Tec 5 Alton M. Dodway
T/5 Alton M. Dodway was the
son of William Dodway & Josephine
Wright-Dodway. He was born in 1919 and
raised at 314 Harrison Street in Port Clinton,
had one brother, one sister, two stepsisters, and
Alton joined the Ohio National Guard's tank company which was headquartered in Port Clinton. The company was being federalized and they needed as many recruits as possible to fill out their roster.
For almost a
year, Alton trained at Fort Knox. He then took
part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941. After the maneuvers, the
battalion was ordered to remain behind
at Camp Polk. None of the members
of the battalion had any idea why they
were there. On the side of a hill,
the members learned they were being sent
overseas as part of Operation
PLUM. Within hours, many men had
figured out they were being sent to the
Philippine Islands. Many of the
men returned home to say goodbye to
their friends and family. Others,
who were too old, were released from
The tank battalion received
that it was to
B and C
ran low on
enough for one
to support the
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.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company
was mined and
about to be
The 192nd held
so that the
frog past it
and then cover
192nd was the
unit to enter
After months of falling back, Alton and the other members of C Company became Prisoners Of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942. He and the other soldiers made their way to Mariveles where they began what became known as the death march.
Alton like the other defenders of Bataan had gone months on inadequate meals. When he started the march, he was already ill and suffering from dysentery. He marched for four days when he collapsed from the lack of food and water. Sgt. Charles Chaffin, Cpl. Howard Wodrich and Sgt. John Andrews managed to get Alton onto a truck. He rode in the truck all the way to Camp O'Donnell.
Once Alton was in Camp O'Donnell, he was put into the camp hospital. The hospital became known as "Zero Ward." Most of the POWs who entered the hospital died. The doctors in the hospital had no medical supplies other than those they had carried in themselves. The Japanese feared the area so strongly that they encircled the building with a barbed wire fence.
Without proper medical care, T/5 Alton M. Dodway died of dysentery on Saturday, May 9, 1942. He was buried in the camp's cemetery in Section D, Row 7, Grave 3. His family learned in August 11, 1944, that the army had listed him as dead, but they did not learn officially of his death until May 31, 1945.
After the war, Alton's remains were taken to Manila and buried at a temporary cemetery until his family requested that his remains be returned to the United States. Tec 5 Alton M. Dodway was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Port Clinton, Ohio.