Goodman

 

Sgt. Norman W. Goodman


    Sgt. Norman W. Goodman was born on May 24, 1917.  He was the son of Lionel & Ada Goodman and grew up at 19 North Fifth Avenue in Maywood, Illinois with his sister.  He graduated from Proviso Township High School and went to work as a lathe operator at a ball bearing company.  Norm joined the Illinois National Guard when he was in his twenties and working as a lathe operator.  In the fall of 1940, the tank company was called to Federal service as B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.

    Norm trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for almost a year.   After arriving at the base, he attended tank commander platoon leader school. 
    In the late summer of 1941, Norman took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk.  None of the members of the battalion had any idea why they were there.  On the side of a hill, the members learned they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many men had figured out they were being sent to the Philippine Islands. 
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes to San Francisco, Califronia, where they were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases.  Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.  Some men were simply replaced.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S.S. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
   At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they prepared to take part in maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they prepared to take part in maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.   
    On December 1st, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers.  Two crew members had to be with their tank at all times.  They received their meals from food trucks.
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. 
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  The battalion remained at Clark Field for two weeks living through two more attacks.

    The tank battalion received orders on December 21st that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf.   Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.  When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tankplatoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.  Later on the 24th, the battalions formed a defensive line along the southern bank of the Agno River with the 192nd on the right and 194th on the left.
    On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.  The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and December were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th. 

    The tankers were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  On December 31st/January 1st,  the tanks were stationed on both sides of the Calumpit Bridge when they received conflicting orders, from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff, about whose command they were under and to withdraw from the bridge.  The defenders were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5 which would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright 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 about half the defenders withdrew.  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.  From January 2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape.  The tank battalions fell slowly back toward the Bataan Peninsula.  As a member of Sgt. Jim Bashleben's half-track crew, Norman did reconnaissance for the tanks.
    At 2:30 A.M., the night of January 5th/6th, the Japanese attacked at Remlus in force and using smoke as cover.  This attack was an attempt to destroy the tank battalions.  At 5:00 A.M., the Japanese withdrew having suffered heavy casualties. 
    The night of January 6th/7th the tanks withdrew into the peninsula with the 192nd holding its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it, cross the bridge, and then cover the 192nd's withdraw over the bridge.  The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan, before the engineers blew up the bridge at 6:00 A.M. 
    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.
    The tanks bivouacked south of the Pilar-Bagac Road and about two kilometers from the East Coast Road.  It had almost been one month since the tank crews had a rest and the tanks had maintenance work done on them by 17th Ordnance.  It was also on this day that the tank platoons were reduced to three tanks per tank platoon.  The men rested and the tanks received the required maintenance.  Most of the tank tracks had worn down to bare metal and the radial engines long past their 400 hour overhauls.
    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."
    The battalions were sent to cover the junctions of the Back Road and East Road with the Abucay-Heicienda Road on January 25th.  While holding the position, the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, fought its way to the position at 3:00 A.M.  One platoon was sent to the front of the the column of trucks which were loading the troops.  The tanks provided heavy fire so that the infantry could withdraw and inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese.
    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.

    The 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.  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.
    To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used.  The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank.  As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
    The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole. Driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.

    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.  At the same time, food rations were cut in half again.  Also at this time, Gen. Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that a platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor.
    The Japanese lunched an all out attack on April 3rd.  On April 7th, the 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, supported by tanks, attempted to restore the line, but Japanese infiltrators prevented this from happening.  During this action, one tank was knocked out but the remaining tanks successfully withdrew.  The number of operational tanks also became more critical with C Company, 194th - which was attached to the 192nd - having only seven tanks left.

    The tanks became a favorite target of the Japanese receiving fire on trails and while hidden in the jungle. and could not fight back.  The situation was so bad that other troops avoided being near the tanks, and the 26th Cavalry turned down a tank company's offer of assistance in a counter-attack.  On April 9, 1942, General King surrendered his troops to the Japanese, since he did not want to see them slaughtered.

    The night before the surrender, Norm was one of the members of the tank crews that decided that they would attempt to escape to Corregidor.  Traveling along the eastern coast of Bataan, the tankers found a cave.  In the cave, was a boat that could not be started.  The tankers managed to get the boat started, and by the point of a gun convinced the captain to take them to Corregidor.

    As they approached the island, they signaled the island with a flashlight.  Finally, they received a response that told them how to get through the mine field.  Once on the island, Norm were assigned to fight with the U. S. Marines.

    On May 6, 1942, Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese.  Norm was held on the island for several weeks.  When the Japanese began to evacuated the island, the Prisoners  of War were taken off the coast of Bataan and told to swim to shore.  Once on shore they were used as labor to rebuild a dock.

    When the POWs were done rebuilding the dock, they were ordered to march to Manila.  At first, they thought they too would experience a death march, but to their surprise, they were treated quite well.  They spent several days at Bilibid Prison before being sent to Cabanatuan.

    As a POW at Cabanatuan, Norm learned that he could get extra rations is he hunted snakes.  The Japanese enjoyed cobra meat and allowed the POWs to hunt for cobras.  Those POWs who were lucky enough to capture a snake would receive extra rice.

    When it became apparent to the Japanese that it was just a matter of time before the Americans would be invading the Filipinos, the Japanese began sending POWs to Japan or other occupied countries.

    Norm with the other POWs was put into the holds of the freighter the Nissyo Maru.  They were packed in the hold so tightly that they could not sit down.  Since there was no washroom and it was impossible to move, men went to the washroom where they stood.  The ship sailed from Manila on July 17, 1944.  It arrived in Takao, Formosa, on July 27th.  The next day it sailed for Moji, Japan arriving there on August 3rd.

    Food was sent down to the prisoners once a day on a ropes.  After the food was taken off the ropes, the bodies of the dead were pulled out of the ship's holds on the same rope and then dumped overboard.

    In Japan, Norm was held as a POW at Fukuoka #3.  The POWs in the camp worked in the Yawata Steel Mill on the Island of Kyushu.  Each shift lasted from twelve to fifteen hours.  As the war went on and since Japan was losing the war, food was becoming scarce.  To supplement their diets, the POWs in the camp would hunt rats at night for meat.

    While a prisoner in Japan, Norm was hit over the head with a bamboo clubs by a guard.  After the war, a steel plate was put in his head where the guard had hit him.

    One morning the POWs noticed that the attitude of the guards toward them had changed.  This was the first time that the prisoners suspected that the war may be over.  A day or two later most of the guards disappeared.  Later that day, a B-29 appeared over the camp and dropped leaflets telling them to paint the letters "POW" on the roof of a building. 

    The planes returned and began dropping food and clothes to the POWs.  For the first time in three years the men had more food than they could have imagined.  They ate so much many became ill.  When Norm was liberated, he weighed only 85 pounds.  He had lost 115 pounds as a POW.

    Norm was returned to Manila, where he was fattened up before returning to the United States.  He sailed for home on the Dutch ship, S.S. Klipfontein, arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 27, 1945.  Once back in the U. S., he was sent to a VA Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.  When he finally returned home to Maywood, he weighed over 200 pounds.  He was discharged, from the Army, on May 17, 1946.

    Norman W. Goodman married and was the father of a daughter and son.  With his wife, Ruth, he lived in Melrose Park, Illinois.  He also became a police officer in River Forest, Illinois, until 1969 when he retired.  He passed away in August 28, 1976. 


 

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