Braye

 

Sgt. William Earl Braye Jr.


Born: 31 March 1917 - Santa Monica, California

Parents: William E. Braye Sr. & Matilda Braye

Siblings: twin brother, 1 sister, 1 half-brother

Hometown: Salinas, California

Enlisted: California National Guard

Inducted:

    - U. S. Army

        - 10 February 1941 - Salinas Army Air Base

Training: 

    - Fort Lewis, Washington
        - C Company, 194th Tank Battalion
Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 6 September 1941
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - 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 the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria and unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg,  Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 

Engagements: 

   - 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 Sexmoan 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 January 1942
                - Remedios new defensive line established along dry creek bed
                    - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate line
                        - bright moon made them easy to see
                        - tanks opened up on them 
            - 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
Note: 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."
        - 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
        - 8 February 1942
            - beach defense
            - half-tracks patrolled roads
        - 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
            - food rations cut again
        - 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
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 in the massacre of
              6000 sick or wounded soldiers and 40000 civilians
            - 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
            - 11:40 P.M. - ammunition dumps blown up
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
            - Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
        - Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
    - 10 April 1942
            - 7:00 P.M. - started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
            - 3:00 A.M. - halted and rested for an hour
            - 4:00 A.M. - resume march
                - at times slipped on remains of dead who had been killed by Japanese shelling
    - 11 April 1942
        - 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
            - allowed to forage for food
        - 9:00 A.M. - resumed march
        - Noon - reached Limay and main road
            - officers, majors and up, separated from lower ranking officers and enlisted men
            - lower ranking officers and enlisted men joined main march
    - Death March
        - marched through Abucay and Samal
        -  reached Orani
            - herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
            - in morning found they had been lying in human waste
            - latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
        - form 100 men detachments
            - POWs marched at faster pace
            - fewer breaks
                - when given break, the POWs sat on road
        - North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
            - made march easier
        - POWs given an hour rest on road
            - those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
            - POWs march through Layac and Lurao
            - rains - POWs drank as much as they could
        - San Fernando
            - POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
                - one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
                - pottery jars of water given out the same way
        - POWs formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
            - POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
        - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars
            - as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
            - also gave them water
            - POWs walked last 8 kilometers to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day

        - Bridge Building Detail
            - volunteered for detail to get out of Camp O'Donnell
            - POWs rebuilt bridges that were destroyed during retreat into Bataan
            - detail ended in August 1942
        - Cabanatuan
            - camp had been opened to lower death rate among POWs
            - hospitalized - 6 April 1943
            - discharged - no date given

        - Las Pinas Detail

            - POWs built runways and revetments
            - death detail
                - POWs removed hills with picks and shovels
                - sick and dying sent to Bilibid Prison

Hell Ship:

    - Nissyo Maru

        - Sailed: 17 July 1944 - Manila
            - dropped anchor at breakwater and waited for convoy to form
        - Sailed: 24 July 1944

            - sailed in a thirteen ship convoy
            - convoy attacked by American submarines
                - four ships sunk - 25 July 1944
                - one additional ship was sunk

        - Arrived: 27 July 1944 - Takao, Formosa

        - Sailed: 28 July 1944 - Takao, Formosa

        - Arrived: 3 August 1944 - Moji, Japan
POW Camp:

    - Japan

        - Fukuoka #4-B

            - POWs housed in a YMCA
            - Work: POWs worked as laborers for various companies
            - Cpl. Nagakura Seiso refused to issue or repair POW clothing
                - if he considered a POWs clothing did not need to be replaced, he beat the POW with his fists
                  and kicked him
                - Japanese told ranking American officer there were no shoes available for the POWs

                - Japanese raided Red Cross packages and wore the shoes meant for the POWs        -
            
   - POWs worked barefooted in cold weather resulting in many developing coughs, lung conditions, and
                  pneumonia
                - many of the POWs forced to work while suffering dysentery
        - November 1944 - beaten for failing to salute a guard who had entered the POW barracks

            - it was dark and Braye had not see him

        - January or February 1945
            - Braye was ill and told to remain in barracks

                - at some point, he was told to report to the air raid shelter
                - doing this resulted in a beating

            - he was beaten and kicked by Cpl. Morio Inouye and other guards

                - resulted in cuts and lacerations on his body
                - he was forced to stand at attention for 4 hours outside in the cold with little clothing

                - walked around dazed for two days

                - carried the scars from the beating for the rest of his life
        - May 1945

            - While on work detail Braye left to obtain medical treatment

                - shoulder and collar bone had been fractured by a falling timber
                - beaten with a saber and scabbard by Superior Private Ikeda Yoshiyuki for leaving detail for five minutes
                - forced to stand at attention all night

Liberated: 13 September 1945
        - POWs broke into camp warehouse and found 500 pairs of Japanese shoes and 250 pounds of
          leather that was intended to be used to repair the POWs' shoes
        - 1300 uniforms for the POWs were also found
        - former POWs taken Nagasaki

Transport:
    - S.S. Simon Bolivar
        - Sailed: Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 21 October 1945
           - former POWs taken to Letterman General Hospital

Discharged: 5 April 1946
    - testified as Witness at War Crimes Trial

Reenlisted: 10 March 1948

Wars:

    - Korea

Married: 8 April 1950

    - Phyllis Doddridge-Braye

       - passed away - 1 November 1995

    - Geraldyne

Children: 3 sons, 1 daughter

Retired:

    - U. S. Army - Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class

        - 30 November 1962 - 23 years of service

Worked: Red Cross

    - Director - Vietnam - 1966 to 1968

    - 1982 - Retired from Red Cross

        - Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho 

Died: 31 December 2009 - Boise, Idaho

Buried: Mountain View Cemetery - Mountain Home, Idaho


 

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