|2nd Lt. Daniel Jordan
What is known about 2nd Lt. Daniel J. Beyer was
born on May 8, 1916, and that he lived 2558 South
Wentworth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was
the son of Otto & Hermie Beyer and had four
sisters and a brother. As a civilian, he
worked as mechanical draftsman.
While at Fort Lewis, Washington, the 194th Tank Battalion needed to fill out its roster. Daniel was assigned to the battalion and given command of B Company's third tank platoon. He would later become the administration officer for the battalion.
On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, to go overseas. Earlier in 1941, a squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots - who was flying at a lower altitude - noticed something odd in the water. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy and saw another one in the distance. He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island which was hundred of miles away. The island had a large radio transmitter. The squadron returned to its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day. The next day, when another squadron of planes was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
The 194th, minus B Company, was sent to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, and ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island were the members of the battalion were given physicals and inoculated by the battalion's medical detachment.
The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco, California, in September 1941. and were taken by ferry to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated by the battalion's medical detachment. Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27. 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 Monday, September 8, 1941, the battalion was boarded onto the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge, which sailed at 9:00 P.M. the same day. The battalion arrived at Hawaii on Saturday, September 13, and the soldiers were allowed ashore but had to be aboard before the ship sailed at 5:00 P.M. It took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes, where it was joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer as its escorts.
During the voyage, on several occasions, smoke from unknown ships were seen on the horizon. The cruiser revved up its engines and intercepted the ships. On each occasion, it turned out that the ship belonged a friendly country.
The ships crossed the International Dateline on Tuesday, September 16, and the date changed to Thursday, September 18. On September 26, they arrived at Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M., but did not reach Manila until later in the morning. The soldiers did not disembark until 3:00 P.M. The maintenance section of the battalion helped 17th Ordnance unload the tanks and reattach the turrets.
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. 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 that they received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. As it turned out, the dinner was a watery stew. Ironically, November 20 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 1, 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 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. They had received word of the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield. As they sat in their tanks and half-tracks they watched as American planes filled the sky. At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, the tankers watched as planes approached the airfield from the north and had enough time to count 54 planes in formation. When bombs began exploding on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
The tank battalion received orders on December 21 that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf. Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas. When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry. The rest of the tanks went to Damoritis to cover withdrawing troops.
On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta, but the bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25, 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 to the left. The tanks withdrew the night of December 26/27, following the withdraw of the Philippine Army, and fell back toward Santo Thomas and formed a new defensive line from Tarlec to Cabanatuan. The next day they withdrew to the Tarlec-Cabanatuan Line.
The night of December 28/29 they withdrew again to the south bank of the Bamban River at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan. While they there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was blown, but they were able find a crossing over the river. That night, the 192nd withdrew again down Route 5.
The night of December 31/January 1, the tanks were covering the withdrawal of the Philippine Army from the withdrawal of the Philippine Army from the Pampanga River. The tanks were positioned on both sides of the Calumpit Bridge to cover the withdrawal.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown. The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
The tank battalions, on January 28, 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.
B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers 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 exited 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 morning of April 8, 1942, he ordered his tank crews to destroy their tanks. The order "crash" had been given that indicated all forces on Bataan were being surrendered to the Japanese. It was on that day that he became a Prisoner of War.
Daniel took part in death march from Mariveles to San Fernando. There he and the other POWs were packed into small freight cars. They rode the cars to Capas where they got off and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Besides Camp O'Donnell, Daniel was held as a prisoner at Cabanatuan. He was also sent to Bilibid Prison for processing for shipment to Japan.
The POWs were put on the Nagato Maru on November 6. The ship sailed as part of a three ship convoy the next day. At some point the hatch covers were put on the holds when the Japanese believed a submarine was in the area. The POWs felt the explosions from the depth charges through the haul.
The convoy arrived at Takao, Formosa, on November 11 and remained in harbor for three days before sailing on the 14th and arriving at the Pescadores Islands the same day. The ship remained off the islands for two days, because of a storm, before sailing for Keelung, Formosa, on the 17th. The ship sailed for Moji, Japan, on November 18.
Arriving on November 24, the POWs disembarked and were deloused, showered and issued new clothing. They were marched to the train station and rode the train to their assigned camps. In Daniel's case, he was first held at Tanagawa. He was next a POW at Ikuno Camp and then sent to Osaka #2-D at Umeda in March 1945. The prisoners in this camp were used as stevedores for the Nippon Tsuun Company.
During his time in the camp, the POWs were beaten by Cpl. Kitero Ishida with belts, ropes, clubs, and fists. In addition he forced water down the nostrils of the POWs and submerged them in cold water. The reason this took place was the POWs stole rice while unloading a ship. Ishida was sentenced to a year in prison after the war. The guards in the camp also stole from the POWs' Red Cross packages and food. Daniel remained in this camp until it was destroyed by American bombers.
Daniel and the other POWs were next sent to Tsuruga 20-B on May 21, 1945. There, they once again worked as stevedores unloading ships. The POWs at this camp lived in a two story building that had been the customs house. It had been condemned because it was to close to the docks and could be hit during an air raid.
The prisoners stole food for themselves to supplement their meager rations. An average meal for the POWs was soybean and rice. The POWs carried 100 pound burlap sacks of soybeans. To get extra food, the POWs would tear holes into the bags and drop beans into their pockets. The pockets had holes to allow the beans to fall down their legs and settle in pouches around their ankles. This prevented the Japanese from finding them when they searched the POWs when they returned to camp.
Yukinaga Kimura, a guard, would use a club, that looked like a baseball bat, to beat the POWs. He used it any time he believed a POW had disobeyed an order. Sometimes, he forced the POWs to drop their pants and beat them until they were black and blue and began to bleed. Most of the time, he beat them on the head and body and on one occasion broke a prisoner's ear drum. One civilian member of the camp medical staff slapped POWs who reported themselves as being sick and unable to work. The beatings were so common that the POWs could not recall them all.
One day the Japanese expected the POWs to unload a ship loaded with bombs. The POWs refused on the basis that the bombs would be used against other Americans. To get the prisoners to work, the Japanese brought in the "baseball brigade." The POWs were beaten with bats, but they still refused to unload the bombs, so the Japanese did it themselves.
In May 1945, 48 POWs were beaten by guards with fists and clubs, while in June 70 POWs were beaten with a garrison belt for no apparent reason. In another incident in June, the Japanese pay master entered the mess hall while the POWs were eating. He made a comment about the food and for no apparent reason, no one had said anything back to him, he took off his belt and hit the POWs sitting near where he was standing in their faces with the belt. By the time he finished he had hit all 200 POWs in the mess hall. From there, he went to the barracks that housed Naval personnel and Marines and hit all 200 men inside with his belt. The welts from the beating could be seen on their faces for days afterwards.
Once again, the Japanese misappropriated the Red Cross Boxes sent to the camp for the POWs for their personal use. Red Cross clothing and shoes were not given to the POWs. Red Cross food was seen by the POWs in the Japanese officers' quarters. Instead, the POWs were issued Japanese summer uniforms and a set fatigues to be worn while working in the mine. Some of the POWs still had their GI shoes, but most wore canvas shoes issued by the Japanese. Medicines sent to the camp were also misappropriated as well as food.
He was held there until around August 15, 1945, when he was sent to Hirohata #12-B, which was also known as Osaka #12-B. He was liberated on September 9, 1945, and sent to Yokohama, where he left Japan on September 12 on a hospital ship for the Philippines. The ship arrived there on September 22. After medical treatment, he returned to the United States on the S.S. Simon Bolivar on October 21, 1945, at San Francisco, and was taken to Letterman General Hospital.
After the war Daniel remained in the military as a United States Air Force officer. He fought in Korea and obtained the rank of Major, be fore he retired from the Air Force on March 31, 1968.
Daniel J. Beyer retired to Warrenton, Missouri, where he died on July 17, 1993, and was buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Saint Louis, Missouri, in Section L, Site 248.