Garcia

 


Cpl. Ernest Garcia


Born: 7 November 1915 - Monterrey, Mexico
Parents: Mike & Mary Garcia

Siblings: 1 sister, 1 step-brother

Home:

    - 227 West 17th Street - Port Arthur, Texas

Occupation: lumberyard worker

Inducted:

    - U. S. Army

        - 18 March 1941 - Houston, Texas

Training:

    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - basic training

    - Camp Polk, Louisiana
        - assigned to 753rd Tank Battalion
        - 192nd Tank Battalion ordered overseas as part of Operation PLUM
            - PLUM was an acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila
        - men 29 years old or older replaced
        - replacements came from 753rd Tank Battalion

            - volunteered or had their names drawn
        - received tanks M3 "Stuart" tanks of 753rd
Note: The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day, and the next day - when a Navy ship was sent to the area - the buoys had been picked up.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    - Fort McDowell, Angel Island, California
        - ferried to island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - received physicals from medical detachment - 25 October 1941 - 26 October 1941
            - men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin battalion at later date
            - other men simply replaced

Overseas Duty:
    - U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott
        - Sailed: San Francisco - Monday - 27 October 1941
        - Sailed: San Francisco - Monday - 27 October 1941
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Sunday - 2 November 1941
            - remained in Hawaii until other ships in convoy arrived
        - Sailed: Wednesday - 5 November 1941
            - took southern route away from main shipping lanes
            - joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the transport, S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
                - smoke seen on horizon
                - Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of water, and it intercepted the ship
                    - ship was from a neutral country
        - Sunday - 9 November 1941 - crossed International Dateline
            - soldiers woke up on Tuesday - 11 November 1941
        - Arrived: Guam - Sunday 16 November 1941
            - ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
        - Sailed: next day
            - passed Japanese held island in total blackout
        -Arrived: Thursday - 20 November 1941 - Manila Bay - 7:00 A.M.
            - soldiers disembark ship three hours after arrival
            - boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
            - maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from ship
Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg
            - Colonel Edward P. King met the soldiers when they arrived
            - apologized to soldiers about living conditions
            - lived in tents along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
            - made sure they all had Thanksgiving Dinner before he had his dinner          

Engagements: 

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942  

            - D Company attached to 194th Tank Battalion

                - remained part of the 192nd Tank Battalion
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                    - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                - operating north of Agno River
                - main bridge at Carmen bombed
            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                    - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista
                  Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
            - 26/27 December 1941
                - ordered to withdraw
                    - 1 platoon forced its way through way through Carmen
                        - lost two tanks
                            - one tank belonged to company commander - Captain Edward Burke
                                - believed dead, but was actually captured
                            - one tank crew rescued
                - new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
                - rest of battalion made a dash out
                    - lost one tank at Bayambang
                    - another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
                - Lt. Petree's platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
                - D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
                    - the tank commander found a crossing
                    - Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
            - 29/30 December 1941
                - new line at Bamban River established
                - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
            - 30/31 December 1941
                    - tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
                    - covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
            - 2 January 1942
                - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
                - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
            - 5 January 1942
                - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-
                  Poraline Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and Lubao
                - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate
                    - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                    - tanks opened fire
                    - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
                - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off engagement
                    - suffered 50% casualties
                - Remedios - established new line along dried creek bed  
            - 6/7 January 1942
                - 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
                - both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                - rations cut in half

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - January 1942
                - tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon
    It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver: 
"Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal.  If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay."
           - 8 January 1942
                - composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect
                  East Coast Road north of Hermosa
                    - their job was to keep the East Road open  north of Hermosa and prevent the
                      Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed
                - remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                    - tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
                    - tanks also needed overdue maintenance
                    - 17th Ordnance
                - all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
                - three per tank platoon
                - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw
                - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
                - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
                - mission abandoned
                - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
            - 12 January 1942
                - C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
                    - forward position with little alert time
            - 13 January 1942
                - mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
                - returned to battalion
            - 16 January 1942
                -  C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
                    - highway had been cut by Japanese
                    - Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
                        - tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
                            - tanks knock out gun
                            - cleared roadblock with support of infantry
            - 20 January 1942
                - Banibani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
            - 24 January 1942
                - tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
                     - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
            - 26 January 1942
                - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
                    - four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
                - 9:45 A.M. - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
                    - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
                - 10:30 A.M. - Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
                - prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached
            - 28 January 1942
                - 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
                - guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
                - half-tracks patrolled roads
                    - maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
            - March 1942
                - two tanks were bogged down in mud
                - the tankers were working to get them out
                - Japanese Regiment entered the area
                - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
                    - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
                - wiped out Japanese regiment
            - 4 April 1942
                - Japanese launched major offensive
                - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
            - 6 April 1942
                - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
                    - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire at junction of Trails 8 & 6
                    - other tanks covered withdraw
                - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
                    - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
                    - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
            - 8 April 1942
                - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban

