|Tec 5 Arnold
T/5 Arnold M. Steen was born in Wisconsin on October
18, 1918. He was the son of Hans A. Steen and
Amelia R. Hill-Steen. He had three sisters and
one brother. and the family lived at 103 North
Washington Street in Janesville, Wisconsin. He
worked as a truck driver for a wholesale
On November 25, 1940, his National Guard tank company was federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. They arrived at Ft. Knox on November 28th. During his training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Arnold attended cook's school and was assigned to A Company as its second cook.
Arnold took part in maneuvers in Louisiana from September 1st through the 30th. It was after these maneuvers, that the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk instead of returning to Ft. Knox. On the side of a hill, they learned that they were being sent overseas. He was given a furlough home would married, Mary, before going overseas and his wife resided at 103 North Washington Street in Janesville.
The other members of the company rode a train to San Francisco, California, where they were ferried to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island and received physicals and shots from the battalion's medical detachment. Those who had treatable medical conditions were held on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion in the Philippines. Some 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 KP. They 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 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.
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.
Dur 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 Airfield. He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner. Ironically, November 20th was the date the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
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 as they prepared for maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.
On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. At all times, two tank crew members remained with their tanks and received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Arnold and the other soldiers were called together by Capt. Walter Write the company commander. He informed his men of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier. He then ordered his tank crews to secure part of the perimeter of the airfield.
American planes took off at 8:30 A.M. and patrolled the sky looking for Japanese planes. At noon, the planes landed, to be refueled, and were parked, in a straight line, outside the pilots mess hall, while the pilots ate lunch.
Around 12:45 in the afternoon, while Arnold was serving lunch to the tank crews from a food truck, Japanese planes appeared over the field. Being a cook, Arnold could do little more than take cover and watch as the Japanese destroyed the American Army Air Corps. For whatever reason, most of the planes did not go after the tanks. The few that did had their bombs land between the tanks.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield. The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded was in use. When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building. Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
That night, the tankers lived through several more air raids. Most slept under their tanks since it was safer than sleeping in their tents. They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed for the next three and one half years.
The company was sent to the Barrio of Dau, on December 12th, so it would be close to a highway and railroad. From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.
On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River after the main bridge had been destroyed. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.
A Company also took part in the Battle of the
Pockets to wipe out Japanese Marines who had been
trapped behind the main defensive line. The
tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to
replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did
not enter the pocket until a tank had left the