Cpl. Wade W. Chio
| Cpl. Wade W.
Chio was the son of Joseph Chio & Goldie
Bodi-Chio. He was born on May 30, 1919, on
the Howard Farms in Ohio. He was one of the
couple's eight children. His father was a
farmer and brought all his children up
farming. The family resided on Route 1,
County Line Road in Jerusalem Township, Lucas
County, Ohio, and later Bono, Ohio.
It is not known when, but Wade joined the Ohio National Guard in Port Clinton, Ohio. On November 25, 1940, Wade with his tank company was called to federal service when his company was federalized. Upon arrival at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the company was designated C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
Wade with the rest of the company, trained for
almost a year. From September 1 through
30, 1941, the 192nd took part in the maneuvers
in Louisiana. After the maneuvers, the
battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana,
instead of returning to Ft. Knox. It was
on the side of a hill at Camp Polk, that he and
the other members of the battalion learned that
they were not being released from federal
service. Instead, the battalion was being
On December 31, 1941, Company was sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, Lt. Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag. 2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Bill had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
Kennady's platoon held its fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and then joined in the hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the village, through buildings and under them. By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy tanks.
the withdraw into the peninsula, the company
crossed over the last bridge which was mined and
about to be blown. The 192nd held its
position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could
leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's
withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit
to enter Bataan.
On April 8, 1942, Wade was wounded by
shrapnel. It was the evening 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.
It took Wade sixteen days to complete the march. While he marched, he witnessed Japanese brutality. He was POWs bayoneted because they had attempted to get water from artesian wells. Those who fell to the road were shot. He was beaten twice for not moving fast enough and bayoneted once in the shoulder. In his opinion, the lucky men were the ones who died on the march.
At San Fernando, Wade and the other POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. The POWs were packed in so tightly that the dead remained standing until the living climbed out of the cars at Capas. From there, the men walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino military camp. The camp had only one water faucet for the entire camp. As many as eighty men of day died. The food in the camp consisted of a type of cucumber and rice. Only after receiving red cross packages did the death rate decrease dramatically. Wade made his package last two weeks.
While in Camp O'Donnell, Wade was selected to work the burial detail. He recalled that the high water table made this a difficult job. One day after it had rained, Wade and the other men on the detail came to the cemetery to bury the dead. When they arrived, they discovered that the rain had raised the water table. He recalled seeing arms and legs of the dead who had been buried the day before sticking out of the ground.
To get out of Camp O'Donnell, Wade went out on a work detail to Caluan. This detail lasted three months with the POWs rebuilding the bridges that had been destroyed during the withdrawal into Bataan. At this barrio, Wade and the other men built a bridge to replace the one that the retreating American forces had destroyed weeks before. Wade and the other men were housed in a school. There they slept on the floor.
When this detail ended, Wade was sent to Cabanatuan. This camp was opened, at the site of the former Camp Pengatian which had been a Filipino Army base, to relieve the conditions that existed in Camp O'Donnell. In this camp, Wade worked at the camp farm.
On December 12, 1942, when a work detail to Las Pinas was organized, Wade was selected for it. There, the POWs built runways for an airfield. It was also on this detail that Wade came down with malaria. At one point, he was so sick that he almost died. Because he couldn't work, the Japanese decided to punish him. He said, "They hung me up with Chinese finger traps. I stayed up there for hours, out in front of a Japanese guard house. The next day, I was so weak I couldn't walk, so they hung me up again."
Wade was still on this detail on September 21, 1944, when American planes appeared in the sky. The planes bombed the runways airfield and sunk ships in Manila Bay. It was after this attack, that the Japanese made the decision to send the prisoners to other parts of the Japanese Empire. The next day, the POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison.
Wade was sent to the Port Area of Manila and inspected. He and 1100 other men were selected to be sent to Japan on the Hokusen Maru. His detachment of POWs was scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru, but since Hokusen Maru was ready to sail and another detachment of POWs had not completely arrived, the Japanese boarded Wade's group of POWs on the ship on October 1st.
The ship moved and dropped anchor at the harbor's breakwater. It remained there for three days. On the ship, Wade was reunited with Harold Beggs and Virgil Janes of C Company. The ship was a cattle boat were the POWs were crammed into a 30 foot by 40 foot hold. To make things worse, the Japanese covered the hatch with boards and fastened them down with chains preventing light and air from getting into the hold. Wade said, "There were a thousand of us in a hold, 40-by-40. There wasn't room to lie down or stand up. You had to sit, and you defalcated and urinated right where you sat. Finally, the towards the end of the trip, the Japanese decided to fill our canteens with salt water. Some of the guys drank it and it killed them."
The POWs were fed only once a day. The food was dropped down into the hold with a rope. Wade recalled that water was given out even more infrequently. Since he was near a wall, Wade did not get much food.
Wade became ill and appeared to be dead.
He was hauled out of the hold by rope and taken
to the side of the ship. To make sure that
he was dead, a Japanese soldier threw water on
him before he was thrown overboard. When
he moved, the Japanese took him back to the hold
and threw him into it. Harold Beggs would
help Wade regain some of his strength by giving
his position in the hold to him.
The ships were informed, on October 9th, that American carriers were seen near Formosa and sailed for Hong Kong when it was informed American planes were in the area. During this part of the trip, the ships ran into American submarines which sank two more ships. The Hokusen Maru arrived at Hong Kong on October 11th. While it was in port, American planes bombed the harbor on October 16th. On October 21st, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving on October 24th.
On November 8th, the POWs disembarked the ship and were sent to various camps on Formosa depending on their physical condition. In Wade's case, he was sent to Inrin Temporary Camp which was opened for the POWs. The POWs did light work and gardened. The healthier POWs worked at a sugar mill. Wade and the other POWs spent two months on Formosa before being boarded onto the Melbourne Maru on January 14, 1945, at Takao. The voyage from Formosa to Moji, Japan lasted until January 23rd.
Wade's weight was now down to 87 pounds.
He and the other men were taken to Northern
Ashio Camp, which was located on
the side of a mountain. Living conditions
in the camp were atrocious. The camp had a
limited amount of water because the water line
to the camp was broken. This meant they could
not wash after working and for cooking.
The POW kitchen was 40 feet from the latrines
resulting in flies being everywhere in the
kitchen. The Japanese also did not supply
lids for the cooking utensils. The
Japanese guard in charge of the POW mess stole
food for himself that was meant for them.
POWs reported he was seen carrying sacks of rice
and sugar, assigned to them, from the camp.
Wade returned home and was sent to Fletcher Veterans Administration Hospital in Cambridge, Ohio, and was discharged on April 26, 1946. He married Marian Jeremy and became the father of four sons. To support his family, he worked as a sheet metal worker and for General Motors Hydromatic. During the remainder of his life, Wade suffered from post traumatic stress which resulted in him being in and out of the hospital,
Wade W. Chio passed away on November 14, 1998, in Toledo, Ohio. He was buried at Oak Wood Cemetery in Curtice, Ohio.