Aguero

 


Pvt. Eduardo R. Aguero


    Pvt. Eduardo R. Aguero was born in Texas in 1914.  What is known is that he was living with his mother's parents, Francisco and Ygnes Flores in DeWitt County, Texas, 1920.  Like many of the time, he never completed grade school.  He married Margarita Jimenez in Stinton, Texas, and was the father of a son.  To support his family, he worked as a butcher.
    Eduardo was drafted into the U.S. Army on March 20, 1941, at Fort Sam Huston, Texas.  He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  What armor school he attended is not known.  After basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk. Louisiana, and assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had been sent to the fort but did not take part in the maneuvers that were going on there.
    After the maneuvers had ended, the 192nd Tank Battalion was sent to Camp Polk.  The battalion was informed it was being sent overseas.  National Guardsmen 29 years old or older, or men who were married, were allowed to resign from federal service.  Eduardo volunteered to replace one of these Guardsmen and was assigned to D Company.  The 192nd was also given the 753rd's M3 tanks and half-tracks.
    The battalion was sent west, over four different train routes to San Francisco, California.  This was done so that people who saw the trains would not assume the United States was preparing for war.  Arriving in San Francisco, the battalion was ferried to Angel Island.  On the island, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Some men were held back at the island, for minor medical reasons, and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.

    The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam.  When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day.  
    About 8:00 in the morning on Thursday, November 20th the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  The tankers rode buses to the train station where they got out and took a train to Ft. Stostenburg.  Other battalion members boarded their trucks and drove them to fort north of Manila.

    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.

    On December 7, 1941, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field in a practice maneuver.  This was done as part of a plan to prevent the Japanese from using paratroopers.  They had no idea that this practice maneuver would actually be put into use.

    On morning of December 8, 1941, the tank crews were aware that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. They were ordered to the airfield.  This time it was not a maneuver.   Eduardo and the other soldiers sat on their tanks and watched the sky which was filled with American planes.  At some point three of the four tank crew members from each tank were allowed to go to a food truck to get meals.  While they were at the trucks, the men still sitting on their tanks saw planes approaching.  No one was alarmed by this since they did not believe that the Japanese would attack.  54 planes were counted by the tankers.  It was only when bombs began exploding that they realized they were wrong.

    After the attack, D Company was ordered to Mabalac on the Delores Road.  They remained there until December 10th.  They were next sent to Klumpit to look for paratroopers.  While there, they guarded a huge bridge from saboteurs. 

    On December 13th, the tankers were moved 80 kilometers to do reconnaissance and guard beaches.  They remained there until December 23rd, when they were sent 100 kilometers north to Rosario to assist the 26th U. S. Cavalry because the defensive lines had broken.  When they passed through Manila, they saw the damage done to the city by Japanese planes.

    Christmas Day for Eduardo and the other tankers spent the day in a coconut grove.  As it turned out, the coconuts were all they had to eat.  From Christmas to January 15, 1942, both day and night, all the tanks did was cover retreats of different infantry units.  The tanks were constantly bombed, shelled and strafed.  
    At Gumain River, on January 5th, D Company and C Company of the 194th, were given the job to hold the south riverbank so that the other units could withdraw.  The tank companies formed a defensive line along the bank of the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts.  The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese.       

    The tankers were next assigned to guarding the Bataan and Cabcaban Airfields.  They also guarded against beach landings and paratroopers.  They would continue this duty until April 7th.  On April 8th, the tankers were sent Trail 10 and Mount Samat.  The lines had broken.  They fought there until receiving the news of the surrender.    

    The morning of April 9th, at 6:45, the tankers received the order "crash."  They circled their tanks, opened the gasoline cocks in the tanks. dropped hand grenades into the tanks, and fired one armor piercing round into each tanks engine.  Some of the members of the  D Company took off for the hills.  Eduardo was one of them.
    Eduardo made it to the beach where he joined other soldiers attempting to reach Corregidor,  The soldiers found a boat, but its engine would not turn over.  Some of the other soldiers were also tankers and got the engine running.  At gunpoint that night, they convinced the boat's captain to take them to Corregidor. 
    As the boat approached the island, they signaled with a flashlight.  Finally, they received a response, also by flashlight, and told how to get through the mine field that surrounded the island.  Once on the island, they were fed and given new clothes.
    On Corregidor, Eduardo was assigned to beach defenses.  According to military records, on May 6th, the Japanese lunched an all out attack on Corregidor.  It was during this attack that Private Eduardo R. Aguero was killed defending the island from invasion on May 6, 1942.  After the island was surrendered, he and the other men killed were buried.
    After the war, the remains of Pvt. Eduardo R. Aguero could not be positively identified and were buried as an "unknown" at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila.  His name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the cemetery. 
    It should be noted that on the Tablets, it shows that Eduardo was a member of the 194th Tank Battalion.  D Company was attached to the 194th but was never officially transferred to the battalion.  It was remained under the command of the 192nd Tank Battalion throughout the Battle of Bataan.


 

 

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