Cpl. Gilbert A. Ryman was born in 1914 in Greenwood
Township, Vernon County, Wisconsin, to Ralph C. Ryman &
Minnie Graham-Ryman. With his three sisters and
step-brother, he was raised at 412 North Terrace
Street, Janesville, Wisconsin, and worked as a weaver
in the Rock River Woolen Mills. At some point,
he joined the Wisconsin National Guard.
On November 28, 1940, the tank company was sent to Fort Knox for training as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. It was there that Gilbert learned the necessary skills of a company clerk and became one of the clerks for A Company. It was his job to distribute the company's mail each day. While training there, he became engaged to Devota Buggs the sister of Wayne Buggs of A Company.
Almost a year after arriving in Kentucky, his battalion, the 192nd Tank Battalion, was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers 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 and 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.
The companies of the battalion traveled over different train routes to San Francisco, California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they received inoculations and physicals from the battalions doctors, and 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. During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP spent much of time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KThey arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. While at sea, the ship was joined by the S.S. Calvin Coolidge and the heavy cruiser the U.S.S. Louisville, which was the two transports escort. 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 smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship from a friendly country.
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 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.
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. At all times two members of each tank and half-track crew had to remain with their vehicles. The men received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter Write informed his company that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. The tank and half-track crews were brought up to full strength at their positions around the airfield. At 8:30 A.M., American planes took off and filled the sky. At noon, the planes landed, to be refueled, and were lined up in a straight line, near the pilots' mess hall. The pilots went to lunch.
The tankers were eating lunch when planes were seen approaching the airfield from the north at around 12:45. Many of the tankers counted 54 planes. The planes approached the airfield and watched what was described as "raindrops" falling from the planes. When the raindrops began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.
The members of A Company lived through the bombing
of Clark Field. During the attack, they could
do little since their guns were not made to use
against planes. For some reason,
not known to the tankers, most of the Japanese did
not attack the tanks. The few
that did dropped their bombs between the tanks.
day, company members, not assigned to tanks or
half-tracks, walked around and saw the bodies of
the dead laying everywhere. Some were
pilots who had been caught asleep in their tents
during the first attack,
because they had flown night missions.
Others were pilots who had been killed
attempting to get to their planes.
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.
In early March, the tankers rations were
which meant they
small meals a
March 2nd or
"The Battle of
the Points," the
sent in to
wipe out two
line and were
had landed on
one point, and
them at the
The Japanese on both
points were wiped