Riese_B

 

                                  Pvt. Boyd Albert Riese
    Pvt. Boyd A. Riese was son of Ernest and Ella Riese and 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, which 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 from September 1st through 30th.  During the maneuvers the battalion performed exceptionally well.  After the maneuvers, instead of returning to Ft. Knox, the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana.  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 S. Patton.  Those members of the battalion who were 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service and replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The 192nd also got the 753rd's tanks.
    Each company of the battalion traveled, over different train routes, to San Francisco, California, and were taken by ferry to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island, where they received inoculations and physicals from the battalion's doctors.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Some men were simply replaced.
   
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam
but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the S. S. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country. During this part of the v 
   When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.    
    At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.

    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents. 
    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 December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
    On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  At 8:30 A.M., American planes took off to patrol the sky against Japanese planes.  At noon, the planes landed, to be refueled, and were parked, in a straight line, outside the pilots' mess hall.
    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.  The tankers had enough time to count two "V" formations totaling in 54 planes.  They saw "raindrops" falling from the planes.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.

    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded was in use.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.   
    The company was sent to the Barrio of Dau, on December 12th, so it would be close to a highway and railroad and protect them from sabotage.  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 so other units could fall back.
 
    On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where 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 but successfully crossed 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 them were the tanks of the 194th which held the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road.  The tanks were asked to hold the position for six ours; they held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.

    While in support of the 194th Tank Battalion, 2nd Lt. William Read was killed on December 30th.  On a road east of Zaragoza, that night, the company was bivouacked and posted sentries.  The sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on them.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion.  To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.
    At Gumain River, the night of December 31st to the morning of January 1st, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts.  The Japanese were taking heavy casualties, so they attempted to use smoke to cover their advance, but the wind blew the smoke into the Japanese.  When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had suffered fifty percent casualties.
    At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese.  Somehow, the tanks were mistaken, by the Filipinos to be Japanese.  The 11th Division accurately used mortars on them.  The result was the loss of three tanks.    
    On January 1st, the tanks of the 194th were holding the Calumpit Bridge allowing the Southern Luzon Forces to cross the bridge toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was attempting to hold the main Japanese force coming down Route 5 to prevent the troops from being cut off.  General MacArthur's chief of staff gave conflicting orders involving whose command the defenders were under which caused confusion.  Gen. Wainwright was not aware these orders had been given.
    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.  It was also in January 1942, that the food ration was cut in half.  It was not too long after this was done that malaria, dysentery, and dengue fever began hitting the soldiers.

    The tanks often were the last units to disengage from the enemy and form a new defensive line as Americans and Filipino forces withdrew toward Bataan.  The night of January 7th, the A Company was awaiting orders to cross the last bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek.  The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge, but the battalion's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until he had looked to see if they were anywhere in sight.  He found the company, asleep in their tanks, because they had not received the order to withdraw across the bridge.  After they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed.
    The next day the tanks received maintenance.  It was the first rest that the two tank battalions had since December 24th.
    While American and Filipino forces were withdrawing from the Pilar-Bigac Line, the battalion prevented the Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting off the withdrawing troops.  The morning of January 27th, a new battle line had been formed and all units were supposedly beyond it.  That morning, the tanks were still holding their position six hours after they were should have withdrawn.  While holding the position, the tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at point blank range, three Japanese units causing 50 percent casualties.   
    On January 28th, the tank battalions 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.
    A Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line after failed offensive.  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, that had been relieved, had left 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, in a circle, and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.

    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. 

   The company's last bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of Marivales and looking out on the China Sea.  By this point, the tankers knew that there was no help on the way.  Many had listened to Secretary of War Harry L. Stimson on short wave.  When asked about the Philippines, he said, "There are times when men must die."  The soldiers cursed in response because they knew that the Philippines had already been lost.
    On April 4, 1942, the Japanese launched a attack supported by artillery and aircraft.  A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano.  This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese.  When General King saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated surrender talks with the Japanese.
    When American and Filipino forces were surrendered on Apirl 9, 1942, Boyd became a Prisoner of War.  He took part in the death march from Mariveles to San Fernando, where 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 and the Japanese closed the doors.  The dead fell out when the living climbed out of the cars at Capas.  From there the POWs walked the last miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    Boyd was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell, but within days of arriving, 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.  He remained on the detail until July, 1944.

    On July 14, 1944, Boyd was boarded onto the Nissyo Maru.  On the July 17th, at 7:00 A.M., the ship moved 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 to a point near Corregidor and dropped anchor.  The next morning it sailed as part of a convoy. 
    During this part of the trip, the convoy ran into a American submarine wolf pack during the night.  Some POWs reported hearing something bang off the haul of the ship which 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, where 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. 

    From Moji, Boyd was sent to Kamioka Camp also known as Nagoya #7-B, where he worked in lead and zinc mines.  With him in the camp was Emerson Rex of A Company.  The camp was sixty miles from Nagaski.  When the atomic bomb was dropped, the camp shook.  The POWs remained in the camp even after hearing that the war was over and receiving food drops.  It was only after the POWs sent men out to contact the Americans occupying Japan that the camp was liberated on September 7, 1945.  Upon liberation, he was taken to Yokohama and returned to the Philippines where he promoted to sergeant.  He received 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, Washington.

    He returned to Janesville and married Alverda Brenden on December 21, 1946, and became 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 and had grown in the valves of his heart.

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



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