White_G

 

Pvt. Karl Glen White


    Pvt. Karl G. White was born on January 11, 1922, in Freedom, Pennsylvania.  He was the younger son of William J. & May L. White.  He was known as "Glen" to his family and friends.  He also used Glen as his first name on his military records.  As a child his family moved to Hanover, Wisconsin.  His parents would later move to 426 Pleasant Street in Beloit.  He attended Beloit Memorial High School.

    Glen joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Division Tank Company right out of high school.  His reason for doing this was a draft act had just been passed and it was just a matter of time before he was drafted.  Knowing that the tank company was about to be called to federal service, he enlisted. 

    For almost a year, Glen trained at Ft. Knox as a member of A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  In September, 1941, the battalion took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers on the side of hill Glen and the rest of the battalion learned their time in the military had been extended, and that they had been selected for overseas duty.
   
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 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 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times. 
    The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter Write informed his company that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese.  The tanks were put on alert at their positions around the airfield.  At 8:30 A.M., American planes took off to intercept any Japanese planes.  Sometime before noon, the alert was canceled and the planes landed and were lined up near the pilots' mess hall.  The pilots went to lunch.

    Around 12:45 in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, as the tankers were getting lunch,  planes approached the airfield.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the airfield that they knew the planes were Japanese.  The bombers were followed by fighters which strafed the area.  

    Sometime after the attack, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to a highway and railroad against sabotage.  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.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Reed.  The company returned to the 192nd on January 8, 1942.    Around this time, Glen wrote a letter to his parents. which they did not receive until January 11, 1943.
   
On January 28th, the tank battalions were given the job of protecting the beaches.  The 192nd was assigned the Bataan coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.  The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
    A Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese Marines who had been trapped behind the main defensive line.  The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket.  Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank had left the pocket.
    To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used.  The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank.  As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
    The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole. Driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole.  The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.

    In April, 1942 his parents received the only letter he would ever send them.  It was dated January 11, 1942.  

    On April 9, 1942, Glen became a Prisoner Of War.  He took part in the death march and was first held as a POW at Camp O'Donnell.  When Cabanatuan opened in May of 1942, he was sent there.

    Since so many of prisoners were dying in the camps, Glen went out on a work detail to San Fernando.  This detail's job was to collect destroyed American vehicles and drive them to San Fernando. 

    To do this Glen worked with other POWs. Many of these men were members of the 192nd Tank Battalion.  To collect the vehicles, the POWs worked in teams.  The POWs would tie ropes between the vehicles and tow them to San Fernando.  Each man would drive one of the vehicles being towed.  From San Fernando, the vehicles were taken to Manila and shipped to Japan as scrap metal.

    While Glen was working on this detail he had an attack of dysentery and sent to Camp Olivas at San Fernando.  Medical records kept at the camp show that Glen was admitted to the camp hospital suffering from dysentery and malaria.  Since the dysentery is a result of a poor diet, and the medics had little to no medicine to treat him, Pvt. Glen K. White died from dysentery at Pampanga Provincial Hospital at San Fernando on Wednesday, July 8, 1942.  He was 20 years old.  He was buried in the camp cemetery which was about a kilometer outside the camp.  His grave was marked with a wooden cross with his name on it.
    Leo Dorsey of A Company, was also on the detail and after the war, drew a map of the cemetery.  On the map he also included the graves of Cpl. Gilbert Rymon of A Company, Cpl. William Burns of HQ Company, and T/4 John Blomquist of HQ Company, 194th Tank Battalion. 

    After the war in 1948, Glen's family requested that his remains be returned to the United States.  He was reburied at Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, Illinois, in Section:  D  Site: 129 on October 26, 1948.


 

 

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