Sgt. Ivan O. Wilmer
Sgt. Ivan O. Wilmer was born
in Appleton, Wisconsin, on December 5, 1901, to
Clara Hubbard and Rudolph Webner. After
Rudolph's death, Clara married Forrest Dexter a
newspaper man from Des Moines, Iowa. This
resulted in Ivan being raised at Angel Guardian
Orphanage in Chicago.
Returning to Wisconsin, Ivan would marry and divorced. He was the father of three sons; Arthur, Billy and Charles. He resided at 935 Fourth Street in Beloit, Wisconsin, and worked doing road maintenance with the Public Works Program.
When the 32nd Tank Company of the Wisconsin National Guard was called to federal duty in November of 1940, Ivan found himself training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as a member of A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. In January 1941, Ivan was transferred to Headquarters Company when it was formed from members of the four letter companies of the 192nd.
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. Ivan was given this
opportunity but chose to remain with the
tank company. The men were
given leaves home to say goodbye to
family and friends.
Ivan survived the attack on Clark Field on December 8, 1941, and spent the next two months in military engagements with the Japanese. In early 1942, Ivan was involved in the attempt to dislodge Japanese Marines who had been landed behind the main line of defense on the Bataan Peninsula. This action became known as "The Battle of the Pockets."
One day during the battle, Ivan found himself in
the middle of a low-level Japanese air attack
near Bambang, Limay, at km144. To get out
of the attack, he attempted to escape by running
to his tank. While he was running, he was
struck by shrapnel and badly wounded. He
was taken to a field hospital where he died on
Tuesday, February 3, 1942. His family
learned of his death on February 17, 1942.
After the war, the remains of Sgt. Ivan O. Wilmer were returned to the United States. He was buried on October 16, 1948, at the Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois, in Plot D, Grave 27.