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 an
assembler at a company that manufactured globes.
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,the battalion was ordered to
remain at Camp Polk. None of the members
had any idea why.
The battalion traveled by train,
over different train routes, to San
Francisco. By ferry, they were
taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel
Island. On the island, they
received inoculations and
physicals. Those members of
the battalion who were found to have
treatable medical conditions
remained behind on the island.
They were scheduled to join the
battalion at a later date.
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.
After the attack, he witnessed the destruction
done to the airfield.
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.
The tank battalion received
that it was to
B and C
ran low on
enough for one
to support the
When Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese, Joe
became a Prisoner of War. B Company made its
way to Mariveles, at the southern tip of Bataan,
where they were searched. The Japanese
took whatever they wanted from the POWs.
It was from Mariveles that Joe began what became
known as the death march.
Pvt. Joseph L. Wisniowski died on Wednesday, 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.