Sgt. Glenn Dale Brokaw
| Sgt. Glenn Dale
Brokaw was born on April 4, 1921, in Lebanon,
South Dakota, and was the son of Clarence D.
Brokaw & Ethel M. Barrett-Brokaw. At
this time, it is not known when he came to
California. It is known that the family
settled in San Buenaventura, California, sometime
after 1924. He joined the California
National Guard in Salinas in 1939.
On February 10, 1941, Glenn's tank company was
called to federal service as C Company, 194th
Tank Battalion. The company traveled by
train to Fort Lewis, Washington for
training. At Ft. Lewis, Glenn was made a
tank commander. He married Mary Lou
Rochester on June 17, 1941. His residence
was 109 Monterey Street, Salinas, California.
In September, the battalion traveled to San
Francisco, California, by train, for deployment
in the Philippine Islands. The battalion
arrived at Ft. Mason, California on September
5th about 7:30 in the morning. Most of the
battalion took the ferry, the U.S.A.T.
Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on
Angel Island, where they received inoculations
and physicals from the battalion's medical
detachment. The maintenance section of the
Bataan remained behind with the tanks to remove
the turrets with the help of 17th
The soldiers were given physicals and inoculations. Those who found to have medical conditions were replaced. At 3:00 P.M. on Monday, September 13th, the tankers boarded the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge for transport to the Philippine Islands. The ship sailed at 9:00 P.M. and arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13th at 7:00 A.M. The soldiers were allowed ashore but had to back on ship before it sailed at 5:00 P.M.
After leaving Hawaii, the ship took a southerly
route away from the main shipping lanes.
It was at this time that it was joined by the U.S.S.
Astoria, a heavy cruiser, and an
uknown destroyer that were its escorts.
During this part of the trip, on several
occasions, smoke was seen on the horizon, and
the Astoria took off in the direction of the
smoke. Each time it was found that the
smoke was from a ship belonging to a friendly
Upon arrival at Ft. Stotsenburg, Gen. Edward P.
King greeted the battalion and made sure they
were fed. He also apologized that they
would have to live in tents since their barracks
had not be completed. They remained in the
tents until November 15.
The tanks of the, 194th were ordered to
Mabalacat. They remained there until
December 12, when A Company was sent
north to the Agno River area. It was
at this time that C Company was ordered to
support forces in southern Luzon. The
company proceeded through Manila. Since
they had no air cover, most of their movements
were at night. As they moved, they noticed
lights blinking or flares being shot into the
air. They arrived at the Tagaytay Ridge
and spent time their attempting to catch 5th
On December 25, the four tanks of the 2nd, under the command of 2nd Lt. Robert Needham, were sent to an area on the east coast of Luzon near Lucban. The Japanese had troops in the area, and the American Command wanted to see what the strength of the enemy was in the area.
The tanks were ordered by a major to proceed, without reconnaissance, down a narrow trail. Since the area was mountainous, the tanks had a hard time maneuvering. As they went down the trail, the tanks attempted to keep their spacing so that the driver of each tank could each see the tank in front of him. At one point in the trail, the tanks found that the trail made a sharp turn. Glenn's tank was the third tank to make the turn.
As the lead tank made the turn, it was hit by a shell fired by a Japanese anti-tank gun. The shell killed Pvt. James Hicks and mortally wounded Lt. Robert Needham. The tank went off the road and into a ditch. As the surviving crew member attempted to leave the tank he was machine gunned.
Sgt. Emil Morello's tank was the second tank in
the column. As it came around the corner,
his driver realized he could not see the lead
tank. He sped up in an attempt to find the
tank which resulted in the Japanese gun missing
it when it fired on the tank. The tank
drove over the gun. Other guns at the
roadblock were still intact.
Glenn was the commander of the third tank. All three tanks of the surviving tanks were hit by enemy fire before the gun was knocked out by Sgt. Emil Morello's tank. Glenn shot five time by the Japanese as he attempted to escape the tank from the turret. His tank crew members killed the Japanese and carried Glen to a nearby village. Pvt. Harry Siebert was wounded at this time, and the other members of his crew may have also been wounded. Brokaw would later state in interviews that he lost his entire tank crew.
Glenn and Siebert were loaded into a taxi and
taken to American a hospital near Lucbam by a
Filipino taxicab. It was there that he was
captured by the Japanese. A few weeks
after the surrender, he was taken to Bilibid
Prison in Manila, where he remained until he was
sent to Cabanatuan. There, he was reunited other
members of his company.
On October 28, 1942, Glenn was sent to Manila for shipment to Japan. He and the other POWs were put on the Nagato Maru on November 6. The ship sailed on November 7th as part of a three ship convoy, for Formosa, and spent two days there. It arrived at Moji, Japan on November 24th.
From Moji, the POWs rode a train but had to
leave it because of a train wreck at a
tunnel. In the cold, wearing flimsy
tropical clothing, they had to climb a mountain
at night to reach
Mitsushima POW Camp which also was
known as Tokyo 12-B. After arriving in the
camp, Capt. Sukeo Nakajima, the camp commander
had them line up and stand in formation dressed
in tropical clothing. The camp was located
in the mountains. He made a lengthy speech in
which he threatened to kill them for the
slightest reason. The speech lasted an
hour and a half. The next morning, the
POWs were made to strip off their clothing and
were given their first medical examination
outside in the cold.
On April 16, 1944, he was transferred to
Tokyo #16B which was also known as
Kanose Camp, where the POWs worked
at the Showa Denko Company under dangerous
conditions since it was poorly lit and
direction and supervision was poor.
During his time
at this camp, he worked in a carbide factory
which was in a mine shaft.
Glenn remained in the camp until he was
liberated on September 7, 1945. He
returned to the Philippines and for medical
treatment before being flown to Hawaii and then
to Hamilton Field north of San Francisco on
Glenn was discharged on March 26, 1946. He
married, Mary Lou Rochester, and was the father
of two daughters. The couple remained
married until Mary Lou's death in 2001. He
worked as a public account in Salinas for 30