Pvt. Elmore Walter Pattison
| Pvt. Elmore W.
Pattison was born on August 9, 1916, in Toledo,
Ohio, to Walter C. Pattison and Mada M.
Kuhn-Pattison. With his two sisters and four
brothers, he grew up in Cincinnati and later lived
at 74 Trellis Way in Sylvania, Ohio. He left
high school after two years and, in 1940, he was
living with his aunt and uncle, in Cleveland
Heights, while working as a cook in a restaurant.
On September 27, 1940, Elmore enlisted in the U.S. Army in Cleveland, Ohio. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. It is not known what he was trained to do while in basic training.
Upon completing basic training, he was sent Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion. The battalion had been sent to Camp Polk from Ft. Benning, Georgia. While it was at the base maneuvers were taking place. The battalion did not take part in the maneuvers.
When the maneuvers ended, the 192nd Tank Battalion was held back at the camp. The members of the battalion had no idea why they were being kept there. It was on the side of a hill that they learned they were being sent overseas. Those National Guardsmen who were 29 years old or older, were given the chance to resign from federal service. Elmore volunteered to replace one of the National Guardsmen and was assigned to B Company.
The battalion traveled west over different train routes and arrived at Ft. Mason in San Francisco and were ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Angel Island where they given physicals and inoculated by the battalion's medical detachment. Anyone who had a medical condition was replaced or held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. 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. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from 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 Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20 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.
On Monday, December 1, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers. The 194th Tank Battalion guarded the northern half of the airfield, while the 192nd guarded the southern half. At all times, two members of every tank and half-track crew remained with their vehicles. Meals were brought to them by food trucks. The morning of December 8, 1941, the tank crews were brought up to full strength at the perimeter of airfield. Early that morning, the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had reached the Philippines. The tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. As they sat on their tanks, they watched American planes fill the sky. At noon, every plane landed.
The tankers were eating lunch when they saw 54 planes approaching the airfield from the north. As they watched the planes, they saw what looked like raindrops falling from the planes. When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. Most of the tankers could do nothing but watch since their weapons were not meant to fight planes.
The 192nd remained at Clark Field for about a week when they 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 27th. The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27, and were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29.
On December 31/January 1, the tanks were stationed on both sides of the Calumpit Bridge when they received conflicting orders, from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff, about whose command they were under and to withdraw from the bridge. The defenders were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5 which would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan. General Wainwright was unaware of the orders.
Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River and about half the defenders withdrew. 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.
At 2:30 A.M., the night of January 5/6, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force and using smoke as cover. This attack was an attempt to destroy the tank battalions. At 5:00 A.M., the Japanese withdrew having suffered heavy casualties. The night of January 6/7 the tanks withdrew into the peninsula with the 192nd holding its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it, cross the bridge, and then cover the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan, before the engineers blew up the bridge at 6:00 A.M.
The next day, the battalion was between Culo and Hermosa and assigned a road to enter Bataan on which was worse than having no road. The half-tracks kept throwing their rubber tracks and members of 17th Ordnance assigned to each battalion had to re-track them in dangerous situations. After daylight, Japanese artillery fire was landing all around the tanks.
A composite tank company was formed, the next day, under the command of Capt. Donald Haines, B Co., 192nd. Its job was to protect the East Coast Road north of Hermosa open and to stop Japanese tanks attempting to use it to overrun the next defensive line that was forming. While in this position, the tanks were under constant enemy artillery fire. The rest of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the Abucay-Hacienda Road.
When word came that a bridge was going to be blow, all the tanks were ordered out of the area, which included the composite company. This could have resulted in a catastrophe, but the Japanese did not take advantage of the situation.
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
It was at this time 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.
Very little is known about Elmore's time on
Corregidor. It is known that he was
admitted to the hospital on the island on May 5,
1942, which was the night before the Japanese
lunched an offensive to capture
Corregidor. According to the medical
records, he was suffering from a fever, which
had an unknown cause, and was still in the
hospital on May 11, 1942.
The camp was surrounded by a ten foot
high wooden fence that was topped off with
three electrified wires. The first wire was
about six feet off the ground. Fifty
POWs were assigned to each barracks. The
barracks were 20 feet wide and 120 feet
long. There were ten rooms in each
barracks. A minimum of four to six POWs shared
It was while Elmore was a prisoner in the camp
that his parents received their first news
that he was a POW. The war department
contacted them and informed them of his status
on February 2, 1944. At the same time,
his parents learned that his brother, Herbert,
who was a sailor on the U.S.S. Quincy
had been officially declared dead and Missing
in Action when the ship was sunk on August 9,
1942, during the Battle of Savoy Island.
After liberation, Elmore was returned
to the Philippines and promoted to Private
First Class. He remained there until
returned to the United States. He was
boarded onto the U.S.S. Admiral Hughes
and arrived at Seattle on October 9,
1945. When he returned home, he learned
that his brother, Herbert, was killed in the
sinking of the U.S.S. Turney off Savo