Lobdell

 

Pfc. Lloyd J. Lobdell


    Pfc. Lloyd J. Lobdell was born on November 23, 1918, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  He was the son of Lloyd F. Lobdell & Ruth Amon-Lobdell and was raised on a farm outside of Janesville, Wisconsin.  Later, he resided at 314 Glen Street in Janesville and was a 1938 graduate of Janesville High School.  In 1935, his brother, Gerald, was born. 

    In October of 1940, Lloyd joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company from Janesville.  His reason for doing so was that the company was being called to federal duty and he wanted to fulfill his military obligation before he was drafted into the regular army.  The company was to serve for one year and then be released from federal duty.

    In November of 1940, Lloyd went to Fort Knox, Kentucky with his company which was now designated as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. What specific training he received is not known.  In the late summer of 1941, Lloyd took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was gathered on the side of a hill and informed by its commanding officer that it was being sent overseas.

    The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco.  By ferry, they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to join 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.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On November 5th, 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. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that they 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 dinner. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers.
  

    The morning of December 8th, December 7th in the United States, the 192nd was ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field.  A week earlier, they had been given assigned positions around the airfield to guard against enemy paratroopers.  At 8:30, the American planes took off and filled the sky.  They landed at noon and lined up near the mess hall while the pilots went to lunch.    
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north.  The tankers believed the planes were American. As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes.  When bombs exploded on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.    
    About a week after the attack, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a highway and railroad.  From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th held the position.

    On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta.  It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening. They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
    On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Reed.  The company returned to the 192nd on January 8, 1942.
    On January 28th, the tank battalions were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.  They also took part in the Battle of the Pockets and the Battle of the Points.       
    The pockets was an extremely dangerous operation.  When tanks were sent into a pocket, they entered one tank at a time.  The next tank would not enter until the tank that had been relieved exited the pocket. 
    To wipe out the Japanese, two methods were employed. 
One had three Filipino soldiers sitting on the back of each tank.  When the tank passed over a foxhole the soldiers each dropped a hand grenade into the foxhole.  Being that the ordnance was from WWI, one of the three hand grenades usually exploded.
    The second method was to park the tank with one tread over foxhole.  The crew would give power to the other track causing the tank to spin and dig its way into the ground.   

    Lloyd became a Prisoner Of War when the Filipino and American forces were surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942.  He did not take part in the death march but was left behind at Hospital #1 on Bataan.  He was later sent to Cabanatuan Camp #1 when the camp opened in June 1942.
    According to medical records kept by the hospital staff in the camp.  Lloyd was admitted to "Zero Ward" - the name given to the camp hospital since so many of the POWs died - on Tuesday, October 6, 1942, suffering from beriberi.  It appears he developed malaria while hospitalized.

    Pfc. Lloyd J. Lobdell died at Cabanatuan POW Camp on Thursday, November 19, 1942, at 3:30 P.M.  When he died he was 22 years old.  His parents were informed of his death in August 1943.  According to the final report on the 192nd Tank Battalion - and a hospital roster kept in the camp - Lloyd Lobdell died of beriberi and edema.   U.S. Army records indicate the cause of death as malaria.

     Pfc. Lloyd J. Lobdell was buried in grave 717.  After the war, Lloyd's remains were exhumed with the remains of twelve other POWs who died at Cabanatuan on the same day.  Since the remains of only two POWs could be identified, the army reburied the remains of the fourteen POWs, who could not be identified, in individual graves at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.  Pfc. Lloyd J. Lobdell lies in one of these graves marked "Unknown."

     In December 1949. the army decided to end the work of identifying the remains of the ten POWs.  Since his remains at the time could not be identified, he was buried as an "Unknown" at the cemetery,  Pfc. Lloyd J. Lodell's name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the cemetery.           
    In July 2014, JPAC announced that it was going to exhume the remains in the grave in an attempt to identify the remains of the men buried in it.  The week of September 8th, the remains of the POWs were disinterred and a portion was sent to Hawaii for DNA testing, since the army was able to get DNA from Lloyd's family.
    On July 28, 2017, a meeting was held to announce that the remains of Pfc. Lloyd Lobdell have been positively identified.  The family has asked that his remains be buried in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.



 

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