S/Sgt. Willard Daylis Jennings
S/Sgt. Willard Daylis
Jennings was was born on June 29, 1919, in
Billings, Montana, to George T. Jennings &
Stella Daylis-Jennings. With his two sisters
and two brothers, he would later move to Forest
Park, Illinois, where he resided at 1120 Circle
Avenue. He attended the Field-Stevenson
School in Forest Park and was a member of the
Proviso Township High School Class of
1939. He worked in the shipping
department of a newspaper.
In 1937, with his parents permission and while he was still in high school, Willard enlisted in the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Maywood, Illinois. When the company was federalized as Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion, he went to Fort Knox, Kentucky to train. After nearly a year of training at Fort Knox, Willard qualified as a tank driver. He would later become a tank commander.
In the late summer of 1941, Willard and his battalion traveled to Louisiana to take part in the Maneuvers of 1941. After the maneuvers, the battalion was assigned to Camp Polk, Louisiana. When the maneuvers ended, the members of the 192nd Tank Battalion remained behind at Camp Polk. The members of the battalion had no idea why they were being kept there. What they were told, on the side of a hill, was that they were being sent overseas.
After the companies were brought up to strength
with replacements for the men released from
federal service, the battalion was equipped with
new tanks and halftracks. The battalion
traveled over three different railroad routes to
Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.
The 192nd was
Hugh L. Scott
for Hawaii as
part of a
For many, it
would be the
last time that
ever see the
2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the
Seventeen days before the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor, Willard and the other members of
Company B arrived in Manila. The battalion
was deployed Fort Stotsenbeurg. At the fort, they were greeted
by Gen. Edward
that they had
to live in
the main road
fort and Clark
He made sure
that they all
he went to
was the date
members of the
expected to be
members of B
His tank and
were sent to
About 12:45 in
as the tankers
At first, the
It was only
that they knew
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 Points 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. 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 was simple. The tank was parked with one track across the foxhole. The driver spun the tank on one track. The tank dug into the dirt until the Japanese soldiers were dead.
At 6;45 the morning of April 9, 1942, the
tankers received the order "crash." They
circled their tanks. Each tank fired a
armor piecing shell into the engine of the tank
in front of it. They also opened the
gasoline cocks inside the tank compartments and
dropped hand grenades into the tanks. Most
of the company waited in their bivouac for the
Japanese to make contact, while others attempted
to reach Corregidor which had not surrendered.
The POWs were ordered to form
taken to the
used to haul
The cars were
known as forty
forty men or
put 100 POWs
Those who died
there was no
and the dead
fell to the
floor of the
last ten miles