Pfc. Curtis Massey

    Pfc. Curtis Massey joined the 192nd Tank Battalion at Fort Knox, Kentucky in early 1941.  He was born in May 20, 1918, to Joseph M. & Lydia Massey in Clay County, Kentucky.  It is known that he had two brothers and five sisters.  His family resided on the Manchester-Burning Springs Road, where he worked on the family farm.

    When he was inducted into the army, he was living in Hamilton County, Ohio.  After joining the battalion he was assigned to the Medical Detachment of the 192nd to train as a medic.

    Since he was assigned to B Company as a medic, Curtis lived with the company in their barracks.  While the company trained with their tanks and reconnaissance cars, Curtis and the other medics were taught first aid by the two battalion doctors.

    Curtis took part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.  During the maneuvers, the medical detachment job was to treat battalion members who were injured or had been bitten by snakes.  After the maneuvers, he learned that he was being sent overseas with 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.

    The morning of December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the tankers learned about the attack.  That morning, they were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against paratroopers.  The medics remained behind in the bivouac.  At 12:45 P.M., the Japanese attacked the airfield.  During the attack, the medics took cover since they had no weapons.  After the attack he and the other members of the medical detachment provided aid to the wounded and dying.  

    During the battle for the Philippines, Curtis would travel with various companies of the 192nd as they fought the Japanese and withdrew into the Bataan Peninsula.  During this time, the Filipino and American troops were bombed and shelled constantly.

    On February 5, 1942, during an air raid, Curtis was hit by a piece a shrapnel from a Japanese bomb.  The shrapnel cut his spinal cord leaving him permanently paralyzed.  He was taken to a Field Hospital #2 where the medical staff did what they could without adequate medical supplies.

    Curtis was visited by Capt. Alvin Poweleit the chief medical officer of the 192nd Tank Battalion on February 7, 1942.  Poweleit determined that it would be just a matter of time before Curtis would die from his wounds.

    According to U. S. Army records, Pfc. Curtis Massey died on Monday, March 2, 1942, from his wounds. Since his final resting place is unknown, his name appears on The Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside Manila.



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