Pvt. Eugene Charles Greenfield
Eugene C. Greenfield was born in July 21, 1918, in Alliance, Ohio, to Howard
E. Greenfield and Grace Lavinia-Greenfield and lived in Columbiana
County, Ohio. It is known he had one sister. Eugene was
inducted into the U. S. Army on March 22, 1941, and sent to
Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training.
After basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he became a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion. At Camp Polk, the 753rd continued their training, but they did not take part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.
After the maneuvers the 192nd Tank Battalion received orders that they were being sent overseas. Being that the battalion was primarily made up of National Guardsmen from four Midwestern states, those men 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service. This created vacancies in the battalion that needed to be filled.
It was at this time that Eugene joined the 192nd and was assigned to A Company. He also became a member of the tank crew of 2nd Lt. William Reed. Reed, himself, was also a transfer from the 753rd.
Eugene with his new company traveled west by train to San Francisco. He and the other men were ferried to Angel Island where they received physicals and shots. They then sailed for the Philippine Islands.
Arriving at Manila, the battalion was housed in tents along the main road between Ft. Stotsenburg and Clark Airfield. For the next two weeks, they cleaned their tank guns and loaded ammunition belts.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter Write gathered his company and told them the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier. He then ordered his men to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers.
Around 12:45 in the afternoon, planes were heard approaching the airfield. At first the tank crews believed that the planes were American. It was only when bombs began exploding that they knew the planes were Japanese.
During the attack, the tankers could do little to fight the planes since their tanks were not designed to fight planes. After the attack, Eugene and the other men looked over the carnage caused by the bombing.
That evening the tankers pulled out of Clark Field. Eugene had slept his last night in a bed. During the Battle of the Philippines, Eugene with his battalion were used as the rear guard to allow the other units to withdraw from an area.
In late December 1941, east of Concepcion, Eugene was in his tank when it came under enemy fire. One of the enemy rounds hit the tank knocking it out. After this round hit the tank, Lt. William Reed escaped the tank. He was working to free the rest of his tank crew when a second round hit the tank below his legs. This round wounded Lt. Reed. Eugene and the other members of his tank crew moved Lt. Reed from the tank and laid him under a bridge. Lt. Reed would not allow himself to be evacuated since their were other wounded soldiers. He insisted that these men be taken first.
Pvt. Jack Bruce, another member of Eugene's tank crew went for help, but when he did not return. Eugene also went for help in an attempt to save Lt. Reed's life. By the time he reached help, the area where Lt. Reed was had been waiting for help had been overrun by the Japanese. The fourth member of the tank crew, Pvt. Ray Underwood, held Reed in his arms until Lt. Reed died of his wounds.
As tanks became scarce, the tank crews from the different companies shared tank duties. At one point, Eugene fought as a member of a B Company tank crew.
On April 9, 1942, Eugene became a POW when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. Eugene took part in the death march and was held as a Prisoner of War at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. It is not known if he went out on a work detail.
In 1943, Eugene was selected for transfer to Japan. He was boarded onto what became known as a "hell ship" and taken to Japan. Upon arriving in Japan, Eugene was sent to Hirohata. The POWs in this camp worked at the Seitetsu Steel Mill. He and the other prisoners unloaded cargo and ore from ships, worked in the mills machine shops, worked the blast furnaces and cleaned the slag from them.
While Eugene was at this camp, he developed beriberi. According to U. S. Army records, Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield died from starvation and beriberi on April 7, 1944, at Hirohata 12-B.
After this war, the remains of Pvt. Eugene C. Greenfield were returned to the Philippine Islands. He was buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.