Pvt. Charles Arthur Heuel
| Pvt. Charles A. Heuel was born on
October 14, 1921, to Christian Heuel and Frances
Smolik-Heuel. He was the youngest of ten
children. He grew up in Chicago at 4516
North Christiana Avenue. While he was a
teenager, his father passed away, so he was sent
to live with his sister, Marie, and her husband at
4606 North Marmora Avenue. He graduated
from Washington High School in Chicago in 1940.
On April 7, 1941, Charles joined the U. S. Army. In January 1941, the newly created Headquarters Company of the 192nd Tank Battalion took men from all the letter companies of the battalion, because he was from Illinois, Charles was assigned to B Company. The reason this was done was that the army filled the vacated positions in the battalion with men from the home states of each of the tank companies. Since B Company was originally an Illinois National Guard Company, Charles was assigned to the company. During his training, Charles qualified as a tank driver.
After training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Charles
took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. Upon
completion of the maneuvers, Charles learned
with his battalion that they were going to be
sent overseas. After going home on
furlough, Charles left from Camp Polk,
Louisiana, for Angel Island in San Francisco
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers
were told of the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor. Those crew members not with their
tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark
Airfield to guard against Japanese
paratroopers. As the tankers sat in their
tanks, the sky above them was filled with
American planes. At noon, every plane
landed and the pilots went to lunch.
also took part in the Battle of the Pockets
to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been
trapped behind the main defensive
line. The tanks would enter the pocket
one at a time to replace a tank in the
pocket. Another tank did not enter the
pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
The morning of February 3, 1942, after being up all night guarding the east coast of Bataan, Charles and the other members of B Company were attempting to get some sleep. At this time, a Japanese reconnaissance plane appeared overhead attempting to locate the American tanks. Sgt. Walter Cigoi, who was tired of this daily event, attempted to shoot down the plane but failed. As a result of his attempt, he revealed their position under the jungle canopy. About twenty minutes later, Japanese dive bombers appeared over B Company's position and bombed them.
Since the tree canopy was extremely thick, the Japanese bombs exploded in the treetops above the tanks. After the attack, T/4 Frank Goldstein found Charles halfway under the front of a tank. When Goldstein pulled Charles from under the tank, he was badly torn up, with at least ten wounds, from shrapnel. It appeared that he had been hit and had been attempting to crawl under the tank to escape the exploding bombs.
Pvt. Charles A. Heuel was Killed in Action on Tuesday, February 3, 1942. He was 19 years old. Goldstein felt guilt over the death of Charles, because he had promised Charles's sister, Marie, that he would watch out for him. His family received word of his death on February 10, 1942.
Since Pvt. Charles A. Heuel's final resting place is unknown, his name appears on Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila. It is very likely that after the war that the remains of Charles could not be identified, and that he was buried in a grave marked unknown.