Pvt. Raymond A. Lorenz was born on February 25, 1919, in Okeene, Oklahoma,
to Manuel & Amelia Lorenz. It is known that he had three sisters and two brothers. The family
resided in Deep Creek, Major County, Oklahoma. He left school after eighth grade and worked as a truck driver
for the state highway department and was living in Isabella, Oklahoma, in 1941.
Raymond was inducted into the U.S. Army on February 24, 1941, at Camp Chaffee in Fort
Smith, Arkansas, and was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. After completing basic training, he
was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he became a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion.
The 192nd Tank Battakion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, in the late summer of 1941,
to take part in maneuvers from September 1 through 30. After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered
to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of returning to Ft. Knox. On the side of a hill, the battalion learned
they were being sent overseas. Men too old to go overseas were released from federal service.
Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. Raymond either volunteered, or had his
name drawn, to join the 192nd and was assigned to B Company.
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, 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 that a large radio transmitter. The island was
hundred of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before
returning to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
The and the next day, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys
had been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen making its way to shore. It was at that time the
decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
After the companies were brought up to strength with replacements, the battalion was
equipped with new tanks and half-tracks with came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. The battalion traveled
over different train routes to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California, where they were taken by the ferry,
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island. At Ft. McDowell, on the island, they
received physicals and inoculations. Men found with minor medical conditions were held back and
scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd boarded onto the
U.S.A.T. Gen. 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
U.S.S. Louisville 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 11. During the night, while they slept, the ships had
crossed the International Dateline. 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
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 Gen. 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 all received
Thanksgiving Dinner, which was a stew thrown into their mess kits, before he went to have his own. 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
On December 1, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard it against
paratroopers. At all times, two members of each crew remained with their tanks or half-tracks. On
December 8, at six in the morning, the officers of the battalion were called to the radio room at the fort
and informed of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The tank battalions were brought up to full strength with the
192nd had guarding the southern portion of the airfield.
The tankers watched that morning as the sky was filled with American planes. At
noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. The planes were lined up in a straight line outside the
mess hall. At 12:45, the tankers watched as 54 planes approached the airfield. As they watched, the saw
"raindrops" falling from the planes. When bombs began exploding, the soldiers knew the planes were
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.
That night, most men slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their
tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed. They lived through two more
attacks on December 10 and 13.
The tank battalion received orders on
December 21 that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf. Because of
logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas. When they
reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to
proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
On December 23 and 24, the battalion was in the area of
Urdaneta. The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was
destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river. As they did
this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening. They
successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
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 tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December
27, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29. On January 1, conflicting orders
were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5.
Doing this would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan. General Wainwright
was unaware of the orders since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff.
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.
During 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.
The tanks bivouacked south of the Pilar-Bagac Road and about two kilometers from the East
Coast Road. It had almost been one month since the tank crews had a rest and the tanks had maintenance work
done on them by 17th Ordnance. It was also on this day that the tank platoons were reduced to three tanks per
tank platoon. The men rested and the tanks received the required maintenance. Most of the tank tracks
had worn down to bare metal and the radial engines long past their 400 hour overhauls.
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
The battalions were sent to cover the junctions of the Back Road and East Road with the
Abucay-Heicienda Road on January 25th. While holding the position, the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts,
fought its way to the position at 3:00 A.M. One platoon was sent to the front of the the column of trucks
which were loading the troops. The tanks provided heavy fire so that the infantry could withdraw and
inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese.
Later on January 25, both the 192nd and 194th held a defensive line on the
Bakanga-Cardre-BaniBani Roads until the withdraw was completed at midnight. They held the position until the
night of January 26/27, when they dropped back to a new defensive line roughly along the Pilar-Bagac Roads.
When ordered to withdraw to the new line, the 192nd found that the bridge at Balanga, that they were suppose to use
had been destroyed by enemy fire. To withdraw, they had to use secondary roads to get around the barrio and
tanks were still straggling in at noon.
