Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr.
| Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr. was
born on April 23, 1922, in Toledo, Ohio, to Joseph
J. Zam Sr. & Mary Hollo-Zam. As a child,
he grew up on Lockwood Road in Portage Township
outside of Gypsum, Ohio. He was one of the
couple's eight children.
Joseph attended Gypsum School. Although he did not graduate, he attended Port Clinton High School for two years. Before he was inducted into the army, he worked on area farms as a laborer and in boat construction.
Knowing that it was just a matter of time before
he was drafted, Joseph enlisted in the Ohio
National Guard in November 1940. On August
10, the company left Port Clinton and took part
in maneuvers at Sparta, Wisconsin for three
weeks. In September the company was
designated C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
From September 1
through 30, the
It was after
ordered to Camp
returning to Ft.
Knox as they had
On the side of a
learned it was
overseas as part
the tankers had
figured out that
PLUM stood for
Those men 29
years old, or
resign to from
replaced by men
of the 753rd
tanks of the
decision to send
the battalion to
was made on
August 15, 1941.
At Cebu, seven tanks of the
a three hour
was south of
miles to the
south of the
battle. The tanks were hidden in
brush as Japanese troops passed them 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
When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese on
April 9th, Joseph became a Prisoner of
War. He took part in the Death March and
was first held at Camp O'Donnell as a POW.
The camp was an unfinished Filipino training
base that was pressed into use as a POW camp on
April 1, 1942. When they arrived at the
camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra
clothing that the POWs had and refused to return
it to them. They searched the POWs and if
a man was found to have Japanese money on them,
they were taken to the guardhouse. Over
the next several days, gunshots were heard to
the southeast of the camp. These POWs had
been executed for looting.
It was while he was there that he went out on the bridge building detail to rebuild bridges that had been destroyed during the withdraw into Bataan. As a member of the work detail, Joseph with the other POWs was sent to Calauan to rebuild another bridge. It appears that it was while the detachment was there that Joseph became ill and was sent to Cabanatuan. After arriving at the camp, Joseph was hospitalized on Wednesday, July 5, 1942, suffering from dysentery, yaws, and malaria. He was admitted to Building 4 at the hospital.
It was there that Cpl. Joseph Zam Jr. died on
Tuesday, September 14, 1942, at approximately
10:00 PM. The records kept at the camp do
not agree on a cause of death. One shows
that he died of beriberi and heart failure, a
second shows the cause of his cause of death as
dysentery and yellow jaundice, and a third
recorded he died from dysentery and avitaminosis
which is a condition caused by the lack of
vitamins. He was 21 years old.