1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw
1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was born to Frank & Mollie Bushaw on August 5, 1913, in Milton,
Wisconsin. He was one of five children. When he was eight,
his family moved to Janesville. There, he attended school.
After he completed his education, he worked at the Rock River Woolen
Mills and was the custodian for the National Guard Armory in Janesville. John married, Julia
Ann Courtney, on April 10, 1934, and together they had three children;
Thomas, Raymond and Doris Ann. They lived at 1009 Harding Street
John joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville. He would later be joined by his younger brother, Delmon and his brother-in-law, Dannie Courtney. As a National Guardsman, he served as the armory custodian. After ten years as a member of the National Guard, John Bushaw was called to federal duty when the 192nd Tank Battalion was formed from National Guard units on November 25, 1940.
Traveling to Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Janesville Tank Company was designated as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. John and the other Guardsmen remained there for almost a year until they went on maneuvers in Louisiana.
Upon completion of the maneuvers, John and the other tankers learned that they were being sent overseas. Although, where they were being sent was suppose to be a secret, most of the men figured that the code word "PLUM" meant Philippines-Luzon-Manila. John was given leave home to say his goodbyes and settle any unfinished business.
It was also at this time that many of the men of battalion officers, who were considered "too old" to go overseas, were released from service. When Capt. Fred Bruni was made commander of HQ Company, John became the battalion maintenance officer.
By train, John and his company traveled to San Francisco and then took a ferry to Angel Island. There he was inoculated and boarded onto a ship bound for the Philippines. After stops in Hawaii and Guam, the ship arrived at Manila on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. A little less than two weeks later he lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.
After Capt. Walter Write died from wounds he had received from a land mine, Lt. John F. A. Bushaw assumed command of A Company. During the Battle of the Pockets, he received the Silver Star for his effort to recover a disabled tank that the Japanese were using as cover.
As commanding officer of a tank company, John attempted to do his best to supply his tank crews with the necessities of life. On one occasion, he managed to get beans to feed his tank crews. He sent a radio message out to his tank crews that he had food for them. Before the crews arrived, the beans had been eaten by officers of the 192nd who had heard the message and came for a share of the food. When the tankers arrived, there was nothing left to eat.
When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, April 9, 1942, John became a Prisoner Of War. He took part in the death march with Sgt. Ossie McDonald and Sgt. Alva Chapman. It took the three men 14 days to complete the march.
John was first held at Camp O'Donnell. When Col. Wickord, the 192nd Tank Battalion Commander, went out on a work detail, John was selected to command the battalion's men still in Camp O'Donnell.
It was while he was a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell that John developed spinal malaria. When Cabanatuan opened in May, 1942, the healthier prisoners were moved there. It was determined that Lt. John F. A. Bushaw was too ill to be transferred to Cabanatuan, so he remained at Camp O'Donnell.
On August 8, 1942, at approximately 10:00 in the morning, 1st Lt. John F. A. Bushaw died of spinal malaria and was buried at the camp cemetery at Camp O'Donnell. He was 29 years old. After the war. his family requested that his remains be returned to Janesville. This was done in 1949. After a funeral mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1st Lt. John. F. A. Bushaw was reburied in the Veteran's Section of Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville.