Long, PFC Collen W.

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Name: PFC Collen Wesley Long
Born: 8 December 1914 – Ross County, Ohio
Parents: Warren K. Long and Goldie Rae Woods-Long
Siblings: 3 sisters, 1 brother
– only his one sister and Collen reached adulthood
Home: RFD #1, Fayette County, Ohio
Education: High School graduate
Occupation: Unemployed
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
Contact Person: Warren K. Long – father
Inducted: 21 January 1941 – Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio
Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– first six weeks was the primary training 
– Week 1: infantry drilling
– Week 2: manual arms and marching to music
– Week 3: machine gun
– Week 4: pistol
– Week 5: M1 rifle
– Week 6: field week  – training with gas masks, gas attacks, pitching tents, and hikes
– Weeks 7,8,9: Time was spent learning the weapons, firing each one, learning the parts of the weapons and their functions, field stripping and caring for
  weapons, and the cleaning of weapons
– it is known that basic training was shortened so Graham’s training may have been rushed
– assigned to D Company
Typical Day
– 6:15 with reveille
– most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress.
– 7:00 to 8:00 – breakfast
– 8:00 to 8:30 – calisthenics
– Afterward, the tankers went to various schools within the company.
– training in using and maintaining 30 and 50 caliber machine guns and pistols
– training in map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.
– 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for lunch 
– Noon to 1:00 P.M. – lunch
– Afterward, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13, such as mechanics, tank driving, radio operating.
– 4:30 – the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms
– 5:00 – retreat
– 5:30 – dinner
– After dinner, they were off duty
– 9:00 P.M. – lights were out
– soldiers but did not have to turn in
– 10:00 P.M. – Taps was played.
– Louisiana Maneuvers
– 1 September 1941 – 30 September 1941
– The entire battalion was loaded onto trucks
– rode in a convoy to Louisiana
– the tanks and wheeled vehicles were sent by train.
– the tanks held defensive positions and usually were held in reserve by the higher headquarters
– the tanks were used to counter-attack and in support of infantry
– the tanks held defensive positions and usually were held in reserve by the higher headquarters
– Many men felt that the tanks were finally being used like they should be used and not as “mobile pillboxes.”
– Hq Company worked to keep the tanks running, supplied, and performed administrative duties, but did not actively participate in the maneuvers.
– The maneuvers were described by other men as being awakened at 4:30 A.M. and sent to an area to engage an imaginary enemy.
– After engaging the enemy, the tanks withdrew to another area.
– The crews had no idea what they were doing most of the time
– they were never told anything by the higher-ups.
– Some felt that they just rode around in their tanks a lot. 
– at Ft. Knox, the tankers were taught that they should never attack an anti-tank gun head-on
– their commanding general threw away the entire battalion doing just that one day
– the battalion returned to the maneuvers after being held out for a period of time
– the battalion also went from fighting in the Red Army to fighting for the Blue Army.
– snake bites
– major problem
– every other man was bitten at some point by a snake
– The platoon commanders carried a snakebit kit
– it was used to create a vacuum to suck the poison out of the bite
– The bites were the result of cool nights and snakes crawling under the soldiers’ bedrolls while the soldiers were sleeping on them.
– one multicolored snake about eight inches long that was beautiful to look at was deadly
– if it bit a man he was dead
– The good thing was that these snakes would not just strike at the man
– they only struck if the man forced himself on them
– the soldiers carefully picked up their bedrolls in the morning
– looked to see if there were any snakes under them
– to avoid being bitten, men slept on the two and a half-ton trucks
– they also slept on or in the tanks.
– Another trick the soldiers learned was to dig a small trench around their tents
– placed a rope in the trench
– The burs on the rope kept the snakes from entering the tents.
– The snakes were not a problem if the night was warm.
– the wild hogs were in the area were also a problem
– In the middle of the night while the men slept in their tents they would suddenly hear hogs squealing
– The hogs ran into the tents pushing on them until they took them down and dragged them away. 
– food
– not very good since it was so damp that it was hard to get a fire started
– Many of their meals were C ration meals of beans or chili that they choked down.
– Washing clothes was done when the men had a chance.
– They found a creek and looked for alligators
– if there were none, they took a bar of soap and scrubbed whatever they were washing.
– Clothes were usually washed once a week or once every two weeks.
– the sandy soil was a problem
– tanks were parked and the crews walked away from them.
– When they returned, the tanks had sunk into the sandy soil up to their hauls
– other tanks were brought in and attempted to pull them out
– If that didn’t work, the tankers brought a tank wrecker from Camp Polk to pull the tank out.
– the tank crews learned how to move their tanks at night
– this was something not taught at Ft. Knox
– the night movements were preparing them for what they would repeatedly do in the Philippines
– The drivers learned how to drive at night and to take instructions from their tank commanders
– the tank commanders had a better view at night
– At night a number of motorcycle riders from other tank units were killed
– had orders to ride their bikes without lights on
– this meant they could not see obstacles in front of their bikes
– When they hit something they fell to the ground and the tanks went over them.
– This happened several times
– the motorcycle riders were ordered to turn on their headlights.
– sent to Camp Polk after maneuvers
– Camp Polk, Louisiana
– received orders for overseas duty as part of Operation PLUM
– PLUM acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila
– men 29 years old or older replaced
– replacements came from 753rd Tank Battalion
– received tanks M3 “Stuart” tanks of 753rd
Overseas Duty:
– 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, with a flag, in the water. He came upon more flagged buoys that lined up – in a straight line – for 30 miles
   to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundreds of miles away.
– The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do
   anything that day.
– The next day – when planes were sent to the area – the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat – with a tarp covering something on its deck – was
    seen making its way toward shore.
– communication between the Air Corps and the Navy was poor, so the boat escaped
– the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines
Deployment:
– the tanks were loaded on flat cars and over different train routes the companies traveled to San Francisco
– Fort McDowell, Angel Island, California
– ferried to island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– received physicals from medical detachment – 25 October 1941 – 26 October 1941
– men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date
– other men simply replaced
Overseas Duty:
– U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott
– Sailed: San Francisco – Monday – 27 October 1941
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Sunday – 2 November 1941
– remained in Hawaii until other ships in convoy arrived
– Sailed: Wednesday – 5 November 1941
– took southern route away from main shipping lanes
– joined by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and the transport, S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– smoke was seen on the horizon
– Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it intercepted the ship which was from a neutral country. Two other intercepted ships
   were Japanese freighters carrying scrap metal to Japan.
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– soldiers woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– Arrived: Guam – Sunday 16 November 1941
– the ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
– Sailed: next day
– passed Japanese held island in total blackout
– Arrived: Thursday – 20 November 1941 – Manila Bay – 7:00 A.M.
– there was no band or welcoming committee waiting at the pier to tell them to enjoy their stay in the Philippines and see as much of the island as they
   could
– a party came aboard the ship – carrying guns 
– the soldiers were told, “Draw your firearms immediately; we’re under alert. We expect a war with Japan at any moment. Your destination is Fort
   Stotsenburg, Clark Field.”

