Trebs

 

Sgt. Edward Henry Trebs


    Sgt. Edward H. Trebs was born January 8, 1913, in Wisconsin to Hugo Trebs & Florence Duell-Trebs.  He had two sisters and two brothers.  Sometime during the 1920s his father died.  Edward completed the eighth grade and went to work as a farmhand to help support the family.  His family was residing in Bradford Township, Rock County, Wisconsin.
    At some point, Edward joined the Wisconsin National Guard.  He was still a member of the National  Guard when the unit was informed it was going to be federalized.  In September 1940, the company was designated A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  The members of the company reported to the armory, in Janesville, and packed their equipment for transport.  On November 28th, the company boarded a train for Fort Knox, Kentucky.

    When the tankers arrived at Ft. Knox, they learned that their barracks were not finished.  The area of the fort that they were assigned to was brand new.  They found themselves living in tents with stoves in them.  They remained in the tents several months.  When they did move into their barracks, the roads in front of them were mud since the winter was extremely wet.
    Edward, like all the other members of the battalion, learned to operate all the equipment of the battalion.  It is not known what he trained to do with the company. 
    In late August, the battalion was informed it would take part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  During the maneuvers the battalion performed exceptionally well.  After the maneuvers, instead of returning to Ft. Knox, the battalion remained at Camp Polk.  None of the members had any idea why they were being kept there.
    On the side of a hill, the battalion members were informed that they were being sent overseas.  They were told that this decision had been made by General George Patton.  Those members of the battalion who were 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service. 
    The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco.  By ferry, they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to join 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 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 the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  His tank and the others were sent to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
    The battalion remained at Clark Field for about a week before it went north to Lingayen Gulf.  During the fall back from the area, Edward was wounded,in the legs, from shrapnel when the Japanese bombed a bridge he was near. 
    He was taken to Little Baguio Hospital.  He developed tropical ulcers that would not heal.  The Japanese agreed to allow one ship out of the Philippines with wounded.  The doctors determined that Edward should be on the ship. 
   
   On December 31, 1941, the patients were informed that the Japanese had agreed to allow a ship to leave Manila with the wounded.  Edward and other patients were moved to the docks to be put on the ship. The ship was only about 2000 tons and had red crosses on white fields painted on its sides.  The patients were placed on cots on the deck of the ship because there was no room for them below deck. 

   
    At ten o'clock at night, the ship sailed.  As it left Manila, the patients could see and hear the explosions of gasoline storage tanks being dynamited by American troops.  The patients had not been told about their destination so when the silhouette of Corregidor loomed out of the darkness they believed this was their destination.  When the island began to fade into the darkness, the patients knew for the first time that they were being sent to Australia.

    The remainder of the trip would not be uneventful.  First, the ship's crew had to battle a fire in its engine room.  Then, the ship had to struggle through a storm before arriving in Australia.

    In Australia, Edward was a patient at the 113th Australian General Hospital in Sydney. He would spend the remainder of the war there.  He met an Australian woman and married her. 
    When the war ended, Edward with his wife, returned to Janesville.  After visiting his relatives, the couple went to Mayo Hospital, Galesburg, Illinois.  While a patient there, he underwent surgery on his legs on November 26, 1945.  He was discharged from the Army on December 19, 1945.
    In May 1946, Edward and his wife, Hazel, moved to Glendale, California, so he could attend aviation mechanics school.  The couple remained in California and raised a family.  
    Edward H. Trebs passed away in Hacienda Heights, California, on April 15, 1997.  He was buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Whittier, California.


 

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