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
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. 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. 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
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.
"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 possible delay."
The battalions were sent to cover the junctions of the Back Road and East Road with
the Abucay-Heicienda Road on January 25. 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.
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 reserve.
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
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.
In February 1942, B Company was also given the job of defending a beach, along the east
coast of Bataan, where the Japanese could land troops. One night while on this duty, the company engaged
the Japanese in a fire fight as they attempted to land troops on the beach. When morning came, not one
Japanese soldier had successfully landed on the beach.
After being up all night, the tankers attempted to get some sleep. Every morning
"Recon Joe" flew over attempting to locate the tanks. The jungle canopy hide the tanks
from the plane. Walter Cigoi aggravated about being woken up, pulled his half-track on the beach and took
a "pot shot" at the plane. He missed. Twenty minutes later, Japanese planes appeared and
bombed the position. Frank took cover under a tank.
After the attack, the tankers found Richard Graff and Charles Heuel dead, and Francis
McGuire was wounded. Another man had his leg partially blown off. The tankers attempted to put the
man in a jeep, but his leg got in the way. To get him into the jeep, his leg was cut off by T/4 Frank
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
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 Corregidor.
The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3. 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. The number of operational tanks also became more critical with C Company, 194th -
which was attached to the 192nd - having only seven tanks left.
The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while hidden
in the jungle where they could not fight back. The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being
near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a
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.
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
At 6:45, the morning of April 9, 1942, the tankers received the order
They circled their tanks. Each tank fired a armor piecing shell into the engine of the tank in
front of it. They also opened the gasoline cocks inside the tank compartments and dropped hand grenades
into the tanks. Most of the company waited in their bivouac for the Japanese to make contact, while
others attempted to reach Corregidor which had not surrendered. Elmore was one of the men who escaped to
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 POWs were held on the island for two weeks before they were taken by barges near
Luzon. A few hundred yards off shore, the POWs jumped over the side and swam to shore. From
there, they walked to Bilibid Prison and then were taken to Cabanatuan. In the camp, he was reunited with
his friends from the 192nd who had taken part in the death march.
During Elmore's time in the camp, he worked on a detail at Ft. McKinley. The
POWs on the detail widen and lengthened runways at Zablan Airfield. While he was a detail Elmore became
ill and sent to the hospital at Bilibid Prison. He was admitted on December 5, 1942, and diagnosed with
xerophthalmia which is a dryness of the cornea. No date of discharge was given, but it is known he was
sent to Cabanatuan.
Elmore also worked on the camp farm at Cabanatuan. Medical records kept at the
POW camp indicate that Elmore was admitted to the camp hospital on March 26, 1943. The records do not
state why he was admitted or when he was discharged. It is known that he remained in the camp until July
1943, when his name appeared on a list of POWs being sent to Japan.
Trucks arrived at Cabanatuan and the POWs were taken to the Port Area of
Manila. There, they were boarded onto the
Clyde Maru. The ship sailed on July 23 and arrived at Santa Cruz, Zambales, Philippine Islands,
the same day. While anchored there, it was loaded with manganese ore.
The ship sailed again on July 26. During this part of the voyage, 100 POWs, at a
time, were allowed on deck from 6:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM. The ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, on July 28 and
remained in the port until August 5 at 8:00 A.M., as part of a nine ship convoy that arrived at Moji, Japan, on
The POWs were organized into detachments of 100 POWs and marched to the train
station. At 9:30 in the morning, the train departed on a two day trip. They disembarked at 7:30 PM
at Omuta, Kyushu, and marched 18 miles to
Fukuoka #17. Those
too ill to march were taken by truck to the camp.
At the camp, the POWs worked in a condemned coal mine where each team of POWs was
expected to load three cars of coal a day. The POWs worked 12 hour work days, had a 30 minute lunch, with
the constant threat of rocks falling on them. Those POWs who the Japanese believed were not working hard
enough were beaten. They also had one day off after every ten days.
The camp was surrounded by a 12 foot wooden fence that had three heavy gauge
electrified wires attached to it. The first wire was at attached at six feet with the others higher
up. The POWs lived in 33 one story barracks 120 feet long and 16 feet wide and divided into ten
rooms. Officers slept four men to a room while enlisted men slept from four to six men in a room.
Each room was lit by a 15 watt bulb, and at the end of each building was a latrine with three stools and a
urinal. The POWs slept on beds, that were 5 feet 8 inches long by 2½ feet wide, made of a tissue paper
and cotton battling covered with a cotton pad. Three heavy cotton blankets were issued to each POW plus a
comfortable made of tissue paper, scrap rags, and scrap cotton.
Life at Fukuoka #17 was hard and there were prisoners who would steal from other
prisoners. To prevent this from happening, the POWs would "buddy up" with each other.
