Menu

Bernard, S/Sgt. Manuel J.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Bernnardm

S/Sgt. Manuel Joseph Bernard Jr. 
Born: 1 April 1916 – Salinas, California 
Parents: Manuel J. Bernard Sr. & Mary Florence Flores-Bernard 
Siblings: 5 sisters, 3 brothers 
Home: Ricco Street – Castroville, California 
Education: 
– Monterey High School 
– played football, basketball, and ran track 
– Salinas Junior College 
Occupation: Bay Farms Corporation – accountant 
Married – Marguerite Lucille Carothers – 21 June 1941 
Residence: Salinas, California 
Enlisted: 
– 1935 – California National Guard 
Inducted: 
– U. S. Army 
– 10 February 1941 – Salinas Army Air Base, Salinas, California 
– C 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
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– trained in tank maintenance
– second highest in his class
Note: On August 15, 1941, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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 in the water. 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 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 finally 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 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: 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, the U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
– smoke was seen on the horizon several times
– cruiser intercepted ships
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembark ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
– 27 September 1941 – job completed at 9:00 A.M.
– Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsneburg, Philippine Islands
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– 6 December 1941 – sent home his last letter to his family
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– Clark Field
– 194th guarded northern portion of the airfield
– 12:45 P.M. Japanese bombers bomb airfield
– followed by Zeros which strafed
– watched attack from inside his tank
– 15 December 1941
– C Company holding Tagaytay Bridge – South Luzon
– spent most of the time chasing down Fifth Columnists
– 25 December 1941
– sent to assist in operations around Lucena, Pagbilao, and Lucban
– 5 January 1942
– rejoined rest of 194th at Guagua
– took a position on the road between Sexmoan and Lubao with five SPMs
– ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 attempting to cut the highway
– Japanese lost half their force
– Labao was burning when tanks left the area
– Battle of Bataan – 7 January 1942 – 9 April 1942
– night of 6/7 January – 194th withdraw across the river at Culis covered by the 192nd Tank Battalion
– January 1942
– 2:30 A.M. – attacked in force by Japanese using smoke screen
– 5:00 A.M. – Japanese broke off the attack because of heavy casualties and sunrise
– C Company losses – Lt. Petrie from wounds, Pvt. Martella killed attempting to shield Petrie
– 16 January 1942 – Bagac
– sent to open Moron Road so General Segunda’s forces could move south
– at the Moron Road and Road Junction 59 the tanks moved forward knocking out an anti-tank gun
– two tanks were lost to landmines but towed out
– mission abandoned
– Segunda’s forces escaped along beach losing its heavy equipment
– 20 January 1942
– west of Bani Bani Road – tanks were sent to save the 31st Infantry command post
– 25/26 January 1942
– battalion holding a position a kilometer north of Pilar-Bagac Road
– four SPMs with the battalion
– warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
– when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
– Japanese withdraw
– estimated they lost 500 of 1800 men
– 28 January 1942
– 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver: “Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal. If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay.”
– March 1942
– two tanks were bogged down in mud
– the tankers were working to get them out
– Japanese Regiment entered the area
– Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point-blank range
– Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
– wiped out Japanese regiment
– 4 April 1942
– Japanese launched a major offensive
– tanks sent into various sectors to stop the Japanese advance
– 6 April 1942
– four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
– one tank knocked out by the anti-tank fire at the junction of Trails 8 & 6
– other tanks covered withdraw
– 3rd Platoon sent up the west coast road
– near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
– the tanks withdrew to Marivales
– 8 April 1942
– fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban
– Gen. Edward King decided further resistance was futile
– 25% of his troops healthy enough to fight
– 6,000 of his troops were sick or wounded
– feared 40,000 civilians would be massacred
– 10:30 P.M. – sent his staff officers to negotiate with Japanese
– 11:40 – ammunition dumps were blown up
– Tank battalion commanders received this order: “You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word ‘CRASH’, all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished.”
– 9 April 1942
– 7:00 A.M. – Bataan surrendered
– April 1942
– tanks sent into various sectors in an attempt to stop the Japanese advance
Prisoner of War:
– 9 April 1942
– Death March
– Mariveles – POWs start the march at the southern tip of Bataan
– POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
– Americans on Corregidor returned fire
– San Fernando – POWs put into small wooden boxcars
– each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
– 100 POWs packed into each car
– POWs who died remained standing
– Capas – dead fell to the floor as living left boxcars
– POWs walked last ten miles to Camp O’Donnell
POW Camps:
– Philippines:
– Camp O’Donnell
– 1 April 1942 – unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
– Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
– POWs searched upon arrival at camp
– those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
– sent to guardhouse
– over several days, gunshots heard southeast of the camp
– POWs who had money on them had been executed
– Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
– since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
– clothing was taken from dead
– few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
– POWs were not allowed to bathe
– only one water spigot for the entire camp
– POWs waited 2½ hours to 8 hours to get a drink
– water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and the next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for the water to be turned on again
– mess kits could not be cleaned
– POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
– second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
– slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
– flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
– the camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
– the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never to   
  write another letter
– Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
– refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
– 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
– the ranking American officer was beaten with broadsword after requesting medicine, additional food, and material to patch hut roofs
– POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow
– operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
– only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
– as many as 50 POWs died each day
– each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
– the ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
– the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover with lime
– usually not buried for two or three days
– work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
– POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
– Japanese opened a new POW camp to lower death rate
– 1 June 1942 – POWs formed detachments of 100 men
– POWs marched out the gate and marched toward Capas
– taken by train to Cabanatuan and new camp
– Hospitalized:
– Bernard left behind because he was too ill to be moved
Died:
– Thursday – 11 June 1942 – malaria and Vincent gingivitis (trench mouth)
– 14 My 1945 – family learned of his death
Buried:
– Camp O’Donnell Cemetery
– Section: N Row: 6 Grave: 3
Reburied:
– American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands
– Plot: L Row: 12 Grave: 60

Bernard Jr.Gr