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Bataan Death March Begins: April 9, 1942

April 9, 1942, marks the beginning of the Bataan Death March, in which tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were forced on a grueling 65-mile trek across the Philippine island of Luzon, following their surrender to the Japanese. Thousands of men died on the march, and thousands more would die later in POW camps.

Fold3 Image - Photos from the Bataan Death March
Directly after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese bombed Clark Field in the Philippines as part of their campaign to take control of Southeast Asia. This and other raids left the Philippines without air power when the Japanese landed 43,000 troops on the main island of Luzon on December 22, 1941. The American and Filipino troops, under General Douglas MacArthur, retreated to the Bataan peninsula, where they resisted the Japanese for months, enduring starvation, disease, and exhaustion in addition to the fighting.

Finally, on April 9, 1942, Major General Edward King surrendered all 76,000 American and Filipino troops under his command to the Japanese. (General MacArthur had by this time evacuated first to Corregidor, then Australia.) The prisoners of war were divided by the Japanese into groups of 100 to begin the journey to the POW camps at Camp O’Donnell.

The arduous 65-mile trek in blazing hot temperatures lasted about 5 to 10 days, and the already enervated men were allowed little food or water. They also faced numerous instances of brutality by their Japanese captors, from beatings to killings

The men were marched dozens of miles to a rail station at San Fernando, where they were crammed a hundred at a time into boxcars meant for 40. Additional men died on this train journey from suffocation, exhaustion, and dehydration. Estimates vary widely, but at least 500 Americans and 2,500 Filipinos (though likely far many more) died on the march and in the boxcars.

Things did not improve for the tens of thousands of men who survived to reach the POW camps. There were far more prisoners of war than the Japanese had anticipated, and conditions in the camps were horrific. Several hundred men died a day, with total deaths in the camps estimated at around 1,500 Americans and 26,000 Filipinos.

After the war, the Bataan Death March was designated a war crime, and various Japanese military leaders were executed or imprisoned for their role in it.

Do you have any relatives who are Bataan survivors? Share their stories with us! Or find more information about the battle and ensuing march by searching on Fold3.

312 Comments

  1. My first cousin; Jack D. Kellett was taken prisoner by the Japanese and was involved in the Bataan death march. After two days of captivity, he, with a group of other soldiers, escaped and were able to get to Corregidor by canoe. He was again taken prisoner by the Japanese when they occupied Corregidor. He spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp in Japan. He was released after the war ended in 1945. His story is told in an extremely compelling book; Wings as Eagles. He received the Silver Star, Purple Heart, two Presidential Citations, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon as well as other honors for his courage and valor. He was a wonderful man who died way too early at 60 years of age.

    • Your cousin was a remarkable hero. His grateful country honors his memory.

    • Where might one get the book? I couldn’t find it on Amazon.

    • Try ABEBOOKS.com A LARGE consortium of on-line dealers from USA, Canada, UK and Germany at least. You can get multiple choices by price, condition, shipping costs etc. By far the easiest way to find used books.

  2. My father, Antonio A. Nieva, fought in Bataan and survived the Death March and Camp O’Donnell. He wrote about his experiences and vacgound history of Bataab, Corregidor, and the guerrilla forces that helped MacArthur’s troops win back the Philippines in his book, “Cader, Soldier, Guerrilla Fighter. “ The book contains his original sketches on the war. It is available on Amazon.com.

  3. I believe that some men are born to be heroes and that heroism is as much a part of their nature as breathing. Leon Lovelady probably was that type of man. Leon was a friend of my Dad’s family and he donated blood to my dad. Daddy always said that Leon was the only person who came to the hospital whose blood type matched his. The information below was obtained from AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION, The World War II Honor Roll.

