Riese

 

                                  Pvt. Boyd Albert Riese
    Pvt. Boyd A. Riese was son of Ernest and Ella Riese.  He was born on April 3, 1921, in Avon County, Wisconsin.  He was raised at 4321 North Walnut Street in Janesville and attended school there. 

    While Boyd was still in high school, he enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard.  During his senior year of high school, his tank company was called to federal duty as a member of A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  This resulted in his receiving his high school diploma at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

    In late August, the battalion was informed it would take part in maneuvers in Louisiana. During the maneuvers the battalion performed exceptionally well.  After the maneuvers, instead of returning to Ft. Knox, the battalion remained at Camp Polk.  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. 
    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 4th, 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.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
    The 192nd remained at Clark field for about a week before they were ordered to the barrio of Dau so it would be near a road and railroad.  For the next four months, the tankers held positions so that the other units could disengage and form a defensive line.
 

    At Gumain River, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easily seen since they were wearing white t-shirts.  It was there that the tankers found that the Japanese soldiers were high on drugs when they attacked.  Among the dead Japanese, the tankers found the hypodermic needles and syringes.   The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese for several weeks.  
    On another occasion the company was in bivouac on two sides of a road.  They posted sentries and most of the tankers attempted to get some sleep.  The sentries heard noise down the road and woke the company.  Every man grabbed a weapon.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  The tankers opened fire with everything they had.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion. 
 
    On March 2nd or 3rd, during "The Battle of the Points."  The tanks had been sent in to wipe out two pockets of Japanese soldiers who had been landed behind the main defensive line.  The Japanese were soon cut off.  When the Japanese attempted to land reinforcements, they landed them at the wrong place creating another pocket.
 

    Boyd fought for four months before Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  He took part in the death march from Mariveles to San Fernando.  There he boarded a small wooden box car used to haul sugarcane.  The cars were known as "Forty or Eights," since each car could hold forty men or eight horses.  One hundred men were packed into each car.  The dead fell out when the living climbed out at Capas.  The POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    Boyd was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell.  Within days, he volunteered to go out on a work detail to collect scrap metal.  The POWs tied vehicles, that had been destroyed during the retreat into Bataan, together and drove them to San Fernando.  From there, the vehicles were taken to Manila and sent to Japan.

    Boyd came down with malaria at some point on the detail.  He was taken to the Pampanga Provincial Hospital and remained there until July 27th.  When he was released, he was sent to Cabanatuan.  He was next sent to the Port Area of Manila to work on the docks.  The POWs began work on June 13, 1942 and remained on the detail until July, 1944.

    On July 14, 1944, Boyd was boarded onto the Nissyo Maru.  On the July 17th the POWs left Bilibid Prison at 7:00 A.M. but dropped anchor at the harbor's breakwater.  The POWs remained in the holds of the ship and were not fed for almost a day and a half.  Once they were fed, they received two meals a day of rice and vegetables and received two canteen cups of water.  On July 23rd, at 8:00 A.M., the ship moved off a point near Corregidor and dropped anchor.  The next morning it sailed as part of a convoy. 
    During the trip to Corregidor, the convoy ran into a American submarine wolf pack during the night.  SOme POWs reported hearing something bang off the haul of the ship.  It was quickly followed by explosions.  One explosion was so strong, that the POWs saw the flames go over the open hatches.  Four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk.
     The convoy reached Takao, Formosa, at 9:00 A.M. on July 28th, and sailed again at 7:00 P.M.  On their way to Japan, the ships ran into a storm on July 30th which lasted until August 2nd.  It was at this time the POWs were issued new clothes.  The ships arrived at Moji, Japan, near midnight on August 3rd. 
    The next morning, the POWs were disembarked at 8:00 and taken to a theater.  They sat in the dark all day before the Japanese organized the POWs into detachments of 200 men each.  From the theater, the POWs were marched to a train station. 

    Form Moji, Boyd was sent to Kamioka Camp also known as Nagoya #7-B. There he worked in lead and zinc mines.  With him in the camp was Emerson Rex of A Company.  Boyd was liberated at Kamioka in September, 1945.  

    The camp Boyd was sixty miles from Nagaski.  When the atomic bomb was dropped, the camp shook.  It was only after the POWs sent men out to contact the Americans occupying Japan that the camp was liberated.  Upon liberation, he was promoted to sergeant.  He was returned to the Philippines for medical treatment before being boarded onto the U.S.S. Gospher which sailed on September 24th and arrived at Seattle, Washington, on October 21st.  The POWs disembarked were hospitalized at Madigan General Hospital at Ft. Lewis.

    He returned to Janesville and married Alverda Brenden on December 21, 1946.  He was the father of Leslie Ann.  Boyd remained in the military and was assigned to the office of the reorganized reserve corps offices in Milwaukee.

    On Monday, October 24, 1949, after coming home from work, Boyd lapsed into a coma.  He regained consciousness briefly and was taken to Great Lakes Naval Station in Lake County, Illinois.  There, he died never regaining consciousness.  After his death, it was determined he had died from a bacterial infection that he contracted while a POW.

    Sgt. Boyd A. Riese funeral was held in Janesville.  His pallbearers were all members of A Company.  He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville.



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