1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw
| 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
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 released.
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 Company.
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.
December 21, the 192nd was
HQ Company was
to support B
B and C
ran low on
enough for one
to support the
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.
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 O'Donnell.