S/Sgt. Willard Daylis Jennings
Willard Daylis Jennings was was born on June 29, 1919, in Billings,
Montana, to George T. Jennings & Stella Daylis-Jennings. With
his two sisters and two brothers, he would later
move to Forest Park, Illinois, where he resided at 1120 Circle
Avenue. He attended the Field-Stevenson
School in Forest Park and was a member of the Proviso Township
High School Class of 1939. He worked in the shipping
department of a newspaper.
In 1937, with his parents permission and while he was still in high school, Willard enlisted in the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Maywood, Illinois. When the company was federalized as Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion, he went to Fort Knox, Kentucky to train. After nearly a year of training at Fort Knox, Willard qualified as a tank driver. He would later become a tank commander.
In the late summer of 1941, Willard and his battalion traveled to Louisiana to take part in the Maneuvers of 1941. After the maneuvers, the battalion was assigned to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where they were informed that they had been selected for duty overseas. After being equipped with new tanks and halftracks, the battalion traveled over three different railroad routes to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. It would be from there that they would leave the United States for the Philippines.
Two weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Willard and the other members of Company B arrived in Manila. The battalion was deployed at Clark Field, when the Japanese bombed the field. Four the next four months, Willard fought to slow the Japanese advance in the Philippine Islands.
When the Filipino and American Forces on Bataan were surrendered, Willard became a Prisoner of War. He took part in the Death March and was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell. When Cabanatuan was opened Willard was sent to the new camp. It was there that Sgt. Willard D. Jennings died at 4:00 in the morning on June 12, 1942, of dysentery. He was 22 years old.
Today, Sgt. Willard D. Jennings remains lie in Plot B, Row 2, Grave 137, at the American Military Cemetery just outside of Manila.