    Leon L. Lovelady
    Private, U.S. Army
    14042332
    31st Infantry Regiment
    Entered the Service from: Alabama
    Died: May 15, 1942
    Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
    Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
    Manila, Philippines
    Awards: Bronze Star

    We have been told by others who said they served with him, that Leon was actually on the march to Bataan. During the march his feet became so raw that bone showed through. When Leon became unable to walk, the Japanese took him to the side of the road where, in spite of other U.S. soldiers offering to carry him, they shot him in the head.
    According to Earline Lovett Fowler, sister to Linnie Inez Lovett (Daddy’s mother) and aunt to Odell Armstrong (my father), Daddy lost his right arm on January 16. She is not sure of the year. It would have been between 1940 and 1942. He was about 15 years old (birth date December 11, 1926), so that places the event in 1941. I don’t know why Daddy never told us the exact day and year. I have been unable to find anything in local newspapers about the accident.
    Daddy said that the weather was cool. He had been having a lot of trouble with his arthritis (which started around the age of 11) but was feeling well enough that day to ride a mule to the grist meal that Granddad Jasper Lovett was running (located on Highway 78 in Carbon Hill, Alabama) and take him his lunch. He was wearing a brand new khaki shirt. When he gave Granddad Lovett his lunch, daddy told him that he would run the corn sheller while he ate.
    Daddy explained to my brothers and me that the machines were wired in such a way that they were all controlled by one switch. To turn one machine off, the main switch had to be turned off which stopped all of the machines. His shirt was new, tightly woven khaki, and the sleeve was unbuttoned and loose. The pulley belt that ran the corn sheller slipped off the pulley. Daddy said that rather than shut off all the machines, he grabbed the pulley belt and flipped it back on the pulley. He said, “I had done it lots of times before.” The belt caught his shirt sleeve, twisting his arm into the belt. He was pulled upward toward the top of the mill and his arm was pulled off at the shoulder. He fell back to the floor and his arm remained tangled in the belt at the top of the grist mill. Daddy used this part of the story to teach us about safety.
    He said an old woman, that everyone called ‘Granny ?’, shamed the men in the grist mill for not having enough courage to climb up and remove his arm from the belt. She climbed a ladder, removed his arm, laid it on a board and someone (?) had it buried at Pisgah Cemetery, in Carbon Hill, Alabama.
    Daddy told mother that someone (probably grandparents Jasper or Jane Weaver Lovett) wrapped “toe” sacks around him and took him to a hospital in Jasper, Alabama. He rode to the hospital in a taxi, which, he told Mama, “was one of the last new cars made before World War II.” He was placed in the back seat of the taxi. He said he told the driver, “Mister, I’m bleeding all over your car.” The driver told him, “To hell with the car, son.” and drove him to the hospital.
    That statement makes me believe that the driver was a man with a large capacity for kindness and compassion. I do not know the driver’s name, but there is thankfulness in my heart for him and Leon Lovelady. These seemingly small acts of kindness continue to shape our lives. My Dad died February 20, 1984. At the time of his death he had three children and three grandchildren. Now he has five great-grand children.
    Leon L. Lovelady gave his blood to my Dad and his life to preserve this country. We need to remember.

    Margaret Armstrong Behel

    • You are awesome daughter!

    • That story makes me cry with sadness and hopefulness. Your daddy was something else. A really great man! And, the taxi driver. You can find them both now in heaven, where real good men go.

  4. My uncle, William Thurman Baggett, was stationed at Nichols Field, Manila with the 33rd Quartermaster Regiment at the outbreak of WWII. He died September 2, 1942 at Cabanatuan 1 of dysentery. I have no information as to how he got to the prison camp from Nichols Field. Would anyone know how to trace his movements?

    • Nothing on William Thurman Baggett, but a Warren C. Baggett is mentioned a couple of times in the book, Doomed at the Start, by William H. Bartsch. This book is an in depth record of American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-42. My uncle was a pilot with the Third Pursuit Squadron (24th Pursuit Group) also at Nichols Field in December 1941. He, too, died at Cabanatuan of dysentery and malaria. The book is mostly about the Army Air Corps pilots, so not a lot of mention of ground units. But, it is a an interesting, though extremely sad, detailed account of all the air squadron movements leading to the March on Bataan and imprisonment.

