1st Lt. Ray Wyath Bradford
Born: 23 January 1910 – Saint Joseph, Missouri
Parents: Pearl A. & Lena M. Bradford
Siblings: 1 sister
Hometown: St. Joseph, Missouri
Married: Melba Inez Nauman – 31 July 1932
Children: 3 daughters
Enlisted: Missouri National Guard
– 30 August 1926 – Private
– rose in rank to 1st Sergeant
– 10 February 1941 – commissioned: Second Lieutenant
– U. S. Army
– 10 February 1941 -St. Joseph, Missouri
– B Company, 194th Tank Battalion
– reassigned to C Company
– Known Members
– Sgt. Frank Muther
– Pfc. Gene Stahl
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– described as constantly raining during the winter
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds
– 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
– the soldiers wore a collection of uniforms. Some wore new uniforms while other men had World War I uniforms
– The situation was resolved when Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower and other officers rode up on horseback to where C Company was training.
– one of the officers asked why they were dressed like they were
– later that afternoon, at 4:00 P.M., a truck pulled up to the barracks
– inside were brand new Army overalls
– the soldiers wore these as their dress uniforms until real dress uniforms were received weeks later
– the battalion went on long reconnaissance with trucks and tanks
– drove all over reservation following maps and learned from observation what the land surrounding the fort looked like
– the purpose was to collect tank data which they would use later
– often had to live off the land
– 30 April 1941 – battalion went on an all-day march
– ate dinner in woods brought to them by the cooks in trucks
– march was two hours one way and covered about 10 miles total
– stopped in an abandoned apple orchard in bloom
– first motorcycles arrived in May 1941
– all battalion members had to learn to ride them
– in early May 1941, the battalion, except men who had been drafted, went on its first overnight bivouac
– the new men did not have shelter halves
– left around noon and returned around noon the next day
– some 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 distributing coal for the base during the week
– the battalion did most of its tank training on weekends
Note: The decision for this move – which had been made on August 15, 1941 – was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance. 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 which was hundreds of miles away. The island had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day. The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat – with a tarp on its deck – which was seen making its way to shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
– rode a train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
– given physicals and inoculated by battalion’s medical detachment
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin 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
– sailed south away from main shipping lanes
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– ships from friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom of the wall to the floor
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing facilities seemed to be limited with the lucky man being able to wash by a faucet with running water
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– soldiers washed
– 6:00 A.M. – mess
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M.
– Noon – mess
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the afternoon was described as “recreation in the motor pool”
– on the base, the soldiers were not expected to work in the heat
– 5:10 – mess
– 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
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms while working
– 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
– 1 December 1941 – tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– their job was to protect the airfield from enemy paratroopers
– two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times
– 194th guard north end of the airfield and the 192nd Tank Battalion guarded the south end of the airfield
– meals served by food trucks to men with the tanks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1942
– Clark Field
– tankers informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
– tank crews brought up to full strength
– the attack took place ten hours after Pearl Harbor
– watched attack from inside his tank
– most Japanese planes ignored the tanks
– few that went after tanks dropped their bombs between tanks
– The 194th was sent to Mabalcat on December 10
– C Company was sent to southern Luzon and put under the command of Brigadier General Albert M. Jones
– To avoid Japanese planes, the company tried to cover the distance at night.
– They were successful and going 40 miles during the night but had to make a run for it during the day.
– They successfully reached Muntinlupa and made it to Tagatay Ridge on December 14th.
– The tanks remained at Tagatay until December 24th
– During this time, they did reconnaissance and hunted for fifth columnists who would signal planes with mirrors during the day near ammunition dumps
resulting in the dumps being bombed and shelled.
– At night, the fifth columnists shot off flares near the ammunition dumps.
– The activity ended, when the company shot up native huts suspected as being used by the fifth columnists.
– At 2:00 A.M. on December 24th, the Japanese landed 7,000 troops at Lamon Bay. – – The Japanese began advancing in the direction of Lucban.
– The company took a position to aid the 1st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Army, that was fighting the Japanese.
– One platoon of five tanks – on December 26 – was ordered to advance down a trail in an area where the Japanese were known to be.
– A major ordered the tanks to advance even though no reconnaissance had been done.
– The trail made a sharp turn, and when the tanks made the turn, the first was knocked out by a Japanese anti-tank gun killing the platoon commander and
the driver of the tank.
– The other two crewmen escaped into the jungle. The remaining four tanks were also knocked out by enemy fire resulting in two more men being killed.
– From this point on the tanks fell back toward Bataan and were serving as the rear guard for Gen. Jones’ troops when they withdrew past Manila.
– C Company at one point saw 100 to 150 trucks belonging to the Philippine Army pass warehouses full of food and other supplies.
