| T/4 Kenneth R.
Hatlevig was the son of Sever & Anna Hatlevig
and was born on March 12, 1918. He was
raised and attended school in Evansville,
Wisconsin, and worked for the Baker Manufacturing
Company, in Evansville, in the shipping
Kenneth joined the 32nd Tank Company, of the
Wisconsin National Guard, which was
headquartered in an armory in Janesville.
On November 28, 1940, the company was called to
federal service as A Company, 192nd Tank
Battalion. He trained for almost a year at
Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the company, but his
specific training he received is not known.
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
In the late summer of 1941, Kenneth did not take
part in maneuvers in Louisiana because he had
not finished his schooling at Ft. Knox.
After the maneuvers, he was sent to Camp Polk
where the other members of the battalion had
been sent there instead of being sent back to
Ft. Knox. None of the men had any idea why
they were being kept there.
On the side of a hill, the
battalion members were informed that they were
being sent overseas and that this decision had
been made by General George S. Patton.
Those members of the battalion who were 29 years
old or older were given the opportunity to
resign from federal service and the replacements
came from 753rd Tank Battalion.
A Company traveled by train
to San Francisco, California, and was ferried to
Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the
island, they received inoculations and
physicals, and those members of the battalion
who were found to have treatable medical
conditions remained behind on the island.
They were scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a
later date. Men with more serious
conditions were replaced.
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 of the tankers suffered from
seasickness. Once they recovered, they
spent their time 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
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.
During this part of the
voyage, 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. During this part of the
voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on
the horizon. The cruiser that was
escorting the two transports revved up its
engines, its bow came out of the water, and it
took off in the direction of the smoke. It
turned out that the unknown ship was from a
friendly country.During this part of the voyage,
smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the
horizon. The cruiser that was escorting
the two transports revved up its engines, its
bow came out of the water, and it took off in
the direction of the smoke. It turned out
that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
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 that they had to live in tents along
the main road between the fort and Clark
Field. 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 to protect them from rust
while at sea. They also loaded ammunition
belts and did tank maintenance and prepared for
maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.
On December 1st, the tankers
were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to
guard against Japanese paratroopers. From
this time on, two tank crew members remained
with each tank at all times and received their
meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8th, December 7th in the
United States, the 192nd was ordered to the
perimeter of Clark Field and told of the attack
on Pearl Harbor by Captain Walter Write.
Most thought it was the result of the expected
maneuvers. A week earlier, they had been
given assigned positions around the airfield to
guard against enemy paratroopers. At 8:30,
the American planes took off and filled the
sky. They landed at noon,to be refueled,
and were lined up near the mess hall while the
pilots used this time for lunch.
The tankers were eating lunch
when a formation of 54 planes was spotted
approaching the airfield from the north.
The tankers believed the planes were American,
until they watched, raindrops fall from the
planes. When bombs exploded on the
runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
When the Japanese were
finished, there was not much left of the
airfield. Since the battalion's bivouac
was near the main road between the fort and
airfield, the soldiers watched as the dead,
dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital
on bomb racks and trucks. Anything that
could carry the wounded was in use. When
the hospital filled, they watched the medics
place the wounded under the building. Many
of these men had their arms and legs missing.
That night the soldiers had slept their last
night in a bed. For protection, they slept
under their tanks or in them.
After the attack, on December
12th, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau
to guard a highway and railroad against
sabotage. From there, the company
was sent to join the other companies of the
192nd just south of the Agno River. The
battalion had been ordered north to Lingayen
Gulf to relieve the 26th Cavalry, Philippine
On December 23rd and 24th,
the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where,
the tankers lost the company commander, Capt.
Walter Write. After he was buried, the
tankers made an end run to get south of Agno
River. As they did this, they ran into
Japanese resistance early in the evening but
successfully crossed at the river in the
From there, the company was
sent to join the other companies of the 192nd
just south of the Agno River. There, the
tanks, with A Company, 194th, held the
position. On December 25th, the 192nd 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 192nd and part of the
194th fell back to form a new defensive line the
night of December 27th and 28th. From
there they fell back to the south bank of the
BamBan River which they were suppose to hold for
as long as possible. The tanks were at
Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28th and
29th serving as a rear guard against the
A Company was sent, in
support of the 194th, to an area east of
Pampanga. It was there that they lost a
tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.
