Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

A TALE OF THREE CAVALRY TROOPERS

 

1st Cavalry Division Cavalry Crossed Sabers

 

A TALE OF THREE CAVALRY TROOPERS

James S. "Jim" Hufnall, La Grange, TX

Weldon S. Hoyle, Olathe, KS (passed away 12-24-2014)

Stanley M. "Stan" Jankiewicz, St Petersburg, FL

Patriots, Chapter 1919

 (ARMY, WWII, Pacific) Article January 2000

 

After many years in which two of these veterans had unsuccessfully tried to assist in getting a Purple Heart award for their combat-wounded WWII buddy, they turned to our Chapter Commander, Frank Cortez, for help. That was in 1997. After Frank also had several follow-up submissions denied; finally, on November 23, 1999, the Army Board of Corrections announced the award of the Purple Heart to Stanley M. Jankiewicz for wounds received February 3, 1945 during the battle for Manila. All three then immediately signed up with Frank as Life Members of MOPH, and we couldn't wait to share with the readers this very small part of what rightfully deserves to be a very long story....

These three men were enlisted into the Army, just a few months apart, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor put us into WWII. Coming from Missouri, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas, they were soon together in training at Fort Bliss, Texas and assigned to Headquarters Troop, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.  That was back during the "horse cavalry" days.

After some reorganization and much training the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, shipped out from the west coast on Ju1y 2, 1943. As part of the division, they were in combat in the Admiralty Islands, the Bismark Archipelago, and in New Guinea prior to the Philippine Campaign. The division then took part in General Kruger's 6th Army invasion landing of the Philippines, on Leyte, on October 20, 1944.  Three months later they again took ship and moved up to Northern Luzon. They landed north of Manila, at Lingayen Gulf, in January 1945.

After the landing, the fighting pressed to the south, towards Manila.  The 1st Brigade received orders to break through enemy defenses and move to free several thousand POW's held in Santo Tomas Seminary in Manila. Fearing the Japanese might soon start killing the prisoners, they had to reach the POW camp, 66 miles away, as quickly as possible. They broke through the lines on February 3rd in a “Flying Column” that drove rapidly down the road through enemy territory. Resistance increased as they approached Manila and Stanley Jankiewicz was wounded by shell fragments.  The wounded had no alternative other than to remain with the column moving more rapidly than the enemy could react. They reached the outskirts of the city just before dark and then were held up by Japanese fire (wounding General Chase, the brigade commander) coming from Far Eastern University.  That finally brought the “Charge of the First Brigade” to a halt. They then bypassed the university, and reaching Santo Tomas after darkness, liberated the prisoners.  This brought to a successful close one of the most daring rescue missions of WWII.

The next day Weldon Hoyle was wounded in the fighting in Manila. Jim Hufnall was wounded much later in combat on Luzon, shortly before the Japanese surrender.  Both Weldon and Jim were routinely awarded the Purple Heart.  But, because Stanley had been wounded when the “Flying Column” was operating deep in Japanese territory and cut off from supporting troops, administrative paperwork simply couldn’t be done at the time.  In Stanley’s case that documentation never did get caught up until 1999 when Weldon and Jim helped set the record straight and the Army Board of Corrections finally issued the long overdue Purple Heart Medal to Stanley M. Jankiewicz.

Photo at the top

Weldon Hoyle at Fort Bliss in 1941

JIM HUFNALL ON "BULLDOG" AT FORT BLISS CAVALRY STABLES IN 1941

left-WELDON "WINK" HOYLE,

right-"JIMMY" HUFNALL

left-STANLEY JANKIEWICZ,

 right-STAN'S BROTHER, AL JANKIEWICZ "SOMEWHERE ON SOUTHERN LUZON"

JIM HUFNALL

 

 

STANLEY M. JANKIEWICZ

 

JIM HUFNALL 11/20/44

 "THE PHILIPPINES KID"

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