Sgt. Delmon R. Bushaw was born on August June 25,
1919, in Mellen, Wisconsin, to Frank Bushaw &
Mollie Albright-Burshaw. He was one of the
couple's five children. When he was two, his
family moved to Janesville where he lived at 1549
South Willard Avenue. He attended local schools,
and after high school, worked as a cook in a local
Following in the footsteps of his brother, John, Delmon
joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank
Company which was headquartered in an armory in
Janesville. To get into the National Guard, he
lied about his age.
As a National Guardsman Delmon was called to federal
duty when the 192nd Tank Battalion was formed from
National Guard units on November 25, 1940.
Traveling to Fort Knox,
Kentucky, on November 28, the Janesville Tank
Company was designated as A Company, 192nd Tank
Battalion. Delmon and the other
Guardsmen remained there for almost a year until
they went on maneuvers in Louisiana.
Upon completion of the maneuvers, Delmon and the
other tankers 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. Delmon was given
eight day leave home to say his goodbyes and settle
any unfinished business. It was at this time
he married Lorraine Wilkenson.
The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco,
California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on
Angel Island. On the island, they received
inoculations and physicals. Those members of
the battalion who were found to have treatable
medical conditions remained behind on the island and
scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later
date. Some men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was
boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Hugh L. Scott
and sailed on Monday, October 27th. 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.
The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday,
November 2 and had a two day layover, so the
soldiers were given shore leave so they could see
November 5, 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 11.
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
Colonel 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 that they 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
For the next
seventeen days the tankers worked to remove
cosmoline from their weapons. The grease was
put on the weapons to protect them from rust while
at sea. They also loaded ammunition belts and
did tank maintenance.
On December 1, the
tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark
Airfield to guard against Japanese
paratroopers. From this time on, two tank crew
members remained with each tank at all times.
morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A
Company were informed of the Japanese attack on
Clark Field. Many believed this was the start of the
maneuvers they were expecting. After hearing
the news, they returned to their tanks around the
airfield. About 12:45 in the afternoon 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. Since the battalion's bivouac was
near the main road between the fort and airfield,
the soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded
were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks and
trucks. 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
The company, on
December 12, was ordered to the barrio of Dau so it
could protect a road and railroad line from
sabotage. From there, the company was
sent to rejoin the 192nd just south of the Agno
River. There, the battalion, with A Company,
194th, held the position so that other units could
On December 23 and 24, the
company was in the area of Urdaneta. It was
there, that the tankers lost the company commander,
Capt. Walter Write. After he was buried, the
tankers made an end run to get south of Agno
River. As they did this, they ran into
Japanese resistance early in the evening. They
successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang
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 192nd and part
of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line
the night of December 27 and 28. From there
they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan River
which they were suppose to hold for as long as
possible. The tanks were
at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29
serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east
of Pampanga. It was there that they lost a
tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read. On
a road east of Zaragoza, on December 30, the company
was bivouacked for the night and posted
sentries. The sentries heard a noise on the
road and woke the other tankers who grabbed
Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.
As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode
into their bivouac. When the last bicycle
passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on
them. When they stopped firing, they had
completely wiped out the bicycle battalion. To
leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over
As the Filipino and American forces fell back toward
Bataan, A Company took up a position near the south
bank of the Gumain River the night of December 31
and January 1. Believing that the Filipino
Army was in front of them allowed the tankers to get
some sleep. It was that night that the
Japanese lunched an attack to cross the river.
As the Japanese
attempted to advance they were cut down by the
tankers. The tankers created gaping holes in
their ranks. To lower their losses, the
Japanese tried to cover their advance with a smoke
screen. Since the wind was blowing against
them, the smoke blew into the Japanese line.
When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had
lost about half their men.
At Guagua, A
Company, with units from the 11th Division,
Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack
against the Japanese. Somehow, the tanks were
mistaken, by the Filipinos to be Japanese. The
11th Division accurately used mortars on them.