Another problem in the camp was that POWs traded their food rations for cigarettes. POWs who did this
were referred to as "future corpses." The situation got so bad that the Japanese finally
stepped in and stopped it.
A meal consisted of rice and a vegetable soup three times a day. Those POWs
working in the mine received 700 grams a day, while camp workers received 450 grams a day. Officers,
since they were not required to work, received 300 grams a day. Those working in the mine received three
buns every second day since they did not return to camp for lunch. The meals were cooked in the camp
kitchen which was manned by 15 POWs. Seven of the POWs were professional cooks. The kitchen had 11
cauldrons, 2 electric baking ovens, 2 kitchen ranges, 4 storerooms, and an ice box. To supplement their
diets, the prisoners also ate dog meat, radishes, potato greens and seaweed. As they entered the
mess hall, they would say their POW number to a POW at a board. He would take a nail and place it in the
hole in front of the man's number. After all the POWs had been fed, the board was cleared for the
There were also bathing rooms in the camp with two bathing tanks that were 30 feet
long, 10 feet wide, and 4 feet deep. The tubs were heated with very hot water. The POWs working in
the mine bathed during the winter after cleaning themselves before entering the tubs. They did not bathe
during the summer months to prevent skin diseases.
The camp hospital was a building of ten rooms that could each hold 30 men. There
was an isolation ward for 15 POWs usually men suffering from tuberculosis. The POW doctors had little to
no medicines or medical supplies to treat the ill. Dental treatment consisted of removing teeth without
In addition, the sick were forced to work. The Japanese camp doctor allowed the
sick, who could walk, to be sent into the mine. He also took the Red Cross medical supplies meant for the
POWs for his own use and failed to provide adequate medical treatment. Food that came in the packages was
eaten by the guards. Those POWs working in the mine were given more Red Cross supplies than the other POWs.
On one occasion in November 1944, shirts had been stolen from a bundle, sent by the
British Red Cross, from a building. The Japanese ordered all the POWs to assemble and told them that they
would not be fed until the shirts were returned. The men who stole the shirts returned the shirts
anonymously, and the POWs received their meal at 10:00 P.M.
During the winter, the POWs, being punished, were made to stand at attention and had
water thrown on them as they stood in the cold, or they were forced to knee on bamboo poles. It is known
that the POWs were made to stand in water and shocked with electrical current. At some point, two POWs
were tied to a post and left to die. This was done they had violated a camp rule.
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.
Life at Fukuoka #17 was hard and there were prisoners who would steal from other prisoners,
especially clothing. To prevent this from happening, the POWs would "buddy up" with each
other. While one man was working in the mine, the POW who was not working would watch the possessions of
the other man. Some of the POWs were predators who preyed on the weaker POWs trading cigarettes to them
for their food ration.
On August 9, 1945, some of the POWs saw the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Those who saw it described that it was a sunny day and that the explosion still lit up the sky. The
pillar of smoke that rose from the bomb was described as having all the colors of the rainbow.
Afterwards, the POWs saw what they described as a fog blanketing Nagasaki which seemed to have vanished.
The POWs went to work and talked to the Japanese civilians who spoke about how those,
who had survived the blast, would touch their heads and pull out their hair. They stated these Japanese
died within days. They also told of how they heard about a detachment of Japanese soldiers sent into
Nagasaki to recover victims and how its members suffered the same fate.
When the POWs came out of the mine, they found that the next shift of POWs was not waiting
to go to work. That night, the POWs were made to stand at attention for two hours. They all had
their blankets because they believed they were going to be moved. Instead, they were returned to their
barracks. The next day, when it was their turn to go to work, they were told it was a holiday, and they
had the day off. They knew something was up because they had never had a holiday off before this.
Finally, the POWs were gathered in the camp and told that Japan and the United States
were now friends. They were also told to stay in the camp. They also found a warehouse with Red
Cross packages and distributed the packages to the camp. One day, George Weller, a reporter for the
Chicago Daily News entered the camp. He told the POWs that there were American troops on Honshu.
The camp was liberated on September 13, by a POW Recovery Team and on September 18, at 7:09 A.M., the POWs left
the camp and were taken to the Dejima Docks at Nagasaki, where they boarded a ship and were returned to the
After liberation, Elmore was promoted to Private First Class. He was boarded
U.S.S. Admiral Hughes and arrived at Seattle, Washington, on October 9, 1945. When he returned
home, he learned that his brother, Herbert, was Missing in Action.
Elmore remained in the Army and became a member of the Corps of Engineers, 24th
Infantry Division as a Combat Construction Specialist. He served with the division in the Korean War and
rose in rank from Pfc to sergeant. He was wounded on July 12, 1950, and retired from the Army on January
31, 1952, due to his wounds.
Elmore W. Pattison died on May 25, 1955, in Florida, and was buried at Toledo Memorial
Park Cemetery in Sylvania, Ohio.