Private Waymon W. Sandidge was born in Cleveland, Tennessee in 1922. He grew up in Cleveland living with his grandparents, James C. and Nancy Sandidge, uncles, Roy G. Sandidge and Arnold Sandidge, and aunt, Dova Sandidge. He was the brother of James C. Sandidge, Wilber Sandidge, and Ireta Sandidge. By the time he joined the military, he had moved to Blount County, Tennessee. He enlisted on the 31st of January 1941 at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia and was assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps.
The 59th Coast Artillery Regiment was based in the Philippines and was tasked with the anti-shipping and anti-aircraft defense of Manila Bay and Subic Bay. When the Japanese attacked the US forces at Pearl Harbor on 7th of December 1941, they also attacked the Philippines across the International Date Line on the same day, but it was already the 8th of December. The 59th Coastal Artillery defended the two bays until driven back to Corregidor and Bataan. Surviving on little or no food and running out of ammunition the Americans held out until 9th of April 1942 on the Bataan Peninsula and until 6th of May 1942 on the island fortress of Corregidor. After the surrender of American and Philippine forces, they were forced to march approximately 60 miles without food and water. Pvt. Sandidge was then forced on the Bataan Death March to the prison camps. It is estimated that 5,000 to 11,000 died on the way to the prison camps. Pvt. Sandidge survived the march.
In 1944, 1800 POW’s were loaded onto the Japanese Hellship Arisan Maru, an unmarked freighter to be transported to Japan and used as slave labor in the factories and mines. The freighter was spotted 225 miles east of Hong Kong, by the USS Shark SS-314. The Shark torpedoed the Arisan Maru without knowing its cargo of POW’s. Only 9 of the POW’s survived. The Shark’s last message, received on the 24th of October by the USS Seadragon SS-194, was that she had spotted a single freighter. The Shark was not heard from again.
Private Sandidge died on the 24th of October 1944 and is listed as killed in action. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.
Awards include the Philippines Defense Medal with Bronze Star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.
- Rank: Private
- Date of death: 24 October 1944
- County: Blount
- Hometown: Cleveland, TN
- Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
- Division/Assignment: 59th Coast Artillery Regiment
- Theater: Pacific
- Conflict: World War II
- Awards: Purple Heart
- Burial/Memorial Location: Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
- Location In Memorial: Pillar VI, Middle Panel
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