Hungate, Wesley D. (P2, C2, L36)
Private First Class Wesley Davis Hungate, 23, of Harrodsburg, Mercer County, died of dysentery while being held as a prisoner of war at Camp O'Donnell in the Philippines on 16 May 1942 while serving on federal active duty with Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
Hungate was born 28 February 1919 to Stafford Charles Hungate and Maud E. Pearson Hungate. His mother died when he was just over a year old on 5 Mar 1920. His father is believed to have remarried but no details have been found thus far. Hungate was reportedly raised by his uncle, David Hungate. No other details regarding David have to been found to date.
His father, Stafford, of Salvisa, Mercer County, died 13 Mar 1942 just some sixty days before his son died in the Philippines. His father and mother are buried together at the Berea Christian Church Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Mercer County.
Hungate enlisted in the Harrodsburg National Guard unit on 30 September 1939. He listed his civilian occupation as farmer. He was inducted onto federal active duty with his unit on 24 November 1940. His rank at that time was Private First Class.
Moving under secret orders, Company D arrived in the Philippines by Thanksgiving Day, 1941. War came to them when the Japanese attacked Clark Field just a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Harrodsburg Tankers along with the allied forces fought the Japanese valiantly without reinforcements or resupply until they were ordered to surrender in April 1942. They had delayed the Japanese Army's timetable from 50 days to four months, giving the allies vital time to protect Australia and recover from the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He was taken prisoner on 9 April 1942 and survived the Death March. He was held at Camp O'Donnell where he died on 16 May 1942 of dysentery. He was initially buried in the Camp O’Donnell Cemetery Section F, Row: 7 Grave: 5. After the war, his remains were returned home and he was laid to rest in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery near Nicholasville in Section D, Site 150 on 1 November 1949.
SEE Also: Bataan Commemorative Research Project Website Hungate Bio