Mulholland

Pvt. Orrie Theodore Mulholland


     Pvt. Orrie T. Mulholland was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 5, 1917.  He was one of four sons of David J. Mulholland and Martha Roegner-Mulholland.  His one brother died as an infant.  In 1923, when Orrie was six, his mother died.  His father, attempting to earn a living, placed his three surviving sons in the Illinois Masonic Orphans Home.  The home was located at 441 South Ninth Avenue in LaGrange, Illinois.  Orrie attended Cossitt Grammar School and Lyons Township High School.  After high school, he took agriculture classes through Michigan State University.

    In November of 1940, Orrie enlisted in the Illinois National Guard.  The federal government had established a draft and he wanted to get his one year of military service completed so that he could get a job full time.  In November of 1940, the 33rd Tank Company of the Illinois National Guard was called into federal service and sent by train to Fort Knox, Kentucky.  It was at this time that the company became Company B of the 192nd Tank Battalion.  

    During this training, Orrie trained as a tank driver.  He also learned to operate the other equipment used by the battalion.  In the late summer of 1941, Orrie took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk.  None of the members of the battalion had any idea why they were there.  On the side of a hill, the members learned they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many men had figured out they were being sent to the Philippine Islands.  After receiving 51 new M-3 tanks, the 192nd Tank Battalion was sent to the Philippine Islands.
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
    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  for Guam
on Tuesday, November 4th.  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.

    Orrie, with the other members of the 192nd Tank Battalion, arrived in the Philippines on Thanksgiving Day.  Additional training was promised but came in the form of action against the Japanese invasion forces.  For Orrie, two of the  worst things about combat was diving for the foxholes during the frequent bombings by Japanese planes.  The other was the way his tank shook when the bombing was taking place.  The other members of his crew were Sgt. James Griffin and Pvt. Joseph Wisniowski.

    When the Filipino and American Forces on Bataan were surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, Orrie became a Prisoner of War.  He took part in the death march and felt the endless walking, the hot sun, the lack of water and food all combined to make this one terrible experience. 

    As a POW he was first held at Camp O'Donnell.  Conditions in the camp were so bad that Orrie volunteered to go out on a work detail.

    The work detail's job was to collect scrap metal for the Japanese.  Most of this metal was cars and trucks destroyed by the Americans as they fell back into Bataan.  Since these vehicles could not run on their own, the Americans tied them together with ropes behind a working vehicle.  Then each man drove a vehicle to San Fernando and left them in a large park.  From there, the vehicles were taken to Manila.

    While on this detail, Orrie became ill with malaria.  He also had a sprained ankle.  He was sent to Pampanga and put in a Filipino hospital.  The patients in the hospital were mostly Filipino, Lawrence was one of a number of Americans in the hospital.  The patients were treated well and got all the water they wanted and three meals a day.  There was very little medicine to treat the patients.

    After being released, Orrie was sent to Cabanatuan.  On July 14, 1942, after arriving in the camp, he was hospitalized because he had diphtheria.  It is not known when he was discharged.
    On September 20, 1943, Orrie was sent to Manila and boarded the Taga Maru, The ship sailed for Formosa and stopped at Takao.  It next sailed for Japan arriving at Moji on October 5, 1943.  From Moji Orrie was sent to Himaji, Japan.  He was assigned to Hirohata 12-B about thirty miles from Osaka.

     As a prisoner in Japan, Orrie shoveled coal and ore from ships for the Seitetsu Steel Mills.  He also worked in a tailor shop repairing clothes on a sewing machine, since he had been trained to do this at the orphanage in LaGrange, Illinois.

    The prisoners knew how the war was going through rumors.  Finally, in September of 1945, the Japanese commander of the camp announced to the American prisoners that the war was over and that they were free.  On September 4, 1945, Orrie and the other POWs were liberated.  Orrie returned to the United States in October of 1945.  Orrie was promoted to staff sergeant.  He would marry and become the father of two children.

    Orrie worked for the City of Chicago in its Forestry Department.  When he retired, he moved to Arizona.  Many of the photos in the B Company portion of our website were given to us by Orrie Mulholland.

    Orrie T. Muholland passed away on February 19, 2004, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizonia in Phoenix.


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