Pvt. Joseph L. Wisniowski
Pvt. Joseph L. Wisniowski was born on March 12, 1919, in Chicago. He was the son
of Frank Wisniowski & Bernice Kadzik-Wisniowski . With his
five sisters and
two brothers, he grew up at 2108 West Eighteenth Street in Chicago. Like so many other
boys of the time, Joe never went to
high school. Instead, he went to work at a company that manufactured
globes as an assembler.
Joseph was inducted into the U. S. Army on March 4, 1941, and joined B Company during its training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Joe was a replacement put into B Company to fill-out the company roster after the original National Guardsmen from Illinois were transferred to Headquarters Company in early 1941.
During his training at Ft. Knox, Joe attended cooks' school. This was the same job that he had once held as a civilian. It was in this role that Joe took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. Being a cook, he did not participate in the maneuvers directly. After the maneuvers, on the side of a hill, he learned that his battalion was being sent overseas.
Joe traveled west to California by train. On Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, Joe and the other soldiers were given physicals and shots. They were boarded onto a transport and left the United States for the Philippine Islands.
On December 8th, Joe was serving meals to the tankers when planes appeared over Clark Field. When the bombs began exploding, the soldiers knew the planes were Japanese.
Joe was later assigned to the tank of Sgt. Jim Griffin. With him in the tank crew was Pvt. Orrie Mulholland. He would serve with this tank crew until the surrender on April 9, 1942.
Joe took part in the Death March and was held as a prisoner at Camp O'Donnell. It is not known if he went out on a work detail to escape the conditions in the camp. He was later sent to Cabanatuan. It was while he was at this camp that he was came down with dysentery and malaria.
Pvt. Joseph L. Wisniowski died on October 7, 1942, at approximately 5:00 PM. He was buried in the Plot 3, Row 1, Grave 128, in the camp cemetery. After the war, his family requested that his remains be returned to the United States. In April 1949, he was buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Justice, Illinois.