zanesville, Ohio, and resided at 2530 Oakwood
Avenue. He graduated from Logan High School
While living in Zanesville, he enlisted in the U. S. Army in December 1940 at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio, He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky and was assigned Headquarters Company, 192nd Tank Battalion when it was created in February, 1941.
Joseph attend school at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During this time he rose in rank from private to sergeant. He took part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the late summer of 1941. It was after these maneuvers that he and the rest of the battalion learned the the 192nd was being sent overseas.
Traveling west by train, Joseph and the rest of the 192nd arrived in San Francisco. From there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island. On the island, they were given physicals and received shots for overseas duty.
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On December 8, 1941, the battalion heard that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At 11:45 in the morning, he lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field. For the next four months, he took part in the slowing action to buy time for the United States to rebuild its military forces.
During the Battle of the Philippines, Joseph was assigned as sergeant to one of the tanks assigned to HQ Company. With his tank, he was suppose to provide reconnaissance information for the battalion.
On April 9, 1942, Bataan was surrendered to the
Japanese. Joe and other members of C
Company decided that they were going to try to
escape to Corregidor instead of surrendering to
the Japanese. The soldiers, with other
members of the 192nd, found a boat and were able
to get the engine working. They made it to
Corregidor and were assigned to units on the
The POWs were taken to Bilibid Prison in Manila.
Joseph and the other POWs were later
taken to Cabanatuan. After arriving in the
camp, Joseph was admitted into the camp hospital
on Sunday, June 14, 1942 with malaria. He
remained in the hospital until he was released
on Saturday, August 8, 1942. According to other
records, he was in the hospital again on
September 11th, but no date was given for
discharge. Joseph was readmitted to the
hospital on Monday, September 28th with a
migraine. He was discharged a second time
on Monday, December 7, 1942.
On July 17, 1944, Joseph was put in the hold of the hell ship, Nissyo Maru and taken to Japan. The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa on 27 July 1944. The next day the ship sailed for Japan. It arrived at Moji, Japan on August 3, 1944.
Joseph was taken to Fukuoka Camp #7 which was located near Futase, Japan. The POWs in this camp were used as slave labor in coal mines of the Honko & Shinko Mining Company. In the mines the POWs worked 11 to 14 hour shifts. He remained in this camp until August 15, 1945. On September 21, 1945, Joseph was taken to Dejima Docks in Nagasaki and returned to the Philippines to receive medical treatment.
Joseph was returned home on the Dutch ship the Klip
Fontaine which sailed from Manila on
October 9, 1945. One of the concerns
Joesph and Forest Richeson - also a member of
the 192nd and from Barnesville, Ohio - had was
that they would be considered cowards.
Both were happy to know they were viewed as
heroes. After arriving in the United
States at Seattle, the men were taken to Madigan
Medical Center at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Joseph was discharged on May 20, 1946.
On May 4, 1991, in Memphis, Tennesse, Joseph became the National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. Joseph B. Matheny passed away on November 17, 1993, in Newark, Ohio, and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Zanesville.