Service Number: 280239
Birth and Early Life:
Donald Louis Bernardy was born in Marinette, Wisconsin on April 25, 1920. He was the son of Ludwig and Nellie Marineau Bernardy.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
After enlisting in the Marine Corps on January 8, 1940, Bernardy was sent to MCRD San Diego for boot camp. He completed his training by the end of February, and was assigned temporarily to the barracks detachment at Mare Island Navy Yard.
Service Prior to 1941:
On April 19, 1940, Private Bernardy arrived at his first overseas post at the Marine Barracks, Naval Station Guam. He served there as a messman for six months before receiving orders to proceed to Shanghai. There, he joined Company E, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines – the famous “China Marines.”
As the international situation deteriorated, the Marines were ever more on the alert against potential Japanese aggression. It was decided in November 1941 that the regiment be withdrawn to the Philippines in order to prepare against a possible enemy threat. The Marines had barely arrived when word of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached them; soon Japanese bombers were striking at targets in the Philippines themselves.
PFC Bernardy was one of the first men of his company to be wounded on January 2, 1942; he was recorded as “sick” in the Malinta Tunnel hospital, suffering from “Gunshot wound left arm & shock as result of enemy aerial bombing 2Jan42.” (1) Despite being shot and nearly blown up, Bernardy was back on duty two days later, and was detached to serve on the Bataan peninsula.
The fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, was also PFC Bernardy’s last day in combat. He, along with thousands of American and Filipino servicemen, surrendered to the Japanese after months of staunch fighting, and were subjected to the horrors of the Bataan Death March before being deposited at Cabanatuan Prison Camp.
Date Of Loss:
Donald Bernardy died of malaria on August 9, 1942. (2) He was buried in an unknown location in the Philippines.
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Nellie Bernardy
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1). Muster rolls, Company E, Second Battalion, 4th Marines (at Fort Mills, Corregidor, PI) January 1942. Some accounts state that Bernardy was wounded in China.
(2). The National Archives state Bernardy died at an “unstated” location in the Philippines. However, as most of the Americans captured on Bataan wound up at Cabanatuan, he was likely in the vicinity of the camp. He is listed at http://bataanmissing.com/cabanatuan-burial-roster