Grogg

Pvt. Edward Ericus Grogg Jr.


    Pvt. Edward E. Grogg Jr, was born on November 11, 1921, in Erie County, Ohio, to Edward E. Grogg Sr., and Emma Wadsworth-Grogg.  He was the brothers of three sisters and later a half-sister.  He joined the Ohio National Guard Tank Company in Port Clinton in November 1938, and worked as a commercial fisherman on Lake Erie.  In 1940, his parents divorced and his mother married Franklin T. Moore on October 20, 1940.  The family resided in Freemont, Ohio.  His father died in 1941.  
    In the fall of 1940, Edward was called to federal service when his tank company was inducted into the regular army.  At Fort Knox, Kentucky, Edward spent nearly a year training.  A typical day started at 6:15 A.M. with reveille, but most of the soldiers were already up so they could wash, dress, and be on time for assembly.  Breakfast was from 7 to 8 A.M. which was followed buy calisthenics from 8 to 8:30.  After this, the remainder of the morning dealt with .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistols, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in military tactics.
    At 11:30, the tankers got ready for lunch, which was from noon to 1:00 P.M., when they went back to work by attending the various schools.  At 4:30, the tankers day ended and retreat was at 5:00 P.M. followed by evening meal at 5:30.  The day ended at 9:00 P.M. with lights out, but they did not have to be in bed until 10:00 P.M. when taps was played.
    From September 1st to 30th, he took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, were ordered to remain at the camp.  None of them had any idea why.  On the side of a hill, at Camp Polk, Louisiana, he and the other members of the battalion learned that they were not being released from federal service.  Instead, they were being sent overseas as part of "Operation PLUM." Within hours, many of the members of the battalion had figured out that PLUM stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.
    Edward received a leave home to say goodbye to is family and friends.  He returned to Camp Polk and prepared for duty overseas.  It was at this time that the battalion received tanks from the 753rd Tank Battalion to replace their M2A2 tanks.
    The 192nd Tank Battalion received orders for duty, in the Philippines, because of an event that happened during the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island.  When the squadron landed he reported what he had seen.  By the time a Navy ship was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S.S. Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
   At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.

 
    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 morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers learned of the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.  He and the other tankers were ordered to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.
    Around 11:45 A.M., the tankers watched as planes approached the airfield.  When bombs began exploding they knew the planes were Japanese.  Although they did the best they could, the tankers did not have the right type of weapons to fight the planes.
    Edward spent the next four months taking part in a delaying action against the Japanese.  During the withdraw into the Bataan Peninsula, the tanks were often the last unit to disengage from the Japanese.

    At Gumain River, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts.  It was there the tankers noted that the Japanese soldiers were high on drugs when they attacked.  Among the dead Japanese, the tankers found the hypodermic needles and syringes.   The tankers were able to hold up the Japanese for several weeks.
   
The tankers soon found themselves in given the job of holding a defensive line so that the other troops could disengage and form a new defensive line further south.  They repeated this action over and over.
   
During the Battle of the Pockets, January 23rd to February 17, 1942, the tanks were sent into the pockets to wipe out Japanese troops that had broken through the main defensive line and trapped behind the line after the Filipino and American troops pushed the Japanese back.  According to members of the battalion they resorted two ways to wipe out the Japanese.
    The first method was to have three Filipino soldiers sit on the back of the tanks with sacks of hand grenades.  When the Japanese dove back into their foxholes, the tank would go over it and the soldiers would drop three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the ordnance was from World War I, one out of three hand grenades would explode. 

    The second method used was to park the tank over a foxhole.  The driver would spin the tank on one track and allow the other track to dig into the ground until the Japanese were dead.

    According to the official report on the 192nd Tank Battalion, on February 11, 1942, while involved in action against the Japanese trapped in the Tuol Pocket, Pvt. Edward E. Grogg was killed in action.  He was wounded while attempting to reach a wounded member of the battalion and taken to a field hospital.  He died before he reached the hospital.  His mother and step-father received word of his death on February 21, 1942.
    After the war, the remains of Pvt. Edward Grogg Jr. were recovered but not positively identified.  He is most likely buried as an "unknown" at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.  Since his remains were not positively identified, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.  His mother and step-father received his Purple Heart on April 17, 1943.


 


 

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