Bataan Project

Pfc. Fred J. Bolinger

Born: 23 August 1919 - Truth, Arkansas

Parents: Samuel W. Bolinger& Aura C. Fowler-Bolinger

Siblings: 4 sisters, 4 brothers

Home: Sheridan County, Wyoming

    - moved to Wyoming in 1935 


    - Wyoming National Guard

       - 1939 joined 115th U.S. Calvary  


    - U.S. Army

        - 24 February 1941 - Sheridan Wyoming


    - Fort Lewis, Washington

        - radio operator 


    - 194th Tank Battalion
Note:  The decision for this move -  which had been made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 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.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another 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 continued 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 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.

Overseas Duty:
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced

    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day

            - escorted by heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria
                - heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
                - ships belonged to friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg

    - Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941  
            - 1 December 1941
                - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
                - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
                - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all times
                    - meals served by food trucks
                - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post


    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                    - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                - operating north of Agno River
                - main bridge at Carmen bombed

            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                    - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
            - 26/27 December 1941

                - ordered to withdraw

                    - 1 platoon forced its way through way through Carmen

                        - lost two tanks
                            - one tank belonged to company commander - Captain Edward Burke
                                - believed dead, but was actually captured

                            - one tank crew rescued
                - new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
                - rest of battalion made a dash out
                    - lost one tank at Bayambang
                    - another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
                - Lt. Petree's platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
                - D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
                    - the tank commander found a crossing
                    - Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
            - 29/30 December 1941
                - new line at Bamban River established

                - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
            - 30/31 December 1941
                    - tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
                    - covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
            - 2 January 1942
                - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
                - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
            - 5 January 1942
                - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline Line and moved into position between

                   Sasmuan and Lubao
                - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate
                     - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                    - tanks opened fire
                    - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
                - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off engagement
                    - suffered 50% casualties
                    - Remedios - established new line along dried creek bed   
            - 6/7 January 1942
                - 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
                - both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                - rations cut in half
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - January 1942
                - tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
           - 8 January 1942
                - composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa
                    - their job was to keep the East Road open  north of Hermosa and prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main

                      battle line had been formed
                - remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                    - tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
                    - tanks also needed overdue maintenance
                    - 17th Ordnance
                - all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
                - three per tank platoon
                - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw
                - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
                - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
                - mission abandoned
                - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
            - 12 January 1942
                - C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
                    - forward position with little alert time
            - 13 January 1942
                - mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
                - returned to battalion
            - 16 January 1942
                -  C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
                    - highway had been cut by Japanese
                    - Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
                        - tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
                            - tanks knock out gun
                            - cleared roadblock with support of infantry
            - 20 January 1942
                - Banibani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
            - 24 January 1942
                - tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
                     - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
            - 26 January 1942
                - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
                    - four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
                - 9:45 A.M. - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
                    - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
                - 10:30 A.M. - Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
                - prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
            - 28 January 1942
                - 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
                - guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
                - half-tracks patrolled roads
                    - maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols

It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver, "Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal.  If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay."

        - February 1942
            - tank battalions on their own guarded airfields
            - battalions also guarded beaches to prevent Japanese from landing troops 
        - March 1942
            - two tanks were bogged down in mud
            - the tankers were working to get them out
            - Japanese Regiment entered the area
            - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
                - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
            - wiped out Japanese regiment
        - 4 April 1942
            - Japanese launched major offensive
            - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
        - 6 April 1942
            - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
                - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at junction of Trails 8 & 6
                - other tanks covered withdraw
            - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
                - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
                - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
        - 8 April 1942
            - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban

It was at this time that the tank battalion commanders received this order, "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished."
            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result the massacre of 6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - at Hospital #2 - Cabcaben, Bataan - when surrender came
            - on roster of Cabcaben POW Camp - 19 May 1942
            - POWs taken to Bilibid Prison

POW Camps:

     - Philippine Islands

        - Cabcaben POW Camp

             - POWs held at Hospital #2 after surrender

             - may have been used as human shield to protect Japanese artillery firing from Corregidor and Ft Drum from Corregidor and

               Ft. Drum          
        - Bilibid Prison
            - brought there from Cabcaben
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - Japanese put base into use as a POW camp
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens
                - many were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn

        - Cabanatuan
            - sent to camp from Bilibid
            - original name - Camp Panagaian
                - actually three camps
                    - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell
                    - Camp 2:  four miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - Japanese put base into use as POW camp
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens
                - many were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
        - Barracks:
            - each barracks built for 50 POWs
                - 60 to 120 POWs were held in each one
                - POWs slept on bamboo strips
                - no showers
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving

