S/Sgt. Walter John Mahr
| S/Sgt. Walter
J. Mahr was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on March 5, 1922. He was the son
of Conrad Mahr & Anna Miller-Mahr. With his two brothers and two sisters,
he lived at 408 South 13th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois. He attended St.
Paul Lutheran Grade School in Melrose Park and Proviso Township High
School in Maywood. He was a member of the graduating Class of 1940.
Walter enlisted in the Illinois National Guard while he was still in high school. He did this because the National Guard unit in Maywood was a tank company and he loved to tinker with machinery to see how it worked. The tank outfit seemed perfect for him.
In November 1940, when the 33rd Tank Company from Maywood was called into federal duty, Walter went to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for training. His unit was now known as Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.
In late summer of 1941, the 192nd Tank Battalion was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers. While taking part in these maneuvers, the members did not know that they had already been selected for duty in the Philippine Islands.
In October, 1941, the 192nd left Camp Polk Louisiana, with new tanks, for Angel Island. At Angel Island, the members of the battalion received the necessary inoculations and boarded two ships for the Philippines. The battalion arrived in Manila on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. Walter wrote a letter home, his only complaint about the Philippines was he didn't like the climate. he also regretted that he would not be home for Christmas.
A little over two weeks after arriving in the Philippines, Walter would find himself under Japanese attack just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Walter and his crew were involved in tank action against the Japanese. Walter was the member of the tank crew of Sgt. Raymond P. Mason and Pvt. Quincey Humphries, and Pvt. LD Marrs.
Walter's tank was advancing on Japanese positions outside of Tarlec and was a good distance in front of its support troops. Because of this situation, the Japanese were able to disable the tank by knocking off one of its treads and cutting it off from the support troops. Walter, Sgt. Mason. Pvt. Marrs, and Pvt. Humphries were ordered out of the tank by the Japanese. When they left the tank, they were told to run.
As they ran, the Japanese fired at them. Sgt. Mason was killed instantly by the fire, but Walter and Pvts. Humphries and Marrs managed to make it to a sugarcane field. It was in this field that Walter was found with wounds on his legs the next day. Pvt. Humphries and Marrs were not seen again. Walter was taken to a field hospital for medical treatment.
When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, Walter became a Prisoner of War. He took part in the death march and spent time at Camp O'Donnell. He was next imprisoned at Cabanatuan Camp #1 where he died of cerebral malaria on June 23, 1942, about 6:00 P.M. in the evening. He was buried in the camp cemetery.
S/Sgt. Walter J. Mahr was reburied in Plot L, Row 11, Grave 138, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila. It should be noted that his cross inaccurately shows him as a member of the 194th Tank Battalion. The photo, to the left, shows his name on the memorial wall at Cabanatuan Prison Camp. The next shows his grave at the cemetery.