Pfc. Harley G. Reeves
Pfc. Harley G. Reeves was
born in June 1918 to Ellen M. Brooks-Reeves &
Elmer H. Reeves. His parents divorced and
his father remarried, and he grew up at 551 Brehl
Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, with his brother, two
sisters, half-brother, and two half-sisters.
He attended Central High School, and after
graduating, he worked at Universal Pipe and
Harley was drafted into the U. S. Army in January 1941, and did his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It is not known if he joined the 192nd Tank Battalion at Ft. Knox, or if he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, as a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion. What is known is that he was assigned to Headquarters Company when he joined the battalion.
After taking part in the maneuvers in Louisiana
in late 1941, the 192nd learned they were being
sent overseas. Harley received a furlough
home on which he said goodbye to his fiancÚ
Dorothy Von Wille. It appears that during
his leave he married Dorothy. Harley
returned to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to pack the
The battalion sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii, as part of a three ship convoy that arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd. The soldiers received shore leave and allowed to explore the island. They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam. The ships took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship, was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the ship was from a friendly country.
at Guam, they
ship since the
About 8:00 in
the morning on
at Manila, it
was three or
rode buses to
drove them to
fort north of
Manila. The maintenance section of the battalion remained
For the next four months Harley and the other
members of HQ worked to supply the tank
companies in the fight against the
Japanese. Being assigned to HQ meant that
he never saw front-line action, but he did live
with the constant strafing and bombing by
11th, the first Japanese soldiers appeared at HQ
company's encampment. A Japanese officer
ordered Harley and the rest of his company, with
their possessions, out onto the road that ran in
front of their encampment. Once on the
road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along
the sides of the road with their possessions in
front of them. As they knelt, the Japanese
soldiers, who were passing them, went through
their possessions and took whatever they wanted
from the Americans who remained along the sides
of the road for hours.
The company finally boarded their trucks and drove to outside of Mariveles and walked to Mariveles Airfield and were ordered to sit. As they sat, the POWs noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them. They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.
As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer pulled up in a car in front of the Japanese soldiers. He got out of the car and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail. The officer got back in the car and drove off. As he drove away, the sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, Harley's group of POWs was moved to a school yard in Mariveles. The POWs were left sitting in the sun for hours without food or water. Behind the POWs were four Japanese cannons which began firing at Ft. Drum and Corregidor. These two islands had not surrendered and began returning fire. The shells landed among the POWs, who had no place to hid, killing some men. Three of the four Japanese guns were knocked out.
The POWs were ordered to move again and had no
idea that they had started what became known as
the Bataan Death March. During the march,
he received no water and little food. The POW group Harley was with
were guarded by Japanese soldiers who did not
show pity on the Americans.
After the war, the Remains Recovery Team searched the path of the march to recover remains. It is not known if Harley's remains were recovered. Since his final resting place is unknown, Pfc. Harley G. Reeves' name appears on The Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside Manila.