Francis E. Aram (1942/11/13)
Father and son sergeants went off to war together, but only the father returned.
Francis E. Aram was born on December 30, 1922. in Fresno County, California, to Lorena and Joseph Aram. The family later moved to the San Lorenzo Valley where Joseph worked as a steam engineer. A subsequent move took them to Salinas where Francis probably completed four years of high school. While living in the Monterey Bay area, Aram earned an income working in the entertainment business.
In September 1940 Francis Aram enlisted in Company C of the 194th Tank Company and was later joined by his father. The Arams adapted well to the military; both Francis and Joseph rose to the rank of sergeant. In February 1941 the 194th Tank Battalion was inducted into federal service and sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, for training. They remained at that Pacific Northwest camp until September when they reported to San Francisco to be transported to Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippine Islands.
Joseph and Francis Aram were at Clark Field when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, and when Japanese aircraft bombed Manila the following day. On December 24, the Japanese landed troops at Lamon Bay in the Philippines and Company C was sent to detain them. The Japanese invaders overwhelmed the defenders, forcing them to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula.
On April 9, 1942, US and Philippine forces surrendered to the Japanese. The Arams joined the Bataan Death March at Mariveles at the tip of the Bataan peninsula and marched to Cabanatuan Prison eighty-five miles north without food or water.
During his confinement, Francis contracted beriberi and died on November 13, 1942. Joseph remained in the camp until he was sent to Hoten, Mukden, Manchuria, to work in Japanese mines. He survived the war and returned home.
Francis E. Aram was buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the Philippines. His name is included on the memorial plaque in the Manila American Cemetery.
(CBR; USCR, 1920 US Census, CA, Santa Cruz; NARA2; SCSn December 29, 1942 1:8; 194TB; ABMC; SCR August 6, 1943)