Pvt. Raymond A. Lorenz
| 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, the 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 country.
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 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 maintenance.
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. They were ordered to their platoons at the perimeter of Clark Airfield. The 192nd had been assigned to 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 Japanese.
After the attack the tankers saw the carnage done by the attack. The Japanese had effectively destroyed the Army Air Corps. The tankers would spend the next four months attempting to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines.
On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of B Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. His tank and the others were sent to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north. At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American. It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
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.
also took part in the Battle of the Pockets
to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been
trapped behind the main defensive
line. 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.
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 Corregidor.
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.
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
Raymond was assigned to Fukuoka Camp #23 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 mining equipment.
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.
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.