Pvt. Fred G. Leonard Jr.
Pvt. Fred G. Leonard was born
on August 12, 1919, in Mercer County, Kentucky, to
Fred G. Leonard Sr. and Alma Roach-Leonard.
With his two sisters and two brothers, he grew up on
the family farm. At some point, Fred joined
the Kentucky National Guard in Harrodsburg,
In September 1940, the tank company was re-designated D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. On November 25th, the members of the company traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where they joined three other National Guard Tank Companies to form the battalion.
During their time at Ft. Knox, the tankers rebuilt tanks that they pulled from the junkyard at the fort. They also attended various schools associated with tank operations. It is not known what specialized training Fred received during this time.
In the late
summer, the tankers were ordered to Camp Polk,
Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers. At one
point, the 192nd, which was part of the Red Army,
broke through the Blue Army's defensive
perimeter. As they were about to overrun the
headquarters of General George Patton, the
maneuvers were cancelled.
Later in the day, Stanley's group of POWs was moved to a school yard in Mariveles. The POWs were left sitting in the sun for hours. The Japanese did not feed them or give them water. Behind the POWs were four Japanese artillery pieces which began firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum. These two islands had not surrendered. Shells from these two American forts began landing among the POWs. The POWs could do little since they had no place to hide. Some POWs were killed by incoming American shells. One group that tried to hide in a small brick building died when it took a direct hit. The American guns did succeed in knocking out three of the four Japanese guns.
The POWs were
ordered to move again by the Japanese. The
men had no idea that they had started what became
known as the death march. During the march,
the POWs received no water and little food.
It took the members of HQ Company six days to
reach San Fernando. At some point on the
march, Fred was reported as missing.
During their time in the bull
pin, the POWs watched the Japanese bury three
POWs. Two were still alive. When one
of the men attempted to climb out of the grave, he
was hit in the head with a shovel and
buried. At some point, the Japanese ordered
the men to form ranks. They were marched in
detachments of 100 men to the train station.
At the train station, the POWs were put into a small wooden boxcar and taken to Capas. The cars were known as "forty and eights" because they could hold forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed 100 men into each car. Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the car. From Capas, Frank walked the last ten miles to Camp O' Donnell.
was an unfinished Filipino training base that the
Japanese pressed into service as a Prisoner of War
camp. It turned out to be a death trap with
as many as fifty POWs dying each day. There
was only one working water faucet for the entire
camp. To get a drink, men stood in line for
days. Many died while waiting for a
drink. The death rate among the POWs was as
high as fifty men a day. Many POWs went out
on work details to get out of the camp.
On July 3rd,
Fred was admitted to the camp hospital suffering
from diarrhea and assigned to Barracks 28.
According to the records kept by the camp medical
staff, he remained in the hospital for seven days
being discharged on July 10th.
After the war, the
U.S. Remains Recovery Team positively identified
the remains of Pvt. Fred C. Leonard. At the
request of his family, he was reburied at Spring
Hill Cemetery on Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He
was posthumously promoted to Private First Class.