Kolb

Sgt. Edward Lyle Kolb


    Sgt. Edward Lyle Kolb was the son of William J. Kolb and Lily Minnie Gertrude Whiting-Kolb.  He was born on February 5, 1920, in Maywood, Illinois. With his two brothers and two sisters, he lived at 510 South 7th Avenue in Maywood.  He was called "Lyle" by his family.  After high school, he lived at 5716 West Lake Street in Chicago.
    Lyle attended Emerson Grade School and Proviso Township High School.  Before joining the Illinois National Guard, he went to Florida to work with his brothers, as a truck driver, in the citrus business.
    After returning to Illinois, Lyle joined the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Maywood.  Like so many young men at the time, he knew that he would soon be drafted into the army and wanted to fulfill his military obligation.  He was called to federal service in November of 1940, when his company was federalized.  He trained first at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then took part in the maneuvers of 1941 in Louisiana.
    After the maneuvers the members of the battalion remained behind at Camp Polk.  None of them had any idea why they had not returned to Ft. Knox.   The battalion members learned that they were being sent overseas.  Those 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service.    
    At Camp Polk, Louisiana, he with his fellow tankers learned that instead of being released from federal service they were being sent overseas.  He received a leave home to say goodbye and then returned to Camp Polk. 

    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 half-tracks.  The battalion traveled over three different railroad routes to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. 
    On the island, the soldiers were inoculated and received physicals.  Those who had minor medical issues were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. 

    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  For many, it would be the last time that they would ever see the United States.  The battalion arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4h, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  

    Seventeen days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Harold and the other members of Company B arrived in Manila.  The battalion was deployed Fort Stotsenburg. 
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.  They spent the next seven days preparing their equipment for use in the maneuvers they expected to take part in.
    The morning of December 8, 1941, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the tankers were ordered the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  All morning long as they sat on their tanks, they watched as American planes filled the sky.  At noon, the planes landed.
    As the tankers were having lunch, 54 planes approached the airfield from the north.  When bombs began exploding on the runways, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.  Since they had few weapons that could be used against Japanese, they could do is watch.  

    Lyle and the other members of B Company were sent to Lingayen Gulf in an attempt to stop the Japanese from landing troops.  Lyle, along with the other members of Company B, fought the Japanese for four months. They did this with little food and no hope of being relieved.

    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.  Bud's worst memory was of this battle.  He recalled that the Japanese attempted to break the Filipino-American line of defense.  The Japanese attacked after dark and the fighting went on all night. The line of defense held by the 192nd almost broke.   When dawn came, the tankers had held onto their position.  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 this time, Lyle's parents received a letter from him.  In the letter he told them that he and the other men were fine as long as they kept clean.  His parents had one clue about when the letter was written.  In it he stated that it was a week before his birthday.
    On April 9, 1942, Lyle became a Prisoner of War with the surrender of the Filipino and American forces.  Lyle took part in the death march and was first imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell.  He then was sent to Cabanatuan.  On Thursday, June 18, 1942, Lyle was admitted into the camp hospital, and assigned to Barracks 22, after coming down with with malaria.  On July 16, 1942, Lyle died of malaria at approximately 11:30 PM.   He was buried in the camp cemetery.  His parents did not learn of his death until July 1945.
    After the war, in 1949, his remains were returned to the United States, and he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.  He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
 





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