Pvt. Carl Duane Stuller
    Pvt. Carl D. Stuller was born on February 3, 1918, in Walton, Pennsylvania, to Frank Stuller and Effie Wiser-Stuller.  His family moved to Akron, Ohio, where they lived on Wooster Avenue.  He left school after the eighth grade and went to work as a press operator in a machine shop.  He married, Lillian E. Martin, in 1936 and was divorced by 1941.  He gave his residence as 21 South Broadway, Akron, Ohio.
    Carl was drafted into the U.S. Army on March 27, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training.  During basic training, he was assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. It is not known what specialized training he received.
    In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers.  During the maneuvers, the 192nd, which was part of the Red Army,  broke through the defenses of the the Blue Army and was on its way to overrun the headquarters of the army when the maneuvers were suddenly cancelled.  The Blue Army was under the command of General George S. Patton.
    After the maneuvers the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft. Knox.  On the side of a hill, they were informed that they were being sent overseas as part as operation "PLUM."  Within hours, many of the soldiers had figured out that PLUM stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.  Those men 29 years or older were allowed to resign from federal service and replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion. The battalion's M2A2 tanks and it's scout cars were replaced with M-3 tanks and half-tracks.
    The 192nd Tank Battalion received orders for duty, in the Philippines, because of an event that happened during 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, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island.  When the squadron landed he reported what he had seen.  By the time a Navy ship was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    The battalion traveled west over different train routes and arrived in San Francisco.  They were taken by ferry to Angel Island where they given physicals and inoculated.   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 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.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for almost two weeks.  They were than sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.
    The tank battalion received orders on December 21st 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 23rd and 24th, 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 25th, 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 27th, and December were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was destroyed, they were able find a crossing over the river.   
    At Cebu, C Company's tanks were hidden in brush.  The Japanese troops passed the tanks for three hours without knowing that they were there.  While the troops passed, Lt. William Gentry was on his radio describing what he was seeing.  It was only when a Japanese soldier tried take a short cut through the brush, that his tank was hidden in, that the tanks were discovered.  The tanks turned on their sirens and opened up on the Japanese.  They then fell back to Cabanatuan.   
    C Company was re-supplied and withdrew to Baluiag where the tanks encountered Japanese troops and ten tanks.  It was at Baluiag that C Company's tanks won the first tank battle victory of World War II against enemy tanks.  After the battle, C Company made its way south.  When it entered Cabanatuan, it found the barrio filled with Japanese guns and other equipment.  The tank company destroyed as much of the equipment as it could before proceeding south.    
    On December 31, 1941, the commanding officer of C Company sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag.  The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way.  Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, the company set up it's defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.   
    Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge.  The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks.  A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.    
    Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town.  One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge.   Lt. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag.  2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.    
    Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag.  He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple.  The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off.  Bill had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.      
    When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge.  The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks.  Kennady had been radioed and was waiting. 
    Kennady's platoon held it's fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and then joined in the hunt.  The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the village, through buildings and under them.  By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy tanks.
    The tankers withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after receiving orders from Provisional Tank Group.  When they reached the bridge, they discovered it had been blown.  Finding a crossing the tankers made it to the south side of the river.  Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the Americans took their positions in a harvested rice field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell through the harvested rice.  This would cause the rice to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
    The tanks were spaced about 100 yards apart.  The Japanese crossing the river knew that the Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front of them.  The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire.
    Lighting the rice stacks, the Americans opened up with small fire.  They then used their .37 mm guns.  The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill one Japanese soldier.
    The tank company was next sent to the barrio of Porac to aid the Filipino army which was having trouble with Japanese artillery fire.  From a Filipino lieutenant, Gentry learned where the guns were and attacked.  Before the Japanese withdrew, the tankers had knocked out three of the guns. 
    After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until all the troops were across.  The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the Japanese up for a few days.  This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.
    In addition to serving as a rear guard, the tankers burnt everything that was being left behind.  They burnt warehouses, banks, and businesses that would help the Japanese.    
    The company took part in the Battle of the Pockets.  The Japanese had lunched an offensive and were pushed back to the original battle line.  Two pockets of Japanese soldiers were trapped behind the line.  The tanks were sent in to the pockets to wipe them out.  One platoon of tanks would relieve another platoon.  The tanks would do this one at a time. 
    The tanks used two strategies to do this. In the first, the tanks would go over a foxhole.  Three Filipino soldiers were sitting on the back of the tanks.  Each man had a bag of hand grenades.  As the tank was passing over the foxhole, the three soldiers would drop hand grenades into the foxhole.
