|Tec 5 Wesley Bernard Fancher
T/5 Wesley Fancher was born in 1922 in Janesville, Wisconsin, to George W.
Fancher & Jeanette Richardson-Fancher. His
family resided at 529 Jefferson Street in Mason
City, Illinois, but when his father died in the
1930s, he and his mother returned to
Janesville. He was the half-brother of Capt. Walter Write the commanding
officer of A Company, and he had a second
half-brother, William Flesh.
With his best friend Laurence Grim he joined the Wisconsin National Guard while in high school. The tank company was federalized in September 1940 during his senior year of high school which resulted him leaving school. On November 25th, the company gathered at the armory in Janesville and departed for Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28th.
It is not known what job Wesley qualified at while training at Ft. Knox, but he was promoted to Tec 5. A soldier with the rank was referred to as corporal. During his time at the fort, he was trained to use all the equipment of the battalion.
A typical day started at 6:15 A.M. with reveille, but most of the soldiers were already up so they could wash, dress, and be on time for assembly. Breakfast was from 7 to 8 A.M. which was followed buy calisthenics from 8 to 8:30. After this, the remainder of the morning dealt with .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistols, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in military tactics.
At 11:30, the tankers got ready for lunch, which was from noon to 1:00 P.M., when they went back to work by attending the various schools. At 4:30, the tankers day ended and retreat was at 5:00 P.M. followed by evening meal at 5:30. The day ended at 9:00 P.M. with lights out, but they did not have to be in bed until 10:00 P.M. when taps was played.
In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd was sent to Louisiana and took part in the maneuvers. It was after the maneuvers that the tankers expected to return to Ft. Knox, but instead they were sent to Camp Polk and not given a reason why they were there. It was on the side of a hill that they learned that they were being sent overseas. Those 29 years or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service and replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion.
The battalion traveled over different train routes to San Francisco, California. From San Francisco, the tankers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island they were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Some men were held back for health issues but scheduled to join the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th. During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KPthey spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S. S. Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they needed, and that they received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
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.
A Company was sent, in support
of the 194th,
to an area
It was there
that they lost
a tank platoon
a road east of
for the night
heard a noise
on the road
and woke the
When the last
the tanks, the
wiped out the
To leave the
On April 4, 1942, the Japanese launched a attack supported by artillery and aircraft. A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese. When General King saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated surrender talks with the Japanese.
The night of April 8th, the tankers received the
order "crash." They circled their tanks,
each crew fired a armored round into the engine of
the tank in front of their tank, opened the
gasoline cocks, and dropped grenades into each
tank to disable them. On April 9, 1942, the
soldiers became Prisoners of War at 7:00 A.M.