Greenfield

 


Pvt. Eugene Charles Greenfield


    Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield was born in July 21, 1918, in Alliance, Ohio, to Howard E. Greenfield and Grace Lavinia-Greenfield and lived in East Liverpool, Ohio.  It is known he had one sister and that his family later resided in Bayard, Ohio.  He also graduated from Ohio State University in 1940.
    Eugene was inducted into the U. S. Army on March 22, 1941, and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  There, he attended radio school and graduated as a radioman.
    After basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he became a  member of the 753rd Tank Battalion.  The battalion had been sent to the base from Ft. Benning, Georgia.  At Camp Polk, the 753rd continued their training, but they did not take part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.

   

    After the maneuvers the 192nd Tank Battalion received orders that they were being sent overseas.  Being that the battalion was primarily made up of National Guardsmen from four Midwestern states, those men 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service.  This created vacancies in the battalion that needed to be filled.

    It was at this time that Eugene joined the 192nd, with his friend, Olen Gilson, and was assigned to A Company.  He also became a member of the tank crew of 2nd Lt. William Reed.  Reed, himself, was also a transfer from the 753rd.

    Eugene with his new company traveled west by train to San Francisco.  He and the other men were ferried to Angel Island where they received physicals and shots.  Those members of the battalion with minor medical conditions were held back on the island.

    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. 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 November 5th, 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.  It sailed the same day for Manila.  The ship entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  It docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men 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.

    The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter Write gathered his company and told them the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier.  He then ordered his men to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.

    Around 12:45 in the afternoon, planes were heard approaching the airfield.  At first the tank crews believed that the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding that they knew the planes were Japanese.

    During the attack, the tankers could do little to fight the planes since their tanks were not designed to fight planes.  After the attack, Eugene and the other men looked over the carnage caused by the bombing.

    That evening the tankers pulled out of Clark Field.  Eugene had slept his last night in a bed.  During the Battle of the Philippines, Eugene with his battalion were used as the rear guard to allow the other units to withdraw from an area. 

    In late December 1941, east of Concepcion, Eugene was in his tank when it came under enemy fire.  One of the enemy rounds hit the tank knocking it out.  After this round hit the tank, Lt. William Reed escaped the tank.  He was working to free the rest of his tank crew when a second round hit the tank below his legs.  This round mortally wounded Lt. Reed.  Eugene and the other members of his tank crew moved Lt. Reed from the half-track and laid him under a bridge.  Lt. Reed would not allow himself to be evacuated since their were other wounded soldiers.  He insisted that these men be taken first.  

    Pvt. Jack Bruce, another member of Eugene's half-track crew went for help, but when he did not return.  Eugene also went for help in an attempt to save Lt. Reed's life.  By the time he reached help, the area where Lt. Reed was had been waiting for help had been overrun by the Japanese.  The fourth member of the tank crew, Pvt. Ray Underwood, held Reed in his arms until Lt. Reed died of his wounds.

    As tanks became scarce, the tank crews from the different companies shared tank duties.  At one point, Eugene fought as a member of a B Company tank crew. 
    One of the few pieces of information received from Eugene was in a letter to Miss Vera Capper of East Liverpool.  The letter was written on March 5, 1942, but was not received until August 1942.  In the letter he asked her to say he was in good health.  He also told his family and friends not to worry about him.

    On April 9, 1942, Eugene became a POW when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  Eugene took part in the death march and was held as a Prisoner of War at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan.  It appears he went out on a work detail, but the specific detail is not known.
    At some point, while on the detail, Eugene became ill and was sent to Bilibid Prison and hospitalized for pleurisy.  The medical records show he was transferred to Cabanatuan on May 17, 1943.

    Later in 1943, Eugene was selected for transfer to Japan.  He was boarded onto the Taga Maru, which was also known as the Coral Maru. and taken to Japan.  The ship sailed on September 19, 1943, and arrived at Takao, Formosa, on September 23rd.  When it sailed is not known, but it arrived at Moji, Japan, on October 8th.  
    Upon arriving in Japan, Eugene was sent to Hirohata.  The POWs in this camp worked at the Seitetsu Steel Mill.  He and the other prisoners unloaded cargo and ore from ships, worked in the mills machine shops, worked the blast furnaces and cleaned the slag from them.

    While Eugene was at this camp, he developed beriberi.  According to U. S. Army records, Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield died from starvation and beriberi on Friday, April 7, 1944, at Hirohata 12-B.

    After the war, at his parents' request, the remains of Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield were returned to the Philippine Islands.  He was buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.


 

 

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