        - 9 April 1942 - escaped to Corregidor
            - assigned to Ft. Drum

Prisoner of War: 

    - 6 May 1942

        - returned to Corregidor
        - taken by barge to Luzon
            - marched to Manila and Bilibid Prison
            - sent to Cabanatuan

POW Camps:

    - Cabanatuan
    - Batangas Detail
         - on detail with Bland Moore, Grover Brummett
         - POWs hunted water buffaloes

            - used two eighteen ton wreckers

            - hunted at night

                - POWs set up a salt trap

                - buffaloes came down from mountains

                     - lights turned on - Japanese shot them   
                - ate the hind quarters
                - put spoiled meat out for wild boars
                - shot them for food

    - Bilibid Prison

Hell Ship:

- Tottori Maru

        - 1961 POWs put on ship

            - 500 in front hold and 1461 in rear hold

        - 5 October 1942 POWs left Cabanatuan for Manila

           -  housed in warehouse on Pier 7

        - 7 October 1942 POWs boarded onto Tottori Maru

        - Sailed: Manila 8 October 1942 - 10:00 A.M.
            - passed Corregidor - noon

            - Note:  9 October 1942 - American submarine fired two torpedoes at ship

                         - ship passes a mine laid by an American submarine
            - captain maneuvered ship and avoided torpedoes

        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 October 1942
            - POWs lined deck attempting to use latrines

        - Sailed: 16 October 1942 - 7:30 A.M.

                     -  returned to Takao - 10:30 P.M.
            - food stuffs loaded onto ship
            - POWs received two bags of hardtack and rice and soup each day

        - Sailed: 18 October 1942

        - Arrived: Pescadores Islands

            - anchored off the Pescadores Islands same day

                        remained anchored for several days

            - two POWs died buried at sea

        - Sailed: 27 October 1942

        - Arrived: Takao - 27 October 1942

            - 28 October 1942 POWs taken ashore and bathed with fire hoses
            - ship was also cleaned

        - Sailed: 30 October 1942

        - Arrived: 30 October 1942 - Makou, Pescadores Islands - 5:00 P.M.

        - Sailed:  31 October 1942

            - part of seven ship convoy
            - POWs received two meals of rice and soup and one bag of hardtack each
              day
            - 5 November 1942 - ships attacked by American submarine
                - one ship sunk
                - the remaining ships scattered

        - Arrived: Fusan, Korea - 7 November 1942- 8:00 A.M.

            - 8 November 1942 POWs disembarked ship
            - POWs issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats

            - sick POWs left behind at Fusan

            - those who recovered came to Mukden at later date

            - white boxes contained the ashes of POWs who died sent to Hoten Camp

        - 11 November 1942 arrived Hoten Camp, Mukden, Manchuria
POW Camp:

    - Manchuria:  

          - Mukden

        - lived in dugouts until they were moved into two story barracks
        - each enlisted man received two thin blankets to cover himself with
        - Meals the same everyday
            - Breakfast - cornmeal mush and a bun
            - Lunch - maze and soy beans
            - Dinner - soy beans and a bun
            - trapped wild dogs to supplement meals
                - this ended when they saw a dog eating a dead Chinese
        - POWs worked in factory or at lumber mill
            - walked 3 miles to factories
            - 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.
                - committed acts of sabotage to prevent anything useful from being made
                - Japanese blamed the Chinese workers because they believed the Americans were too stupid to
                  commit the sabotage
            - When Japanese searched for contraband in barracks, the POWs had to stand in the cold and snow
                - Japanese made them strip
                - stood there until all 700 POWs had been searched
            - Food rations were cut in half if the Japanese believed one POW was not working hard enough
            - on one occasion, the POWs were ordered to remove their shoes
                - A Japanese lieutenat, Murado, beat each man with that man shoes

Liberated: September 1945 - Russian Army
    - former POWs taken to Darien, China
    - returned to the Philippines

Discharged: 16 May 1946

Wife: Mary Rameriz

Children:

     - 3 daughters, 4 sons

Occupation: railroad contractor

Died: 18 April 2003

Buried:

    - Memory Gardens Cemetery of Jefferson County - Nederland, Texas


 

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