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Bender, Pvt. August

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Pvt. August Bender
Born: 10 January 1920 – Yankton, South Dakota
Parents: Jacob Bender & Emelia Pfeifle-Bender
Siblings: 3 sisters, 4 brothers
Nickname: “Jeff”
Hometown: Yankton, South Dakota
Residence: Crow Wing County, Minnesota
– living with brother and sister-in-law
Occupation: worked on brother’s farm
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 10 February 1941 – Brainerd, Minnesota
– 82 men passed Army physicals
– the company remained at armory until 19 February 41
– left by train at 12:19 A.M. – 20 February 1941
– arrived at Fort Lewis with two tanks, one reconnaissance car, and six trucks
– A Company, 194th Tank Battalion
Training:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– described as constantly raining during the winter
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis
– 6:00 A.M. – first call
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – mess
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – mess
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– assistant tank driver
– his tank crew included – James McComas, Joseph Bernardo, and Gerald Bell
Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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 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 for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundreds of miles away. The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
The next morning, by the time another squadron was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
– rode a train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 6 September 1941
– ferried on, the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Angel Island
– given physicals and inoculated by battalion’s medical detachment
– men with medical conditions replaced
– 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
– escorted by heavy cruiser the U.S.S. Astoria
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
Philippines
– Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded north end of the airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 26 December 1941
– 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 Malolos Road
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 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 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 an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 26 December 1941 – west of Carmen along Agno River
– tanks were under heavy artillery and mortar fire
– tanks held the line so the infantry could withdraw
Killed in Action:
– Friday – 26 December 1941
– Agno bridge area – tanks held bridge so withdrawing forces could cross
– killed defending
– August and Gerald Bell were in a foxhole with a machine gun holding off the Japanese
– Japanese surrounded August and Gerald Bell and machined gunned them.
– 8 September 1945 -family learned he had been killed in action
Memorial:
– Tablets of the Missing – American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands

 

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