King R.

 

Sgt. Ronald John King


    Sgt. Ronald J. King was the son of John & Berglioth King.  He was born on October 29, 1919, in Nebraska.  After his family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, he was raised at 331 North Franklin Street.  He attended both grade school and high school in Janesville.

    In 1938, Ronald joined the 32nd Divisional Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville.  For him and the other National Guardsmen, much of the training consisted of drilling.

    In November of 1940, the tank company was federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  In late November, the company left Janesville for Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Ronald would train there for almost ten months.

    In January, 1941, Headquarters Company was formed with men from the four letter companies.  It was at this time that Ronald was reassigned to the company.  The purpose of the company was to take care of the daily operations of the battalion and ensure that supplies are distributed to the letter companies.

    In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  Ronald like the other men hoped that they would be released from federal duty upon completion of the maneuvers.  On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, Louisiana,  they heard the news that they were being sent overseas instead.  Ronald received a pass home to say goodbye to his family and friends.

    From Camp Polk by train, A Company traveled west to California.  It was there that they were ferried to Angel Island for physicals and inoculations.  Those men who failed were replaced while others were scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The soldiers boarded the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott which sailed on Monday, October 27th and arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd at 8:00 A.M.  Since the ship would remain in port for two days, the soldiers received shore leave.  The ship sailed on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam.  Arriving there, the ship took on water, bananas, vegetables, and coconuts.
    Sailing, the ship arrived in Manila Bay the morning of November 20, 1941, at 8:00.  The soldiers disembarked the ship about three hours after it docked.  Most took buses to a train station and rode a train to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    At Ft. Stotsenburg, the soldiers were greeted by Col. Edward King who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field.  He remained with the battalion until every member had had Thanksgiving dinner.  Afterwards, he went to have his own.

    Most of Ronald's time after arriving at  Ft. Stotsenburg was spent making sure the tankers had what they needed to prepare their new equipment for use.  A little over two weeks later, on December 8, 1941, Ronald witnessed the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  When the attack was over, there was no Army Air Corps and the airfield was pretty much in ruins.

    After four months of constant fighting and strafing by enemy planes, Ronald became a Prisoner Of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942.  With the other members of the company, Ronald made his way to Mariveles at the southern tip of the peninsula.

    Ronald took part in the death march and made his way to San Fernando.  He was crammed into a small wooden boxcar with 99 other men and road the train to Capas.  There he disembarked and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.  With most of the POWs, Ronald was reassigned when Cabanatuan #1 opened in May 1942.

    Sgt. Ronald J. King died of dysentery and malaria on Monday, September 14, 1942.  He was buried in the Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery.  After the war, his family requested that his remains be returned Janesville.  On October 22, 1949, Sgt. Ronald J. King was reburied in the military section at Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville. 


 

 

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