Corr

Tec 5 Charles L. Corr Jr.


     T/5 Charles L. Corr Jr. was born in Pennsylvania on June 28, 1916, to Charles L. Corr Sr., & Mabel Snow-Corr.  With his brother, Robert, he lived at 6705 North Loleta Avenue in Chicago.   While he was a high school student, Charles became interested in radio equipment.  He joined a radio program with the Illinois National Guard.  It was this interest that would get him assigned to Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.  

    Charles was drafted into the U. S. Army in the spring of 1941.  He went to Maywood, Illinois for his physical and induction.  The building that he had his physical in was the old armory of the Maywood Tank Company of the Illinois National Guard.  The company had been called to federal duty in the late fall of 1940 which left the building empty.

    During his physical and induction, Charles was informed that he and Tec. 4 Frank Goldstein, another draftee, were being sent to Camp Grant immediately.  At Camp Grant, the two men learned that they were being assigned to Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.  The reason was that both men were radio enthusiast and the company needed men who knew how to repair their radio equipment.  This was the same tank company whose armory Charles had gone to for his army physical. 

    Charles and Frank Goldstein were rushed to Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Arriving there is the middle of the night, they were greeted by Sgt. Arthur McArthur who was in charge of radio equipment.  McArthur told them they were to chose who wanted to teach the tankers how to use their radios and who was going to repair the equipment that did not work.  Charles chose to teach the tankers about their radios.

    Charles went through training with Company B at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then went through the maneuvers in Louisiana.  At Camp Polk, Louisiana, he and the other tankers learned that they were being sent to the Philippine Islands.

    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
   At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.

    The tankers were sent to Fort Stotsenburg immediately after their arrival.  On the main road between Clark Field and Ft. Stotsenburg,  they lived in tents since the barracks assigned to them were not finished.  On December 8, 1941, Charles lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field. 
    On December 1st, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers.  Two crew members had to be with their tank at all times.  The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield.  They had received word of the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield.  As they sat in their tanks and half-tracks they watched as American planes filled the sky.  At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45, the tankers watched as planes approached the airfield from the north.  When bombs began exploding on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.   
    At 12:45 in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor,  the soldiers lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield.  That morning, they had been awakened to the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor just hours earlier.  The tankers were eating lunch when planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, they thought the planes were American.  They then saw what looked like rain drops falling from the planes.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.  The company remained at Clark Field for the next two weeks.

    The tank battalion received orders on December 21st that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf.   Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas.  When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   The bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening.  They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.
    The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and December were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was destroyed, they were able find a crossing over the river.

    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown.  The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
    Being one of the two radio experts assigned to the 192nd,  Charles relayed orders from  B Company Headquarters to the tank crews.   Doing his job often required him to work with Frank Goldstein.  They often found themselves using a home made direction finder attempting to find out the locations of the tanks of the 192nd.  On January 25, 1942, while doing this work at Balanga,  Charles was wounded by enemy fire.   He was awarded the Purple Heart.    
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
The tank battalions, on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.     
    B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line.  The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket.  Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
    To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used.  The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank.  As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
    The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole.  The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks from the tanks because of the smell.

    When Bataan was surrendered,  Charles became a Prisoner of War.  Charles participated in the death march and was first interred at Camp O'Donnell.  He was  then transferred to Cabanatuan Camp #1.  It was at Cabanatuan that Charles died from dysentery, at approximately 7:00 in the morning, on Tuesday, June 9, 1942.

    After the war, the remains of Tec. 5 Charles L. Corr Jr. were buried in Plot E, Row 9, Grave 50, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.


 

 

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