1st. Lt. William Dillon Mosiman, M. D.

    1st. Lt. William D. Mosiman, M. D., was the son of Edna Dillon-Mosiman & Levi Mosiman.  He was born on May 5, 1913, and had two sisters and a brother.  His father was the post master of Morton, Illinois, where William was raised and graduated from Morton High School in 1931.  As a child, his family felt the effects of the Depression, and he worked to earn the money to go to college.

    William attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and earned his undergraduate degree in 1935 and also went to medical school there.  After serving his residency at Illinois Central Hospital in Chicago, William enlisted in the army in June 1941.

    William was inducted in the Army in July 1941, but it is not known where he was stationed.  In October 1941, he was assigned to the 192nd Tank Battalion as a replacement for Capt. James Salmon, M. D., who was too old to go overseas.  The battalion was made up of National Guard Units from Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.
    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, with a flag, in the water.  He came upon more flagged 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.
    The next day - when a when planes were sent to the area - the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between the planes and Navy was poor, nothing was done to intercept the boat.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

    The battalion's new tanks came from the 753rd Tank Battalion and were loaded onto flat cars, on different trains.  The soldiers also cosmolined anything that they thought would rust.  Over different train routes, the companies were sent to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried, by the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they were given physicals by the battalion's medical detachment and men found with minor medical conditions were held on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced.

    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  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 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, 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. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, 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 16th, 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 20th, 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 Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.

    William and Capt Alvin Poweleit, M. D., spent most of the next two weeks going over records for the battalion.  D Company of the battalion was to be transferred to the 194th Tank Battalion, so their records needed to be in order.  The transfer never took place after the attack on Clark Field.

    On December 8, 1941, William lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Field.  During the attack he sought cover in the ditches along a road.  In the trench with him was 2nd Lt. Emmett Gibson.  William looked at Gibson and asked if he was afraid.  He then said to Gibson, "Me too." 

    After the first wave of planes, William, Dr. Alvin Poweleit and other members of the medical detachment jumped into an ambulance.  At the same time, Japanese fighters came in at low altitude, William and the other soldiers dove out of the ambulance into a bomb crater.  Although the attack lasted for a half hour, the men felt like it went on for hours.

    During the Battle of Bataan, William lived through constant bombing and strafing.  On one occasion William,  Lt. Col. Wickord and Dr. Poweleit noticed that the retreating traffic had stopped.  Suddenly, they heard the sound of tanks. From their position, they could not identify the tanks.  As it turned out the tanks were Japanese.  Later they learned that they had been behind enemy lines.

    William is credited with saving the life of Lt. Jacques Merrifield.  Merrifield's Bren-gun carrier was crossing a bridge when a shell landed next to it,  The Bren-gun carrier went into the river.  Dr. Poweleit pulled Merrifield from the wreckage and brought him to shore.  William and Pvt. Curits Massey worked on Merrifield giving him mouth to moth resuscitation for forty-five minutes until he regained consciousness.  The driver, a Pvt.  Long, could not be saved. 

    It was at the field hospital that William became a Prisoner Of War when the medical staff was ordered to surrender.  William took part in the death march and saw Americans bayoneted and shot.  He and the other Prisoners of War went days without food or water.

    At San Fernando, William was boarded into a small wooden boxcar used to haul sugarcane.  The POWs were packed in so tightly that those who died remained standing until the living disembarked the cars.  At Capas, William left the boxcar and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.  

    Camp O'Donnell was deathtrap.  As many as 50 POWs died each day.  It was William's job to see if the POW had some type of medical treatment.  But without medication, there was not much he could do.

    William was sent to Cabanatuan when the new camp opened.  The death rate in the camp dropped when the Japanese issued Red Cross parcels.  It is known that Bill was admitted as a patient in the camp hospital on June 26, 1942.  His date of discharge was not recorded.  Bill remained in the camp until October.  At 2:00 AM in the morning on October 5th, Bill and other POWs were awakened and transported to Pier 5 in Manila.  Once there, they were housed in a warehouse on the pier.  They remained there for two days.  On October 7, 1942, Bill boarded a Tottori Maru

    The prisoners were divided into two groups. One group was placed in the holds while the other group remained on deck.  The conditions on the ship were indescribable, but those in the hold were worse off than those on deck.  This situation was made worse by the fact that for the first two weeks of the voyage the prisoners were not fed.  Many POWs died during the trip.