The result was the loss of three tanks.
On January 1, the
tanks were holding the Calumpit Bridge allowing the
Southern Luzon Forces to cross the bridge toward
Bataan. General Wainwright was attempting to
hold the main Japanese force coming down Route 5 to
prevent the troops from being cut off. General
MacArthur's chief of staff gave conflicting orders
involving whose command the defenders were under
which caused confusion. Gen. Wainwright was
not aware these orders had been given.
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.
A Company rejoined the
192nd. The two tank battalions leap frog-ed
past each other as the last two units withdrawing
toward Bataan. The 192nd held a position until
the 194th passed then would withdraw. The
194th would then hold the next position as the 192nd
withdrew passed the battalion to forma new defensive
line. When A Company crossed the bridge over
the Culis River, before the bridge was blown up, it
was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
It should be mentioned that
on January 8th, the tank battalions received their
first meals from their own battalion kitchens.
Up to this point, the tankers were fed on the run by
food trucks. Often, when they arrived at a
truck, the food meant for them had been eaten by
American and Filipino forces were withdrawing from
the Pilar-Bigac Line, the battalion prevented the
Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting
off the withdrawing troops. The morning of
January 27, a new battle line had been formed and
all units were suppose to be beyond it. That
morning, the tanks were still holding their position
six hours after they were suppose to have
withdrawn. While holding the position, the
tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at
point blank range, three Japanese units causing 50
On January 28, the
tank battalions 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
During the Battle
of the Points the tanks were sent in to wipe out
Japanese troops that had broken through the main
defensive line and than trapped behind the line
after the Filipino and American troops pushed the
Japanese back. According to members of the
battalion they resorted two ways to wipe out the
The first method was to
have three Filipino soldiers sit on the back of the
tanks with sacks of hand grenades. When the
Japanese dove back into their foxholes, the tank
would go over it and the soldiers would drop three
hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the
ordnance was from World War I, one out of three hand
grenades would explode.
The second method was
simple. The tank was parked with one track
across the foxhole. The driver spun the
tank on one track. The tank dug into the dirt
until the Japanese soldiers were dead.
The soldiers were
hungry and began to eat everything they could get
their hands on to eat. The Carabao were tough
but if they were cooked long enough they could be
eaten. They also began to eat horse meat
provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry. To make
things worse, the soldiers' rations were cut in half
again on March 1, 1942. This meant that they
only ate two meals a day.
On March 2 or 3,
during the Battle of the Points. The tanks had
been sent in to wipe out two pockets of Japanese
soldiers who had been landed behind the main
defensive line. The Japanese were soon cut
off. When the Japanese attempted to land
reinforcements, they landed them at the wrong place
creating another pocket. Both of
the pockets were wiped out.
The Japanese also
were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantly clad
blond on them. The Japanese would have been
more successful at getting the Americans to
surrender if the picture had been hamburger, since
the men were so hungry that they most likely would
have surrendered for a good meal.
The company's last
bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of
Marivales and looking out on the China Sea. By
this point, the tankers knew that there was no help
on the way. Many had listened to Secretary of
War Harry L. Stimson on short wave. When asked
about the Philippines, he said, "There are times when men must
die." The soldiers
cursed in response because they knew that the
Philippines had already been lost.
On April 4, 1942, the Japanese launched an
attack supported by artillery and aircraft. A
large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat
and descended down the south face of the
volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions
of defenders and left a large area of the defensive
line open to the Japanese. When General King
saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated
surrender talks with the Japanese.
On April 9, 1942, Delmon became a Prisoner of War
when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.
He took part in the death march and was held as a
prisoner at Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino training
base that the Japanese pressed into service as a
Prisoner of War camp. It turned out to be a
death trap with as many as fifty POWs dying each
day. There was only one working water faucet
for the entire camp. To get a drink, men stood
in line for days. Many died while waiting for
a drink. The death rate among the POWs was as
high as fifty men a day. Many POWs went out on
work details to get out of the camp.