The tank battalions, on January 28, 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, while the
battalion's half-tracks were used to patrol the roads. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks
guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
Companies A & C were ordered to the west coast of Bataan while B Company - which was
held in reserve - and 17th Ordnance held the southern shore of Bataan. The tankers were awake all night and
attempted to sleep under the jungle canopy, during the day, which protected them from being spotted by Japanese
reconnaissance planes. During the night, they were kept busy with repeated threats both on and off shore.
On one occasion, a member of the company, who had gotten frustrated by being awakened by
the planes, had his half-track pulled out onto the beach and took pot shots at the plane. He missed the
plane, but twenty minutes later, Japanese planes appeared over the location and dropped bombs that exploded in the
tree tops. Three members of the company were killed.
The tank battalions, on their own, took up the job of protecting the airfields at
Cabcaban, Bataan, and Mariveles, since Japanese paratroopers were known to be available. The tanks and
half-tracks were well hidden in the jungle around the airfields and different plans were in place to be used
against Japanese forces. There was only one major alert in March when 73 Japanese planes came over.
The company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets - from January 23 to February 17 -
to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line after a Japanese offensive was
stopped and pushed pack to the original line of defense. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to
replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
Doing this was so stressful that each tank company was rotated out and replaced by one that was being held in
To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used. The first was to have three
Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank. As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos
dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually
The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the
foxhole. The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way
down into the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
While the tanks were doing this job, the Japanese sent soldiers, with cans of gasoline,
against the tanks. These Japanese attempted to jump onto the tanks, pour gasoline into the vents on the back
of the tanks, and set the tanks on fire. If the tankers could not machine gun the Japanese before they got to
a tank, the other tanks would shoot them as they stood on a tank. The tankers did not like to do this because
of what it did to the crew inside the tank. When the bullets hit the tank, its rivets would pop and wound the
men inside the tank. It was for their performance during this battle that the 192nd Tank Battalion would
receive one of its Distinguished Unit Citations.
Since the stress on the crews was tremendous, the tanks rotated into the pocket one at a
time. A tank entered the pocket and the next tank waited for the tank that had been relieved to exit the
pocket before it would enter. This was repeated until all the tanks in the pocket were relieved.
What made this job so hard was that the Japanese dug "spider holes" among the
roots the trees. Because of this situation, the Americans could not get a good shot at the Japanese.
The tankers, from A, B, and C Companies, were able to clear the pockets. But before
this was done, one C Company tank which had gone beyond the American perimeter was disabled and the tank just sat
there. When the sun came up the next day, the tank was still sitting there. During the night, its crew
was buried alive, inside the tank, by the Japanese. When the Japanese had been wiped out, the tank was turned
upside down to remove the dirt and recover the bodies of the crew. The tank was put back into use.
At the same time the company took part in the Battle of the Points on the west coast
of Bataan. The Japanese landed troops but ended up trapped. One was the Lapay-Longoskawayan points from
January 23 to 29, the Quinawan-Aglaloma points from January 22 to February 8, and the Sililam-Anyasan points from
January 27 to February 13. The defenders successfully eliminated the points by driving their tanks along the
Japanese defensive line and firing their machine guns. The 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts followed the
tanks eliminating any resistance and driving the Japanese Marines over the edge of the cliffs where they hid in
caves. The tanks fired into the caves killing or forcing them out of them into the sea.
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.
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.
