Schweinsberg

Pvt. Frederick George Schweinsberg


     Pvt. Frederick G. Schweinsberg was born in Forest Park, Illinois, on August 5, 1918.  He was the son of Alfred Schweinsberg and Louise Lipke-Schweinsberg.  With his brother and two sisters, he lived at 443 Marengo Avenue in Forest Park and attended Grant-White Elementary School and Proviso Township High School.   Frederick worked as a salesman for the A. B. Schweinsberg Real Estate Company, which was his family's business.

    Frederick joined the Illinois National Guard, and in November 1940, he entered the regular army when the Maywood Tank Company was called into federal service as B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  Frederick, with his company, trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  It was during this training that Frederick became a member of the Headquarters Company of the 192nd Tank Battalion when the company was created in January of 1941.  In the late summer of 1941, Frederick took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  

    After the maneuvers, the 192nd was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana.  On a hillside, the entire battalion was informed that their tour of duty had been extended from one to six years.  Those men over 26 years of age were released from military service.  They were given passes to return home and take care of any unfinished business.  

    After returning to Camp Polk, Frederick and the rest of the battalion were sent by train to San Francisco.  From there, they took ferries to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  On the island, shots were given and preparations made for duty overseas.
    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
  At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.

    On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Fred lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield.  His battalion remained at the airfield until they were sent north to Lingayen Gulf to meet Japanese troops landing there.  He worked to ensure that the tanks had ammunition and gasoline.

     On April 9, 1942, Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  It was on that day that Frederick became a Prisoner of War.   HQ Company remained in their bivouac until a Japanese officer with several hundred soldiers showed up in the encampment.  He ordered the soldiers out on the road.  They were allowed to drive their trucks to Mariveles. 

    Outside of the barrio, they were ordered out of the trucks and ordered to kneel with their possessions in front of them.  As they knelt, the Japanese took what they wanted from the POWs.  They were next herded into a field and left sitting for hours.

    As the POWs sat, they noticed a Japanese sergeant and soldiers forming a line in front of them.  They quickly realized that this was a firing squad and that they were going to be executed.  The Japanese were almost ready when a Japanese officer pulled up in an American car.  He spoke to the sergeant than got back into the car and drove off.  The Japanese sergeant ordered his soldiers to lower their guns.

    The POWs were ordered out onto the road and ordered to march.  As they made their way north, they had to run past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor.  It was at Cabcaben that Pvt. Frederick Schweinsberg died on the Death March on April 12, 1942.  He was 23 years old.  His remains were buried at the cemetery there.

    It should be noted that, after the war, a U.S. Remains Recovery Team recovered the remains of a private from B Company at the cemetery at Cabcaben on September 22, 1948.  The POW's remains were identified as X-835  They were renumbered as X-4691.  Since only one member of B Company died at Cabcaban, the recovered remains should be those of Frederick Schweinsberg.  The recovery team believed they could not positively identify the remains, so they were reburied at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila as an "Unknown," in Plot 2, Row 12, Grave 2401. 

    Since his remains were not positively identified, Pvt. Frederick Schweinsberg's name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.


 

 


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