Pfc. Elkoney Albert Allison
Pfc. Elkoney A. Allison was the son of Thomas D. Allison & Etta C. Warren-Allison. He was born on November 25, 1916, in Baxter, Tennessee. He had three sisters, three brothers, and a half brother, and grew up in Putman County, Tennessee. He left high school after his third year. |
As a young man, Elkoney joined the Tennessee National Guard and was assigned to a cavalry unit and was a member of Company I, 109th Cavalry. In early 1941, Elkoney was already in the U. S. Army. He did his basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where maneuvers were taking place. The 753rd did not take part in the maneuvers. At Camp Polk, Elkoney volunteered to join the 192nd Tank Battalion and became a member of the B Company. At the time, the battalion was preparing for duty in the Philippine Islands and was looking for soldiers to fill vacancies created when National Guardsmen, 29 years and older, were released from federal service.
At 12:45 in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Elkoney lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield. That morning, they had been awakened to the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor just hours earlier. He and the other tankers were eating lunch when planes approached the airfield from the north. At first, they thought the planes were American. They then saw what looked like rain drops falling from the planes. It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.
The next day, the battalion was between Culo and Hermosa and assigned a road to enter Bataan on which was worse than having no road. The half-tracks kept throwing their rubber tracks and members of 17th Ordnance assigned to each battalion had to re-track them in dangerous situations. After daylight, Japanese artillery fire was landing all around the tanks.
A composite tank company was formed, the next day, under the command of Capt. Donald Haines, B Co., 192nd. Its job was to protect the East Coast Road north of Hermosa open and to stop Japanese tanks attempting to use it to overrun the next defensive line that was forming. While in this position, the tanks were under constant enemy artillery fire. The rest of the tanks were ordered to bivouac south of the Abucay-Hacienda Road.
When word came that a bridge was going to be blow, all the tanks were ordered out of the area, which included the composite company. This could have resulted in a catastrophe, but the Japanese did not take advantage of the situation.
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver: "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."
Later on January 25th, both the 192nd and 194th held a defensive line on the Bakanga-Cardre-BaniBani Roads until the withdraw was completed at midnight. They held the position until the night of January 26th/27th, when they dropped back to a new defensive line roughly along the Pilar-Bagac Roads. When ordered to withdraw to the new line, the 192nd found that the bridge at Balanga, that they were suppose to use had been destroyed by enemy fire. To withdraw, they had to use secondary roads to get around the barrio and tanks were still straggling in at noon.
tank battalions, on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches. The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast, while the battalion's half-tracks were used to patrol the roads. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket. Doing this was so stressful that the tank companies were pulled out and replaced by one that was being held in reserve.
On April 9, 1942, Elkoney became a Prisoner of War. He took part in the death march from Mariveles to San Fernando. At San Fernando, he and the other POWs boarded small wooden boxcars that could hold eight horses or forty men. One hundred men were packed into each car. Those who died remained standing. When the living left the cars at Capas, the dead fell to the ground. He arrived at Camp O'Donnell on May 15, 1942.
While a POW, Elkoney was held at Camp O'Donnell. This camp was a death trap with as many as fifty-five POWs dying each day. To get out of the camp, Elkoney went out on a work detail to rebuild bridges that had been destroyed by the Americans as they retreated into the Bataan Peninsula. The detail was under the command of Col Ted Wickord the commanding officer of the 192nd. The first bridge the POWs rebuilt was at Calauan.
Elkoney was admitted to the hospital on June
30, 1942, with malaria but it is not known when he was discharged. On
Sunday, May 23, 1943, Elkoney was readmitted to the camp hospital for malaria and chronic beriberi. Medical records kept at the camp show that Pfc. Elkoney A. Allison died on Monday, June 21, 1943, from beriberi at Cabanatuan POW Camp #1. The approximate time of death was 1:15 P.M., and he was buried in the camp cemetery.