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 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.  In the late summer of 1941, he took part in maneuvers.  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.  He returned to Camp Polk and prepared for duty overseas. 

    Over different train routes, the battalion's companies traveled to San Francisco.  They were taken by ferry to Fort McDowell on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  There, they were given physicals and inoculated for duty in the Philippine Islands.  Those men who were found to need minor medical treatment remained behind at the fort 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 and docked at Pier 7.  November 20th was the date that the National Guardsmen were scheduled to be released from federal service.  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. 
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 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 15, 1942, while involved in action against the Japanese trapped in the Tuol Pocket, Pvt. Edward E. Grogg was killed in action.  His remains were recovered and buried.  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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