    At 10:00 A.M., on October 8th, the Tottori Maru sailed passing Corregidor about noon.  The next day the ship was attacked by an American submarine which fired two torpedoes at it.  The captain of the ship maneuvered the ship and successfully avoided the torpedoes.  The ship also avoided a mine that had been laid by a American submarine. 

    The ship continued its voyage arriving at Takao, Formosa on October 11th.  The ship remained at Takao for four days before sailing at 7:30 A.M. on October 16th.  It returned at 10:30 P.M. to Takao for some unknown reason.  The ship sailed again on October 18th and reached the Pescadores Islands the same day.  It dropped anchor and remained off the islands until October 27th when it returned to Takao where food stuffs were loaded.  During this stay, the POWs were disembarked and washed down with fire hoses.

   The ship sailed again on October 30th and dropped anchor off Makou, Pesacadores Islands.  On October 31st, the ship sailed for Pusan, Korea, as part of a seven ship convoy.  During this trip, the ships were caught in a typhoon which took five days to ride out.  After the storm, the ships were attacked by an American submarine resulting in one ship being sunk. During the attack, the ships scattered.

    After 31 days on the ship, the Tottori Maru docked at Pusan, Korea, on November 7th.  1300 POW's got off the ship and were issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats.  They were taken to the train station and took a two day train trip north to Mukden, Manchuria. 

   When they first got there, they lived in dugouts and were later moved to a two story barracks.  Each enlisted POW received two thin blankets to cover themselves with at night.  The officers got one blanket and a mattress.  Meals were the same everyday.  For breakfast they had cornmeal mush and a bun.  Lunch was maize and beans, and dinner was beans and a bun.
    Since they were underfed, the POWs trapped wild dogs to supplement their meals of soy beans which usually came in the form of soup.  They continued to trap dogs until, while marching to work, they saw one eating a dead Chinese.    
    There, they worked in a sawmill or a manufacturing plant.
  On December 3, 1943, his parents received a POW postcard from him.

    William was sent to Shenyang sub-camp.  That POWs in this camp worked in either a machine shop or wood shop.  In William's case, being a doctor, he was assigned to the camp hospital.  In a letter his parents received in August 1944, he said:

    "Working each day in the camp hospital.  Not as busy now then in the winter.  Wish I had some medical books to read but perhaps they will be just that much more interesting when there are some." 

    In another part of the letter he said:

    "Have not received your package so you see it takes a long time for things to arrive here.  Do not worry about the packages."

    He ended the letter by telling his family:

    "I think of all of you so often and hope that we can soon meet again.  Home will be such a wonderful place after such a long absence."

    The POWs were forced out into the cold and snow and made to strip when the Japanese searched for contraband cigarettes that the prisoners had bought from the Chinese while working in the factories.   They were made to stand in the snow barefooted while the Japanese searched all 700 POWs.
    Punishment was given for any infraction.  Two POWs were knocked out and kicked in the ribs for violating a camp rule.  At other times, the camp's food ration was cut in half because the Japanese believed a POW was not working as hard as he should have been, or someone had been caught smoking in an unauthorized area.  They would also withhold Red Cross packages.  On one occasion, Lt Murado ordered the prisoners to remove their shoes.  After they had, he hit each man in the face with his shoes.
    In the spring of 1943, four Americans escaped and made their way to the Russian border.  Chinese villagers turned them over to the Japanese.  The men were returned to the camp and placed in cells for several months before they were taken to a cemetery and shot.
    He remained in the camp until he and the other POWs were liberated by the Russians in September 1945.  After liberation, he took a train to Darren, China.  From Darren, he was taken to Okinawa before being returned to the Philippines.  In a letter dated September 15th, William told his parents he was being taken to Okinawa and the Philippines.  On October 27th, they received word that he was on his way home.  He arrived in San Francisco on November 1, 1945, on the U.S.S. Marine Shark from there he went to Letterman Hospital.

    William returned to the United States and was discharged, from the army, as a captain on August 3, 1946, and worked at Hines Veterans Hospital, Hines, Illinois.  The hospital was located just outside the town of Maywood which was the hometown of B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.

    During his two years of employment at the hospital, William met his wife, Eileen, who was a second lieutenant.  He married Eileen Thomson on September 2, 1950, in Morton, Illinois, and they would move to Peoria and raise a family of five children. 

    Dr. William D. Mosiman died at the age of 76, from a heart attack, on January 18, 1989.  He was buried in Lot 11, Grave 4, at Fon du Lac Township Cemetery in East Peoria, Illinois.


Return to Medical Detachment