Pfc. Frank Adelbert Byars


     Pfc. Frank A. Byars was born in 1921 to Ida and Emmett Byars.  He grew up at 1334 Circle Avenue in Forest Park, Illinois, and attended the Field-Stevenson School and Proviso Township High School.  At Proviso, he was interested in music, basketball, and ice skating.  He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Presbyterian Church.  Before joining the Illinois National Guard, he worked as a mechanic for the Continental Can Company in Chicago. 
     In 1940, at the age of 19, Frank joined the Illinois National Guard's Maywood Tank Company.  He went with the company first to Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then to Camp Polk, Louisiana, for training.  It was at Camp Polk that the battalion learned that General George  S. Patton had selected the 192nd for duty in the Philippines.  

    When the 192nd arrived at Clark Field in the Philippine Islands, the plan was for them to receive additional training.  This never happened since Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Philippine Islands, two weeks later.
     As a motorcycle messenger, Frank s job was to run messages between B Company HQ, and Headquarters Company.  He also ran messages between these two commands and B Company tanks.  

    According to the notebook kept by 2nd Lt. Jacques Merrifield, Frank was killed on December 28, 1941,  but according to U.S. Army records, his date of death was January 9, 1942, at Porac, Philippine Islands.  The discrepancy indicates that Frank was wounded and died from his wounds days later.  U.S. Army records show that Frank was taken to Hospital #1 at Limay, where he died.  What is known is that Frank was killed in action while attempting to deliver a dispatch.   He was 21 years old. 

    Since Pfc. Frank A. Byars' final resting place is unknown, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.  This memorial is dedicated to those men whose bodies lie in unknown graves. 

    Frank Byars was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.  It is very likely that his remains were recovered, but since there was no way to confirm identification, he was buried as an unknown at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.  


 

 


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