Pvt. Glenn E. Widener
| Pvt. Glenn E.
Widener was born in October 1916 in Barnitz
Township, Custer County, Oklahoma, to Charles
Widener & Matilda M. James-Widener. He
had six sisters, four brothers, one half-brother,
and lived on the family farm. He attended
school in Fairview, Oklahoma. His father
died in 1923, and his mother remarried and
divorced. Glenn moved to Clinton, Oklahoma,
Glenn was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 24, 1941, and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. His exact job training is not known at this time. Upon completing basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he became a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion.
The 753rd Tank Battalion had been sent to Camp Polk from Fort Benning, Georgia. When it arrived, maneuvers were taking place, but the battalion did not take part in them.
The 192nd Tank Battalion, was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers. 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. It was at that time that Glenn was reassigned to A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.
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 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, 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, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Clark Field. They were sent to their tanks around the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. 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, in a straight line, near the pilots' mess hall. The pilots went to lunch.
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.
Sometime 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.
On another occasion the company was in bivouac on two
sides of a
most of the
down the road
and woke the
wiped out the