– It was at this time that the 192nd Tank Battalion and A Company, 194th Tank Battalion were fighting to keep the roads open so that the troops
withdrawing from southern Luzon would not be cut off.
– The southern Luzon force with C Company serving as its rearguard crossed the Calumpit Bridge on January 1.
– After the company crossed the bridge was destroyed. the tanks went through San Fernando and formed roadblocks to keep the junction of Routes 3 and
– Also on January 1, conflicting orders were received by the defenders of the northern force who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down
– The orders came from Gen. MacArthur’s chief of staff and told the units holding open the bridges to withdraw.
– General Wainwright – who was in command – was unaware of the orders.
– Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River and half of the
defenders had withdrawn.
– When Gen Wainwright became aware of what was going on, he countermanded the orders.
– Due to the efforts of the Self-Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted
allowing the southern forces – including C Company – to escape.
– Both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction on January 2, 1942, with the 194th withdrawing there on Highway 7.
– On January 5, 1942, C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Porac Line and moved into position between Sexmoan and
– At 1:50 A.M., the Japanese attempted to infiltrate their line in bright moonlight which made them easy to see.
– It also helped that the Japanese wore white shirts which reflected the moonlight.
– The tanks opened fire and in an attempt to cover their advance, the Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them.
– It was 3:00 A.M. when the Japanese broke off the engagement having suffered 50% casualties.
– C Company was with the 31st Infantry on January 5 ambushed between 750 to 800 Japanese troops resulting in the Japanese suffering 50 percent
– When the company withdrew, the barrio of Lubao was in flames.
– A small skirmish took place on January 6 resulting in two members of C Company being wounded.
– one man died from gas gangrene
– A new defensive line was formed at Remedios along a dried creek bed.
– They fell back from this position and the tank battalions flanked the Layac Bridge over the Culo River.
– The night of January 6, the 194th crossed a bridge covered by the 192nd.
– The 192nd crossed the bridge becoming the last unit to enter Bataan.
– After it crossed, the bridge was destroyed.
– For the first time in a month, both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road giving long overdue maintenance work to be done on the
tanks by the battalions’ maintenance crews and 17th Ordnance.
– It was also at this time that rations were cut in half and tank platoons were reduced to three tanks each.
– One reason this was done was to give D Company, 192nd, tanks since it had lost all its tanks but one when a bridge had been destroyed before they had
– A composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect East Coast Road north of Hermosa.
– Their job was to keep the East Road open north of Hermosa and to prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been
– The remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road.
– The tankers had been fighting for a month without rest and tanks also needed long overdue maintenance by 17th Ordnance.
– It was at this time that all tank companies reduced to ten tanks or three per tank platoon.
– A platoon of tanks from C Company was sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw.
– The tanks ran into an anti-tank gun that fired at the lead tank, but the shell went over the turret of the tank.
– The tank returned fire and destroyed the gun before it got off its next round.
– Two tanks hit landmines disabling them and were abandoned but later
– the mission was abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment.
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road on January 12 which was a forward position with little alert time. On January 13, 1942, mines
planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road so the tanks returned to the battalions.
– The tanks on January 26, held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road with four self-propelled mounts with the battalion. At 9:45 A.M., they
were warned by Filipino that a large Japanese force was coming down the road. When the enemy appeared, the battalion opened up with all it had on the
– At 10:30 A.M., the Japanese broke off the engagement and withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men. This action prevented the new defensive line that was
being formed from being breached.
– The tanks from both battalions were given beach duty on January 28, 1942, with the tanks of the 194th given beach duty protecting southern beaches
from Limay to Cabcaben with the half-tracks patrolling the roads.
– The tanks maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols.
– Sometime in March 1942, two tanks were bogged down in the mud and the tankers were working to get them out when a Japanese Regiment entered the
area. Lt. Col. Ernest Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range to fire on the enemy troops.
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire and wiped out the Japanese regiment.
– The soldiers were hungry and began to eat everything they could get their hands on to eat.
– The Carabao were tough but if they were cooked long enough they could be eaten.
– They also began to eat horse meat provided by the 26th U.S. Cavalry.
– To make things worse, the soldiers’ rations were cut in half again on March 1, 1942. – This meant that they only ate two meals a day.
– The Japanese also were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantily clad blond on them.
– The Japanese would have been more successful at getting the
Americans to surrender if the picture had been hamburger and a milkshake since the men were so hungry that they most likely would have surrendered
for a good meal.
– Also in March, the amount of gasoline was reduced to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks.
– This would later be dropped to ten gallons a day.
– Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor which Wainwright denied.