The POWs walked the last eight
kilometers to Camp O'Donnell which was an unfinished
Filipino Army Training Base. The Japanese
pressed the camp into use as a POW camp on April 1,
1942. When they arrived at the camp, the
Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the
POWs had and refused to return it to them.
They searched the POWs and if a man was found to
have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the
guardhouse. Over the next several days,
gunshots were heard to the southeast of the
camp. These POWs had been executed for
There was only one water faucet
in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from
two to eight hours waiting for a drink. The
Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for
no reason and the next man in line would stand as
long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on
again. This situation improved when a second
faucet was added.
There was no water for washing
clothes, so the POWs would throw out their clothing
when it had been soiled. In addition, water
for cooking had to be carried three miles from a
river to the camp and mess kits could not be
washed. The slit trenches in the camp were
inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of
the POWs had dysentery. The result was that
flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW
kitchens and in the food.
The camp hospital had no soap,
water, or disinfectant. When the ranking
American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the
camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for
medical supplies, he was told never to write another
The Archbishop of Manila sent a
truckload of medical supplies to the camp, the
Japanese commandant refused to allow the truck into
the camp. When the Japanese Red Cross sent
medical supplies the camp the Japanese took 95% of
the supplies for their own use.
The POWs in the camp hospital lay
on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six
medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy
enough to care for them. When a representative
of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply
a 150 bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in
the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
Each morning, the bodies of the
dead were found all over the camp and were carried
to the hospital and placed underneath it. The
bodies lay there for two or three days before they
were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who
were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria.
To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground
was scraped and lime was spread over it. The
bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the
area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was
spread over it.
Work details were sent out on a
daily basis. Each day, the American doctors
gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who
were healthier enough to work. If the quota of
POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese
put those POWs who were sick, but could walk, to
work. The death rate among the POWs reached 50
men dying a day. The Japanese finally
acknowledge that they had to do something, so the
opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed
detachments of 100 men each and were marched to
Capas. There, the were put in steel boxcars
with two Japanese guards. At Calumpit, the
train was switched onto another line which took it
to Cabanatuan. The POWs disembarked and were
taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked
rice and onion soup. From there, they were
marched to Cabanatuan which had been the
headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division
and was formerly known at Camp Panagaian.
To prevent escapes, the POWs set
up a detail that patrolled the fence of the
camp. The reason this was done was that those
who did escape and were caught, were tortured before
being executed, while the other POWs were made to
watch. It is believed that no POW successfully
escaped from the camp.
Meals on a daily basis consisted
of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable
oil, and sweet potato or corn. Since the POWs
were underfed, many became ill and died of
The POWs were sent out on work
details to cut wood for the POW kitchens.
Other POWs worked in rice paddies. Each
morning, after arriving at the farm, the POWs went
into a tool shed to get their tools. As they
left the shed, the guards hit them on their
heads. While working in the fields, the
favorite punishment given to the men in the rice
paddies was to have their faces pushed into the mud
and stepped on by a guard to drive their faces
deeper into the mud. Returning from a detail
the POWs bought, or were given, medicine, food, and
tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the
camp even though they were searched when they
The barracks used by the POWs
were built to hold 50 POWs, but the Japanese put
from 60 to 120 POWs in each one. There no
shower facilities and the POWs slept on bamboo
strips. In addition no bedding, covers, or
mosquito netting was provided which resulted in many
The camp hospital was made up of
30 wards. Zero ward had been missed when the
wards were being counted so it was given the name of
"Zero Ward." The ward became the place were
POWs who were going to die were sent. The
Japanese were so terrified by it, that they put a
fence up around it and would not go near the
building. Most of the POWs who died there died
because their bodies were too malnourished to fight
the diseases they had.
While a POW at
Cabanatuan, Delmon was assigned to Barracks 5, Group
3, and given the POW number of 4707. He was
assigned to the kitchen detail and prepared the
meals for all the POWs in the camp. When meal
time came, Delmon would sneak extra food to the
other members of A Company.
