Hart, 2nd Lt. James H.

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2nd Lt. James Howard Hart
Born: 21 August 1918 – May, Oklahoma
Father: Carmel H. Hart & Abbie Garman-Hart
– mother died in childbirth in 1919
– stepmother: Arlie May Vickroy-Hart – 1923
Siblings: 1 brother, 3 half-brothers
– another half-brother died as a child
Home: 16 Walker Street – Watsonville, California
– the family moved to California in 1924
Education:
– Watsonville High School – Class of 1935
– Salinas Junior College – 2 years of college
Occupation: student/janitor – Salinas Jr. College
Residence:
– 214 B Lang – Salinas, California
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
– Next of Kin: Carmel H. Hart – father
Enlisted:
– California National Guard
– 3 February 1940 – Salinas, California
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 10 February 1941 – Salinas Army Airfield
– inducted into U. S. Army as a corporal
Unit:
– 194th Tank Battalion
Stationed:
– 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
Uniforms:
– the soldiers wore a collection of uniforms. Some wore new uniforms while other men had World War I uniforms
– The situation was resolved when Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower and other officers rode up on horseback to where C Company was training.
– one of the officers asked why they were dressed like they were
– later that afternoon, at 4:00 P.M., a truck pulled up to the barracks
– inside were brand new Army overalls
– the soldiers wore these as their dress uniforms until real dress uniforms were received weeks later
Training:
– the battalion went on long reconnaissance with trucks and tanks
– drove all over reservation following maps and learned from observation what the land surrounding the fort looked like
– the purpose was to collect tank data which they would use later
– often had to live off the land
– 30 April 1941 – battalion went on an all-day march
– ate dinner in woods brought to them by the cooks in trucks
– march was two hours one way and covered about 10 miles total
– stopped in an abandoned apple orchard in bloom
– Motorcycles:
– first motorcycles arrived in May 1941
– all battalion members had to learn to ride them
– in early May 1941, the battalion, except men who had been drafted, went on its first overnight bivouac
– the new men did not have shelter halves
– left around noon and returned around noon the next day
Specialized Training:
– some members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
– those men who remained at Ft. Lewis often found themselves policing the base collecting garbage and distributing coal for the base during the week
– the battalion did most of its tank training on weekends
– Hart attended Officers Candidates School
– at some point, he may have been reassigned to A Company
Overseas Duty:

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 a Japanese occupied island which was hundreds 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.

Overseas Duty:
– 4 September 1941 
– the 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 the 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, the U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila – Friday – 26 September 1941
– disembarked the ship – 3:00 P.M.
– taken by bus to Fort Stotsenburg
– returned to Manila to help 17th Ordnance with the unloading of tanks
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom of the wall to the floor
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing facilities seemed to be limited with the lucky man being able to wash by a faucet with running water
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– soldiers washed
– 6:00 A.M. – mess
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – mess
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the afternoon was described as “recreation in the motor pool”
– on the base, the soldiers were not expected to work in the heat
Tank Crews:
– during this time, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– learned about the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition
– Gen King had requested the ammunition but was waiting for Gen MacArthur to release it
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
Uniforms:
– the battalion wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks
– the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms while working
– they continued to wear fatigues in their barracks area to do their work
– if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms
Alert:
– 1 December 1941 – tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– their job was to protect the airfield from enemy paratroopers
– two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times
– 194th guard north end of the airfield and the 192nd Tank Battalion guarded the south end of the airfield
– meals served by food trucks to men with the tanks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon
– 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 10 December 1941
– the battalion sent to Mabalcat
– C Company was sent to Southern Luzon to support troops
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 14 December 1941
– A Co. & D Co., 192nd moved to just north of Muntinlupa
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– Bren gun carriers used to test ground to see if it could support tanks
– 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 December 1941
– operating in Hacienda Road area
– Agno River Area
– 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 to the northeast of San Quintin
– the 192nd was ordered to withdraw but the 194th did not receive the order
– 26/27 December 1941
– ordered to withdraw
– 1st Lt. Harold Costigan informed the tankers they were behind enemy lines and would have to fight their way out
– 1 platoon forced its 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
– 2nd Lt. Weeden Petree’s platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
– Hart held his position while the other tanks under him withdrew
– 26 December 1941
– documents show that his tank became separated from platoon during the withdrawal from Carmen
– 7 January 1942
– reported he, his tank, and his crew were still causing havoc among the Japanese
Lt. Colonel Ernest Miller the commanding officer of the 194th considered Hart and his tank crew to be deserters
Guerrilla:
– Hart and his tank crew abandon tank and go into the jungle to fight as guerrillas.
– organized guerrilla resistance in the Bamban, Tarlac, Central Luzon
– considered the “father” of guerrilla resistance in the Tarlac Province
– spent over a year fighting Japanese as a member of 101st Squadron, Luzon Guerrilla Force
– guerrilla rank: Captain
Note: Hart is reported to have helped Major Havelock Nelson, of the Provisional Tank Group, after he had been shot in an execution attempt and escaped from a grave that the Japanese had not covered. Nelson later died of his wounds.
Killed in Action:
– Friday – 3 September 1943
– At five in the morning, a Japanese force of 34 men attacked guerrilla hideout in the Tapuak Hills in the Bamban area of Tarlac
– the dog alerted the guerrillas
– Japanese opened fire on the hut
– the guerrillas attempted to crawl to safety
– Hart was killed while attempting to kill as many Japanese as possible so that the other guerrillas could escape
– According to captured Filipinos, his body was lying on its back along the side of a stream. He had a bullet hole in his forehead
– Capt. Ted Spaulding who had roomed with Hart in college – and was commissioned with him – said that Hart shot himself instead of surrendering
– Hart’s body was buried at Clark Field and the Japanese who built a small memorial to him
– admired him for not surrendering
Remains Returned Home:
U.S.A.T. Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton
– 12 January 1949
Buried:
– Harmon Cemetery – Ellis County, Oklahoma

HartJGr

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