Tec 5 DeWayne ElRoy Wasson
| T/5 DeWayne
E. Wasson was the son of Harry A. Wasson &
Gertrude Cutts-Wasson. He was born on April
4, 1919, and grew up at 539 North Terrace Street
in Janesville, Wisconsin. He attended
Janesville schools and was a member of the
Janesville High School graduating class of
1937. He worked as a waiter at a
restaurant. He was called Wayne by his
family and friends.
In August, 1939, Wayne joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville. When the company was called to federal service in the fall of 1940, as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, DeWayne traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for one year of military service.
During the training at Ft. Knox, Wayne attended cooks and bakers school. It was because of his training that he assumed the position of first cook for A Company.
In September, Wayne with the 192nd took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. After the maneuvers, the battalion gathered at Camp Polk and learned that were being sent overseas not released from federal service.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy. They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island. On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam. At one point, the ships passed an island at night. While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way. When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables. The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th. They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that they 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.
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 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.
Ten hours after Pearl
Harbor was attacked, on December 8th in the
Philippines, Wayne 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.
Sometime in January 1942,
Wayne was wounded. Since the American
had no real air force, it was probably while
being strafed by Japanese planes that were
chasing his truck. He remained in
the hospital for the next two months.
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