Teal

 

Sgt. Forrest Faye Teal 


    Sgt. Forrest F. Teal was born on March 18, 1913, to Seth E. Teal & Golda E. Storer-Teal in Shawano County, Wisconsin.  By 1920, his family had moved to Janesville where he resided at 203 South Cherry Street in Janesville, with his seven brothers and three sisters.  He attend Janesville schools but did not attend high school.  It is known that worked at the Warner Brake Plant in Beloit.

    In 1935, Forest joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company in Janesville.  On his time in the National Guard, he rose in rank.  On November 28, 1940, Forrest went with the tank company to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for one year of military service.  There, with National Guard Companies from Maywood, Illinois, Port Clinton, Ohio, and Harrodsburg, Kentucky, they formed the 192nd Tank Battalion.         
    A typical day for the soldiers started in 6:15 with reveille, but most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress.  Breakfast was from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M., followed by calisthenics at 8:00 to 8:30.  Afterwards, the tankers went to various schools within the company.  The classes consisted of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistol, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.   
   At 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess which was from noon to 1:00 P.M.  Afterwards, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13th, such as: mechanics, tank driving, radio operating.   At 4:30, the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms and at five held retreat and followed by dinner at 5:30.  After dinner, they were off duty and lights were out at 9:00 P.M., but they did not have to turn in until 10:00 when Taps was played.  On January 13th, the soldiers were assigned to specialized schools.  In Forrest's case, he trained as a radio man.

    In the late summer of 1941, Forrest participated in maneuvers in Louisiana with the battalion from September 1st through 30th.  It was at the end of the maneuvers at Camp Polk that he and the other members of the battalion learned that they were being sent overseas.  Forrest was 28 years old, which made him one year too young from being released from military service.

    Forest was given a furlough home to take care of unfinished business and say goodbye to family and friends.  During the furlough, he married Veronica Ryder on October 11, 1941.  His wife gave birth to a son, Francis Anthony Teal in July 5, 1942.

    Forest returned to Camp Polk and after the battalion's equipment was loaded onto train cars, traveled west to San Francisco, California.  On Angel Island, the tankers were given physicals and inoculations by the battalion's medical detachment.  Those determined have minor health issues were held 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. A. T. 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.   They 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.     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.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship 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.
Durin

    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 as they prepared to take part in maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.

    On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  They remained there off and on for several days.  At all times, two crew members remained with the tanks. 

    On December 8, 1941, ten hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Forrest lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  As tankers sat at their tanks, the sky above them was filled with American planes.  At noon, the planes landed and two crew members were allowed to go to a food truck to get lunch.
    The tankers who manning their tanks watched as two formations, totaling to 54 planes, approaching the airfield from the north.  Many believed the planes were American until they saw what looked like raindrops falling from the then.  When the raindrops began exploding on the runways, the soldiers knew the planes were Japanese.  Most of the tankers fired at the planes with their tanks' .50 caliber machine guns.

    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 else that could carry the wounded was used.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.

    That night, the tankers lived through several more air raids.  Most slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their tents.  They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed for the next three and one half years.    
    The company was sent to the Barrio of Dau, on December 12th, 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, where they 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 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.
   
A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Reed.  The company returned to the 192nd on January 8, 1942.
    The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to a line from on the night of December 27th and 28th.  From there they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan River which they were suppose to hold for as long as possible.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga on December 30th.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.  That night on a road east of Zaragoza, the company was bivouacked for the night 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 the 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.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.
    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.        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    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 company returned to the command of the 192nd on January 8, 1942.
    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 suppose to be beyond it.  That morning, the tanks were still holding their position six hours after they were suppose to 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.  After attempting one landing which failed, the Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting more landings.
    A Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese troops who had been trapped behind the main defensive line.  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 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 and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
    The company also took part in the Battle of the Points.  The Japanese attempted to land Marines on a point behind the main battle line.  The troops quickly became trapped.  When they attempted to land additional troops, they landed them in the wrong place which resulted in a second pocket of cut off troops.  The tanks were involved in the wiping out of the troops.

   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 an 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.    Forrest and the other members of A Company received the order "crash" at 6:45 the morning of April 9th.  They circled their tanks and fired a armor piercing round into the engine of each tank.   It was on this day that Forest became a Prisoner of War.

