Pfc. Rollie Clayton Harger
Pvt. Rollie C. Harger was born in 1920 in Lorain County, Michigan, to Manuel and Mattie Conigan-Harger. With his two sisters and brother, he was raised in Gladwin, Michigan, and attended Pontiac High School in Pontiac, Michigan. He later moved to Fremont, Ohio, and lived with his ather's brother and his wife on their farm and worked as a farmhand. At some point, he joined the Ohio National Guard's tank company which was headquartered in Port Clinton in 1940.
On November 25, 1940, his tank company was federalized as C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. He trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky for nearly ten months. In the late summer of 1941, the battalion was sent to Louisiana, take part in maneuvers from September 1st through 30th.
After the maneuvers, the 192nd did not return to Ft. Knox as expected. Instead, they were ordered to Camp Polk for further orders. On the side of a hill, the tank battalion was informed that it was being sent overseas. Those members of the battalion 29 years old or older were allowed to resign from federal service. Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion which had been sent to Camp Polk from Ft. Benning, Georgia. The battalion not only supplied the 192nd with men, it also turned over its tanks and half-tracks.
Rollie received a leave home to say goodbye to is family. He returned home and married Jean Govitz. When he left to return to Cam Polk, his wife had no idea it would be the last time she would ever see her husband.
Tank Battalion received orders for duty, in the
Philippines, because of an event that happened
during the summer of 1941. A squadron of
American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf
when one of the pilots noticed something
odd. He took his plane down and identified a
buoy in the water. He came upon more buoys
that lined up, in a straight line, in the
direction of an Japanese occupied island.
When the squadron landed he reported what he had
seen. By the time a Navy ship was sent to
the area, the buoys had been picked up. It
was at that time the decision was made to build up
the American military presence in the Philippines.
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 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
Another method the tankers used to wipe out the pockets was to park a tank with one track over the Japanese foxhole. The crew would then spin the tank on one track while the other track dug into the ground.
At 6:45 A.M. in the
morning of April 9, 1942, the tankers received the
order "crash." They destroyed their tanks
and waited for the Japanese to make contact with
them. When they did, they ordered the
members of the company to make their way to
Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.
sent to Bilibid Prison outside of Manila and
admitted to the U.S. Naval Hospital Unit at the
prison on January 12, 1943. The medical
staff indicated he was extremely ill with amoebic
dysentery, emaciated, and suffering with bloody
stools. According to the medical staff at
the prison, Pfc. Rollie C. Harger died of amoebic
dysentery on Tuesday, January 13, 1943, at 9:35
P.M. He was buried in the Bilibid Cemetery
in Row 3, Section Y, Grave 39 in the Bilibid
Hospital Burial Plot.