RenoW

Pvt. William Charles Reno Jr.


Born: 17 July 1917 - Oxnard, California

Parents: William C. Reno Sr. & Sallie Mae Richardson-Reno

Siblings: 2 brothers

Home: 143 B Street - Oxnard, California

Occupation: truck driver - beer distributor

Enlisted: California National Guard

    - National Guard unit was from Ventura County, California

Inducted:

    - U.S. Army

        - 3 February 1941 - Ventura, California

Training: 

    - Fort Lewis, Washington

        - C Company, 194th Tank Battalion
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
        - radio operator school
            - qualified as radioman

Note: On August 15, 1941, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the 194th received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  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 that day.  The next morning, by the time another squadron was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 6 September 1941
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria and unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships which turned out to be from neutral countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.

    - Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
            - 1 December 1941
                - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
                - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
                - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all times
                    - meals served by food trucks
                - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post
Engagements: 

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - Sent telegram home telling his parents he was okay and that they should
              not worry about him.  Asked them, "But, how are things over there?"

            - Clark Field - watched attack from inside his tank

        - 12 December 1941
            - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - C Company ordered to Southern Luzon
        - 15 December 1941
            - C Company holding Tagaytay Bridge - South Luzon
            - spent most of time chasing down Fifth Columnists

        - 24 December 1941
            - company moved over Taal Road to Santo Tomas
                - bivouacked near San Paolo

            - sent a telegram home

                "Feeling fine. Everything thing here swell but how are things there?"
        - 25 December 1941
            - sent to assist in operations around Lucena, Paglibo, and Lucban
        - 26/27 December 1941
            - defended in Southern Luzon near Lucban
            - supported Philippine Army
        - 29/30 December 1941
            - new line at Bamban River established
            - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
        - 30 December 1941
                - at Becaue covered withdraw of Philippine Divisions
                - it was around this time that the company rejoined the battalion at Guagua
        - 2 January 1942
            - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
            - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7

        - 5 January 1942
            - ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 soldiers attempting to cut the
              highway

            - Japanese lost half their force
            - Labao was burning when tanks left area
         - 6/7 January 1942 - that night the 194th crosses bridge into Bataan
            - withdraw covered by 192nd Tank Battalion
 

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
            - January 1942
                - 2:30 A.M. attacked in force by Japanese who used a smoke screen

                    - 5:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off attack because of heavy casualties and sunrise

        - 16 January 1942 - Bagac

            - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw

            - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun

            - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered

            - mission abandoned

            - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
    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 possible delay."
        - 8 January 1942
            - composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect
              East Coast Road north of Hermosa
                - their job was to keep the East Road open  north of Hermosa and prevent the
                  Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed
            - remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
                - tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
                - tanks also needed overdue maintenance
                - 17th Ordnance
            - all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
            - three per tank platoon
            - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw
            - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
            - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
            - mission abandoned
            - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment
        - 12 January 1942
                - C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
                    - forward position with little alert time
        - 13 January 1942
                - mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
                - returned to battalion
        - 16 January 1942
                -  C Company sent to Bagac to reopen Moron Highway
                    - highway had been cut by Japanese
                    - Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162
                        - tank platoon fired on by antitank gun
                            - tanks knock out gun
                            - cleared roadblock with support of infantry
    - 20 January 1942

        - Bani Bani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post
    - 24 January 1942
        - tanks order to Hacienda Road in support of troops
            - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road

    - 25/26 January 1942
        - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
            - four SPMs with the battalion
        - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming

        - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had   

            - Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1800 men

    - 28 January 1942
        - 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches of Bataan
    - February 1942
        - tank battalions took it upon themselves to guard three airfields
        - guarded beaches against Japanese landings

    - March 1942
        - two tanks were bogged down in mud
        - the tankers were working to get them out
        - Japanese Regiment entered the area
            - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
            - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
        - wiped out Japanese regiment
        - gasoline rations cut to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks
        - Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that one platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor
            - Wainwright rejected idea
    - April 1942
        - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
    - 6 April 1942
        - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
            - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire
            - other tanks covered withdraw
        - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
            - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
            - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
        - 8 April 1942
            - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
It was at this time that the 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 accomplished."

