|Pvt. Wesley James Kerrigan
Born: 12 January 1918 - Fort Dodge, Iowa
Parents: William A. Kerrigan & Abbie Winterand-Kerrigan
Siblings: 1 sister, 2 brothers
Home: 1305 Mill Avenue - Brainerd, Minnesota
- brother, Vern, and Wesley were living with their maternal grandparents
Education: grammar school
Occupation: construction worker
- U.S. Army
- 10 February 1941 - Brainerd, Minnesota
- Fort Lewis, Washington
- 194th Tank Battalion
- accidentally shot himself while home on leave - 22 July 1941
- slipped and finger stuck on trigger - shot himself in shoulder
- spent part of leave in St. Joseph Hospital
Note: In the late summer of 1941, the 194th received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots, whose plane was lower than the rest, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another one in the distance. He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island, hundreds of miles to the northwest, which had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
The next day, another squadron of planes were sent to the area, but the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore. Since radio communication between the Army Air Corps and Navy was poor the fishing boat was escaped. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
- Ship: U.S.S. President Coolidge
- Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
- Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
- Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
- Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
- sailed south away from main shipping lanes
- escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
- smoke seen on horizon several times
- cruiser intercepted ships
- ships from friendly countries
- Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
- disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
- taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
- lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
- Battle of Luzon
- 8 December 1941 - 26 December 1941
- 8 December 1941
- Recalling the attack on Clark Field:
"I was seated on a tank reading a movie magazine , when the first Jap bomb dropped on the field. The attack was a complete surprise and I was almost jarred from the top of the tank by the explosion. The Japs attacked with a flight of 74 bombers (actually 54) protected by about 80 fighters."
- 12 December 1941 - wounded - Clark Field -air raid
- wounded again, several times, while being transported to Manila when train
was strafed by a Japanese plane
- hands also were burned but could not remember how it happened
- Recalled: "The train was set afire by the strafing."
- parents learned he was wounded - 20 December 1941
- 26 December 1941
- 31 December 1941
- wounded and injured brought aboard
- once cabins were filled men were placed on mattresses on the deck
- those patients on deck could hear and see the ammunition and gasoline dumps being destroyed
- ship sailed 10:00 P.M
- zig-zagged to avoid mines in harbor
- Corregidor loomed into view and faded into the darkness
- for the first time the men knew they were being
sent to Australia
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