At some point Delmon was selected to go out on what
was called the what became known as the Las
Pinas Detail arriving at the Pasay School in August
1942. The POWs on the detail were
housed in a school at Pasay School in eighteen
rooms. Thirty POWs were assigned to a
room. On the detail, the POWs were used to
extend and widen runways for the Japanese Navy at
Nichols Airfield. The plans for this expansion
came from the American Army which had drawn them up
before the war. The Japanese wanted a runway
500 yards wide and a mile long going through hills
and a swamp.
Unlike the Americans, the
Japanese had no plans on using construction
equipment. Instead, they intended the POWs to
do the work with picks, shovels, and wheel
barrows. The first POWs arrived at Pasay in
August 1942. The work was easy until the
extension reached the hills. When the
extension reached the hills, some of which were 80
feet high, the POWs flattened them by hand.
The Japanese replaced the wheel barrows with mining
cars that two POWs pushed to the swamp and dumped as
land-fill. As the work became harder and the
POWs weaker, less work got done. This resulted
in the brutality against the POWs to increase.
At six in the morning, the
POWs had reveille and "bongo," or count, at 6:15 in
detachments of 100 men. After this came
breakfast which was a fish soup with rice.
After breakfast, there was a second count of all
POWs, which included both healthy and sick, before
the POWs marched a mile and half to the
airfield. Only 50 POWs were allowed to be sick
each day, so the healthier POWs carried the weaker
POWs between them.
After arriving at the
airfield, they were counted again. The POWs
went to a tool shed and received their tools; once
again they were counted. At the end of the
work day, the POWs were counted again. When
they arrived back at the school, they were counted
again. Then, they would rush to the showers,
since there only six showers and toilets for over
500 POWs. They were fed dinner, another meal
of fish and rice and than counted one final time.
Lights were turned out at 9:00 P.M.
Delmon came down with an
acute catarrh fever which meant he may have had a
respiratory ailment. He was sent to Bilibid
Prison and admitted to the hospital on May 24 and
discharged on May 27, 1944. He was returned to
the airfield detail until the detail ended.
On July 3, Delmon was
returned to Bilibid and admitted to the hospital
suffering from osteoarthritis which is bone growth
in a joint caused by an injury to the joint.
No date of discharge is shown in the records.
Of his treatment in the
camps he said, "The
lower ranking enlisted men were not so
bad. The officers were the tough
ones. If an officer ordered an enlisted
man to beat a refused or didn't do it hard
satisfactory, the Japs would be beaten just as
Jap soldiers are
treated very harshly by their own
officers. In the Philippines we saw a
rookie beaten to death just because he did
something wrong while drilling.
The food the
Japs get isn't so hot either. While we
were working in the galley in the Philippines we
got some fish that were crawling with maggots.
When we pointed this out, we were told to wash
them out and cook them anyway. No one
would know it anyway."
Later in July, Delmon was selected to be sent to
Japan. Once at Pier 7, they were
boarded onto the Nissyo Maru
on July 17th at 8:00 A.M., and the Japanese
attempted to put them all in one hold. When
the Japanese realized they could not fit all the
POWs in one hold, they opened a second hold.
The ship was moved
on July 18 and anchored at the harbor breakwater
from July 18th to July 23. At 8:00A.M. on the
twenty-third, at 8:00 A.M., the ship moved to a
point off Corregidor and dropped anchor at 7:00
P.M. The next morning, the ship sailed
as part of a convoy which attempted to avoid
American submarines by hugging the coast line of
At 3:00 A.M.
on July 26, one of the ships, the Otari
Yama Maru, was hit by a torpedo
from the U.S.S. Flasher which was a part of
a three submarine wolf pack made up of the U.S.S.
Crevale, the U.S.S. Angler,
and the U.S.S. Flasher.
