Martinez_C

 








Pvt. Camilo Martinez
    Pvt. Camilo Martinez was born on July 18, 1918, in Jackson County, Texas, to Dubijeldo & Luisa Martinez.  With his two sisters and two brothers, he grew up on the family farm in Gonzales County, Texas.  He left school after completing the eighth grade.
    On March 25, 1941, at Fort Sam Houston, he was inducted into the U.S. Army.  He trained at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he qualified as a radio operator.  After completing basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk. Louisiana, where he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.
    The 753rd was sent to Camp Polk in the late summer of 1941 from Ft. Benning, Georgia.  Maneuvers were taking place, but the battalion did not take part in them.  It was after the maneuvers were completed that members of the battalion were sought to join the 192nd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had just been informed it was being sent overseas and replacements were needed for National Guardsmen who had been released from federal service.  He was assigned to B Company.

    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Fort McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
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.
    The tankers received orders to move their tanks to the perimeter of Clark Field.  Two tank crew members remained with their tanks at all times.
 
On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of B Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. 
    At 8:30 A.M., Americans planes were ordered into the sky.  The planes patrolled above the airfield guarding it against enemy planes.  At noon, the planes landed and were parked outside the mess hall in a straight line as the pilots went to lunch.  About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
   
   
The 192nd remained at Clark Field for about a week when they 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 tank platoon, 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.
    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 at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  On January 1st, conflicting orders were received by the defenders who were attempting to stop the Japanese advance down Route 5.  Doing this would allow the Southern Luzon Forces to withdraw toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was unaware of the orders since they came from Gen. MacArthur's chief of staff. 
    Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River.  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.
    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown.  The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
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.  The 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.
   
At 6:45, the morning of April 9, 1942, the tankers received the order "crash."  They circled their tanks.  Each tank fired a armor piecing shell into the engine of the tank in front of it.  They also opened the gasoline cocks inside the tank compartments and dropped hand grenades into the tanks.  Most of the company waited in their bivouac for the Japanese to make contact, while others attempted to reach Corregidor which had not surrendered.
    After the Japanese made contact with B Company, the members of the company made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  They were now officially Prisoners of War.  At Mariveles, the Japanese took blankets and other items from the POWs that they could use.  The tankers striped anything from their uniforms that indicated that they were tankers.  They heard the rumor that the Japanese were looking for them.
    From Mariveles, the tankers made their way north toward San Fernando.  They were given little food or water.  When they arrived at San Fernando, they were put in a bull pen.  In one corner was a slit trench that was the washroom for the POWs.  The surface of it moved from the maggots. 
    The POWs were ordered to form detachments of 100 men.  They were taken to the train station and packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane.  The cars were known as forty or eights since they could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese put 100 POWs into each boxcar.  Those who died remained standing since there was no place to fall.  At Capas, the POWs disembarked and the dead fell to the floor of the cars.  The POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
    Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army training base that the Japanese pressed into use as a POW camp.  There was one water faucet for the entire camp.  Disease among the POWs ran wild with as many as 55 POWs dying each day.  It is not known if Leonard remained in the camp or went out on a work detail.  The Japanese closed the camp and moved the POWs there to Cabanatuan.
    While Camilo was a POW, he may have gone out on work details, but at this time, it is not known which details he was a member of as a POW.  It is known that he was held at Cabanatuan until September 1944, when his name appeared on a roster of POWs being sent to Japan.
   
The POWs at Cabanatuan were boarded onto trucks and taken to Bilibid Prison.  There, the POWs were given physicals and those who were determined healthy were sent to the Port Area of Manila. 
    The POWs were scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru.  While the POWs were on the dock waiting to board their ship, the Hokusen Maru became ready to sail.  Since the entire POW detachment assigned to the ship had not arrived, the Japanese put Camilo's POW detachment on the ship on October 1st.  The Arisan Maru, Camilo's original ship, was later sunk by an American submarine on its way to Hong Kong.  Only nine POWs of 1803 on the ship survived the sinking.   
    T
he ship sailed but dropped anchor at the harbor's breakwater.  It remained there for three days and the temperatures in the hold rose to over 100 degrees causing some men to go crazy.  The Japanese threatened to kill the POWs if they didn't quiet the men.  To do this, the sane POWs strangled those out of their minds or hit them with canteens.
    As part of a ten ship convoy it sailed again on October 4th and stopped at Cabcaban.  The next day, it was at San Fernando La Union, where the ships were joined by four more ships and five escorts. The ships stayed close to the shoreline to prevent submarine attacks which failed since, on October 6th, two of the ships were sunk.

    The ships were informed, on October 9th, that American carriers were seen near Formosa and American planes were in the area.  The decision was made to send the ships to Hong Kong.  During this part of the trip, the ships ran into American submarines which sank two more ships.  The Hokusen Maru arrived at Hong Kong on October 11th.  While it was in port, American planes bombed the harbor on October 16th.  On October 21st, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving on October 24th.

    The POWs remained on the ship until November 8th, when they were disembarked.  Camilo was taken to Toroku Camp which had been opened for them.  The POWs were given light work to do.  Those who were somewhat healthier worked in a sugar mill.
    On January 13, 1945, the POWs were sent by train to Takao and boarded onto the Melbourne Maru.  The next day the ship sailed as part of a convoy.  It's trip was slowed down because the Brazil Maru, another ship, had the job of towing another ship.  It arrived at Moji, Japan, on January 23rd.
    When the POWs were disembarked, they formed 100 man detachments and marched to the train depot.   They boarded a train and taken to the Naruo Dispatch Camp which was owned by the
Showa Electrode Company.  The POWS worked in a graphite factory until the camp was bombed out on May 29, 1945. 
    
The POWs were sent to Nagoya #9 where the POWs worked as stevedores at the Iwase Docks.  He remained in the camp until the end of the war.  On September 5, 1945, he was liberated and returned to the Philippines for medical treatment.  On the U.S.S. Rescue, he arrived at San Francisco on October 10, 1945, and received further medical treatment.
    Camilo returned to Texas and spent the rest of his life there.  He passed away on November 14, 1992, in Waelder, Texas.
    







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