    Forrest took part in the death march from Mariveles north to San Fernando.  From there, the POWs were put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane.  Each car could hold forty men, but the Japanese packed 100 POWs into each one.  Those who died remained standing until the living left the boxcars at San Fernando. 
    As a POW, Forrest was first held at Camp O'Donnell.  Shortly after arriving there, he volunteered to go out on a work detail to collect scrap metal.  Other members of A Company on the detail with him were Lewis Wallisch, Dale Lawton, Ken Schoeberle, James Schultz and Phil Parrish.  After arriving back at Mariveles, the men were taken to Calauan to rebuild a bridge.  There, they were joined by Joe McCrea and Bill Nolan.

    On this detail, Forrest and the other men were taken to Batangas and then Candeleria.  The treatment they received got worse the longer that they were on the detail.  When the detail ended, the men were sent Cabanatuan #1.

    On October 26, 1942, the Japanese selected POWs from Cabanatuan for a work detail to the Island of Mindanao.  Forrest was selected for the detail.  The POWs were sent by train from Cabanatuan to Manila.  They were held in Bilibid Prison for two days before being boarded onto the Erie Maru.  The ship sailed on October 28th and arrived at Lasang, Mindanao, on November 7th.  The trip to Lasang took ten days because the ship made stops at Iloilo and Cebu, Mindanao.  Forrest arrived on the Island of Mindanao and was one of 650 POWs who built an airfield at Lasang, while 100 POWs built an airfield south of Davao.

     At the camp, the POWs were housed in eight barracks that were about 148 feet long and about 16 feet wide.  A four foot wide aisle ran down the center of each barracks.  In each barracks, were eighteen bays for sleeping.  Twelve POWs shared a bay.  216 POWs lived in each barracks.  Four cages were later put in a bay.  Each cage held two POWs.

    The camp discipline was poor, and the American commanding officer changed frequently.  The junior officers refused to take orders from the senior officers.  Soon, the enlisted men spoke anyway they wanted to, to the officers.  The situation improved because a majority of POWs realized that discipline was needed to survive. 

    At first, the work details were not guarded.  The POWs plowed, planted, and harvested crops.  The sick POWs made baskets since they could not farm.  In April 1943, the POWs working conditions varied, with those working the rice fields received the worst treatment.  They were beaten for not meeting quotas, and misunderstandings between the POWs and guards took place because of a translator who could not be trusted to tell the truth.

    One night the POWs heard the sound of a plane; it was the first American plane they had heard in over two years.  As the plane dove on the airfield it dropped four bombs at the far end of the runway.  The POWs celebrated silently, and some men even had tears in their eyes. 

    Over the next two weeks, the atmosphere at the airfield changed.  The Japanese posted guards with bayonets on their rifles by the POW barracks as air raids became daily.  The Japanese camouflaged the airfield and hid their planes in revetments.  The POWs heard rumors that the Americans had landed in the Palau Islands to the east of the Philippines.  Some of the POWs were sent to Manila, on June 6th, while the remainder of the men remained on the island until August 19, 1944.

    During this time, the POWs rations were cut to a single cup of rice a day.  The POWs were now so hungry that they raided the Japanese garbage pile for remnants of vegetables.  Many ate the weeds that grew inside the camp until it was bare.

    Air raids soon were nightly events.  Japanese planes flying out of the airfield were loaded with bombs and carried extra gasoline tanks.  Finally, all work on the airfield was stopped.

    On that day, the POWs were lined up by fours.  The outside men had rope tied to their wrists, and to each other, to prevent escape.  They were marched shoe-less to the Tabunco Pier and arrived at noon.  Not long after arriving, they were packed into the two holds of the Erie Maru.  400 POWs were put in the first hold while the remaining 350 POWs were put in the second hold.  In addition, several tons of Japanese baggage were packed into the hold.  Around six that evening, the ship sailed.

    As the ship made its way north it swayed in the waves, andmany of the prisoners became seasick.  They retched when they tried to throw up since there was no food in their stomachs.  The next day, the POWs heard the sound of a plane, and watched as an American plane flew over the ship.  Moments later bombs exploded near the ship which rocked from the explosions, and the sound of machine gun fire was heard by the POWs.  The Japanese once again tied down the hatch covers cutting off the air.  Over the next three days, there were several more alerts.  Each time the hatch covers were battened down leaving the POWs in darkness.

