Pvt. Harry Virgil Sibert Jr.
| Pvt. Harry V.
Sibert Jr. was born in October 25, 1920, in Los
Angeles, California, to Harry V. Sibert Sr. &
Agusta G. McWilliams-Sibert. With his sister
and a brother, he grew up in Glendale and Van
Nuys, Cailfornia. To distinguish himself
from his father, he used Virgil as his first
According to his enlistment records, Harry later resided in Multnomah County, Oregon. It is believed that he lived in Portland. Before he left California, he had enlisted in the California National Guard. He joined the regular army on September 16, 1940, and was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. At some point, he was assigned to C Company, 194th Tank Battalion. The company had been a California National Guard Tank Company from Salinas. He was assigned to the tank crew of Sgt. Glen Borkaw.
Harry arrived in the Philippine Islands in October 1941. He and the other members of the battalion lived in tents since their barracks were unfinished. The morning of December 8, 1941, Early in the morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against paratroopers.
Around 12:45 in the afternoon, planes approached the airfield from the North. At tankers counted 54 planes flying in formation. As the tankers watched, they saw small silver canisters falling from the planes. It was only when the bombs began exploding that they knew the planes were Japanese.
A few weeks after the attack, C Company was ordered to southern Luzon. It was on December 26th that Harry would see action against the Japanese. The four tanks of 2nd Lt. Robert Needham's tank platoon were sent to an area on the east coast of Luzon near Lucban. The Japanese had landed troops in the area, and the American Command wanted to see what the strength of the enemy was in the area.
The tanks were ordered by a major to proceed, without reconnaissance, down a narrow trail. Since the area was mountainous, the tanks had a hard time maneuvering. As they went down the trail, the tanks attempted to keep their spacing so that the driver of each tank could each see the tank in front of him. At one point in the trail, the tankers found that the trail made a sharp turn. Harry's tank was one of the last three tanks to make the turn.
As Needham's tank made the turn, it was hit by a shell fired by a Japanese anti-tank gun. The shell killed Lt. Robert Needham and Pvt. Jim Hicks instantly. After being hit, it went off the road and into a ditch. When the surviving crew members, Pvt. James McLeod and Pvt. Robert Bales attempted to leave the tank, they were machine gunned.
Sgt. Emil Morello's tank was the second tank in the column. As it came around the corner, his driver realized he could not see the lead tank. He sped up in an attempt to find the tank which resulted in the Japanese gun missing it when it fired on the tank.
Harry's tank and the fourth tank were also hit
by enemy fire before the gun was knocked out by
Sgt. Emil Morello's tank. The tank was
knocked out and Brokaw was wounded when he
attempted to use the turret hatch to escape the
tank. It is known that Harry and the other
crew members dragged Brokaw into the jungle to a
village after killing the Japanese. During
this time, Harry was wounded and he and Brokaw
were taken to a hospital, where he died while
Brokaw became a Prisoner of War.
What is known is that Pvt. Harry V. Sibert died on Thursday, January 22, 1942. According to U. S. Army records, he was Killed in Action and was reported as Missing in Action. At this time, the whereabouts of Pvt. Harry V. Siebert's remains are unknown. His appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.