When it exploded the POWs saw the flames
from the explosion shoot over the hatch of the
hold. Several other ships were sunk. The
remaining ships in the convoy reached Takao,
Formosa, at 9:00 A.M on July 28.
left Takao and sailed through a storm from July 30
to August 2. On August 3, the POWs were issued
new clothes. At midnight of August 4, the ship
arrived at Moji, Japan, but the POWs did not
disembark until 8:00 in the morning. On shore
they were taken to a dark theater until they were
broken into detachments for transport to POW camps.
The POWs were marched to the
train station and road a train to Narumi
Camp arriving on August 4,
1944. In the camp with him were Sgt. Alva
Chapman, Pvt. Lewis Wallisch, and Sgt. William
Nolan. The POWs in the camp were used as
slave labor in the manufacturing of wheels for
railroad locomotives at the Nippon Wheel
Manufacturing Company. The Japanese were
extremely brutal with the POWs, especially those
caught stealing food. Delmon was lucky enough
to be assigned to kitchen duty in the camp. He
recalled that one Navy man was beaten for three days
and then put in solitary confinement on a diet of
very little water and rice. He lasted
seventeen days and then died.
The common punishment given to
the POWs was to be beaten and kicked while standing
at attention. Having their clothing stripped
from them, and being made to stand at attention for
long periods of time. Since a certain number
of POWs were needed to work each day, the sick POWs
who could stand were forced to work.
The camp was in a
straight line with Tokyo, so the POWs watched the
B-29s passing over on their bombing missions.
Of this he said, "Their
flight was the prettiest thing you ever saw."
The factory that
the POWs worked was attacked by bombers. Of
the bombings, he said, "The locomotive plant
in which we worked was first struck by incendiary
bombs. Later it was hit again hit by fire
bombs and then by explosives. That ended all
production in the factory, although we were able to
continue with repair work. At first I was
firing the boiler after the raids, but after the
raids, I was put to work cleaning up the debris."
During one air
raid, one plane he recalled that one plane was
having problems. He assumed it had been hit by
enemy fire. To lighten its load, the plane
dropped its bombs. Of the event he said,
"One plane evidently was
hit and got into troubles as it dropped its
bombs just outside the prison compound. As
we were eight miles from the locomotive factory,
there was no target in sight. The blast
knocked down the prison fence and blew out
windows but no one was injured."
being liberated, Delmon was returned to the
Philippines for medical treatment. During his
time as a POW, his weight dropped from 170 pounds to
124. One of the greatest thrills he got was on
the ship. " After being disinfected
and given new clothing, we were served fried eggs. I
don't know, but what I ate 14."
It was while he was recovering he had a chance to
"Hello, Mom --- It sure has
been a long time since you heard from me hasn't
it ---or has anybody else for that
matter. Well, you old pal is o.k.
and so is Chip. (Bushaw's pet name for
Alva.) He and I have been through a lot
together and have a lot to talk over with
Most of all we
keep talking about your egg sandwiches and pie
--- so have plenty when we get
there. You don't know how big an
appetite we have. No kidding when we get
home , it's going to be ver a good pieve of pie
or cake and plenty of coffee.
know how well I like tea --- well, that's what
we have been drinking for the past three and one
I sure hope
everything is fine at home and is going
good. We heard in one of your letters that
you have moved, but that won't make a
Well, I'll have
to close soon if I want to get this in the mail.
So, 'til I can write more --- so long and lots
of love. Say hello to everybody.
With Love ---Del"
After receiving medical treatment he was
returned to the United States on the U.S.S.
Gospar arriving at Seattle, Washington, on
October 12, 1945. From Seattle, he was sent to
Vaughan General Hospital in Hines, Illinois, and
given furlough home to Janesville. He married,
Lorraine Wilkinson, remained in the
military, and rose in rank to Chief Warrant
Officer. Lorraine passed away in 1977 and in
1978, Delmon remarried.
Delmon retired to Odenton, Maryland, on October
31, 1960. He died on January 13, 1980, in
Maryland and was buried at Arlington National
Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.