2nd Lt. William A. Reed Jr.
little is known about 2nd Lt. William A. Reed Jr. It is known that he was
born in October 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland, and was the son of William A.
Florence Reed. He graduated from Forest Park High School in
Baltimore in 1937.
William joined the 192nd Tank Battalion at Camp Polk, Louisiana as it was preparing for duty in the Philippine Islands. In all likelihood, he transferred into A Company from the 753rd Tank Battalion after vacancies were created with the release of men 29 years old and older.
After loading its equipment on flat cars, the battalion traveled west to San Francisco, California by train. From there, William and the rest of the battalion were ferried to Angel Island. There they received physicals and declared healthy for duty in the Philippine Islands.
Arriving in the Philippines on Thanksgiving Day, 1941, the soldiers were sent to Fort Stotsenburg. The battalion spent the next two weeks preparing for maneuver, but the expected maneuvers never took place.
On December 8, 1941, William lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field. A few weeks later east of Concepcion, William was in a tank when it came under enemy fire. One of the enemy rounds hit the tank knocking it out. After escaping the tank, a second round hit the tank under William and wounding him while he was attempting to free his tank crew. The other members of his tank crew moved William from the tank and laid him under a bridge. William would not allow himself to be evacuated since their were other wounded soldiers. He insisted that these men be taken first.
Pvt. Jack Bruce went for help, but when he did not return quickly Pvt. Eugene Greenfield also went for help in an attempt to save William's life. Staying with William was Pvt. Ray Underwood. As William lay dying, Underwood cradled him in his arms. Pvt. Ray Underwood would later receive a commendation for his actions while a Prisoner of War.
While Pvt. Ray Underwood sat with William, the Japanese overran the area. When Pvt. Ray Underwood was captured, he was sitting on the ground holding William in his hands as William died.
On December 24, 1941, 2nd Lt. William A. Reed Jr. died of his wounds under a bridge during the Battle of the Philippines. After the war, the remains of 2nd Lt. William A. Reed Jr. were returned to the United States.