Bataan Project

2nd Lt. Weeden Arthur Petree Jr.

Born: 1912 - Buchanan County, Missouri


Parents: Weeden A. Petree Sr. & Bernice Richards-Petree

Siblings: 1 brother, 2 sisters

Nickname: Arthur

Home: 3225 Lafayette Street - Saint Joseph, Missouri


    - 1930 - Central High School, St. Joseph, Missouri

    - 2 years of college

Occupation: substitute mail carrier - U.S. Post Office

Enlisted: Missouri National Guard


    - U. S. Army - 10 February 1941  


    - Fort Lewis, Washington


    - 194th Tank Battalion
        - reassigned to A Company as a tank platoon commander

Note: The decision for this move - which had been made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another 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 which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.  Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
     - battalion left old tanks and scout cars at Ft. Lewis

     - received 3 - Stuart tanks- in San Francisco
Overseas Duty:
    - 4 September  1941 -
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin 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
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships

        - Tuesday, 16 September 1941 - ships crossed International Dateline
            - became Thursday, 18 September 1941
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached  turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
    - Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 
        - 1 December 1941
            - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
            - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
            - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all times
                - meals served by food trucks
            - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                    - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                - operating north of Agno River
                - main bridge at Carmen bombed
            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                    - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
            - 26/27 December 1941
                - ordered to withdraw
                    - 1 platoon forced its way through way through Carmen
                        - lost two tanks
                            - one tank belonged to company commander - Captain Edward Burke
                                - believed dead, but was actually captured
                            - one tank crew rescued
                - new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
                - rest of battalion made a dash out
                    - lost one tank at Bayambang
                    - another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
                - Lt. Petree's platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
                - D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
                    - the tank commander found a crossing
                    - Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
            - 29/30 December 1941
                - new line at Bamban River established
                - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
            - 30/31 December 1941
                - tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
                - covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
            - 2 January 1942
                - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
                - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
            - 5 January 1942
                - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline Line and moved into position between
                  Sasmuan and Lubao
                - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate
                    - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                    - tanks opened fire
                    - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
                - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off engagement
                    - suffered 50% casualties
                - Remedios - established new line along dried creek bed  

            - 6 January 1942 

                - According to a report from 1950, the 194th was in the Remedios Area.  The tanks were positioned in defensive positions along
                  highway and creek.  The Japanese came into area at 1:50 in the morning.  The tankers opened fire on the Japanese. Tracers
                  from the American fire started a fire that threatened the tanks.  Lt. Petree left his tank and extinguished the fire.  While doing
                  this, he was wounded by shrapnel from a Japanese mortar.  According to Capt. Alvin Poweleit, 192nd Tank Battalion, Petree
                  was hit in his abdomen by the shrapnel.  He died from his wounds several days later.  Most of this account was provided by Lt.
                  Col. Ernest Miller, C. O., 194th Tank Battalion.
                - According to Ralph Stine of D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, Petree was outside of his tank when the Japanese attacked the
                  tanks.  Petree was climbing onto his tank and was hit by enemy fire.  Stine heard him groan.  Moments later, Petree was hit a
                  second time


    - Sunday - 11 January 1942 - from wounds

         - Information provided by Lt. Col. Ernest Miller of the 194th, on Petree's death conflicts with
           this report.  According to Miller, Petree was in command of a platoon of tanks and was shot
           by a sniper while climbing from his tank.  

    - St. Petia Hospital Cemetery, Limay, Bataan, Philippine Islands
        - remains recovered but not positively identified

        - Japanese had removed crosses from graves and thrown them on a pile
        - buried as an Unknown at the American Military Cemetery at Manila


    - Distinguished Service Cross

    - Silver Star

    - Purple Heart


    - Tablets of the Missing

        - American Military Cemetery - Manila, Philippine Islands


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