|Tec 5 Arnold
T/5 Arnold M. Steen was born in Wisconsin on October
18, 1918. He was the son of Hans A. Steen and
Amelia R. Hill-Steen. He had three sisters and
one brother. and the family lived at 103 North
Washington Street in Janesville, Wisconsin. He
worked as a truck driver for a wholesale
On November 25, 1940, his National Guard tank company was federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. During his training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Arnold attended cook's school and was assigned to A Company as its second cook.
Arnold took part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the late summer of 1941. It was after these maneuvers, on the side of a hill, that he learned that his battalion was being sent overseas. He would marry before going overseas and his wife, Mary, resided at 103 North Washington Street in Janesville.
Arnold did not receive leave home to say his goodbyes to family and friends. He and the other members of the battalion were held at Camp Polk. They learned that they had been selected, by General George Patton, for overseas duty. He and the other members of the battalion rode trains to San Francisco. They were ferried to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to receive physicals and shots. Those who had treatable medical conditions were held on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion in the Philippines.
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 4th, 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 Colonel Edward King, who apologized that they 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, this was the date 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. Since their barracks were unfinished, Arnold and the other soldiers once again, found themselves living in tents The tents were along the main road between Ft. Stotsenburg and Clark Airfield.
On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. At all times, two tank crew members remained with their tanks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Arnold and the other soldiers were called together by Capt. Walter Write the company commander. He informed his men of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier. He then ordered his tank crews to secure part of the perimeter of the airfield.
American planes took off at 8:30 A.M. and patrolled the sky looking for Japanes planes. At noon, the planes landed and were parked, in a straight line, outside the pilots mess hall.
Around 12:45 in the afternoon, while Arnold was serving lunch to the tank crews from a food truck, Japanese planes appeared over the field. Being a cook, Arnold could do little more than take cover and watch as the Japanese destroyed the American Army Air Corps.
After the attack, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a highway and railroad. From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River. There, the tanks, with A Company, 194th held the position.
On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta. It was there, that the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River after the main bridge had been destroyed. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening. They successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.