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, 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.  King remained with the battalion until they received their Thanksgiving Dinner.  After they had their dinner, the general went to have his.
    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.

    The tank battalion 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.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    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.
    The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5.  Doing this would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff. 
    Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River.  Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted.  From January 2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown.  The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
The tank battalions , on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
    B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line.  The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket.  Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
    To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used.  The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank.  As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
    The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole.  The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
    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 9, 1945, Orrie and the other POWs were liberated.  Orrie returned to the United States in October of 1945 and was promoted to staff sergeant.  He married, Corrine Melkus, on June 18, 1948, 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 Arizona in Phoenix.

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