Sgt. Glenn Dale Brokaw
Sgt. Glenn Dale Brokaw was born on April 4, 1921, on a farm outside
of Gettysburg, South
Dakota. He was the son of Ernest & Ora Brokaw. At this time, it is not known when he came to
California. It is known that the family settled in San
Buenaventura, California. It is known that he joined the California
National Guard in Salinas in 1939.
On February 10, 1941, Glenn's tank company was called to federal service as C Company, 194th Tank Battalion. The company traveled by train to Fort Lewis, Wahington for training. At Ft. Lewis, Glenn was made a tank commander. In September, they traveled to San Francisco for deployment in the Philippine Islands.
On December 8, 1941, Glenn lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Air Field. That morning, the soldiers were told about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers. A little over two weeks later, he would see action against the Japanese.
The tanks of the C Company, 194th were ordered to Mabalacat. They remained there until December 12th, when A Company was sent north to the Agno River area. C Company remained south of Manila.
On December 25th, the five tanks of the tank platoon of 2nd Lt. Robert Needham were sent to an area on the east coast of Luzon near Lucban. The Japanese had landed troops in the area, and the American Command wanted to see what the strength of the enemy was in the area.
The tanks were ordered by a major to proceed, without reconnaissance, down a narrow trail. Since the area was mountainous, the tanks had a hard time maneuvering. As they went down the trail, the tanks attempted to keep their spacing so that the driver of each tank could each see the tank in front of him. At one point in the trail, the tanks found that the trail made a sharp turn. Glenn's tank made the turn.
As the tank made the turn, it was hit by a shell fired by a Japanese anti-tank gun. The shell killed Lt. Needham and Pvt. Bates instantly. The tank went off the road and into a ditch. As the surviving crew members attempted to leave the tank, they were machine gunned.
Sgt. Emil Morello's tank was the second tank in the column. As it came around the corner, his driver realized he could not see the lead tank. He sped up in an attempt to find the tank which resulted in the Japanese gun missing it when it fired on the tank.
Glenn was the commander one of the three remaining trailing tanks. All three tanks were also hit by enemy fire before the gun was knocked out by Sgt. Emil Morello's tank. Glenn was wounded when his tank was hit. His driver, James Hicks, was killed as was Pvt. Jim McLeod. Pvt. Harry Seibert was wounded and died from his wounds on January 22, 1942.
Glenn and Siebert were loaded into a taxi and taken to American a hospital near Lucbam by a Filipino taxicab. It was there that he was captured by the Japanese. Where Glenn was held as a Prisoner of War is not known. It is known that he was sent to Cabanatuan in July 1942. There, he was reunited other members of his company.
On October 28, 1942, Glenn was sent to Manila for shipment to Japan. He and the other POWs were put on the Nagato Maru. The ship sailed on November 7th for Formosa and spent two days there. It arrived at Moji, Japan on November 24th.
From Moji, Glenn was sent to Shinagawa Hospital. He remained there until he was sent to Mitsushima POW Camp on April 16, 1944. He and the other POWs were use as slave labor to carry cement bags to the site of a dam. They worked on the detail. On June 12, 1944 he was transferred to Tokyo #16B. The POWs in this camp worked in a carbide plant manufacturing carbide rods. Glenn remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 7, 1945.
Glenn returned to California and was discharged on March 26, 1946. He married and was the father of two daughters. Glenn D. Brokaw passed away on June 2, 2005, in La Quinta, California.