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Nank, Pvt. Robert J.

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Pvt. Robert J. Nank
Born: 1918 – Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Parents: Carl Nank & Bertha Wenzel-Nank
Siblings: 2 brothers, 3 sisters
– grew up at 1426 East 116th Street – Cleveland, Ohio
Home: 648 East 82nd Street – Cleveland, Ohio
– living with sister and brother-in-law – 1940
Occupation: automobile manufacturing
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 27 March 1941 – Cleveland
Training:
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– received medical training from the battalion’s doctors
– Louisiana Maneuvers – September 1, 1941 – September 30, 1941
– ordered to Camp Polk after the maneuvers
– Camp Polk, Louisiana
Note: The reason for this move was an event that took place in the summer of 1941. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots, who was at a lower altitude, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a buoy, with a flag, in the water and saw another in the distance. He came upon more flagged buoys that lined up – in a straight line – for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island hundreds of miles away that had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.
The next day – when a when planes were sent to the area – the buoys had been picked up and a fishing boat was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was poor, nothing was done to intercept the boat. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
– ferried to island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– received physicals from medical detachment – 25 October 1941 – 26 October 1941
– men with minor health issues held back and scheduled to rejoin battalion at later date
– other men simply replaced
– Ft. McDowell, Angel Island
Overseas Duty:
U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott
– Boarded: San Francisco – Monday – 27 October 1941
– Sailed: same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – Sunday – 2 November 1941
– soldiers were given shore leave to see the sights
– Sailed: Tuesday – Wednesday – 5 November 1941
– joined by U.S.S. Louisville and S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– Arrived: Guam – Sunday – 16 November 1941
– ships took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water
– Sailed: Monday – 17 November 1941
– Arrived: Manila, Philippine Islands – Thursday – 20 November 1941
– soldiers bused to Ft. Stotsenburg
– maintenance section remained at pier to unload tanks
Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– Colonel Edward King apologizes to soldiers that they had to live in tents
– tents located along main road between fort and Clark Airfield
– medics assigned to and lived with each company
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1941
– lived through attack on Clark Field
– took cover since the medical detachment had no weapons to fight planes
– 13 December 1941
– inspecting aid stations
– drove jeep across Clark Field when Japanese planes attacked
– others in jeep: Capt. Alvin Poweleit, Pvt. Robert Ryan, Pvt. Earl Weaver
– stopped jeep and it would not stop
– took cover during attack
– 14 December 1941
– medical detachment left Clark Field
– set up aid station in a dried river bed
– 21 December 1941
– medical detachment moved north toward Lingayen Gulf with rest of battalion
– it was at this time that Robert and Pvt. Robert Ryan went missing
– they had taken cover and separated from the column
– other medics attempted to find them but the area was under heavy fire
Guerrilla:
– escaped into the jungle and joined guerrillas
– fought as a guerrilla in the Province of Zambales
Captured:
– June 1944
– taken to Santo Thomas
– a woman and old man were dropped off there
– Robert, 1st Sgt. James Beebee, and Sgt. Edgar Stevens were taken to Fort Santiago
   Dungeon, Intramuros
POW Camp:
– Fort Santiago
– POWs tortured for information
– Bilibid Prison
– put on trial
– found guilty
– Far East University
– POWs were drained of as much blood as possible
– POWs were taken to the Chinese Cemetery
– shot or beheaded
Executed by Japanese:
– Monday – 17 July 1944 – Chinese Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands
– Memorial:
– Tablets of the Missing – American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands 
Declared Dead: 1 February 1946

 

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