Tec 4 Andrew Hepburn
T/4 Andrew Hepburn was born July 25, 1918, in Northern Ireland to Samuel and Mary Hepburn. With his two brothers, Jack & Sam, he was raised at 2411 West Oakton Street in Park Ridge, Illinois. He graduated from Oakton Elementary School and Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, in 1936, at the age of fifteen. After high school, he worked in a department store as a stock boy.
Andrew joined the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company with his high school friends, Jim Bashleben and Willard Von Bergen. In September, 1940, the draft act had been signed into law and all three men wanted to fulfill their one year of military service and get on with their lives. He and his friends decided that joining the tank company was a good idea because riding in a tank sounded better than marching.
of 1940, the tank company was federalized as
Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion, and Andy went
with the company to Fort Knox, Kentucky to
train. He qualified as a member of a tank
crew and was assigned to one as the assistant
tank driver and machine gunner.
On the side of a hill, they were informed that they being sent overseas. It was at this time that Andy was given leave home and married.
Andy returned to Camp Polk. His company was given new tanks
and other equipment that had been used by the
753rd Tank Battalion. After
the companies were brought up to strength,
with replacements for the men released from
federal service, the battalion was equipped
with new tanks and half-tracks. Over
different rail routes, the battalion was sent to
Angel Island for preparation for duty in the
The 192nd was
Hugh L. Scott
for Hawaii as
part of a
For many, it
would be the
last time that
ever see the
2nd. The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the
When war came
in with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,
Andy was stationed at Clark Field. Ten
hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the
battalion was guarding the perimeter of Clark
Airfield against Japanese paratroopers. At
12:45, 54 Japanese bombers approached from the
north. Bombs began exploding on the
airfield destroying most of the American Army
At Gumain River, the tank
companies formed a defensive
line along the south bank of
the river. When the
Japanese attacked the
position at night, they were
easy to see since they were
t-shirts. The Japanese
almost broke through, but
when morning came, the
tankers had held. It
was there the tankers noted
that the Japanese soldiers
were high on drugs when they
attacked. Among the
dead Japanese, the tankers
found the hypodermic needles
and syringes. The
tankers were able to hold up
the Japanese for several
The medical staff
determined he was suffering from malaria,
bronchial pneumonia, and malnutrition.
According to medical records, he
was admitted on October 14, 1943. On
Monday, October 18, 1943, Andy died from what
was officially reported as pulmonary
tuberculosis at 9:00 AM. Other records
state he died from bronchial pneumonia. He
was buried in Row 4, Grave 13 in the POW
cemetery at Bilibid.
During Christmas 1943, Andy's parents received a Christmas card from him It said:
"Dear Mother, Dad and Fam.,
I hope this finds all of you in best of health. I am doing fine and am in good health. Give my love to Jean (his girlfriend) and family. Regards to relatives and friends Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. "
Reading this card, his parents had no idea that their son had died in a Japanese POW Camp. He had written it a year before they had received it.
In 1949, his family requested that Andy's remains be returned to the United States from the Philippine Islands. A wake for Andy was held in Park Ridge on April 22, 1949, and a funeral service the next day. An honor guard was provided by the Park Ridge V.F.W. Post, and he was reburied at the Town of Maine Cemetery in Park Ridge, Illinois, on April 23, 1949. Jim Bashleben, the only one of the three friends to survive the war, attended the funeral.