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
– U. S. Army
– 27 March 1941 – Cleveland
– Fort Knox, Kentucky
– Basic Training
– the training was done with First Armored Division
– soldiers rushed through basic training
– medics were required to complete basic training
– it appears his basic training may have been as short as four weeks so he could start medical training
– 6:15 with reveille
– most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress.
– 7:00 to 8:00 – Breakfast
– 8:00 to 8:30 – calisthenics
– Afterward, the tankers went to various schools within the company.
– training in using and maintaining 30 and 50 caliber machine guns and pistols
– training in map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.
– 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess – – Noon to 1:00 P.M. – mess
– Afterward, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to schools, such as mechanics, tank driving, radio operating
– medics received training from the battalion’s doctors since the Army believed in hands-on training
– a limited number of classes were available to the medics
– 4:30 – the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms
– 5:00 – retreat
– 5:30 – dinner
– After dinner, they were off duty
– 9:00 P.M. – lights were out
– soldiers but did not have to turn in
– 10:00 P.M. – Taps was played
– 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 the battalion at a later date
– other men simply replaced
– Ft. McDowell, Angel Island
– 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
– smoke was seen on the horizon
– Louisville revved its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it intercepted the ship which was from a neutral country, but two other intercepted ships
were Japanese freighters carrying scrap metal to Japan.
– Sunday – 9 November 1941 – crossed International Dateline
– soldiers woke up on Tuesday – 11 November 1941
– at about this time the convoy stopped at Wake Island and dropped off B-17 ground crews
– Arrived: Guam – Sunday 16 November 1941
– the ship loaded with water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables
– Sailed: next day
– passed Japanese held island in total blackout
– Arrived: Thursday – 20 November 1941 – Manila Bay – 7:00 A.M.
– soldiers disembark ship three hours after arrival
– boarded buses for Ft. Stotsenburg
– maintenance section remained behind to unload tanks from ship
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– Colonel Edward P. King met the soldiers when they arrived
– apologized to soldiers about living conditions
– lived in tents along the main road between fort and Clark Airfield
– made sure they all had Thanksgiving Dinner before he had his dinner
– the dinner was a stew thrown into their mess kits
– The members of the battalion pitched the ragged World War I tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort
– The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.
– There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
– The area was near the end of a runway used by B-17s for takeoffs.
– The planes flew over the tents at about 100 feet blowing dirt everywhere and the noise was unbelievable.
– At night, they heard the sounds of planes flying over the airfield which turned out to be Japanese reconnaissance planes.
– In addition, the khaki uniforms they had been issued also turned out to be a heavy material which made them uncomfortable to wear in the tropical heat.
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1941
– lived through the 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 the jeep: Capt. Alvin Poweleit, Pvt. Robert Ryan, Pvt. Earl Weaver
– stopped the jeep and it would not stop
– took cover during attack
– 14 December 1941
– the medical detachment left Clark Field
– set up an 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
– escaped into the jungle and joined guerrillas
– fought as a guerrilla in the Province of Zambales
– 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
– 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
– Tablets of the Missing – American Military Cemetery – Manila, Philippine Islands
Declared Dead: 1 February 1946
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