That night, on a road east of Zaragoza, on
December 30th, the company was bivouacked for
the night and posted sentries. The
sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the
other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned
the tanks' machine guns. As they watched,
a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their
bivouac. When the last bicycle passed the
tanks, the tankers opened up on them. When
they stopped firing, they had completely wiped
out the bicycle battalion. To leave the
area, the tankers drove their tanks over the
As the Filipino and American forces
fell back toward Bataan, A Company took up a
position near the south bank of the Gumain River
the night of December 31st and January
1st. It was that night that the Japanese
lunched an attack to cross the river.
As the Japanese attempted to advance they were
cut down by the tankers. The tankers
created gaping holes in their ranks. To
lower their losses, the Japanese tried to cover
their advance with a smoke screen. Since
the wind was blowing against them, the smoke
blew into the Japanese line. When the
Japanese broke off the attack, they had lost
about half their men.
From January 2nd to 4th, the
192nd held the road open from San Fernando to
Dinalupihan so the southern forces could
escape. It was also in January 1942, that
the food ration was cut in half. It was
not too long after this was done that malaria,
dysentery, and dengue fever began hitting the
soldiers. January that the food rations were cut
in half. Not long after this, malaria,
dysentery, and dengue fever soon spread
among the soldiers.
While still attached to the 194th,
on January 5th, Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield, A
Company's commanding officer, received orders to
launch a counter-attack against the Japanese on
a tail picked by Provisional Tank Group
command. Bloomfield, while attempting to
attack, radioed the tank group that the trail
did not exist.
It was evening and the
tankers believed they were in a relatively safe
place near Lubao along a dried up creek
bed. Bloomfield told his men to get some
sleep. Their sleep was interrupted by the
sound of a gun shot at about 1:50 A.M. The
tankers had no idea that they were about to
engage the Japanese who had lunched a major
offensive across an open field wearing white
shirts which made them easy targets. There
was a great deal of confusion and the battle
lasted until 3:00 A.M., when the Japanese broke
off the attack. Within days of this
action, the company returned to the command of
A Company, was sent in support of the 194th, to
an area east of Pampanga. At Guagua,
A Company with the 11th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army, attempted to make a
counterattack against the Japanese.
Somehow, the Filipinos mistook the tanks as
Japanese and accurately used mortars on them
knocking out three tanks. A Company
rejoined the 194th east of Guagua.tan ks were
often the last units to disengage from the enemy
and form a new defensive line as American and
Filipino units withdrew toward Bataan.
The night of January 7th, A
Company was awaiting orders to cross the last
bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek.
The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge,
but the battalion's commanding officer, Lt. Col.
Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until
he had looked to see if they were anywhere in
sight. He found the company, asleep in
their tanks, because they had not received the
order to withdraw across the bridge. After
they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed.
On January 24th, the tank
battalions were ordered to cover all forces
withdrawing to the Pilar-Bigac Line in the
Abucay Area. This withdrawal was suppose
to take place the night of January
24th-25th. The tank battalions prevented
the Japanese from overrunning the position and
cutting off the withdrawing troops.
The morning of January 27th,
a new battle line had been formed and all units
were suppose to be beyond it. That
morning, the tanks were still holding their
position six hours after they were suppose to
have withdrawn. While holding the
position, the tanks, with self-propelled mounts,
ambushed, at point blank range, three Japanese
units causing 50 percent casualties.
On January 28th, the tank
battalions 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. They also
took part in the Battle of the Pockets and the
Battle of the Points.
The company also took part in the Battle of the
Pockets. The Japanese offensive had been
stopped and two groups of Japanese soldiers were
trapped behind the main line of defense.
The tanks were sent in to help eliminate the
pockets. 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 the tank, which had been relieved,
had left the pocket.
To wipe out the Japanese two
methods were employed. 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 usually explode.
