Cpl. Wade W. Chio
Wade W. Chio was the son of Joseph Chio & Goldie Bodi-Chio. He was
born on May 30, 1919, on the Howard Farms in Ohio. He was one of
the couple's eight children. His father was a farmer and brought all his
children up farming. The family resided on Route 1, County Line
Road in Jerusalem Township, Lucas County, Ohio.
It is not known when, but Wade joined the Ohio National Guard in Port Clinton, Ohio. On November 25, 1940, Wade with his tank company was called to federal service when his company was federalized. Upon arrival at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the company was designated C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
Wade with the rest of the company, trained for almost a year. In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Louisiana to take part in the maneuvers of 1941. It was on the side of a hill at Camp Polk, Louisiana, that he and the other members of the battalion learned that they were not being released from federal service. Instead, the battalion was being sent overseas.
By train, Wade traveled to San Francisco. From there he and the other men were taken by ferry to Angel Island. There, they received physicals and were inoculated. He and the other men were boarded onto a ship bound for the Philippine Islands.
After stops at Hawaii and Guam, Wade and the other men arrived in the Philippines on November 20, 1941. They were taken to Fort Stotsenburg and housed in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Wade and the other soldiers were told of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He and the other men were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.
Around 11:45 in the morning, planes appeared over Clark Field. When bombs began exploding, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. Wade and the other soldiers did what they could, but they did not have the weapons needed to battle the planes.
For the next four months, Wade fought to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. On April 8, 1942, Wade was wounded by shrapnel. The next day, April 9, 1942, Wade and his company received the word of the surrender. On that day he became a Prisoner of War.
It was from Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan that Wade began what became known as the death march. The first five days were the worse days of the march. His hunger pains were extremely bad. After the fifth day, he got use to the hunger. It was not until the twelfth day of the march that he received his first food.
It took Wade 16 days to complete the march. While he marched, he witnessed Japanese brutality. He was POWs bayoneted because they had attempted to get water from artesian wells. Those who fell to the road were shot. He was beaten twice for not moving fast enough and bayoneted once in the shoulder. In his opinion, the lucky men were the ones who died on the march.
At San Fernando, Wade and the other POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. The POWs were packed in so tightly that the dead remained standing until the living climbed out of the cars at Capas. From there, the men walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino military camp. The camp had only one water faucet for the entire camp. As many as eighty men of day died. The food in the camp consisted of a type of cucumber and rice. Only after receiving red cross packages did the death rate decrease dramatically. Wade made his package last two weeks.
While in Camp O'Donnell, Wade was selected to work the burial detail. He recalled that the high water table made this a difficult job. One day after it had rained, Wade and the other men on the detail came to the cemetery to bury the dead. When they arrived, they discovered that the rain had raised the water table. He recalled seeing arms and legs of the dead who had been buried the day before sticking out of the ground.
To get out of Camp O'Donnell, Wade went out on a work detail to Caluan. This detail lasted three months. At this barrio, Wade and the other men built a bridge to replace the one that the retreating American forces had destroyed weeks before. Wade and the other men were housed in a school. There they slept on the floor.
When this detail ended, Wade was sent to Cabanatuan. This camp was opened to relieve the conditions that existed in Camp O'Donnell. In this camp, Wade worked at the camp farm.
On December 12, 1942, when a work detail to Las Pinas was organized, Wade was selected for it. There, the POWs built runways for an airfield. The only tools that they had to do this were picks and shovels. While on this detail Wade was made to kneel as a punishment for braking a rule. The Japanese then placed a two by four behind his knees to cut off the circulation. The reason this was done was that the Japanese believed he was not working hard enough.
It was also on this detail that Wade came down with malaria. At one point, he was so sick that he almost died.
Wade was still on this detail on September 21, 1944, when American planes appeared in the sky. The planes bombed the runways airfield and sunk ships in Manila Bay. It was after this attack, that the Japanese made the decision to send the prisoners to other parts of the Japanese Empire. The next day, the POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison.
Wade was sent to the Port Area of Manila and inspected. He and 1100 other men were selected to be sent to Japan on the Hokusan Maru. His detachment of POWs was scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru, but since Hokusen Maru was ready to sail and another detachment of POWs had not completely arrived, the Japanese boarded Wade's group of POWs on the ship on October 1st.
The ship was part of a sixteen ship convoy which sailed for Formosa on October 3, 1944. On the ship, Wade was reunited with Harold Beggs and Virgil Janes of C Company. The Hokusan Maru was a cattle boat were the POWs were crammed into a 30 foot by 40 foot hold. To make things worse, the Japanese covered the hatch with boards and fastened them down with chains preventing light and air from getting into the hold.
The POWs were fed only once a day. The food was dropped down into the hold with a rope. Wade recalled that water was given out even more infrequently. Since he was near a wall, Wade did not get much food.
Wade became ill and appeared to be dead. He was hauled out of the hold by rope and taken to the side of the ship. To make sure that he was dead, a Japanese soldier threw water on him before he was thrown overboard. When he moved, the Japanese took him back to the hold and threw him into it. Harold Beggs would help Wade regain some of his strength by giving his position in the hold to him.
During the trip to Japan, the ship stopped at Hong Kong. It sailed again arriving at Takao, Formosa on November 11th, where all the POWs disembarked. Wade's ship was one of only three of the sixteen ships in the convoy to reach Formosa. The rest had been sunk by American submarines or planes. Wade recalled that when one bomb exploded near their ship, men began chanting for the U.S. Navy to sink the ship. Death had become more desirable than life.
Wade and the other POWs spent two months on Formosa before being boarded onto the Melbourne Maru on January 14, 1945. The voyage from Formosa to Moji, Japan lasted until January 23rd.
Wade's weight was now down to 87 pounds. He and the other men were taken to Northern Japan to Ashio Camp. He and the other POWs were used as slave labor in a copper mine. It is not known how long Wade remained in the camp. It is known that Wade was sent to Sendai #7. The POWs in the camp worked in a copper mine owned by the Kajima Corporation. He remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 11, 1945.
Wade returned home and was sent to Fletcher Veterans Administration Hospital in Cambridge, Ohio, and was discharged on April 26, 1946. He married Marian Jeremy and became the father of four sons. To support his family, he worked as a sheet metal worker and for General Motors Hydromatic. During the remainder of his life, Wade suffered from post traumatic stress which resulted in him being in and out of the hospital,
Wade W. Chio passed away on November 14, 1998, in Toledo, Ohio. He was buried at Oak Wood Cemetery in Curtice, Ohio.