Pvt. Emery B. Boardman
Emery B. Boardman was born in Green Bay,
Wisconsin, in 1919 to Charles W. Boardman &
Edna Leeman-Boardman. With his two brothers,
he was raised at 731 Highland in Glen Ellyn,
Illinois, and attended Glenbard High School.
Before the war, he worked in his father's reality
and insurance business.
Like many young men, Emery knew that the recently passed draft act would most likely result in his serving in the army. To fulfill his military obligation, Emery joined the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Maywood, Illinois, in August 1940. In November of 1940, the company was federalized and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to train. It was there, that the tank company became Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.
In January, 1941, Emery was transferred to the Headquarters Company when the company was formed with members from the four letter companies and made the company clerk. His specific duties with the company are not known.
In the later summer
of 1941, he continued his training during the
Louisiana maneuvers. After the maneuvers
the 192nd was ordered to Camp Polk,
Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox, as
they had expected to do. At the fort, on the
side of a hill, the members of the battalion
learned they were being sent overseas. So
much for one year of military service. It
is not known if he returned home on leave or if
he remained at the base while the battalion
readied its equipment for transport.
The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred
Bruni, HQ's commanding officer, gave his men
the news of the surrender. While
informing the members of the company of the
surrender, he waved his arm toward the tanks
and told the men that they would no longer
need them. As he spoke, his voice
choked. He turned away from the men
for a moment, and when he turned back he
continued. He next told the sergeants
what they should do to disable the
tanks. During the announcement, Bruni
emphasized that they all were to surrender
together. He told the soldiers to
destroy their weapons and any supplies that
could be used by the Japanese. The
only thing they were told not to destroy
were the company's trucks. The men
waited in their bivouac until ordered to
move. Somehow, Bruni had found enough
bread and pineapple juice for what he called, "Their
When the march started, Emery was already suffering from dysentery and was very weak. Pvt. William Hauser, and another GI, helped Emery by carrying him between them.
The second night of the march the POWs were held by a stream from which they were able to get water. The men began to share stories of where they wanted to be instead of where they were at at that moment. Emery began telling the other men that he would like to be at a restaurant in his hometown of Glen Ellyn. He described what he would be eating if he were there.
As he spoke, another POW not to far from him heard Emery. When Emery named the restaurant the other man looked to see who was speaking, It turned out that this second GI was Harold Baker who had grown up with Emery in Glen Ellyn. The two friends talked about the good old days and the meals they ate at the restaurant.
The next day during the march the POWs heard a rumor that men who were too ill to march would be taken by truck to the next bullpen. Suffering from dysentery, Emery left his company and attempted to make this arrangement.
As it turned out, the rumor of sick prisoners receiving rides on trucks turned out to be untrue. Emery continued to march, but outside of San Fernando, he had an attack of dysentery and went to the side of the road to relieve himself. A guard seeing this approached Emery and raised his gun to hit him with the butt. Emery raised his arms to his face to soften the blow. Seeing this as an act of defiance, the guard bayoneted Emery in the stomach. When Emery did not die after being bayoneted the first time, the guard bayoneted him a second time. This time the guard left the bayonet in Emery until he slumped over onto it. Knowing Emery was dead, the guard pulled the bayonet out of him. The Japanese allowed the other members of the battalion to bury him alongside the road.
On April 18, 1942, at the age of 23, Pvt. Emery B. Boardman died near the town of Balanga. After the war, his remains were recovered and his body now lies in Plot F, Row 15, Grave 62, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.