Pvt. John Thomas Stanton
Pvt. John T. Stanton was the son of John W. Stanton
and Susie Severine-Stanton. He was born in
Mansfield, Texas, on August 30, 1913, and known as J.
T. to his family. He was one of three
children. When he was two, his family moved to
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. He lived there for the
next 27 years until he was drafted into the U.S. Army
in March, 1941.
John trained at Fort Still, Oklahoma, and then Ft. Knox, Kentucky. He was known as, "Little Stanton" to the other recruits who did basic training with him. After training at Ft. Knox, he was sent with the 753d Tank Battalion to Camp Polk, Louisiana. It was there that John joined the 192nd Tank Battalion which was preparing for duty in the Philippine Islands. According to Andy Aquila, John's name was one of the last names drawn from a hat to be transferred to the 192nd. Peter Pirnat stated, in a letter, that Stanton did not want to go overseas because his mother was ill. The sergeant who could have prevented his transfer did nothing. Upon joining the battalion, John was assigned to Headquarters Company.
John traveled west by train to San Francisco. There, he boarded a ferry and went to Angel Island. He and the other men received physicals and inoculations for duty in the Philippine Islands.
The battalion sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy. They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover. The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands. They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam. When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water. The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day.
About 8:00 in the morning on Thursday, November 20th the ships arrived at Manila Bay. After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked. The tankers rode buses to the train station where they got out and took a train to Ft. Stostenburg. Other battalion members boarded their trucks and drove them to fort north of Manila.
At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King. King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed. He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents. The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived. He remained with the battalion until they had settled in and had their Thanksgiving Dinner.
For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons. They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts. The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
The morning of December 8, 1941, he lived the Japanese attack on Clark Field. He spent the next four months working to supply the tanks with ammunition and gasoline.
On April 9, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni informed the members of HQ Company of the surrender. John and the other men remained in the camp for two days before they were ordered to move out to the road that passed their encampment. As they knelt alongside the road, Japanese soldiers took whatever they wanted from J. T.'s and the other men's possessions.
HQ Company boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles. From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited. As they sat, John and the other Prisoners of War noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.
As they sat there watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer pulled up to the Japanese soldiers in a car. He got out and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail. The officer got back in the car and drove off. The Japanese sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, John was moved to a school yard in Mariveles. In the school yard, they found themselves between Japanese artillery and guns firing from Corregidor and Ft. Drum. Shells began landing among the POWs who had no place to hide. Some of the POWs were killed from incoming shells.
The POWs were ordered to move by the Japanese. J. T. and the other men had no idea that they had started what became known as the death march. During the march he received no water and little food. At San Fernando, he was put into a small wooden boxcar and taken to Capas. From Capas, J. T. walked the last few miles to Camp O' Donnell.
J. T. went out on the bridge building detail that left Camp O'Donnell. The commanding officer of the detail was Col. Ted Wickord of the 192nd. He attempted to fill the detail with members of the tank group. According to Aquila, the work on the detail was hard on J. T. While working on the detail J. T. was crushed to death on August 30, 1942. According to the official U.S. Army report on the 192nd, J. T. died on Monday, August 30, 1942 at approximately 7:30 AM. The telegram received by his parents, stated J. T. died of malaria, but the final report on the 192nd Tank Battalion has J. T. dying of dysentery and a back injury. The report kept by the camp medical staff at Cabanatuan, states that J.T. was admitted to the camp hospital on Thursday, August 13, 1942, suffering from malaria and a back injury.
After the war, the U. S. Army attempted to identify the remains of all Americans who died as POWs. Since John's remains and the remains of the two men he had been buried with could not be separated, it was decided that they would be buried in a common grave.
Having received a request that the remains of one or more of the men be returned to the United States, the men were reburied at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Kentucky. The reason this location was selected was that it was the most centrally located national cemetery. By burying the men there meant that each family would have to travel approximately the same distance to visit the grave.
On February 24, 1950, the remains of Pvt. John T. Stanton, 2nd Lt. George W. Porter and Pvt. Wesley L. Thompson were reburied with full military honors at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. The photograph below shows their grave.