Pfc. Marvin Marksberry

    Pfc. Marvin Marksberry was one of six sons born to Lillie & James Marksberry.  He was born on April 21, 1919, and raised in Grant County, Kentucky.  He was the couple's third oldest son.  

    Like many young men of the day, Marvin only completed a grammar school education.  He enlisted in the U. S. Army and was inducted on March 3, 1941 at Fort Thomas, Kentucky

    Marvin was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he was assigned to D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  After training for eight months he participated in maneuvers in Louisiana.  In the late summer of 1941, Marvin took part in maneuvers at Camp Polk, Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the 192nd, was ordered to remain behind at the fort.
    On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the battalion learned that they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many of the soldiers had figured out that PLUM was an acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila. 
    It was at this time, men 29 years or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service.  Those who did were replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion.  This battalion had been sent to the fort, but it had not taken part in the maneuvers.  The M3 "Stuart" tanks from the battalion were also given to the 192nd.
    Traveling west over different train routes, the battalion arrived in San Francisco and ferried to Angel Island.  On the island, the tankers were immunized and given physicals.  Men found to have treatable medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.

    The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th, for Guam. 
    When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila, while the maintenance section remained behind to unload the battalion's tanks.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
    After arriving in the Philippines the paperwork began to be processed to transfer D Company to the 194th Tank Battalion.  Doing this meant that both battalions would have three letter companies.  With the start of the war, the transfer never was completed. 

    Marvin arrived in the Philippines and was sent to Ft. Stotsenburg.  The 192nd was housed in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  The morning of December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the airfield and destroyed the American Army Air Corps.

    During the Battle of the Philippines, D Company fought with the 194th Tank Battalion but was never officially transferred to the battalion.  The evening of April 8, 1942, Marvin and the other members heard the news of the Filipino and American surrender to the Japanese.

    On April 9, 1941, Marvin became a Prisoner of War.  He took part in the death march and was held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell.  He was also held at Cabanatuan.  On July 23, 1943, Marvin was taken to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Clyde Maru for a 15 day trip to Japan.  He arrived there at Moji on August 7, 1943.

    In Japan, Marvin was held at Fukuoka #3.  The POWs in the camp were used as slave labor at the Yawata Steel Mills.  Marvin remained in the camp until he was liberated in September 1945.  He was promoted to corporal.  After being returned to the Philippines for medical care, he boarded the U.S.S. Marine Shark which arrived at Seattle, Washington, on November 1, 1945.

   Marvin returned to Kentucky and later resided in Lexington.  He passed away in May 23, 1981.  He was buried in Keefer Cemetery in Corinth, Grant County, Kentucky.


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