    • My Grandmother was a Baggett, any chance your relative came from Bond Co. Illinois ?

    • If so, very distant. My great-grandfather, Pleasant H. Baggett was from Nacogdoches, Texas. The family arrived there from Tennessee.

    • Beautifully written.❤️

    • There’s not much doubt that he would have gone into retreat on Bataan Peninsula, endured the siege and the death march, entered first into Camp O’Donnell POW camp and then onto Cabanatuan where he died. All troops were ordered to retreat to Bataan from Nichols and Clark. Only those who escaped to Corregidor or the mountains avoided it.

  5. One of my grandfather’s good buddies at Cabanatuan was Chief Warrant Officer Clinton Worth Sperry. His nickname was Chief. He kept the camp records. The Chief’s family was from Michigan, but he lived with his wife, Hilda, in St. Louis, Missouri. The Chief didn’t have any children. He was killed on the unmarked POW hell ship Oryoku Maru by USS Hornet bombers in Dec. 1944. If anyone knows anything else about him I sure would appreciate you sharing it. I want to make sure he’s not forgotten.

  6. My great uncle Phillip Sumlin U.S. Army survived the Bataan Death March and as a P.O.W. in Japan until liberation September 1945!

  7. My uncle Henry Will Day (1918-1990) was on the Bataan Death March. He had been an ambulance driver in the Philippines. When he got to the camp, he went to the clinic and found nobody there. So he set up his cot and took over the job of medic himself. He was able to receive the packages of medicine sent by the Red Cross. This helped to keep him relatively healthy through the encampment. He got to shake General MacArthur’s hand when they were liberated. He returned to the United States and landed in San Francisco, where he was kept at the Lettermans’ Hospital for debriefing. Then returned home to Barnsdall, Oklahoma, where his parents farmed. He settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He died in 1990 and was buried at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe with military honors.

  8. Another great book to read: Doomed at the Start, American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-42, by William H. Bartsch. A well-researched, detailed, daily account of our 24th Pursuit Group (Army Air Corps) leading up to the March on Bataan and imprisonment. After reading this book, I had a new appreciation for the type of planes (and their poor condition!) available for the Pacific fight as well as the very limited training our pilots received. Their ingenuity and sheer bravery made them more than heroes in my mind. Because of the limited number of planes, many of these brave young pilots never even got to fly. My uncle was 23 when he died in 1943 at a POW camp after the March on Bataan. Our family had a close friend who was part of the underground movement sneaking food and medical supplies into the prisoners. She was able to report back to my grandmother updates on my uncle; however, as contact was lost, my grandmother did not learn of her son’s death until a year later. My grandmother, mother and aunt were able to visit Manila in the 60’s and to finally see his grave. I honor my uncle’s memory every time I look upon the framed recognition letter sent by President Roosevelt to my grandmother, and now hanging in my home.

    • Do you know if that book mentions the 34th Pursuit Sq.? My great uncle served with them.

    • My Uncle Richard Wayne Dysinger was a mechanic with the 34th Pursuit Squadron. He survived the Death March, but eventually became deathly sick on one of the “Hellships”. He died in Mukden, Manchuria…less than a week after arriving by Hellship. Any information that anyone has on Uncle Wayne would be greatly appreciated! Rod Dysinger rdysinger1@hotmail.com

  9. My great-grandfather, Fr. Albert Braun, OFM, was chaplain for the 92nd Coast Artillery Regiment in the Philippines at the time of the Bataan March. He was captured at Corregidor and sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp where he stayed 40 months, until released August 29, 1945. His condition at that time led to health problems the rest of his life. When he died in March, 1983, he had lost his legs to the ever-present gout and infections. He will always remain our family hero.

    • I have a good friend whose father, Charlie James, was a Bataan survivor. She has a rosary made by Fr. Braun and given to her father. She has carried it with her when she’s made the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range–this year was her 16th march!

