|Tec 5 James Thomas MorAN
T/5 James T. Moran was born on
September 20, 1914, in Columbus, Ohio, to John H.
Moran and Margaret J. Davies-Moran. With his
sister and two brothers, he was raised at 930 East
Oak Street, Columbus, Ohio. He
graduated from high school and worked as a truck drive
for a retail radio store.
James was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 22, 1941, at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio. He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for basic training and assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. The reason why this was done was the company had been an Ohio National Guard Tank Company from Port Clinton, and the Army was attempting to fill-out the company with men from Ohio. He also attended tank mechanic school and qualified as a mechanic.
In the late summer of 1941, the tank battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers. During the maneuvers the battalion, which was part of the Red Army broke through the Blue Army's defenses. They were about to capture the Blue Army's headquarters when the maneuvers were cancelled. The commanding officer of the Blue Army was General George S. Patton.
After the maneuvers the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft. Knox. On the side of a hill, they were informed that they were being sent overseas as part as operation "PLUM." Within hours, many of the soldiers had figured out that PLUM stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila. Those men 29 years or older were allowed to resign from federal service and replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion. The battalion's M2A2 tanks and it's scout cars were replaced with M-3 tanks and half-tracks.
The battalion traveled west over different train routes and arrived in San Francisco. They were taken by ferry to Angel Island where they given physicals and inoculated. Anyone who had a medical condition was replaced or held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
The battalion sailed 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 October 29th 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 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier. The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield.
All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north. The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes. When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese. After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two weeks. They were than sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.
For the next four months, the tankers held positions so that the other units could disengage and form a defensive line. They repeated this maneuver over and over again. Jim's job was to keep the tanks running. The mechanics often had to cannibalize a disabled tank to do this.
On April 7, 1942, the Japanese broke through the east side of the main defensive line on Bataan. C Company was pulled out of their position along the west side of the line. They were ordered to reinforce the eastern portion of the line. Traveling south to Mariveles, the tankers started up the eastern road but were unable to reach their assigned area due to the roads being blocked by retreating Filipino and American forces.
The morning of the April 9, 1942, at 6:45 the tankers received the order "crash" and destroyed their tanks. When the Japanese made contact with them, they were ordered to Mariveles where they started the death march.
From Mariveles, the members of C Company made their way north along the east coast of Bataan. The first five miles of the march the were more difficult since the march was uphill. The POWs also were denied food and received little water. Those who attempted to get water from the artesian wells that flowed across the road were often killed.
When the POWs reached San Fernando, they were put into a bull-pin. In one corner, was a trench that was used as a toilet by the POWs. The surface was alive with maggots.
At some point, the POWs were organized into detachments of 100 men, marched to the train station at San Fernando, and packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane. The cars were known as forty or eights. This was because each car could hold forty men or eight horses. Since the detachments were made up of 100 men, the Japanese packed 100 POWs into each car. The POWs who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas.
The POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell. The camp was an unfinished Filipino training base which was put into use by the Japanese as a POW Camp. There was only one water spigot for the entire camp. The POWs had to stand in line for hours to get a drink. The guards often turned off the water because they could.
Disease began to run wild among the POWs. Since the medical staff had no medicines, they could do little to help the sick. As many as 50 POWs died each day. While he was a POW in the camp, Jim came down with dysentery. The death reached the point that the Japanese realized they had to do something to lower it, so they opened a new camp at Cabanatuan. The healthier POWs were sent to the camp. Jim remained behind at Camp O'Donnell.
According to the final report on the 192nd Tank Battalion, which was written by 1st Lt. Jacques Merrifield after the war, Tec 5 James T. Moran died of dysentery at Camp O'Donnell on June 22, 1942., and buried in the camp cemetery in Section O, Row 2, Grave 9.
After the war the U.S. Renains Recovery Team positively identified the remains of Tec 5 James T. Moran. He was post-humorously promoted to sergeant. At the request of his family, his remains were returned to Columbus and buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.