Paul A. Paden was the son of Samuel A. Paden
& Eva L. Lofton-Paden. He was born in
August 12, 1917, in Kansas and grew up in
Center, Kansas, with his three brothers and
sister. At some point, Paul moved to 814
Lincoln Street, Saint Joseph, Missouri, and
lived with his brother and sister-in-law.
He worked as truck driver for a delivery service
and joined the Missouri National Guard.
On February 10, 1941, Paul was inducted into the
U. S. Army when his National Guard Tank Company
was federalized at Saint Joseph, Missouri.
He was sent to Ft. Lewis, Washington, where the
company was designated B Company and joined the
194th Tank Battalion. When Headquarters
Company was created, he was reassigned to HQ
In September 1941, the 194th
was sent to Ft. Mason in San Francisco,
California, and ferried on the U.S.A.T
General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. MacDowell on
Angel Island where they received physicals and
inoculations from the battalion's medical
detachment. Those men with medical
conditions were replaced.
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. By the time the
planes landed, it was too late to do anything
By the time another squadron
was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had
been picked up by a fishing boat that was seen
making its way toward shore. Since,
communication between the Air Corps and Navy
were poor, the boat was not intercepted.
It was at that time the decision was made to
build up the American military presence in the
The tankers boarded the S.S.
President Calvin Coolidge on September 8th
at 3:00 P.M. and sailed at 9:00 P.M. for the
Philippine Islands. To get the tanks to
fit in the ship's holds, the turrets had serial
numbers spray painted on them and were removed
from the tanks. They arrived at Honolulu,
Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13th at 7:00
A.M., and most of the soldiers were allowed off
ship to see the island but had to be back on
board before the ship sailed at 5:00 P.M.
After leaving Hawaii, the
ship took a southerly route away from the main
shipping lanes. It was at this time that
it was joined by the U.S.S. Astoria, a
heavy cruiser, that was its escort. During
this part of the trip, on several occasions,
smoke was seen on the horizon, and the Astoria
took off in the direction of the smoke.
Each time it was found that the smoke was from a
ship belonging to a friendly country.
The Coolidge entered Manila
Bay at 7:00 A.M. and reached Manila several
hours later. The soldiers disembarked at
3:00 P.M., and were driven on buses to Clark
Field. The maintenance section of the
battalion and members of 17th Ordnance remained
at the dock to unload the battalion's tanks and
reattach the turrets.
On December 1st, the tankers
were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to
guard against Japanese paratroopers. Two
members of each tank and half-track crew
remained with their vehicles at all times and
received their meals from food trucks.
The tankers lived in tents at
the fort until their barracks were finished on
November 15th. The first week of December, 1941,
the tank battalions were ordered to the
perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against
enemy paratroopers. Two tank crew members
remained with the tank at all times and received
their meals from food tucks.
The morning of December 8,
1941, the tankers heard the news of Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor just hours earlier.
As they sat their tanks, the sky was filled with
American planes. At noon, the planes
landed, to be refueled, and were lined up in a
straight line outside the mess hall. The
pilots went to lunch.
The tankers were having
lunch, which meant a tank crew member went to
the food truck and got food for the other
members of the crew. As they sat in their
tanks, they watched two formations, of 27 planes
each, approaching the airfield from the
north. At first they believed the planes
were American, it was only when bombs began
exploding on the runways that they knew the
planes were Japanese.
During the attack the members
of HQ Company took cover in ditches since they
had few weapons that could be used against
planes. The attack lasted for about 45
minutes. 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.
The battalion was sent to the
barrio of San Jaoaquin on the Malolus Road and
moved to an area just south of San Joaquin near
the Calumpit Bridge on December 12th. It
would receive 15 Bren Gun carriers that were
used to test the ground to see if it could
support the weight of a tank. The
battalion moved again to west and north of
Rosario and was operating in north of the Agno
River the night of December 22/23.
The tank battalions formed
the Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas defensive
line the night of December 26/27. They
were holding a new line at the Bamban River the
night of December 29/30 and were at the Calumpit
Bridge the next night.
On January 5th, they were at Lyac Junction and
dropped back to Remedios were a new defensive
line was formed.
The night of January 6/7, the
194th withdrew over a bridge on the Culis Creek
covered by the 192nd Tank Battalion, and entered
Bataan. The 192nd crossed the bridge
before it was destroyed and entered Bataan.
The tank battalions were
covering the East Coast Road on January
8th. It was at this time that the tank
platoons were reduced to three tanks each and HQ
Company with the 17th Ordnance Company were able
to do long overdue maintenance on the tanks.
The tanks continued to cover
withdraws for the rest of January and
February. In March, HQ Company was
recovering two tanks that had been bogged
down in the mud when the Japanese entered
the area. Lt. Col. Miller ordered the
tanks to fire at point blank range and ran from
tank to tank directing the fire.
On April 4th, the Japanese
lunched an all out offensive at 3:00 P.M., and
the tanks were sent to various sectors in an
attempt to stop the advance. The tank
battalion commanders received this order on
April 8th, "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
When it became apparent to
Gen. Edward King that the situation was hopeless
and he wanted to prevent a massacre since he
only 25% of his troops were healthy enough to
fight, while approximately 6,000 troops were
hospitalized from wounds or disease. In
addition, there were approximately 40,000
civilians. The night of April 8th, he sent
his staff officers to negotiate surrender terms
with the Japanese.
