Pvt. Obie Cloyce Richardson
| Pvt. Obie C.
Richardson was born on December 28, 1915, in Quitman,
Texas, to James H. Richardson & Elma May
Johnston-Richardson. With his four sisters and
four brothers, he grew up in Wood County, Texas.
He was called "Cloyce" by his family and
friends. He left high school after his third
year and moved to Houston. While living in
Houston, he worked in a drugstore as a clerk.
Cloyce was drafted and inducted into the Army on March 20, 1941, in Houston, Texas. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. After basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and became a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion. The 753rd had been transferred to the base in the late summer of 1941.
While the 753rd was at Camp Polk, maneuvers were taking place, but the battalion did not take part in them. After the maneuvers, the 192nd Tank Battalion was ordered to remain at the base. None of the members had any idea why they were being kept there.
On the side of a hill, the battalion members were informed that they were being sent overseas. They were told that this decision had been made by General George Patton. Those members of the battalion who were 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service. Replacements for men who had been released from federal service came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. One of those replacements was Cloyce.
The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco. By ferry, they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they received inoculations and physicals. Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island. They were scheduled to join the battalion at a later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy. They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island. On Tuesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam. At one point, the ships passed an island at night. While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way. When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables. The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th. They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King. The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield. He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons. The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea. They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. His tank and the others were sent to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north. At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American. They even had enough time to count that there were 54 planes. It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
After the attack, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a highway and railroad. From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River. There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th held the position.
On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta. It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River after the main bridge had been destroyed. 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 ships were informed, on October 9th, that American carriers were seen near Formosa and sailed for Hong Kong when it was informed American planes were in the area. During this part of the trip, the ships ran into American submarines which sank two more ships. The Hokusen Maru arrived at Hong Kong on October 11th. While it was in port, American planes bombed the harbor on October 16th. On October 21st, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving on October 24th.
On November 8th,
the POWs were disembarked. The Japanese
had decided they were too ill to continue the
trip to Japan. Once on land, the POWs were
taken to a school which the Japanese designated
as Toroku Camp.
Many of the POWs were in such poor condition
that the Japanese did not require them to
perform hard work. They did gardening and
other chores. A few of the POWs worked at
a sugarcane mill.