            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result the massacre of 6000 sick or
               wounded and 40000 civilians
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan
    - 9 April 1942
        - received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
            - Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
        - Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move
    - 10 April 1942
            - 7:00 P.M. - started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
            - 3:00 A.M. - halted and rested for an hour
            - 4:00 A.M. - resume march
    - 11 April 1942
        - 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
            - allowed to forage for food
        - 9:00 A.M. - resumed march
        - Noon - reached Limay and main road
            - officers, majors and up, separated from enlisted men
    - Death March
        - 4:00 P.M officers put on trucks
            - officers arrived at Balanga
            - Japanese find handgun in field bag of an officer
                - he was clubbed and bayoneted
                - because of this they were not fed
            - reached Orani  
            - herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
            - in morning found they had been lying in human waste
            - latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
        - Noon - fed rice and salt
            - first meal
        - Afternoon - enlisted men rejoin officers
        - 6:30 P.M. - ordered to form 100 men detachments
            - POWs marched at faster pace
            - fewer breaks
                - when given break, the POWs sat on road
        - North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
            - made march easier
        - POWs given an hour rest on road
            - those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
            - POWs march through Layac and Lurao
            - rains - POWs drank as much as they could
        - reached San Fernando
            - POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
                - one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
                - pottery jars of water given out the same way
    - 14 April 1942
        - POWs formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
            - POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
         - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars
            - as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
            - also gave them water
            - POWs walked last 8 kilometers to Camp O'Donnell
            - during march he collected medical supplies that he gave to other POWs

        - 24 April 1942 - Reno completed march

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell

            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
 
 
 

        - Cabanatuan
            - hospitalized - Wednesday - June 2, 1942 - malaria
                - discharged - Friday - 6 November 1942
            - family learned he was a POW - 5 April 1943

        - Bilibid Prison

             - held there from 8 March 1944 - 24 March 1944

Hell Ship:

    - Taikoku Maru

        - Sailed: Manila - 24 March 1944
            - POWs treatment was good and they were fed well

        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 27 March 1944

        - Sailed: 3 April 1944

        - Arrived: Osaka, Japan - 10 April 1944 - 5:00 P.M.

POW Camp:

    - Japan

         - Tokyo #8B

            - during trip to camp, the train the POWs were on had to stop because of a train wreck at a tunnel
                - the POWs left the train and climbed a mountain at night to reach the camp
            - when they reached the camp, the POWs stood out in the cold for an hour and a half and listen to the camp
              commandant
                - he threatened to kill them at the slightest opportunity

            - arrived in camp - 11 April 1944

            - worked Hitachi Copper Mine

            - Transferred - 14 August 1944

         - Kawasaki #1B

            - also known as "Kawasaki"
            - POWs loaded and unloaded boxcars
            - when POWs arrived at the camp, the Japanese commanding officer tried to intimidate them by
               saying they would never leave Japan
            - Japanese practiced "collective punishment" when one POW violated a rule
                - POWs made to stand at attention in cold for hours
                - Japanese hit and clubbed POWs
                - POWs were required to hit each other in the face
            - Japanese burned the faces of POWs with carbide lamps
            - sick required to work to meet the POW quota
            - Japanese raided Red Cross packages
                - never gave POWs Red Cross clothing or shoes

            - worked Kawasaki ship yard           

            - transferred - July 1945

         - Tokyo #12B

            - also known as Mitsushima Camp
        - Work:
            - POWs carried cement to build dam

            - carried cement to build dam
Note:  The Japanese intentionally failed to give the POWs adequate food, and the Japanese supervisor of the POW kitchen, Tomotsu Kimura, also known as "The Punk," was known to take sacks of rice - meant for the POWs - home.  The food the POWs did receive consisted of under-cooked rice and barley, and a soup that was made from mountain greens and weeds.  The portions given to the prisoners were smaller than they should have been because Kimura skimmed food from the POWs and gave it to the guards.
    Red Cross packages which arrived at the camp were commandeered by the Japanese for themselves.  If the POWs did receive packages, it was evident that they had been gone through because canned fruits and meats, cheese, chocolate, and other items were missing.
    The camp hospital was a hospital in name only.  The POWs were given little to none medicine when they were sick, and there were no bathroom facilities for the sick.  The POWs had to sleep on soiled blankets which could not be cleaned since there were no facilities to wash them.

Liberated:

    - 4 September 1945
        - returned to the Philippine Islands
Transport:
    - U.S.S. Marine Shark
        - Sailed: Manila - 10 October 1945
        - Arrived: Seattle, Washington - 1 November 1945
            - taken to Madigan General Hospital - Ft. Lewis, Washington

Promoted: Corporal
Sailed: Manila - 10 October 1945
Arrived: San Francisco - 29 October 1945
Medal:
    - Bronze Star - 17 October 1946
        - for his actions on the death march
        - Citation Read:
        "Although not a medical corpsman he accumulated medical supplies and gave aid to those in need.  As a result of his efforts many men were able to complete the journey."

Died: 6 September 1987 - San Diego, California

Buried:

    - Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Cypress, California 


 

 

 

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