The evening of April 8, 1942,
the tankers were informed that Bataan would be
surrendered the next morning. It was on
April 9th that Hugh became a Prisoner of War and
took part in the death march and was packed into
small wooden box cars that were used to haul
sugarcane. At Capas, the POWs climbed out
of the cars and walked the last ten miles to
The conditions in the camp were so bad, that the
as many as 50 men died each day. There was
only one water faucet for the entire camp.
The situation was so bad, the Japanese opened a
new camp at Cabanatuan. Paul was one of
the healthier POWs, so he was sent there.
At some point, Paul was sent out on a work
detail to Manila that repaired trucks and other
equipment for the Japanese. The detail was
known as the Bachrach Garage Detail.
This was the name of a cab company in
Manila. Paul would remain on this detail
In early October the detail
was ended and the POWs were sent to
Bilibid. On October 11, 1944 the POWs were
marched to Pier 7. Once there, they were
boarded onto the Arisan Maru. They
were put on this ship because the ship they were
scheduled to sail on had sailed earlier with
other POWs on it. This was because not all
the POWs in Hugh's detachment had arrived at the
Along the sides of the hold
were shelves that served as bunks. These
bunks were so close together that a man could
not lift himself up while laying down.
Those standing also had no room to lie down. The
latrines for the prisoners were eight five
gallon cans. Since the POWs were packed
into the hold so tightly, many of the POWs could
not get near the cans. The floor of the
hold was covered with human waste.
The ship set sail but took a
southerly route away from Formosa. It
arrived at a cove off Palawan Island where it
dropped anchor. This resulted in the ship
missing an air attack by American planes.
While in the cove, the POWs
discovered that the Japanese had removed the
light bulbs from the hold's lighting system, but
that they had not turned off the power to the
system. The POWs managed to hot wire the
hold's ventilation system into the lights.
For two days, the POWs had fresh air. When
the Japanese discovered what the POWs had done,
they turned off the power.
The POWs began
developing heat blisters, so the Japanese
decided to move some of them to another
hold. While transferring the POWs one man
was shot when he tried to escape. It was
also at this time the ship was attacked by
American planes that had just conducted a raid
The Arisan Maru
returned to the Manila nine days later., where
it became part of a twelve ship convoy bound for
Formosa. On October 21st, the convoy left
Manila and entered the South China Sea.
The Japanese refused to mark POW ships with "red
crosses" to indicate they were carrying
POWs. This made the ships targets for
submarines. In addition, to protect the
fact that American Military Intelligence had
cracked the Japanese code, the submarine crews
were not informed that POWs were being
transported on the ships.
The evening of October 24th
at about 5:00 P.M., the convoy was in the Bashi
Channel, of the South China Sea, off the coast
of China, when it came under attack by American
submarines. The waves were high since a storm
had just passed. At about 5:50 P.M., a
number of POWs were on deck preparing
dinner. About half the POWs on the ship
had been fed. When the guards ran to the
bow of the ship and watched a torpedo as it
barely missed the ship. The guards next
ran to the stern of the ship, and a second
torpedo passed behind the ship.
Suddenly the Arisan Maru
shook, it had been hit by two torpedoes from the
U.S.S. Shark, amidship, killing POWs while those
still alive began cheering wildly. A
little while later the cheering ended and the
men realized they were facing death.
The guards went after the
POWs who cooking dinner and began beating them
with their guns and forcing them into the second
hold. Once they were in the hold the
Japanese cut the rope ladders and slammed down
the hatch cover before abandoning the ship.
POWs in the first hold
managed to make their way onto the deck and
reattached the rope ladders and dropped them
into the holds. The surviving POWs made
their way onto the deck. On the ship's
deck an American major spoke to the POWs, he
said, "Boys, we're in
a hellva a jam - but we've been in jams
before. Remember just one thing: We're
American soldiers. Let's play it that
way to the very end of the script." Right
after he spoke, a chaplain said to them, "Oh Lord, if it be thy
will to take us now, give us the strength to
According to surviving POWs,
the ship stayed afloat for hours but got lower
in the water. At one point, the stern of
the ship began going under which caused the ship
to split in half but the halves remained
afloat. It was about this time that about
35 POWs swam to the nearest Japanese ship.
When the Japanese realized that they were POWs,
they pushed them underwater with poles and
drowned them or hit them with clubs. Those
POWs who could not swim raided the food lockers
for a last meal. These men wanted to die
with full stomachs. Other POWs took to the
water with anything that would float.
Three men managed to get into
a lifeboat that had been abandoned by the
Japanese. But since the sea was rough and
they had no paddles, they could not maneuver the
boat. According to the men as the night
went on, the cries for help became fewer until
there was silence. The next morning, they
rescued two more POWs.
According to the three POWs who had reached an
abandoned lifeboat, the Arisan Maru sank
slowly into the water. At some point the
ship broke in two where it had been struck by
the torpedoes. The exact time of the
ship's sinking was not known since it occurred
at night. The cries for help slowly ceased
until there was silence. The next morning
they rescued two more POWs.
Pfc. Paul A. Paden lost his life when the Arisan
Maru was torpedoed in the South China
Of the nearly 1800 POWs on the ship, only nine
survived the sinking. Eight of the
men survived the war. Since he was lost at
sea, Pfc. Paul A. Paden's name is inscribed on
the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military
Cemetery outside of Manila.
Pfc. Paul Paden's parents
also had a memorial headstone placed at the
Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort, Kansas.