Sgt. Ivan O. Wilmer
Ivan O. Wilmer was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on December 5, 1901, to
Clara Hubbard and Rudolph Webner. After Rudolph's death, Clara
married Forrest Dexter a newspaper man from Des Moines, Iowa. This
resulted in Ivan being raised at Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago.
Returning to Wisconsin, Ivan would marry and divorce. He was the father of three sons; Arthur, Billy and Charles. He resided at 935 Fourth Street in Beloit, Wisconsin, and worked doing road maintenance with the Public Works Program.
When the 32nd Tank Company of the Wisconsin National Guard was called to federal duty in November of 1940, Ivan found himself training at Fort Knox, Kentucky as a member of A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. In January of 1941, Ivan was transferred to Headquarters Company when it was formed from members of the four letter companies of the 192nd.
After taking part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the late summer of 1941, Ivan learned with his friends that the battalion's time in the regular army had been extended. Being 40 years old, Ivan received papers that would release him from federal duty. For whatever reason, Ivan chose to remain in the battalion and go overseas.
The battalion traveled west to San Francisco, received their inoculations at Angel Island, and was sent to the Philippine Islands. Arriving there on Thanksgiving Day, 1941, the battalion spent over two weeks readying their equipment for use in maneuvers.
Ivan survived the attack on Clark Field on December 8, 1941, and spent the next two months in military engagements with the Japanese. In early 1942, Ivan was involved in the attempt to dislodge Japanese Marines who had been landed behind the main line of defense on the Bataan Peninsula. This action became known as "The Battle of the Pockets."
One day during the battle, Ivan found himself in the middle of a low-level Japanese air attack near Bambang, Limay, at km144. To get out of the attack, he attempted to escape by running to his tank. While he was running, he was struck by shrapnel and badly wounded. He was taken to a field hospital where he died on February 3, 1942.
After the war, the remains of Sgt. Ivan O. Wilmer were returned to the United States. He was buried on October 16, 1948, at the Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois, in Plot D, Grave 27.