2nd Lt. Marshall Howard Kennady Jr.
2nd Lt. Marshall Howard Kennady Jr. was born on
February 22, 1919, in Bexar County, Texas, and grew
up with his sister and brother in Fort Worth,
Texas. He was the son of Marshall H. Kennady
Sr. & Helen Lehnen-Kennady. His father was
a colonel in the Texas State Guard. Marshall graduated from Texas
A&M College in 1940 and commissioned a second
lieutenant in the
U. S. Army.
The morning of December 8th, the officers were called to a meeting and informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just hours earlier. After hearing the news, they returned to their companies and informed the enlisted men of the attack.
When the members of HQ Company were
told of the
Having been in
this was the
start of the
them to listen
what he was
saying was the
He again told
given guns and
told to clean
they did this,
It was around
noon that this
That night, there was one air raid after another. Since they did not have any foxholes, the men used an old latrine pit for cover. Being that it was safer in the trench than in their tents, the men slept in the pit. The entire night they were bitten by mosquitoes. The next morning the decision was made to move the company into an tree cover area. Without knowing it, Marshall had slept his last night on a cot or bed. From this point on, he slept in a blanket on the ground.
for two weeks
when they were
23rd and 24th,
was in the
going to use
to cross the
Agno River was
made an end
run to get
As they did
this, they ran
early in the
crossed at the
river in the
Marshall was the tank platoon commander of the three tanks assigned to HQ Company. His tanks were with C Company as the company withdrew to Baluiag, where the tanks encountered Japanese troops. It was at Baluiag that Lt. William Gentry's platoon of tanks won the first tank victory of World War II against enemy tanks.
On December 31, 1941, Gentry sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town, Lt. Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge, hidden in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt. Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag. 2nd Lt. Everett Preston, and his tank platoon, had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag and stopped in front of a hut where he was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The Japanese lookout became very excited. Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Gentry had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. Gentry's tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks who had been radioed and were waiting.
Kennady held his fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and than joined in the hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the barrio through buildings and under them. By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy tanks. This was the first American tank battle victory of World War II.
Gentry and the other tankers withdrew to Calumpit Bridge which they discovered it had been blown up when they reached it. Finding a crossing the tankers made it to the south side of the river. Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the Americans took their positions in a harvested rice field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell through the harvested rice. This would cause the rice to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
Gentry spaced his tanks about 100 yards apart. The Japanese crossing the river knew that the Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front of them. The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire.
Lighting the rice stacks, the Americans opened up with small fire than used their .37 mm guns. The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill one Japanese soldier.
The tanks were next sent to the barrio of Porac to
aid the Filipino army which was having trouble with
Japanese artillery fire. From a Filipino
lieutenant, the takers learned where the guns were
and attacked. Before the Japanese withdrew,
the tankers had knocked out three of the guns.
After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until all the troops were across. The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the Japanese up for a few days.
In addition to serving as a rear guard, the tankers burnt everything that was being left behind. The tankers burnt warehouses, banks, and businesses that would help the Japanese.
The evening of
April 8, 1942,
Bruni gave his
men the news
While informing the members of the company of the
waved his arm
tanks and told
the men that
they would no
he spoke, his
He turned away
from the men
for a moment,
and when he
turned back he
He next told
should do to
that they all
He told the
that could be
used by the
The only thing
they were told
not to destroy
He also told
them that from
this point on,
it was each
The men waited
juice for what
he called, "Their last supper."
Bruni told his
men that from
this point on
it was each
Most of the
for two days
After remaining in their bivouac for two days, the members of HQ Company were ordered out to the road that ran by their encampment. Once on the road, the POWs were ordered to kneel along the sides of the road with their possessions in front of them. As they knelt, the passing Japanese soldiers took what they wanted from the Americans. Afterwards, the soldiers boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.
At Mariveles, the POWs were
searched and personal possessions were confiscated
by the Japanese. It was also from there that
Marshall started what became known as the death
march. During the march he received almost
no food and little water. The POWs made
their way north to San Fernando where they were
placed in a bull pen. In one corner was slit
trench that the POWs used as a latrine. The
surface of the trench was alive with
Marshall was held as a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell which was an unfinished Filipino training
base that the Japanese put into use as a POW
camp. Conditions in the camp were bad and many
POWs died from disease. There was one water
spigot for the entire camp which meant the POWs
stood in line for hours for a drink. The
Japanese guard would shut off the water whenever
they felt like it. Disease ran wild in the
camp and as many as fifty-five POWs died each
day. To lower the death rate, the Japanese
opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.
At noon, the POWs had lunch but could not
get off the trucks. If a man had to
relieve himself, he had to make his way to
the side of the truck and urinate or defecate
over the side. The trucks arrived at
Bilibid at 4:00 P.M.
On December 8, 1944, Marshall was
selected to be sent to another part of the
Japanese Empire. On December 12, 1944, roll
call was taken and the names of the men selected
for transport to Japan were called. At 4:00
a.m. the morning of December 13th, Marshall and
the other POWs were awakened and roll call was
taken. Afterwards, the POWs were allowed to
roam the prison until they formed detached and
were marched to Pier 7 in Manila. Once
there, tthe POWs were told to sit. Many of
the men laid down and slept until they were
awakened to board the ship. About 5:00 PM,
the POWs were boarded onto the Oryoku Maru.
While the POWs were at Olongapo, a Japanese
officer, Lt. Junsaburo Toshio, told the
ranking American officer, Lt. Col. E. Carl
Engelhart, that those too badly wounded to
continue the trip would be returned to
Bilibid. Fifteen men were selected and
loaded onto a truck. They were taken
into the mountains and never seen
again. What was learned was that these
men were taken to a cemetery and shot.
They were also buried in the cemetery.
The remainder of the POWs remained on the
tennis court. During this time, they
were given water but not fed.
Marshall was held as a POW at Fukuoka #1-D where he died on Monday, February 19, 1945, of dysentery and malnutrition. After his death, his remains were cremated and placed into an urn with those of 98 other POWs who died in the camp.
After the war, on Tuesday, September 27, 1949, the remains of 2nd Lt. Marshall H. Kennady Jr. were reburied, in Section 82, Site 1B-1D - with the ashes of the other POWs who had died at Fukuoka #1-D - at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. He shares his grave with Capt. Donald Hanes of HQ Company, 2nd Lt. Everett Preston of D Company, and 2nd Lt Harry Black of B Company.
The photo below is of part of the headstone on the grave.