    The second method was to park a tank over a foxhole.  The driver would then spun the tank, in a circle, on one track until it ground itself into the ground wiping out the Japanese.  The tankers slept upwind from the tanks so they didn't have to smell the rotting flesh.
    On April 7, 1942, the Japanese broke through the east side of the main defensive line on Bataan.  C Company was pulled out of their position along the west side of the line.  They were ordered to reinforce the eastern portion of the line.  Traveling south to Mariveles, the tankers started up the eastern road but were unable to reach their assigned area due to the roads being blocked by retreating Filipino and American forces.
    The morning of the April 9, 1942, at 6:45 the tankers received the order "crash" and destroyed their tanks.  After destroying their tank, Carl and others decided that they would attempt to reach Corregidor.  Making their way along the coast they came on a boat that had engine problems.  Being tankers they worked on the engine and got it working.
    The soldiers convinced the ship's owner, at gun point, to take them to Corregidor that night. When they neared the island, they used a flashlight to signal the island.  When they were acknowledged, they were given directions on how to navigate the mine field.
    What Carl did on Corregidor is not known.  During his time on the island, he became friends with CEm William Selby.  Selby was also from Akron and grew up a few miles from Carl.  It is known that Carl became a Prisoner of War when the island was surrendered to the Japanese on May 6, 1942.  He remained on the island for two weeks before being transported by barge to a point off Bataan.  Off shore the POWs jumped into the water and swam to shore.  On shore, they worked on a damaged pier filling in bomb craters before being marched through Manila to Bilibid Prison.  From Bilibid, he was sent to Cabanatuan.
    Once at Cabantuan, Carl went out on a scrap metal to Bataan.  The POWs brought the scrap to San Fernando.  From there, it was sent to Manila.  He remained on the detail before he was returned to Cabanatuan.
    After arriving in the camp, Carl decided that volunteering to go to in the hope things would be better. "We were told that we could be volunteered to be moved to Japan prison camps and we were sold on the idea that the food there would be much better than Cabanatuan."  Selby attempted to convince Carl to stay at Cabanatuan, but he would not listen.  "I wish I had," he said.
    On July 2, 1944, Carl was one of the POWs sent to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Canadian Inventor.  The ship sailed on July 4th but returned to Manila with boiler problems on July 5th.  It remained in harbor for eleven days while repairs were made.  The entire time the POWs remained in the   ship's holds. 
    She ship sailed again on July 16th, as part of a convoy, and suffered additional boiler problems and was left behind by the convoy.  Somehow the ship safely made it to Takao, Formosa, arriving on July 23rd.  At Takao, the ship loaded salt into the holds.  It sailed on August 4th and arrived at Keelung, Formosa, with additional boiler problems.  It remained there for twelve days until it sailed on August 17th and arrived at Moji, Japan, on September 1st.
    The POWs were disembarked and formed into detachments of 100 men.  They were marched to the train station and rode the train to the various camps along the way.  Carl was taken to Fukuoka #17.  In the camp, the POWs were used as slave labor in a condemned coal mine. 
    One day, the POWs who were ill and did not work in the mine, reported that there was a large explosion over Nagasaki.  Many believed that American bombers had hit the main Japanese ammunition dump.  They had no idea that they had witnessed the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city.
    Within days, the attitude of the guards had changed.  Many of the guards disappeared soon afterwards.  One day, George Weller, a reporter for the Chicago Daily News entered the camp and told the POWs that their were Americans on Honshu.       
    It is not known if Carl was one of the members of the 192nd who left the camp and made contact with the Americans, or if he remained behind until the former POWs were officially liberated in September 1917.  He was returned to the Philippines for medical treatment and to be "fatten up."  He was promoted to Staff Sergeant.  Boarding the U.S.S. General R. L. Howze, the ship sailed on September 23, 1945, arriving at San Francisco on October 16, 1945.  From there, he was taken to Letterman General Hospital for more medical treatment.
    Carl returned home and on December 15, 1945, and married Mildred Luttrell.  He would later reside in Wisconsin and work as a farmer.  Carl D. Stuller retired and moved to Tampa, Florida, where he died on November 7, 1991.  He was buried at Florida National Cemetery in Plot 112, Site 2811, Bushnell, Florida.
    It should be mentioned, after Carl returned home, he was reunited with his friend William Selby in Akron.

 


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