Booher, Pvt. Kenneth A.

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Pvt. Kenneth Allen Booher 
Born: 23 December 1908 – Wagner, South Dakota 
Parents: Elmer A. Booher & Eliza A. Lloyd-Booher 
Siblings: 3 sisters, 5 brothers 
Home: 616 East Whitaker Avenue – Cottage Grove, Oregon 
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940 
Contact: Ralph Sherman – brother-in-law 
– U.S. Army 
– 1 April 1941 
Training: 
– Fort Lewis, Washington 
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis 
– 6:00 A.M. – first call 
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – mess
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – mess
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– those men who remained at Ft. Lewis often found themselves policing the base, collecting garbage and coal for the base during the week
– the battalion did most of its tank training on weekends
Units: 
– 194th Tank Battalion 

Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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 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. By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.

The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that 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:
– 4 September 1941
– the battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: U.S.S. President 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 an unknown destroyer, and, the U.S.S. Guadalupe, a replenishment oiler
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– 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
– lived in tents upon arriving
– received their meals from food trucks
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks were open three feet from the bottom of the exterior walls
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
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
Uniforms:
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms 
– they continued to wear fatigues in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms
– this included going to the PX
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
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
Alert:
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– two tank crew members had to stay with the tanks at all time
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd Tank Battalion guarded the south end
– meals served to men at the tanks by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– On the morning of December 8, December 7 in the United States, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield.
– 12:45 P.M. – the airfield was bombed destroying the Army Air Corps
– tankers were receiving lunch from food trucks when the attack came
– Hq Company members remained in the 194th command area
– could do little more than take cover during attack
– As Hq Company watched the wounded and dying carried to hospital on anything that would carry them
– most had missing arms or legs
– when the hospital ran out of the room, wounded put under the hospital
– Next day, members of the company walked around the airfield and saw the dead lying everywhere
– 10 December 1941
– the battalion sent to Mabalcat
– C Company was sent to Southern Luzon to support troops
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 14 December 1941
– A Co. & D Co., 192nd moved to just north of Muntinlupa
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– Bren gun carriers used to test ground to see if it could support tanks
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24 December 1941
– operating in Hacienda Road area
Wounded:
– 26 December 1941
– outside of Carmen during major tank fighting
– evacuated to the hospital at San Fernando
– later taken to a Sternberg General Hospital in Manila
– received treatment
– from there he was taken to either Santa Scholastica College or Philippine Women’s College
– both were being used as hospitals
– as American forces abandoned Manila, wounded feared they were being left behind
Evacuated:
– Japanese allowed one ship to leave Manila carrying wounded
– only two ships were available
– a lumber schooner and the S.S. Mactan
– the schooner was unfit for the open sea and the Mactan was condemned
– MacArthur ordered that the wounded be put on the Mactan
– if they were left in Manila, they were dead
– the Mactan was painted white and red crosses were painted on it
– 31 December 1941 – afternoon
– wounded taken by ambulance to the pier, carried up the gangplank, and put on S.S. Mactan’s deck
– as the wounded were being loaded, the ship’s cargo was being hoisted out of its holds and dropped into Manila Bay
– wounded watch as Japanese planes flew over Manila bombing the city
– wounded were placed as close as possible on deck and put on mattresses, while others were taken below and put in bunks
– ship infested with red ants, copra beetles, and cockroaches
– Sailed: that night
– zigzagged its way through a minefield in Manila Bay
– POWs had no idea where they were going until the ship passed Corregidor
– Arrived: 7 January 1942 – Makassar, Dutch East Indies
– stopped in an attempt to get supplies
– Dutch pilot docks ship
– air raid while they were docked
– false alarm friendly plane
– the dock was mined and almost blown up while the ship was docked to it
– Sailed: 11 January 1942
– water is shut off
– food and water rationed
– Arrived: 13 July 1942 – Darwin, Australia
– drop anchor in the harbor
– an attempt was made to get supplies
– Darwin is on rations and has none to spare
– Sailed: 14 January 1942
– 15 January 1942
– Ship’s whistle blew and alarm bells rang
– 10 hours out of Darwin – ship is on fire
– the fire was in the engine room
– successfully put out
– wounded issued life preservers
– water is infested with sharks
– 16 January 1942
– the ship also runs into a typhoon
– 18 January 1942
– Japanese radio reports the S.S. Mactan sunk
– Arrived: 20 January 1942 – Townsville, Austalia
– seven bags of cement brought onto the ship
– cement used to shore up the ship and prevent it from sinking
– 21 January 1942
– supplies, clean linen, and medicine brought on the ship
– Sailed: 23 January 1942
– next stop Brisbane, Australia
– Arrived: 24 January 1942 – Brisbane, Queensland
– men drink milk and fed
– Sailed: 25 January 1942
– Arrived: Sydney, Australia – Noon
– Red Cross boards ship and tell wounded they are being sent to a new military hospital ten miles from Sydney
Hospitalized:
– 113th Australian General Hospital – Sydney, Australia
– Ft. Dix, New Jersey
Promoted: Tec 4
Discharged:
– 9 October 1942
– wounds were too serious to remain in service
Died:
– 7 April 1973 – Cottage Grove, Oregon
Buried:
– Lane Memorial Cemetery – Eugene, Oregon
– Section: Garden of the Apostles

 

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