Sgt. Willard H. Campbell was born in May 21, 1920, to Earl F. Campbell and Florence E.
Zierth-Campbell in Wisconsin. With his sister, he grew up at 8 Linn Street in Janesville. He was also the
of A Company. Willard joined the Wisconsin National Guard's tank company in Janesville. In
September 1940, the tank company was federalized and designated A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
The company left for Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 27, 1940, by train. Since they had
few tanks, the companies pulled their tanks from the junkyard at the fort and rebuilt them to operating order.
The members of the company trained on the equipment and learned to operate it. In January 1941,Willard was
transferred to Headquarters Company when it was formed and was put in command of one of the company's three
The 192nd Tank Battalion was sent to Louisiana, in the late summer of 1941, to take part in maneuvers
from September . At the end of the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk without being given a
reason. According to members of the battalion, it was on the side of a hill that they learned that General
George S. Patton had selected them for duty overseas. Men who were married or 29 years old or older were given
the chance to be released from federal service. Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank
Battalion. Most of the members of the battalion were allowed to go home and say goodbye. It appeared that
Willard married at this time.
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
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 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
The 192nd was boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. General 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.
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 the island.
On Wednesday, 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
and, another transport, the
S.S. President 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 15th, 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. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was
seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out
of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a
friendly country.During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The
cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off
in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, 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 the men had to
live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield. The truth was that he had not learned of their
arrival until just days before their ship docked. He made sure that they had what they needed and that they all
received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.
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
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, while they prepared for maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.
On Monday, December 1, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against
paratroopers. The 194th Tank Battalion guarded the northern half of the airfield, while the 192nd guarded the
southern half. At all times, two members of every tank and half-track crew remained with their vehicles.
Meals were brought to them by food trucks.
At six in the morning, the officers of the battalion were called to the radio room at the fort.
They were ordered to move their entire companies to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. The tankers watched that
morning as the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed to be refueled and the pilots
went to lunch. At 12:45, the tankers watched as 54 planes approached the airfield. As they watched, they
saw "raindrops" falling from the planes. When bombs began exploding, the soldiers knew the planes
The tankers could do little more than watch since their weapons were useless against
planes. 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.
HQ Company was sent to Lingayen Gulf in support of B and C Companies which had been sent there
to relieve the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts. Because of logistical problems, there wasn't enough gasoline to
refuel one company, so only one platoon of B Company could be sent to the gulf.
At Gumain River, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the
river. When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they easy to see since they were wearing white
t-shirts. It was there the tankers noted that the Japanese soldiers were high on drugs when they
attacked. Among the dead Japanese, the tankers found the hypodermic needles and syringes. The
tankers were able to hold up the Japanese for several weeks.
On another occasion the company had bivouac for the night, along both sides of the road, and
posted sentries. The guards heard a noise and alerted the other tankers who grabbed their guns. As they
sat quietly, a Japanese bicycle battalion road into their bivouac. They opened fire with everything they
had. There were flashes of light and screaming. Then, there was silence. The tankers had completely
wiped out the bicycle battalion.
During the Battle of the Points, A Company was involved in wiping out Japanese soldiers who had
been landed on two peninsulas on Bataan. The Japanese landed troops Quinauan Point ten miles behind the main
defensive line. When they attempted to reinforce them, they landed additional troops Anyasan Point seven miles
behind the main battle line. When the tanks became available, A Company was sent in to help wipe out the 2000
soldiers trapped in the pockets.
The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3. On April 7, 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 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 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
The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni, HQ's commanding officer, gave his men the
news of the surrender. While informing the members of the company of the surrender, he waved his arm toward the
tanks and told the men that they would no longer need them. As he spoke, his voice choked. He turned away
from the men for a moment, and when he turned back he continued. He next told the sergeants what they should do
to disable the tanks. During the announcement, Bruni emphasized that they all were to surrender
together. He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and any supplies that could be used by the
Japanese. The only thing they were told not to destroy were the company's trucks. The men waited in
their bivouac until ordered to move. Somehow, Bruni had found enough bread and pineapple juice for what he
called, "Their last supper."
On April 11, the first Japanese soldiers appeared at HQ company's encampment. Donald
was now a Prisoner of War. A Japanese officer ordered the company, with their possessions, out onto the road
that ran in front of their encampment. Once on the road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along the sides of
the road with their possessions in front of them. As they knelt, the Japanese soldiers, who were passing them,
went through their possessions and took whatever they wanted from the Americans. They remained along the sides
of the road for hours.
HQ Company finally boarded trucks and drove to just outside of Mariveles. From there,
they walked to Mariveles Airfield and ordered to sit. As they sat, John and the other Prisoners of War noticed
a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the
Japanese were going to kill them. The Japanese ordered the POWs to form ranks. They
were marched to the train station where they were packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane. The
cars were known as "forty or eights" since they could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese
packed 100 POWs into each car. Those POWs who died remained standing until the living left the cars at
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 looting.
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 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 letter.
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
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.
When the POWs were moved to Cabanatuan, on June 1, Willard was left behind at Camp
O'Donnell, because he was considered too ill to be moved. According to 2nd Lt. Jacques Merrifield's
diary on the 192nd Tank Battalion, Sgt.Willard H. Campbell died from malaria on Wednesday, June 3, 1942. This
was confirmed by records kept by the medical staff at the camp. After he died, he was buried in the camp
cemetery Section: L, Row: 9, Grave 3.
After the war, Sgt. Willard Campbell's remains were positively identified, and at his
wife's request, he was reburied at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila in Plot D, Row 5, Grave 63.