    • Far out. Good for her. A moving testament to the men who endured.

  10. Clemson University professor Ben Skardon just celebrated his 100th birthday. He is a survivor of the Bataan Death March. Last year he completed his 10th “Bataan Memorial Death March” at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. I believe that he was on a segment on the television show “60 Minutes”. If you do an internet search for “Ben Skardon, Clemson”, there are several articles in the university newspaper about this hero and how he has impacted the lives of so many students over the years.

    • I was stationed out there last year and completed that grueling march.

    • He is still living? I hope he has had a wonderful life! It is incredible that there were any survivors. But to be able to live as long as he has after enduring such brutality is nothing short of a miracle!

    • The Clemson survivor reported that it was his connection to Clemson that actually saved his life. He and two other prisoners were Clemson grads and he was quickly losing his health and in dire straits when one of his Clemson friends recommended that he give up his hidden Clemson RING and they’d use that to barter with a Japanese guard that was approachable for such. the guard traded then a feeble chicken for the ring and the chicken broth brought strength to the Clemson prisoner.

      Had I know about this back then, I’d have taken MY Clemson ring into Vietnam with me!

  11. An interesting side note to the account of the Bataan death march is the book by John Keats, They Fought Alone, based on the three years Wendell Fertig and his brother led a guerilla operation in the Phillippines. At the outbreak of the war Fertig was a 41-year old mining engineer, graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, who was working at a gold mine on Mindanai—or vicinity. It happened that he was the highest ranking military person left on the islands after the evacuations . . . And so he took charge until the end of the war.

    • I’ve read accounts of Fertig. His is an amazing story of ingenuity and survival, yet no movie has yet been made.

  12. My cousin, Edward Elmore, was captured in the battle of Corregidor.
    Edward would tell us horrible stories about his imprisonment which lasted until the end of the war.
    He came back to his home a changed person.
    Edward could speak Japanese and often cried
    He died of cancer a number of years later

  13. My Uncle Bob Copper was a civilian working in the Philippines. As a small child I asked my dad what Uncle Bob did in the war and his only answer was “He survived The Bataan Death March.” Bob never recovered psychologically. I remember during a visit at our house, Dad came downstairs at 5am like always and Bob was sitting in the den chair holding the 7.7mm Arisaka rifle that Dad’s brother had given me. Dad said that Bob was just sitting in the chair, staring at that rifle. No telling how long he had been sitting their or what horrible experiences had gone through his mind, sitting there staring at that rifle. He simply told me that he remembered that rifle.That was the late ’60’s. He died about 1978/79.

  14. The reason the survivors could not talk about the Death March and POW camps is that they had to sign a gag order when they were repatriated agreeing not to talk or write about it for 50 years! I know, because my uncle is a 96-year old survivor of the March. He was in the first wave of prisoners. He wrote a book about it a few years ago called Condemned to Death Six Times. He calls MacArthur “Dougout Doug” because he abandoned them to save his own miserable skin. He was a coward, not a hero. My uncle, Eugene E. Bleil (now a retired doctor) was an aircraft mechanic in the 17th Pursuit Squadron and they begged for resupply of parts but none came. They begged for armament to fight the Japs with, and none came. He told me that when the Japs came ashore shooting at them, all they had left was rocks to throw at them. He barely survived the march and the prison camp, and still bears the scars from the malaria and beri-beri that he suffered with, as well as the many beatings he received. The Japs tore metal strips off the captured Jeeps and beat them with them. These American and Phillipine men are heros in the truest sense of the word for what they gave up on our behalf. Our family could never understand why he wouldn’t tell us what he went through, but now I know. He couldn’t come home if he didn’t sign that gag order. Thank you so much, Gen. MacArthur, you miserable coward!