– soldiers disembarked the ship three hours after arrival
– boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
– maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from the ship
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– Gen. Edward P. King met the soldiers when they arrived
– apologized to soldiers about living conditions
– made sure they all had Thanksgiving Dinner before he had his dinner
– most of the battalion lived in tents along the main road between fort and Clark Airfield
Radio Communications:
– the battalion had a large number of ham radio operators
– within hours, they had set up radio communications with the U.S.
– sent home messages from the men to their families
– radio communications monitoring in Manila suddenly noted the increase in radio traffic and searched for the source
– after learning it was the 192nd, they gave the battalion assigned frequencies
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool” was used for this work time
– during this time, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– studied the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition
– the base commander was waiting for General MacArthur to release the ammunition
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small numbers
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd guarded the south end
– two crew members of each tank crew remained with the tanks at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
– transfer of D Company to 194th Tank Battalion began
– the transfer was never completed
– the company part of 192nd Tank Battalion
– the company listed on Presidential Unit Citations of the 192nd
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– apparently, Collen was wounded 
Evacuated:
– 31 December 1941 – S.S. Macton
– the ship was painted white and Red Cross added in hours of its sailing
– wounded and injured brought aboard
– once cabins were filled men were placed on mattresses on the deck
– those patients on deck could hear and see the ammunition and gasoline dumps being destroyed
– the ship sailed at 10:00 P.M
– zig-zagged to avoid mines in the harbor
– Corregidor loomed into view and faded into the darkness
– for the first time, the men knew they were being sent to Australia
– headed south in Japanese controlled water
– expected to be sunk by a torpedo
– 7 January 1942
– Arrived: Makassar, East Dutch Indies
– Dutch pilot came aboard and guided the ship to dock
– plane spotted
– turned out the plane was from a friendly country
– patients later learned had the plane been Japanese, the dock was mined and would have
   been destroyed with the ship docked
– medical staff attempted to get medical supplies but none were available
– 11 January 1942
– Sailed
– took a southerly route
– freshwater is shut off
– food and water is rationed
– 13 January 1942
– Arrived: Darwin, Australia
– food and other supplies were being rationed and none could be spared
– 14 January 192
– Sailed
– whistles and alarms began blowing
– issued life jackets
– later learned the waters they were in were filled with sharks
– the fire occurred in the ship’s engine room
– ship’s crew put on fire
– one crewman was badly burned
– 16 January 1942
– the ship rode out a typhoon
– 18 January 1942
– ship intercepts Japanese radio message saying the S.S. Mactan had bee sunk with all on board lost
– 20 January 1942
– Arrived: Townsville, Australia
– seven bags of cement were brought on board and used to waterproof the ship’s hull
– 21 January 1942
– food, water, clean linens, and medicine brought aboard
– 23 January 1942
– Sailed
– 24 January 1942
– Arrived: Brisbane, Australia
– sick received fresh milk and fed
– 25 January 1942
– Sailed
– 27 January 1942
– Arrived: Sydney, Australia
– wounded and sick transferred to 113th Australian General Hospital
– The ship docked at Darwin, Australia
– wounded taken to Brisbane
– wounded taken to 113th Australian General Hospital in Sidney
Died:
– 14 March 1942 – airplane crash
– original burial site was in Australia
– Reburied:
– 1948 – remains returned home
– 7 March 1948 – memorial service
– Concord Presbyterian Church
Burial:
– Greenlawn Cemetery, Frankfort, Ohio
– Posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant

Long C Crave

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