Tec 5 Arthur George Van Pelt
| T/5 Arthur G.
Van Pelt was born in January 14, 1919. He was the son of George Van Pelt & Henrietta Suber-Van Pelt.
With his brother, he was raised at 521 30th Street in East Saint Louis,
Arthur joined Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This meant that he was recently drafted into the army. He was put into the company because the army, at this time, attempted to fill vacancies within the unit with other men from Illinois, since the company was originally an Illinois National Guard Tank Company.
What is known about Arthur is that he trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941. He went to the Philippines with his company and was engaged in numerous battles against the Japanese.
Arthur became a Prisoner of War when the defenders of Philippines surrendered to the Japanese. He took part in the death march and, as a POW, was held at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. In late 1942 or early 1943 Arthur was assigned to the POW detail that worked at the Bachrach Garage in Manila. The POWs on this detail repaired Japanese trucks that had broken down.
At some point, Arthur was sent to Clark Field to build runways. He remained there until the detail ended on August 20, 1944 when he was sent to Bilibid Prison. Bilibid Prison was a holding point for POWs being sent to Japan or a Japanese occupied country.
When the Japanese concluded that it was just the a matter of time before the Philippines would be liberated, he was sent to Pier 7 in Manila. The POWs were scheduled to sail on the Arisan Maru. While the POWs were on the dock waiting to board their ship, the Hokusen Maru became ready to sail. Since the entire POW detachment assigned to the ship had not arrived, the Japanese put Arthur's group of POWs on the ship. The Arisan Maru, Arthur's original ship, was later sunk by an American submarine on its way to Hong Kong.
Arthur and the other POWs were boarded onto the Hokusen Maru on October 1, 1944. The POWs remained in the ship's holds until the ship sailed on October 3, 1944 for Hong Kong. It arrived there on October 11, 1944.
According to the other members of the B Company, while at sea, Arthur resisted another POW's attempt to take his canteen. During the fight for the canteen, the other man beat Arthur to death with the canteen. U. S. Army records have Tec 5 Arthur C. Van Pelt dying on October 10, 1944. The story of his death was told by surviving members of B Company who were also on the ship.
Since T/5 Arthur Van Pelt's body was thrown overboard, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.