In March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except
the tanks. This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day. At the same time, food rations were cut in
half again. Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to
On April 3, 1942, the Japanese launched a 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. 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, was attached to the 192nd and had only seven
It was the evening of April 8 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
On April 9, 1941, at 6:45 in the morning, the tankers received the order
"crash." They circled their tanks and each crew fired a metal piercing shell into the engine of
the tank in front of it. They opened the gasoline valves and dropped grenades into the tanks. It was
at that time that Raymond and other members of the company made the decision that they would attempt to reach
After arriving on Corregidor, Raymond volunteered to be sent to Ft. Drum. He was
still there when Corregidor surrendered on May 6, 1942. After the surrender, as a Prisoner of War, he was
sent to the Wawa Dam area east of Manila. The POWs on the detail worked on roads, removed large rocks, and
repairing a dock. The work was finished on May 18, the POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison before they were
sent Cabanatuan #3.
Cabanatuan - which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division and
was known as Camp Panagaian - was actually three camps. Camp 1 was where the men who captured on Bataan and
taken part in the death march where held. Camp 2 did not have an adequate water supply and was
closed. It later reopened and housed Naval POWs. Camp 3 was where those men captured when Corregidor
surrender were taken. In addition, men from Bataan who had been hospitalized when the surrender came were
sent to the camp. Camp 3 was later consolidated into Camp 1.
Once in the camp, the POWs were allowed to run the camp. The Japanese only entered
if they had an issue they wanted to deal with. 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.
In the camp, the Japanese instituted the "Blood Brother" rule. If one
man escaped the other nine men in his group would be executed. POWs caught trying to escape were
beaten. Those who did escape and were caught, were tortured before being executed. It is not known if
any POW successfully escaped from the camp.
The barracks in the camp were built to house 50 POWs, but most had between 60 to 120
POWs in them. The POWs slept on bamboo slats, without mattresses, bedding, or mosquito netting. Many
quickly became ill. The POWs were assigned to barracks which meant that the members of their group lived
together, went out on work details together, and would be executed together since they were Blood
It is known that Raymond was housed in Barracks 6, Group II.
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens.
The two major details were the farm detail and the airfield detail which lasted for years. A typical day on
any detail lasted from 7:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.
Rice was the main food given to the POWs fed to them as "lugow" which meant
"wet rice." During their time in the camp, they received few vegetables and almost no
fruit. Once in awhile, they received bread.
The camp hospital was known as "Zero Ward" because it was missed by the
Japanese when they counted barracks. The sickest POWs were sent there to die. The Japanese put a
fence up around the building to protect themselves, and they would not go into the building. There were two
rolls of wooden platforms around the perimeter of the building. The sickest POWs were put on the lower
platform which had holes cut into it so the they could relieve themselves. Most of those who entered the
The POWs had the job of burying the dead. To do this, they worked in teams of four
men. Each team carried a litter of four to six dead men to the cemetery where they were buried in graves
containing 15 to 20 bodies.
According to medical records kept by the hospital staff in the camp, Ray was admitted
suffering from conjunctivitis and malnutrition on Wednesday, October 28, 1942. He was discharged from the
hospital on Tuesday November 17, 1942. It appears that he was still in the camp in July 1944, when a list
of POWs being sent to Japan was posted. His name was on the list.
On July 15, trucks arrived at the camp and the POWs were boarded. The POWs arrived at Bilibid
seven hours later. Their dinner was rotten sweet potatoes. Since it was night, they had to eat in the
dark. They remained at Bilibid until July 17 at 8:00 A.M. and walked to Pier 7. They were boarded
Nissyo Maru. The Japanese attempted to put the entire POW detachment in the forward hold but failed,
so 600 of the POWs were put into the read hold.
The ship was moved and remained outside the breakwater, at Manila, from July 18th until
July 23rd while the Japanese attempted to form a convoy. The POWs were fed rice and vegetables. They
also received two canteen cups of water.
The ship sailed on July 23 at 8:00 A.M. to Corregidor and dropped anchor off the island
at 2:00 P.M. It remained off the island overnight and sailed at 8:00 A.M. the next day. The ship
sailed north by northeast. On July 26 at 3:00 in the morning, there was a large fire off the
ship. It turned out that the one of the ships, the
Otari Yama Maru had been hit by a torpedo from the U.S.S. Flasher which was a part of a three submarine
wolf pack. On July 28, the ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, and docked at 9:00 A.M. The ship sailed
at 7:00 P.M. and continued its northward trip all day and night of July 29. On July 30, the ship ran into a
storm which finally passed by August 2. The POWs were issued clothing on August 3 and arrived at Moji on
August 4 at midnight.
