1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was born to Frank Bushaw & Mollie Albright-Bushaw on August
5, 1913, in Milton, Wisconsin, and was one of the couple's five children. When he was eight, his family
moved to Janesville, where he attended school. After he completed his education, he worked at the Rock
River Woolen Mills and was the custodian for the National Guard Armory in Janesville.
John enlisted in the National Guard on October 14, 1931. He rose in rank from
private to sergeant. On June 11, 1933, he was promoted to first sergeant. He also married, Julia Ann
Courtney, on April 10, 1934, and together they had three children; Thomas, Raymond and Doris Ann - who was
born in March 1942 - and lived at 1009 Harding Street in Janesville.
In the National Guard, he was joined by his younger brother,
Delmon and his brother-in-law,
Dannie Courtney. After ten years as a member of the National Guard, he
resigned as an enlisted man, on November 24, 1940, and was commissioned a second lieutenant on November 25,
1940. This was done because the company had been federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, and men
too old for military service had been
Traveling to Fort Knox, Kentucky, by train, the tank company was joined by an Illinois
National Guard tank company which had been designated B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. At Ft. Knox, he was
a tank platoon commander and would later become tank maintenance officer and transferred to HQ
From September 1 through 30, the tank battalion took part in maneuvers in
Louisiana. He was promoted to first lieutenant on September 6, 1941. Upon completion of the
maneuvers, John and the other tankers were ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft.
Knox. It was on the side of a hill that the soldiers learned that they were being sent overseas.
Although, where they were being sent was suppose to be a secret, most of the men figured that the code word
"PLUM" meant Philippines-Luzon-Manila. John was given a furlough home to say his goodbyes and
settle any unfinished business.
The decision for this move - which had been made in August 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.
It was also at this time that many of the men of battalion officers, who were considered
"too old" to go overseas, were released from service. When Capt. Fred Bruni was made commander of
HQ Company, John became the battalion's maintenance officer.
The battalion traveled west over different train routes and arrived at Ft. Mason in San
Francisco and were ferried. on the
U.S.A.T General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft, McDowell on Angel Island, where they given physicals and inoculated
by the battalion's medical detachment. Anyone who had a medical condition was replaced or held
back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S. A. T. 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. They 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 Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from
the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the
U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the
S. S. Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the
next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the
International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the
horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the
direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas,
coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island
at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent
into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at
Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to
unload the tanks.
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 received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20 was the
date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field
Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned
to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of
the rows of tents.
On Monday, December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark
Field to guard it against paratroopers. The 194th Tank Battalion was assigned the northern half of the
airfield while the 192nd protected the southern half. At all times, two crew members had two remain with
their tank or half track and received their meals from food trucks.
About 12:45 in the afternoon, on December 8, as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached
the airfield from the north. At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American. It was only
when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield. The
soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything
that could carry the wounded was in use. When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the
wounded under the building. Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
That night the members of the company slept in a dry latrine that was near their bivouac
since it was safer then their tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last night on a bed.
The next morning, they saw the bodies of the dead lying on the ground. Pilots who had night duty lay dead
in their tents.
On December 21, the 192nd was ordered to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf to relieve the 26th
Cavalry Philippine Scouts. HQ Company was to support B and C Companies. 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.
On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta. 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. They
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. The
tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27, and at San Isidro
south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29. On January 1, conflicting orders were received by the
defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5. Doing this would allow the
Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan. General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they
came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff.
Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces
defending the bridges over the Pampanga River. Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st
Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted. From January
2 to 4, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which
was mined and about to be blown up. The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could
leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. A Company was the last American unit to enter
Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that
were not designed for jungle warfare. 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.
During the Battle of Bataan, John was so successful as the battalion's tank
maintenance officer that he received the Silver Star. In one case, he commanded the effort to recover a
disabled tank that the Japanese were using as cover.
John also attempted to do his best to supply his tank crews with the necessities of
life. On one occasion, he managed to get beans to feed his tank crews. He sent a radio message out
to his tank crews that he had food for them. Before the crews arrived, the beans had been eaten by
officers, of the 192nd, who had heard the message and came for a share of the food. When the tankers
arrived, there was nothing left to eat.
The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3rd. On April 7th, the 57th
Infantry, Philippine Scouts, supported by tanks, attempted to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators
prevented this from happening. During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks
successfully withdrew. C Company, 194th, which was attached to the 192nd, had only seven tanks left.
The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while
hidden in the jungle. and could not fight back. The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being
near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a counter-attack.
It was at this time that Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile,
since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last one more
day. In addition, he had over 6000 troops who sick or wounded and 40000 civilians who he feared would be
massacred. At 10:30 that night, he sent his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms.
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
When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, April 9, 1942, John became a Prisoner Of
War. He took part in the death march with Sgt. Ozzie McDonald and Sgt. Alva Chapman. It took
the three men 14 days to complete the march to Camp O'Donnell.
When Col. Theodore Wickord, the 192nd Tank Battalion Commander, went out on a work
detail, John was selected to command the battalion's men still in Camp O'Donnell. It was while he
was a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell that John developed spinal malaria and returned to Camp
O'Donnell. When Cabanatuan opened in May 1942, the healthier prisoners were moved there. It was
determined that Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was too ill to be transferred to Cabanatuan, so he remained at Camp
On Saturday, August 8, 1942, at approximately 10:00 in the morning, 1st Lt. John F. A.
Bushaw died of spinal malaria and was buried at the camp cemetery at Camp O'Donnell. He was 29 years
After the war. his family requested that John's remains be returned to
Janesville. This was done in 1949. After a funeral mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1st
Lt. John. F. A. Bushaw was reburied in the Veteran's Section of Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville. His
wife would later remarry.