– the exact date is not known, but Raymond was assigned to General Hospital #2, Little Baguio, Bataan
– 7 April 1942 – sent to Medical Casual Hospital
– 3 April 1942
– Japanese launch new offensive
– tank sent in to attempt to stop the advance
– 8 April 1942
– Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight
– he estimated they would last one more day
– In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared would be massacred
– His troops were on one-quarter rations, and even at that ration, he had two days of food left.
– 6:30 P.M. – order goes out to be prepared to destroy all equipment of use to the Japanese
– 10:30 P.M. – decision made to send white flag across the battle line
– 11:40 P.M. – ammunition dumps were blown up
– At 2:oo A.M. April 9, Gen. King sent a jeep under a white flag carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier and Major Marshall Hurt to meet
with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender.
– The white flag was bedding from A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion
– the driver was also from the Provisional Tank Group
– Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment
– the tankers received this message over their radios at 6:45 A.M. – 9 April 1942
– circled tanks and fired an armor-piercing shell into each tank’s engine
– opened gasoline cocks and dropped grenades into the crew compartment
– Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Cothran and Captain Achille C. Tisdelle Jr. got into a jeep carrying a large white flag
– They were followed by another jeep – also flying another large white flag – with Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt in it
– As the jeeps made their way north they were strafed and small bombs were dropped by a Japanese plane
– The drivers of both jeeps and the jeeps were provided by the tank group and both men managed to avoid the bullets
– The strafing ended when a Japanese reconnaissance plane ordered the fighter pilot to stop strafing
– About 10:00 A.M. the jeeps reached Lamao where they were received by a Japanese Major General who informed King that he reported his coming to
negotiate a surrender and that an officer from the Japanese command would arrive to do the negotiations
– The Japanese officer also told him that his troops would no attack for thirty minutes while King decided what he would do
– After a half-hour, no Japanese officer had arrived from their headquarters and the Japanese attack had resumed. King sent Col. Collier and Maj. Hunt back
to his command with instructions that any unit inline with the Japanese advance should fly white flags
– Shortly after this was done a Japanese colonel and interpreter arrived. King was told the officer was Homma’s Chief of Staff and he had come to discuss
– King attempted to get insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter
– he was accused of declining to surrender unconditionally
– At one point King stated he had enough trucks and gasoline to carry his troops out of Bataan
– He was told that the Japanese would handle the movement of the prisoners
– The two men talked back and forth until the colonel said through the interpreter, “The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians.”
– Gen. King had to take him at his word
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– order “crash” sent to tank crews to destroy tanks
– 10 April 1942
– Death March
– Mariveles – POWs start the march at the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
– Americans on Corregidor returned fire
– Tablets of the Missing – American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands
Note: In his scrapbook, James McComas, of A Company, had Ray Bradford dying on the death march on April 11, 1942, from American artillery fire. According to the document, Bradford was buried near Cabcaban Airfield. Bernard Fitzpatrick, in his book, also stated Bradford was killed by “Friendly Fire” from Corregidor.
In addition, Lt. William Gentry, of C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, stated that Bradford was killed by incoming fire from Corregidor. He also reported that Bradford was buried next to 1st Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield, A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, near the Barrio of Orion, Bataan, Philippine Islands. This was confirmed by a sworn affidavit given by Capt. Donald Hanes, 192nd Tank Battalion. Finally, the death report kept at Bilibid shows Bradford dying on the march at Orion.
Died: 11 April 1942.
– during May 1942, his wife received this message from the War Department
“Dear Mrs. M. Bradford:
“According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of First Lieutenant Ray W. Bradford, O, 407, 492, who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
“I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter. In the last days before the surrender of Bataan, there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department. Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war. At some future date, this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been taken prisoners of war. Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information.
“The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received. It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At that time you will be notified by this office in the event that his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war. In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action” in the absence of information to the contrary, until twelve months have expired. At the expiration of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.
“Recent legislation makes provision to continue the pay and allowances of persons carried in a “missing” status for a period not to exceed twelve months; to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments or increase allotments made by persons by the enemy during the time they are so held; to make new allotments or increase allotments to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress. The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as having been designated in official records. Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.
“Very Truly yours
J. A. Ulio (signed)
The Adjutant General”
– in July his family received a second message from the War Department. The following are excerpts from it.
“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, First Lieutenant Ray W. Bradford had not been reported as a casualty. The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, until definite information to the contrary is received.
“Efforts to secure prisoner of war lists from the Philippines have not been successful to this date due to the lack of communication and the fact that the Japanese Government has not yet given permission for the Swiss representative and the International Red Cross delegates to make visits to prisoner of war camps in the islands. When the lists of prisoners are received, we will clear the name of your son and send you any additional information that we may have.”
– it is not known when his wife received word of his death
– American Military Cemetery
– remains could not be positively identified after the war
– buried as an “Unknown” at the cemetery