The second method was
simple. The tank was parked with one track
across the foxhole. The driver gave power
to the opposite track and spun the tank dragging
the other track. The tank dug into the
dirt until the Japanese soldiers were dead.
The soldiers were hungry and
began to eat everything they could get their
hands on to eat. The Carabao were tough
but if they were cooked long enough they could
be eaten. They also began to eat horse
meat provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry.
To make things worse, the soldiers' rations were
cut in half again on March 1, 1942. This
meant that they only ate two meals a day.
The Japanese also were
dropping surrender leaflets with a scantly clad
blond on them. The Japanese would have
been more successful at getting the Americans to
surrender if the picture had been hamburger,
since the men were so hungry that they most
likely would have surrendered for a good meal.
During the Battle of the
Points, on March 2nd and 3rd, the tanks were
sent in to wipe out Japanese troops that had
broken through the main defensive line and than
trapped behind the line after the Filipino and
American troops pushed the Japanese back toward
the sea and wiped them out.
The company's last bivouac area was
about twelve kilometers north of Marivales and
looking out on the China Sea. By this
point, the tankers knew that there was no help
on the way. Many had listened to Secretary
of War Harry L. Stimson on short wave.
When asked about the Philippines, he said,
"There are times when men must die." The
soldiers cursed in response because they knew
that the Philippines had already been lost.
On April 4, 1942, the
Japanese launched an attack supported by
artillery and aircraft. A large force of
Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and
descended down the south face of the
volcano. This attack wiped out two
divisions of defenders and left a large area of
the defensive line open to the Japanese.
When General King saw that the situation was
hopeless, he initiated surrender talks with the
The night of April 8, 1942,
the members of A Company circled their
tanks. Each tank fired one armor piercing
shell into the engine of the tank in front of
it. The tankers next opened up the
gasoline valves and dropped hand grenades into
the turrets. The next morning at 7:00 A.M.
they became Prisoners of War.
The members of A Company made
their way to Mariveles
at the southern tip of Bataan. It was from
this barrio that the tankers started what they
simply called "the march."
The POWs made their way north
from Mariveles toward San Fernando. The
first five miles of the march were uphill which
made it more difficult since they were weak and
sick. At one point, the members of the
company had to run past Japanese artillery
firing on Corregidor. They received little
water and little food, and when they reached San
Fernando, they were put into a bull pen.
In one corner of the bull pen was a trench the
POWs were suppose to use as a washroom.
The surface of the trench was alive with
maggots. How long they remained in the
bull pen is not known.
The Japanese ordered the POWs
to form detachments of 100 men. They were
marched to the train stationed and packed into
small wooden boxcars used to haul
sugarcane. Each car could hold forty men
or eight horses, but the Japanese packed
100 POWs into each car and closed the
doors. Those who died remained standing
since there was no place for them to fall.
At Capas, the living left the cars and the dead
fell to the floors. The POWs walked the
last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was an
unfinished Filipino training base pressed into
service as a POW camp. There was one water
faucet for the entire camp, and men literally
died for a drink. The death rate in the
camp began to rise until as many as 55 men dying
each day. The burial detail worked
non-stop to bury the dead. When they
returned the next morning to the cemetery, the
wild dogs had dug up the bodies or the bodies
were sitting up in their graves.
The Japanese opened a new camp at
Cabanatuan to lower the death rate, and Ken was
sent to the camp. Shortly after arriving
in the camp, Ken came down with malaria and was
admitted into the camp's hospital on June 26,
1942. The hospital was known as "Zero
Ward" since few POWs left it alive since the
medical staff had little medicine to treat
them. The Philippine Red Cross came to the
camp several times with medical supplies for the
POWs, but the Japanese refused to allow the POWs
to receive the medicine.
According to the medical records kept by the
camp medical staff. On Wednesday, July 8,
1942, at approximately 6:15 in the morning, T/4
Kenneth R. Hatlevig died of malaria at
Cabanatuan POW Camp. He was 24 years old.
After the war, the Hatlevig family requested
that Kenneth's remains be returned to
Evansville. He was reburied in Maple Hill
Cemetery in Evansville on October 19,
1949. The American Legion post in
Evansville was later named the McKinney/Hatlevig