Sgt. David H. Duff
| Sgt. David Duff
was born on December 3, 1919, in Franklin County,
Ohio, to David & Edith Duff. With his
two sisters and brother, he lived at 672
Livingston Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. He left
school after his third year of high school and
went to work as a machinist.
David was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 22, 1941, at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio. He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for basic training and was assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. During his time with the company he was promoted from private, to private first class, and corporal.
In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers. During the maneuvers, the Red Army, which the 192nd was part of, broke through the lines of the Blue Army. As they approached the headquarters of the Blue Army, which was under the command of General George Patton, the maneuvers were suddenly canceled. The 192nd was ordered to remain behind at Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft. Knox. None of the members had any idea why this order was given.
On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the tankers learned 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 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service. Replacements for the men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion which had been sent to Camp Polk from Ft. Benning, Georgia. The 192nd also received the battalion's tanks and half-tracks.
Over different train routes, the battalion was sent to San Francisco. Once there, they were taken by ferry to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. At the fort, they received physicals and inoculated against tropical diseases. Those men with minor health issues were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion in the Philippines.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T.
Hugh L. Scott
for Hawaii as
part of a
at Honolulu on
2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see 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
On December 31, 1941, Company was sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, Lt. Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag. 2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Bill had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
platoon held its fire until the Japanese were in
view of his platoon and then joined in the
hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up
and down the streets of the village, through
buildings and under them. By the time
Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the
enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy
tanks. During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company
was mined and
about to be
The 192nd held
so that the
frog past it
and then cover
192nd was the
unit to enter