Pvt. Charles Herbert Looney
Pvt. Charles H. Looney was born on May 23, 1922, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the son of Frazier Edmondson Looney and Alice Irene Pritchard-Looney. It is known he had a sister, Laura, and that he lived at 1516 Grimes Street. Charles was married and lived in Memphis with his wife.
Charles enlisted in the U. S. Army on September 6, 1940, at Montgomery, Alabama, when he was seventeen. Before entering the army, he worked as a clerk. Charles trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion. His battalion was then sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, but it did not take part in the maneuvers that were taking place while they were there.
replacements were sought to fill vacancies in the
192nd Tank Battalion, Charles volunteered to
transfer to the battalion. He was assigned
to C Company.
The tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field on December 1st. Two members of each tank crew remained with each tank at all times. The morning of December 8th, the members of C Company were informed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They were order to take their tanks to the perimeter of Clark Field and guard it against Japanese paratroopers. Just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Charles watched as Japanese planes destroyed the U.S. Army Air Corps.
The tank battalion received
that it was to
B and C
ran low on
enough for one
to support the
On December 31, 1941, Company was 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 and to cross the river, 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 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 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. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Bill 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. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
platoon held its fire until the Japanese were in
view of his platoon and then joined in the
hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and
down the streets of the village, 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.
Charles was now a Prisoner of War. With his company, he made his way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan. It was from there that he started the death march. He made his way to San Fernando, where the POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars that could hold forty men or eight horses. One hundred men were put into each car.
At Capas, Charles left the car and walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell. This unfinished Filipino Army Base was pressed into service by the Japanese as a prison camp. Conditions were so bad that 40 to 50 men died each day.
When the Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan, which had been a Filipino Army base. Charles was sent there. According to medical records kept by the hospital staff, Charles was admitted into the hospital suffering from dysentery. Other records indicate that he died at approximately 10:00 in the morning, of dysentery, on Friday, July 10, 1942, at Cabanatuan POW Camp, Philippine Islands. He was nineteen years old. Charles Looney was buried in Grace 319, Row 0, Plot 3, at the camp cemetery.
In 1949, the remains of Charles H. Looney were returned home. He was buried in Section C at Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown in Memphis, Tennessee.
His headstone indicates Charles was born in 1923, but on the request for the headstone, the year of birth was changed to 1922 by his father.