        - Clark Field

            - considered by men who were there as the best POW camp in the Philippines
                - slept in barracks on bunks
            - May 1942
                - Work day started at 6:00 A.M.
                    - POWs were fed breakfast
                        - one cup of rice
                     -  6:00 P.M. - dinner
                - POWs worked seven days a week - no days off
                - POWs arrived and cut grass and screened gravel
                - dug rocks out of ground to repair runways
                     - POW detachments had a quota of rock to meet each day
                    - had to work until quota for the day was met
                - at first guards, who were combat veterans, told the POWs to work slowly
                    - the guards wanted to stay on detail as long as possible
                - when guards changed, the treatment of POWs changed
                - POWs worked long hours on short rations
                - POWs expected to keep working regardless of health
                - if a POW was injured there was no medical supplies to treat him
                    - POWs with malaria did not have to work
                - if the Japanese determined a POW wasn't "too sick" the man worked
                - POWs had to work during a typhoon in loin clothes
                - at one point the POWs had to move live bombs from one building to another building
                - those who could not work were severely beaten
                    - beatings common
                    - POWs stated that someone was always being hit over the head with a saber by one lieutenant
                    - also beaten for no reason with a golf club
                - when on POW escaped the other POWs were not fed and stood at attention for hours
        - Cabanatuan

            - sent there due to illness of injury
        - Lipa Batangas
            - January 1943
                - POWs built runways and revetments - Lipa Airfield
                - worked on farm

        - Bilibid Prison
            - Admitted: 27 January 1943

                - lumbar strain 
            - Discharged: 10 February 1943
                - sent to Cabanatuan      
        - Cabanatuan
            - remained there until selected for transport to Japan  

Hell Ship:

    - Noto Maru

        - Sailed: Manila - 27 August 1944
            - spent night in Subic Bay, Philippine Islands
            - sailed 28 August 1944

        - Arrived: 30 August 1944 - Takao, Formosa

        - Sailed: Same Day

        - Arrived: 30 August 1944 - Keelung, Formosa

        - Sailed: 31 August 1944
        - Arrived: 4 September 1944 - Moji, Japan
POW Camp:
    - Japan

        - Ashio Camp #8-D
            - on hand written roster
            - also known as Tokyo #9-B
            - POWs worked in copper mine
            - spent his first six months working underground in the Ashio Copper mine
                - mine had been closed before the war but reopened

                - POWs had to work bent over because they were tall compared to the Japanese
             - next worked at a copper smelter 
            - POW #141
            - POW kitchen was 40 feet from the camp latrines
                - POWs had nothing to cover the utensils with
                - flies were in everything
                - Japanese guard in charge of kitchen stole food meant for POWs for his own use
            - camp was located on the side of a mountain

            - Barracks:

                - 2 wooden buildings

                    - POWs slept on two tiers of bunks
                - the nights were cold and POWs only had thin blankets
                - barracks were infested with lice

                - water line froze in winter which meant the POWs could not bathe

            - Meals:

                - always a mixture of barley, maize, Indian corn and rice

                - once a month POWs the POWs got horse bones

                    - oiled them for a week so they could be eaten
             -  Red Cross Boxes:

                 - packages were pilfered by Japanese for sugar, canned foods, chocolate, and other items
                - clothing and shoes sent by Red Cross was never issued

                - Red Cross blankets meant for the POWs were given to the guards
            - since a certain number of POWs had to work everyday, sick POWs were sent to mine
            - 25 August 1945 - POWs told Japan was attempting to negotiate an armistice with the United States
            - 28 August 1945 - POWs see B-29s heading north early in the day
                - later in day saw large number of B-29s heading toward Tokyo
            - 29 August 1945 -
each POW received two donuts
                - planes, from the U.S.S. Jacinta, drop 50 gallon barrows to POWs
                - POWs receive mail that the Japanese never gave to them


    - 3 September 1945

        - 5 September 1945 - POWs arrived at Yokohama by train

            - 100 POWs pushed past guards and arrived on their own
        - returned to the Philippine Islands
    - U.S.S. Gospar
        - Sailed: Manila - 24 September 1945
        - Arrived: Seattle, Washington - 12 October 1945
            - taken to Madigan General Hospital - Ft. Lewis, Washington

Discharged: 24 February 1946

Married: Juanita Taylor

Children: 2 daughters, 5 sons

    - one son died as toddler 

Residence: Huntsville, Arkansas


    - 14 October 1987 - heart attack


    - Big Sandy Church Cemetery - Purdy, Arkansas 







Bataan Project

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