Long, PFC Collen W.


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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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 
– 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
– 14 March 1942 – airplane crash
– original burial site was in Australia
– Reburied:
– 1948 – remains returned home
– 7 March 1948 – memorial service
– Concord Presbyterian Church
– Greenlawn Cemetery, Frankfort, Ohio
– Posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant

Long C Crave


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