|S/Sgt. Joseph W. Beard
Joseph W. Beard was born on August 25, 1921, in
Boston, Massachusetts. He was one of the
seven children born to Joseph E. Beard & Mary
Ann Hepp-Beard. He grew up in Boston and
later resided with his grandparents in Port
Clinton, Ohio. He was a high school graduate
and worked as a hotel bookkeeper. He also
joined the Ohio National Guard's tank company in
Port Clinton in 1938.
In September 1940, the tank company was designated as C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. On November 25th, the company members reported for duty before leaving for Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 29th. Upon arriving on the at Ft. Knox, the tankers found themselves housed in tents since their barracks had not been finished.
During their time at Ft. Knox, the tankers attended various schools and trained on the battalion's equipment. The soldiers also pulled most of their tanks from the junkyard at the fort, and rebuilt the engines, so that they had enough tanks to train with for the next year.
In the late summer of 1941, the battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers. The maneuvers were suddenly canceled when the Red Army, which the 192nd was a part of, broke through the Blue Army's lines and were about to capture General George Patton's headquarters.
The tankers expected to receive orders to return to Ft. Knox, instead they were ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk. None of the men had any idea why this had been done.
It was on the side of a hill that the battalion learned that they were being sent overseas as part of operation "PLUM." Within hours many men had figured out that PLUM stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila. Those men who were 29 years old or older were given six hours to resign from federal service. Those men who did were replaced by men from the 753rd Tank Battalion.
The 192nd was
boarded onto the
and sailed from
San Francisco on
27th, for Hawaii
as part of a
They arrived at
given leaves so
they could see
the ships sailed
At one point,
the ships passed
an island at
island, they did
so in total
This for many of
the soldiers was
a sign that they
were being sent
they arrived at
Guam, the ships
took on water,
The ships sailed
the same day for
Bay on Thursday,
and docked at
was the date
scheduled to be
were taken by
bus to Ft.
The tanks were ordered to the perimeter of the Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. That morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. When they looked up that morning, the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.
Around 12:45 in
the afternoon, the soldiers noticed planes
approaching the airfield. When bombs began
exploding around them, the tankers knew the planes
were Japanese. Besides their .50 caliber
machine guns, they had few weapons to use against
the planes. Most took cover and waited out the
attack. After it ended, they saw the
destruction done by the tanks.
records kept by officers of the battalion, Joseph
was reported missing between Mariveles and San
Fernando. It is believed that he was selected,
by the Japanese, for a work detail to back to Fort