Walsh_S

 

Sgt. Stanley John Walsh


    Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh was born on January 23, 1921, in Janesville, Wisconsin, to Arthur M. Walsh & Florence Dickson-Walsh.  He grew up, with his three brothers, at 514 South Third Street and attended grade school and graduated from Janesville High School in 1939.

    Stanley joined the 32nd Tank Company of the Wisconsin National Guard which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville.  Possibly one of the reasons he joined the tank company was that his brother, Ernest, was a member.

    Stanley was called to federal service when the company was federalized and traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28, 1940.  The company went there with four operational tanks and pulled the remaining, M2A2s that the regular army had deemed obsolete, from the fort's junkyard.  When Stanley saw the tanks assigned to A Company, he commented, "Boy, are they crummy."  

    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 for retreat which was held at 5:00, and was 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.
    In the late summer of 1941, Stanley participated in maneuvers in Louisiana from September 1st through 30th.  During the maneuvers, he commanded a scout-car.  It was after these maneuvers that his battalion, the 192nd Tank Battalion, was ordered to Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft. Knox.  There, the men learned they were being sent overseas.  He was given a furlough home to say goodbye to his friends and family.
    A Company traveled to San Francisco, California, by train where it rejoined the other companies of the battalion.  The soldiers were ferried to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island and received physicals from the battalion's medical detachment.  Those men with minor medical conditions 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.   The ship 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 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, another transport, 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 voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
    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.
    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 readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers.  It was also at this time that the battalions received half-tracks that replaced their scout-cars that had been left behind at Camp Polk.
    On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members, or half-track crew members, remained with each vehicle at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
    
The morning of December 8th, December 7th in the United States, the 192nd was guarding the perimeter of Clark Field.  A week earlier, they had been given assigned positions around the airfield.  At 8:30 in the morning, the American planes took off and filled the sky.  They landed at noon and lined up in a straight line, near the mess hall to be refueled.  The pilots went to lunch.  
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north.  The tankers believed the planes were American and commented how pretty they looked.  As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes.  When bombs exploded on the runways, 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.
    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.    
    On December 12th, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a highway and railroad to protect them from sabotage.   From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.    

    On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. 
In spite of his wounds, he continued to give orders to his company.  His main concern was for his soldiers safety.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed the river in the Bayambang Province.
    It was  also at this time that the tankers was told by General Wainwright's headquarters that he was their only commander.  Up to this time, many officers held the belief that the highest ranking officer, in an area, could countermand the tankers orders,  It was only when tank command made it clear that the tanks would only take orders from it that this ended.
    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.

    The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line 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.
    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 company returned to the command of the 192nd on January 8, 1942.

    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.  
    During this time, his family received a letter from him, in it he said: 

    "Earnie and I are O.K. So is Joe McCrea.  He is beside me now as I write, listening to the news broadcast. 
    There's not much I can tell you, but there's lots I'd like to tell you.  (Wow!) 
    The weather has been swell the last three months,; it has rained or two or three times.  But its time for the rainy season to begin, however, that won't be so good.
    I am still in good shape -  get to go swimming nearly every evening.  Haven't received any mail from you since the war started but hope your getting our letters.

   Don't worry about us.  We're doing all right - still getting plenty to eat."

    Stanley and Earnie had purchased an airplane before they went overseas.

    We're still going to do a lot of flying when we get home."

    The tanks and half-tracks were used to guard three airfields starting on February 1st.  After that the company was sent to help wipe out the Japanese in the Battle of the Points.
    On April 9, 1942, Stanley became a Prisoner of War and took part in the death march fro Mariveles to San Fernando.  He was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell, until a new POW camp was opened at Cabanatuan for the healthier POWs.  When the camp opened, Stanley remained behind at Camp O'Donnell in the camp hospital.  He was discharged and sent to Cabanatuan on July 3, 1942.  

    At some point, Stanley became ill and was hospitalized in the camp hospital with beriberi and dysentery.  On Friday, November 6, 1942, at approximately 6:00 PM, Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh died of beriberi and dysentery at Cabanatuan.  He was 21 years old.  His body was buried in the camp cemetery.  His parents learned of his death in August 1943.

    After the war, Stanley's  parents requested that his remains be returned to Janesville.  On July 31, 1948, a funeral service for Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh and his brother, Ernest, was held at St. Mary's Church.  Former  members of A Company, Dale Lawton, Forrest Knox, Philip Parrish and Carl Nichols served as pallbearers for Stanley. 

    Sgt. Stanley J. Walsh remains lie next to those of his brother, Earnest, at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Janesville. 


 

 

 

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