Bradford, 1st Lt. Ray W.

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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
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 10 February 1941 -St. Joseph, Missouri
– B Company, 194th Tank Battalion
– reassigned to C Company
Tank Crew:
– Known Members
Sgt. Frank Muther
– radioman
Pfc. Gene Stahl
– radioman/gunner
Training:
– 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
– later the members of the battalion received specific training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky
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.
Overseas Duty:
– 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 an unknown destroyer
– 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
Philippines
– Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded north end of the airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served 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
– 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
– 13 December 1941
– sent to southern Luzon
– Japanese landing troops
– 15 December 1941
– holding Tagaytay Ridge
– attempted to catch Fifth Columnist who were sending up flares at night
– 24 December 1941 – 1st Lieutenant
– 25 December 1941
– withdrew over Taal Road to Santo Tomas and bivouacked near San Paolo
– assisted in operations at Lucena-Pagbilao-Lucban area
– 31 December 1941
– rejoined battalion
– covered withdrawal of Philippine Army Divisions south of Route 3
– 2 January 1942
– both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction and cover
position
– 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
– 5 January 1942
– C Company & A Company, 192nd, withdrew to Guagua-Porac Line
– took a position on the road between Sexmoan and Lubao with five SPMs
– ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 attempting to cut the highway
– Japanese lost half their force
– Labao was burning when tanks left withdrew
– Remedios – established a new line along a dried creek bed
– 6 January 1942
– 1:50 A.M. – Japanese attempted to infiltrate
– bright moonlight made them easy to see
– tanks opened fire
– Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
– 3:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the engagement
– suffered 50% casualties
– 6/7 January 1942
– 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
– both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– rations cut in half
– Battle of Bataan
– 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– 7 January 1942
– 2:30 A.M. – attacked in force by Japanese using smoke screen
– 5:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the attack because of heavy casualties and sunrise
– C Company losses – Lt. Petrie from wounds, Pvt. Martella killed attempting to shield Petrie
– tank platoons reduced to three tanks each
General Weaver also issued the following orders to the tank battalions around this time: “Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay.”
– 8 January 1942
– 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 prevent the Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main
  battle line had been formed
– the remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road
– tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest
– tanks also needed overdue maintenance
– 17th Ordnance
– all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
– three per tank platoon
– sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could withdraw
– tanks knock out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered
– mission abandoned
– Gen. Segunda’s troops escaped using the beach but lost their heavy equipment
– 12 January 1942
– C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road
– a forward position with little alert time
– 13 January 1942
– mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road
– returned to battalion
– 16 January 1942 – Bagac
– sent to open Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could move south
– at the Moron Road and Road Junction 59 the tanks moved forward knocking out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks were lost to landmines but towed out
– mission abandoned
– Segunda’s forces escaped along beach losing its heavy equipment
– 20 January 1942
– west of Bani Bani Road – tanks were sent to save the 31st Infantry  command post
– 24 January 1942
– tanks order to Hacienda Road
– landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
– 25/26 January 1942
– battalion holding a position a kilometer north of Pilar-Bagac Road
– four SPMs with the battalion
– warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– Japanese withdraw
– estimated they lost 500 of 1800 men
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
– April 1942
– tanks sent into various sectors in an attempt to stop the Japanese advance
– 31 January 1942
– half-tracks patrol roads
– March 1942
– each tank battalion’s gas ration is cut to 15 gallons a day
– food ration also cut
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched a major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 6 April 1942
– four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– one tank knocked out by an anti-tank fire
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– C Company attached to 192nd Tank Battalion
– 7 April 1942
– C Company supporting 45th Infantry attempted to aide 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– Anti-tank guns at the junction of Trails 8 & 6 blasted lead tank off road
– tank hit five times
– tank commander knocked out
– private took command of the tank
– units withdraw
– C Company attached to 192nd Tank Battalion
– 8 April 1942
– fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
– Gen. King made the decision to negotiate a surrender – 10:30 P.M.
– at daybreak, officers would meet Japanese under a white flag
– 9 April 1942
– tankers received order “crash” at 6:45 A.M.
– destroyed their equipment and tanks
– 7:00 A.M. – order issued to cease all hostilities
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
Memorial:
– 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.
Buried:
– American Military Cemetery
– remains could not be positively identified after the war
– buried as an “Unknown” at the cemetery

 

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