Crate Davis Anderson
| Pfc. Crate D. Anderson
was born on August 26, 1921, in Yellow Creek, North
Carolina, to Edmund Anderson and Zena
Hall-Anderson. With his sister, he grew up in
Yellow Creek. When he was eight, his mother
died. He left school after completing eighth grade
and went to work as a farmhand.
Crate enlisted in the U.S. Army and was inducted on September 20, 1940, at Fort McPherson, North Carolina. He was sent to Ft. Benning, Georgia, for basic training. After completing basic training, he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion.
In the late summer of 1941, the 753rd was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana. While the battalion was there, maneuvers were taking place which the battalion did not take part in. After the maneuvers, replacements were sought from the 753rd for the 192nd Tank Battalion. These men replaced National Guardsmen who were released from federal service. The battalion also received the tanks and half-tracks of the 753rd.
Traveling west over different train routes, the battalion arrived in San Francisco and ferried to Angel Island. On the island, the tankers were immunized and given physicals. Men found to have treatable medical conditions were held back 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 November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay. After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked and were taken by bus to the train station. Some members of the battalion boarded trucks and rode them to Ft. Stotsenburg 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.
The morning of December 8th, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers. During the night, word had been received about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Ironically, they had practiced this maneuver the previous week.
All morning long, American planes filled the sky. At noon, every plane landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, 54 planes approached the airfield from the north. The tankers believed the planes were American until what they described as "raindrops" appeared to fall from the planes. When bombs began exploding around them, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. The members of HQ Company could do little more than watch the attack and seek shelters since they had no weapons to be used against planes.
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 Philippine Scouts because the
defensive lines had broken.
On December 26th, D Company was
covering a withdrawal at the Agnoo
River. The tankers were ordered to hold
the line with 25 tanks and half-tracks.
Holding the line, the tanks came under a
barrage from Japanese artillery. It was
during the shelling that Crate was
wounded. Kenneth Hourigan put Crate on
his tank and attempted to get him to a aid
station. While doing this, his tank ran
into a car full of Filipinos who promised to
get Crate first aid. He turned Crate
over to them.
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