At 8:00 in the morning, the POWs disembarked the ship. They were taken to a theater and
were held in it all day. The POWs were divided into different groups and sent to different camps. The
POW detachment Raymond was in was taken to the train station. The train left at 9:00 P.M. and arrived at
the camp at 2:00 A.M., they were unloaded and walked the three miles to the camp.
Raymond was assigned to
where the POWs lived in barracks in 15 foot by 15 foot bays which were each shared by six POWs. The men
slept on straw mats with a blanket and quilted coverlet. During the winter, the average temperature was 14
degrees, and there was no heat, so the POWs slept together for heat. At 6:00 A.M., 6:00 P.M., and 9:00 P.M.,
the Japanese took row call. For the first two weeks in the camp, the POWs learned the Japanese words for
The POWs received their jobs from the camp commandant who spoke adequate English. The
POWs were divided into two groups of miners. The "A" group mined during the day, while the
"B" group mined at night. Every ten days the groups received a day off and would swap shifts.
When the POWs arrived at the mine, they were turned over to civilian supervisors and worked in teams of 5
men. They quickly learned the more they did the more these supervisors wanted from them. If they filled
five mining cars, the next day the supervisor wanted six mining cars of coal. The POWs threw rock and timbers
into the cars to fill them and covered them with a layer of coal. When the cars were dumped into the crusher,
the rocks and boards damaged it. After awhile, the supervisor and POWs came to a reasonable agreement on how
many cars they would load each day.
The POWs quickly learned the more they did the more these supervisors wanted from them.
After awhile, the supervisor and POWs came to a reasonable agreement on how many cars they would load each
day. The one good thing about working in the mine in the winter was the temperature was about 70
Earl recalled that working in the mine was scary because conditions in the mine. The mines the POWs worked
were often mines that Japanese engineers had determined to be unsafe for Japanese miners.
Other POWs in the camp worked topside, at the mine, as coal dust diggers, others POWs made
brickets, while some remained in the camp to work. It is not known what work the POWs who worked in the camp
During his time in the camp, the worst atrocity Raymond witnessed was an American who was shot to death by a
firing squad. This was done because the soldier had stolen a piece of bread.
In 1945, things got worse for the POWs, so they knew the Japanese were losing the war. At
5:00 P.M. on August 15 they learned the war was over, but the POWs did not believe it. The next day the
camp commandant, at 9:00 A.M., informed the POWs that the war was over. He also told them that they had to
stay in the camp. On August 24, the Japanese gave the POWs paint and canvas and told them to paint
"POW." on the canvas and put it on the barracks roofs.
On August 28, B-29s appeared over the camp. Two of the planes circled and dropped fifty gallon
drums to the POWs. For the first time, the POWs knew they were now in charge, and most of the guards
quickly disappeared. On September 15, Americans arrived in the camp. The POWs were taken by truck to
the train station. They road the train to Nagasaki. Once there, they were given physicals, deloused,
and the seriously ill were boarded onto a hospital ship. The rest were taken by the
U.S.S. Marathon to Okinawa. They were then flow back to the Philippines.
Raymond was held in the Philippines until he was considered healthy enough to go
home. He was also promoted to Staff Sergeant at this time. After returning home he reenlisted on
February 24, 1946, and remained in the Army a total of ten years. He transferred to the U.S. Air Force and
served another eleven years until retiring on April 30, 1961, as a technical sergeant.
Raymond also married and was the father of three daughters and and three sons. The
family resided in Kelseyville, California. Raymond A. Lorenz passed away on September 8, 1990, in