    • Hi Caroline-
      Your family members ARE the true heroes as are all the others (like my uncle) who suffered/died due to what happened on Bataan. What I don’t get is the people who EVEN TODAY, STILL think that Mac Arthur and our own government were so fantastic in this situation. WE KNOW that they weren’t, and reading books (like those written by your family) and other historical material prove that. I just wish people NOW could see that entire situation for what it was worth (nothing but a hell hole) and admit that those in charge in our country were wrong and then admit that they did indeed abandon our troops. Those few who are left now can easily tell you that, like your family members have proved. Thank them for their service and you for caring so much about them and for them.

    • Thank you Doreen for your educated and kind response. I am very proud of my uncle and always have been. It’s only by the grace of God that my father didn’t go through the same thing. They enlisted together (it was my dad who told his younger brother that he was going to enlist and Uncle Eugene said “I’m going with you.”) They went through boot camp and training together, and when it was time to receive their orders, my dad got sick with yellow jaundice and went into the hospital for 2 months. His brother went to the Philippines. When Daddy was released from the hospital, he was sent to Guam instead, so he was spared the agonies that his brother endured. It wasn’t easy either, but had he gone to the Philippines too, I’m not sure that he would have survived. Thank God that they both came home, but Uncle Eugene spent some time in a hospital in San Francisco before he could return home to Michigan because he was so ill. He weighed under 100 lbs. and he is a tall man. At least he was one of the lucky ones to survive it all. His book went into its second printing last year, and it’s available only directly from him. If you’re interested in reading it, contact me at Beadfreak@aol.com and I will give you the address from where you can order it.

    • My Dad. , TSgt. Jack Yandell, was with the 6th Army and landed on Luzon, Oct.20.1944. He had NOTHING good to say about Mc Arthur. My Dad never spoke of the war except in two instances…trust me, they made the japs pay for what they did to the pow’s. God bless…Caroline

    • My daughter did a tease arch project on the civilian internment camps because my mother’s family was in either Santo Tomas or Los Banos. My grandfather was tortured in Fort Santiago as well. When helping her with her research I read about the fact that the US government knew that the Philippines was probably not defendable under a Japanese attack because trying to resupply it would take too long since the islands ere too far from the main land and Pearl Harbor. The plan was to have them do exactly what McArthur did, and then to hope they could get supplies and reinforcements in time. McArthur knew like 6 hours before the Japanese attacked the Philippines about the attack on Pearl Harbor and he did nothing. My mother’s family and the US troops were abandoned by the US government, as were the troops, and it really angers me. The suffering that they all endured was unconscionable.

    • AND…..if you look back in history, the Philippines were a territory of the US at the time, and they tried to say to the government that they wanted to have their independence so that if need be, they could make their own deals/arrangements with the Japanese so as to NOT be over-run by them, but the US government and military would NOT allow this and said they would not come to the Philippines’ aid if they decided they wanted independence from the US. The US government and military had such a strong hold over the Philippines, so they did not proceed with the quest for independence. Yeah, look at where THAT got them, right? Our dear government and military leaders like Mac Arthur DID abandon them….he told the soldiers to “Fight to the end”, while he escapes….oh what I’d like to say to him, knowing that MY UNCLE DIED because of his actions (or really LACK there of.) Bless all of the service people who DID try and save Bataan

    • Both of my great grandfathers fought for the US in The Philippines in the Spanish American war. One never left again and died in Santo Tomas. The other one married the daughter of a Spanish general. They settled in the Philippines, though went back and forth between the states and Manila. That grandfather also died in Santo Tomas. My mother was born in Manila in April of 1942. Her family were friends with the McArthurs, and my aunt used to play with Arthur. When they were liberated my grandmother, my mother, and her siblings went to Oregon to stay with my great grandfathers family. When my grandfather was able to get his bus company back up and running again, they went back and my mother grew up there. I still have a lot of family there. It amazes me how they are not bitter given everything they went through. I am angrier than they are.

    • MacArthur wasn’t the only weasel in the group. FDR made the decision after the Japanese attacks that we would enter the war but only under a “Get Hitler First” plan. So much loss of life could have been avoided if our government had supported the men fighting.

