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
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.
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.