Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Company C, 192nd Tank Battalion, Port Clinton, Ohio

Company C, 192nd Tank Battalion

The above photograph was donated to the Hayes Presidential Center by the late Betty Neidecker, who was extraordinarily interested in the local history of Ottawa County, Ohio. Its origin is unknown, but it is identified as Company C, 192nd Tank Battalion that began as Company H, Tank Corps, Ohio National Guard. In 1921, Company H was designated the 37th Tank Company and assigned to the 17th Infantry Division. On September 1, 1940, the 37th became Company C and was combined with three other companies.

This photograph was believed to have been taken in late November 1940, at Port Clinton a few days after the company was inducted into federal service. The men were about to depart from Port Clinton at the New York Central depot. They were headed to Fort Knox. After training at Fort Knox and Fort Polk, the unit left San Francisco for Fort Stotsenberg in the Philippines, arriving November 20, 1941. A short time later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Later that same month, the unit saw its first combat. Company C supported the allied retreat onto the Bataan Peninsula, continually battling larger enemy forces; enduring shortages of food, water, and medical supplies, and suffering from disease. On April, 9, 1942, at the fall of Bataan, they were captured by the Japanese. The men of Company C were subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March. Those that survived were held as prisoners of war for 3 1/2 years. Only ten of the local men who left in November 1940 survived the Bataan Death March and the horrors of Japanese imprisonment.

A Memorial Wall, designed by a group of 5th and 6th grade students of Port Clinton's Bataan Memorial Elementary School, surrounds the school's flagpole. The memorial was dedicated in the spring of 1992, the 50th anniversary of the Bataan Death March. Three of the six still-living survivors were present to memorialize the bravery and sacrifice of the men of Company C, 192nd Tank Battalion.