Pvt. Nick J. Marchese
| At this time, what is
known about Pvt. Nick J. Marchese is that
he was born on September 15, 1917, in
Chicago. He was the son of Anthony &
Palonine Marchese. With his two brothers, he
grew up at 2829 West Congress Street in
Chicago. He worked as a soda fountain clerk
at a restaurant.
Nick joined the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox, Kentucky,
on April 1, 1941, when Headquarters Company was
the late summer of 1941, he took part in
maneuvers in Louisiana. It was after the
maneuvers at Camp Polk that the battalion was
informed that they were being sent overseas.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Nick heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Around noon, he lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.
For the next for months, Nick with the other members of HQ Company worked to supply the letter companies of the battalion with gas and ammunition.
The morning of April 9, 1942, Nick and the other members of HQ Company learned of the surrender from Capt. Fred Bruni. It was on that day that Nick and the other members of the company became Prisoners of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.
The members of HQ Company remained in the area until they received orders to move two days later. One morning, the POWs were ordered to line up along the road near their camp. They did this and placed their possessions on the road in front of them. As they knelt, the Japanese soldiers passing them took what they wanted from the Americans.
Nick and the other members of the company rode trucks to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan. Just outside the barrio, the Prisoners of War were held at Mariveles Airfield. While there, the Japanese noticed that their guards were forming a line in front of them. Each of the Japanese had a gun.
The POWs realized that the Japanese were forming a firing squad, and that they were the intended victims. Just when it looked like the Japanese were ready to take action, a car pulled up in front of the line and a Japanese officer got out. He spoke to the Japanese sergeant and then got back in the car and drove off. The Japanese soldiers lowered their guns.
Nick and the other POWs were marched to a school yard and ordered to sit in the sun without food or water. Behind them on the field, were four Japanese artillery pieces firing at Corrigedor. Corrigedor was also firing on the Japanese. Shells from the American fortress began landing among the POWs killing them. Nick and the other prisoners could do little to protect themselves. Three of the four Japanese guns were knocked out by the American artillery.
It was from there that he with his company started what became known as the death march. On the march, Nick went days without food and received little water. He slowly made his way to San Fernando. There he and the other POWs slept in a pen on concrete slabs covered in human waste.
The next day, he boarded a boxcar
and rode to Capas. There the POWs got out
of the cars and walked the last few miles to
Camp O'Donnell. The camp was an unfinished
Filipino training base that the Japanese put in
use as a POW camp. There was only one
water spigot for the entire camp. The
death rate among the POWs skyrocketed, so a new
camp was opened at Cabanatuan.
It was at Cabanatuan that Pvt. Nick J. Marchese died of dysentery on Wednesday, July 1, 1942. He was listed as dying at approximately 10:00 in the morning. After the war, the remains of Pvt. Nick J. Marchese were reburied at the the American Military Cemetery outside Manila.