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 company remained at Clark
Field for the next two weeks.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the
night of January 6th/7th, the 192nd held its
position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could
leap frog past it, cross a bridge, and then
cover the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge. The
192nd was the last American unit to enter
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.
On April 9, 1942, Elkoeny 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.