Pfc. Thomas Franklin Brooks

    Pfc. Thomas Franklin Brooks was born on October 13, 1919, in Edmonson County, Kentucky to Charles Smith Brooks & Frances Isabel Brooks.  He was the fourth of the couple's twelve children.  He crew up at Rural Route 2 near Monmouth Cave, Kentucky.  He was known as "Frank" to his family and friends.

    Thomas was inducted into the U. S. Army on January 20, 1941 in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was assigned to D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  During his training, he became friends with Pvt. Patrick Boone and Pfc. James Carter.

    After taking part in maneuvers in Louisiana, Thomas battalion was ordered overseas.  He and the other soldiers were given leaves home to say goodbye to their families.  After returning to Camp Polk, Louisiana, the soldiers were sent by train to San Francisco.

    On Angel Island, Thomas received a physical and inoculated for duty overseas.  The battalion sailed, 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.

  Arriving in the Philippine Islands, Thomas and the other members of the battalion were taken to Ft. Stotsenburg and housed in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  It was at this time that D Company was attached to the 194th Tank Battalion and would fight with the battalion during the Battle of the Philippines.

    On December 8, 1941, ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Thomas lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  For the next four months Thomas fought to slow the Japanese conquest of Philippines.  At some point Tom was hospitalized at Hospital #2 at Cabcaben, Bataan, and was still in the hospital when Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942.

    Tom is listed as part of the Cabcaben POW Camp on May 19, 1942.  It appears to be a roster of POWs being transferred from the Hospital #2 to Bilibid Prison.  How long he stayed at Bilibid is not known.

    What is known is that in late 1942, Thomas developed beriberi.  According to U. S. Army records, Pfc. Thomas Franklin Brooks died of beriberi at Cabanatuan POW Camp on Thursday, December 10, 1942, at approximately 5:20 PM, and was buried in the camp cemetery in Grave: 917, Row: 0, Plot: 9.

    After the war, on November 25, 1947, the remains of Pvt. Thomas F. Brooks, and of other POWs buried in Grave 917, were exhumed from the grave.  The remains believed to be those of Thomas were given the number C-641, later X-1683, and finally X-4483.  In 1949, it was determined that his remains and the remains of three other POWs could not be identified.   
    Thomas' remains were buried at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila. 
Records seem to indicate that he was buried in Plot: 3, Row: 4, Grave: 425 as an unknown.  Since his remains could not be identified, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the center of the cemetery.



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