1941- 1945I am Private Peter Pirnat from C Company of the 192nd Light Tank Battalion, Ohio National Guard. My unit was stationed in my hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio. We activated for training in August 1940 with our new M3 Light Tanks. I was the Operations Sergeant in the Battalion's Headquarters. We were deployed to the Philippines in August 1941 and Major General Wainwright attached us to the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts). This unit was unique in that it was manned by Filipino Troops who were in the US Army and were still horse mounted. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippines on 7-8 December 1941, we were completely shocked! The devastation was tremendous. On 18 December, the Imperial Forces landed on the north end of Luzon Island. We deployed and fought a long delaying action retreating south to Bataan. We knew immediately that we would have trouble being resupplied. Our unit had the US Army's first tank on tank battle as we fought our way back. We were supported by the Army Air Corps flying P-35 fighter aircraft. When the planes were destroyed, the pilots and maintenance crews joined us as infantry. Our delaying action bought time so the US and Allied forces could prepare to stop the Japanese conquest. We had no US or Allied reinforcements. Finally, on 9 April with supplies exhausted, we were ordered to surrender. The Japanese Imperial Forces marched us to a prisoner of war (POW) camp over 80 miles away with no food or water. Many of the Americans and Filipinos fell behind due to sickness and starvation and were slaughtered. Those five days we called the Bataan Death March. Few of us can even talk about it. Once in POW camps, just muddy unclean fenced areas, we suffered and died from wounds, disease, starvation and cruelty. The POW population included senior officers such as General Wainwright and his staff officers, Chabot, Johnson and Pugh, who had also made the march and survived. My battalion commander, Lt Colonel Theodore Wickord, and many others were shipped to Japan and used as laborers. I was liberated from Cabanatuan #1 POW camp in the Philippine Islands on the 31st of January 1945 during a brilliant raid by the US 6th Ranger Battalion. Freedom was welcome, but I have many painful memories of those three years of captivity. I tried to refocus and rebuild my life, but it was very difficult.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 4:42am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 537644 N 3843755|
|Decimal Degrees||34.73520000, -86.58878333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 44.112', W 86° 35.327'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 44' 6.72" N, 86° 35' 19.62" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 34747-34999 Patriots Walkway, Huntsville AL 35801, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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