    The ship arrived in Zamboanga, on August 24th, where it waited for ten days until the Shinyo Maru arrived.  The POWs were not allowed out of the holds and the conditions in the ship's holds were terrible.  The holds were hot and steamy and the floors were covered with human waste.  In addition, the longer the POWs were in the holds the stench became worse.  To relieve the situation, it was during this time, that the POWs were allowed on deck and sprayed with salt water.

    It should be noted that the United States had intercepted the order from Japanese command sending the Shinyo Maru to Zamboanga.  The order was misinterpreted as saying the ship would be transporting "750 military personnel" instead of "750 military prisoners" to Manila.  The U.S.S. Paddle, with other submarines, was sent to the area to intercept the ship.  The United States Navy would acknowledge this mistake in December 1945.

    On September 4th, the POWs were transferred onto the Shinyo Maru.  250 POWs were put in the ship's smaller hold, while the 500 POWs were put into its larger hold.  That night, bombs from American planes, landed alongside of the ship rocking and shaking it.  The POWs prayed for the ship to be hit.

    The ship sailed on September 5th at 2:00 A.M., but, before it sailed, the hatch covers were secured so that the POWs could not lift them from below.  The ship headed north in a zigzag pattern in an attempt to avoid submarines.  The ship was now part of a convoy designated as C-076. 

    The POWs were no longer allowed on deck.  Their lips and throats were covered with dust from cement that had previously been hauled by the ship.  For the next two days the ship made good time.  It was at this time that the Japanese guards threatened to kill the POWs if the ship came under attack by American planes.  Since the POWs had not heard any air raid alerts, they assumed that they were safe.

    At 7:37 p.m., on Thursday, September 7, 1944, the U.S.S Paddle spotted the convoy off the west coast of Mindanao at Sindangan Point.  It fired two torpedoes at the Shinyo Maru.  The first torpedo hit the ship in its main hold; moments later, a second torpedo hit the ship.  The explosion killed a large number of POWs and Some of the POWs were blown out of the hold and into the water.  There was a gaping hole in the ship's side.  Those POWs still alive saw the bodies of the dead floating in the water as the hold filled with water. 

    The surviving POWs found that the hatch cover had been blown off the hold by the explosion.  As the water level rose, they were able to climb out.  Seven Japanese officers were on the bridge with rifles.  As the POWs emerged from the hold, they picked them off as they climbed out.  The lucky POWs made it through their fire and dove into the water.

     The POWs in the smaller hold were also wounded from the torpedo hits.  But, the hold remained dry.  Many of these POWs also were able to make it onto the deck and attempted to swim to shore.  As they swam, they were fired upon by the same seven Japanese officers.

    According to the POWs in the water, the Shinyo Maru began to capsize.  There was a tremendous crushing sound and the ship seemed to bend upward in the middle and split in two.  It then sank into the water.

    Japanese seaplanes  dropped depth charges in an attempt to sink the American submarine.  The one good thing about the depth charges was that they kept sharks away from the POWs.        When the pilots spotted the POWs in the water, they strafed them.  The planes stopped strafing when they realized that there were also Japanese soldiers in the water with the POWs. 

    A Japanese tanker, that had been hit by torpedoes, spilled oil and gasoline into the water, and was intentionally run aground.  The Japanese quickly set up machine guns on its bridge and fired on the POWs in the water.  Boats from the other ships in the convoy attempted to hunt down the POWs.  If they found a man, they shot him.  What saved many lives was that with dusk it became harder for the Japanese to see the POWs. 

    The Japanese announced to the Americans that if they surrendered that they would be treated with compassion.  About 30 men gave up after hearing this.  According to one man who escaped after surrendering, the POWs had their hands tied to the ship's rail, and a Japanese officer shot each POW in the back of the head.  They then pushed the bodies overboard.

   Of the 750 POWs who were boarded onto the Shinyo Maru, 82 POWs escaped. One man died on shore while the remainder of the POWs were rescued by Filipino guerrillas and returned to U.S. Forces in October 1944.  Sgt. Forrest F. Teal was not one of these men.

    Sgt. Forrest F. Teal was lost at sea when the Shinyo Maru sunk on September 7, 1944.  Since Sgt. Forrest F. Teal died at sea, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.  Sgt. Forrest F. Teal never saw his two year old son.
    In 1951, Forrest's widow married his brother, Orvis, who raised his son as his own.


 

 

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