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Hart, 2nd Lt. James H.

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2nd Lt. James Howard Hart
Born: 21 August 1917 – 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: janitor – public school
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
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
– 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, and an unknown destroyer
– 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
– returned to Manila to help 17th Ordnance with the unloading of tanks
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippines
– lived in tents until barracks completed – 15 November 1941
– called wife from the Philippines for a 20th wedding anniversary – 18 October 1941
– 14-hour time difference so it was 17 October 1941 in Brainerd
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
– 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
– 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 Tarlec
– 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

 

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