PFC James Bashleben of Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion in full World War II motorcycle messenger mode in 1941.
Jim Bashleben was born in Chicago in 1917. On 25th November 1940, he joined the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Tank Company with his two high school friends, Andrew Hepburn and Willard von Bergen.
Deployed to the Philippines, he was part of the mass surrender to the Japanese at Bataan in 1942. He survived the Bataan Death March, outbreaks of dysentery that killed his friends and colleagues and three and a half years in slave labour camps. His friends, Andrew Hepburn and Willard von Bergen, both died as Prisoners of War in Japanese camps.
On 14th August 1945 Jim was liberated and finally returned to the United States on the USS Dickman; he went back to work at the Northern Illinois Public Service Company for the next 43 years. He married Joyce and they had two sons before retiring to Florida for the winters. He died in 2009 at the age of 91.