Pvt. Nick Kaplar
| Very little is known
about Pvt. Nick Kaplar. It is known that he
was born on May 29, 1915, to Mrs. Cecelia Kohniak
in Chicago, Illinois. It appears that his
father may have passed away and that his mother
married Joseph Kohniak. He had two sisters and
four half-brothers. After his mother
remarried, Nick moved to Lublin, Wisconsin, area.
Nick was inducted into the Army in Withee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 1941. He joined the 192nd Tank Battalion while it was training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was assigned to the Medical Detachment and trained as a medic.
Nick took part in the maneuvers of 1941 in
Louisiana and was informed at Camp Polk. The battalion did
very well and remained behind at the base
after the maneuvers.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard the airfield against Japanese paratroopers. The medical detachment remained in their bivouac. After the attack on Clark Field on December 8, 1941, Nick and the other medics gave aid to the wounded and dying.
Nick continued to give aid to the wounded during the four month long Battle of the Luzon. He then did the same when the Filipino and American forces had withdrawn into Bataan. When Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942, Nick became a POW. He took part in the death march and was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell. He was next held as a prisoner at Cabanatuan.
Nick was sent to the Port Area
of Manila and boarded onto the Clyde Maru.
The ship sailed from Manila on July 23,
1943. It arrived at Santa Cruz, Zanbales,
Philippines, the same day. There, it was
loaded with manganese ore. It remained in
port for three days before sailing on July
Nick Kaplar returned to Wisconsin where he
married, Lila Oberbillig, in Loyal, Wisconsin,
on January 19, 1947. His brother was his
best man. The couple had met at a Veterans
Administration hospital where he was sent to
recover from his POW experience. He became
the father of a son.
Nick Kaplar returned to Wisconsin, and lived at 1559 North Shore Drive in Eau Claire, and spent the rest of his life in Wisconsin. One of his hobbies was fishing. He died on October 7, 1968, in Eau Clare, Wisconsin at the age of 53. He was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Eau Clare, Wisconsin.