Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr.

    Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr. was born on April 23, 1922, in Toledo, Ohio, to Joseph J. Zam Sr. & Mary Hollo-Zam.  As a child, he grew up on Lockwood Road in Portage Township outside of Gypsum, Ohio.  He was one of the couple's eleven children.  

    Joseph  attended Gypsum School.  Although he did not graduate, he attended Port Clinton High School for two years.  Before he was inducted into the army, he worked on area farms as a laborer and in boat construction.

    Knowing that it was just a matter of time before he was drafted, Joseph enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in November, 1940.  On August 10th, the company left Port Clinton and took part in maneuvers at Sparta, Wisconsin for three weeks.  In September the company was designated C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
    On November 25, 1940, the members of the Company reported to their armory.  On November 29th, Joseph was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for training.  After nearly a year of training, his company which was now a part of the 192nd Tank Battalion went on maneuvers in Louisiana.  It was after these maneuvers that he learned he was being sent overseas.
    Over different train routes, the 192nd traveled to San Francisco.  After receiving physicals and inoculations, they
were boarded onto the U.S.S Calvin Coolidge.  The ship 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 November 5th, 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 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.
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.

    After the attack, Joseph and the other members of C Company were sent to defend a dam from possible sabotage.  A few days later the company was sent north to Lingayan Bay in support of B Company.  He was reported to have been wounded on December 14, 1941, during this action.  From available information, he was hit by shrapnel.  For the next four months Joseph took part in  the attempt to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippine Islands.

    When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, Joseph became a Prisoner of War.  He took part in the Death March and was first held at Camp O'Donnell as a POW.  It was while he was there that he went out on the bridge building detail to rebuild bridges that had been destroyed during the withdraw into Bataan. 

    As a member of the work detail, Joseph with the other POWs was sent to Calauan.  After this bridge was finished, the detail was moved to Batangas in later July 1943.  From there he was sent north to Candelaria to rebuild a third bridge

    Upon completion of the bridge building detail, Joseph was sent to Cabanatuan.  After arriving at the camp, Joseph was hospitalized on Wednesday, July 5, 1942, suffering from dysentery, yaws, and malaria.  It was there that Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr. died of beriberi and heart failure on Tuesday, September 14, 1942, at approximately 10:00 PM.  The report kept at the camp has his cause of death as dysentery and yellow jaundice.  He was 21 years old. 
    Joseph's family received the news that he was a POW in April 1943.  An official list of POWs was issued on June 8, 1943,  ten months after he had died.  One month later, on July 2nd, the family was informed Joseph had died as a POW. 
    After the war, his family requested that he be buried at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila.





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