  15. My Tennessee cousin Austin Conor Shofner survived Corregidor and escaped with other prisoners to tell the world what was happening in Manila. He was gagged from telling others because they wanted to concentrate in Europe. There are many books but loved Escape from Davao. He was known as “Shifty” Shofner. They fought with the local guerrillas until evacuated and returned to fight there. He was a Marine and made the military his career and retired a Brig. General.

    • Wasn’t he one of the Marines chronicled in the book, “The Pacific”?

    • Yes, you’re right they even named a hey in Shelbyville TN after him. There’s also a Marine veterans group named after him. So wish I had met him. I love his son Martin a true gentleman.

  16. A distant cousins Uncle. Supposedly from a newspaper article in a San Francisco paper after the war one of his friends said, he had died upon entering the camp and the man said he wished he had been Will Short. Was never able to find the article for his nephew, he had a copy for years and someone threw it away. Here is what was said in book from the county.

    From “The History of Marion County Georgia 1827-1930” by Nettie Powell

    “After finishing high school in Buena Vista, Will Brown went to the Georgia Military College in Midgeville where he graduated. Later he attended the Georgia School of Technology. He served in the American army as a member of the signal corps during the World War. In 1922 he entered the U. S. Army as a second lieutenant. He has been promoted to first lieutenant and is now stationed in Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands.”

    From my notes.

    Will Brown was was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor in the Phillipines and was marched to Bilbid Prison Camp in Manila Philippines. He died upon reaching the prison camp.

    William Brown Short Lietenant Colonel, U. S. Army
    91st Coast Artillery Regiment, Phillipine Scouts
    Buried at Plot A Row 10 Grave 66

  17. My grandfather’s brother died on this march, of malaria they said.

  18. My uncle, PFC William Boyd “W.B.” Holmes, was my father’s half brother and he survived the Bataan Death March at the age of 22 years old. After enlisting in the Army and completing his basic training in California, William arrived in the Philippine Islands in October 1941 six weeks before the Japanese sneak attach on Pearl Harbor. He served in the American 31st Infantry Regiment of Colonel Charles Lowndes Steel which was one of four regiments in the Philippine Army’s 71st Division commanded by Brigadier General Clyde A. Selleck. The 31st Infantry Regiment occupied the center position of the Layac defense line which was formed in an attempt to delay the Japanese entry into Bataan. After Major General Edward King surrendered his forces, William survived the 60+ mile grueling march from Mariveles to the rail station at San Fernando. He then survived the sweltering box car train journey to Camp O’Donnell, a POW camp in the Province of Tarlac. He survived the horrendous conditions of Camp O’Donnell only to be moved in July 1942 to Cabanatuan where the conditions were not much better. In the spring of 1943 the Japanese started shipping prisoners from Cabanatuan to use as slave labor all over the Pacific. The ships used to transport the prisoners were known as “Hell Ships” and lacked the required POW markings on them. Many were torpedoed by American submarines, and thousands of American soldiers died when the ships were sunk. Conditions on the hell ships were even worse than the prison camps. In February 1944, William was among 650 American officers and enlisted POWs who labored on a Japanese airfield at Lansang on the Philippine Minduno Island. Another 100 American POWs labored on another airfield south of Davao on Mindano. On September 5, 1944, the 750 American POWs were transferred to the freighter ship Shinyo Maru. This hell ship was part of a convoy of ships destined for Manila via Cebu. On September 7 at 0230 hour the convoy started their trip. At 1637 hour Lt. Commander Byron Home Nowell, skipper of the submarine USS Paddle, sighted the convoy off the west coast of Mandanao at Sindangan Point and prepared to fire two torpedoes at Shinyo Maru. He was unaware the freighter ship was transporting American POWs. One POW survivor, 1st Lieutenant John J Morrett, recalled, “there was a terrific explosion immediately followed by a second one,” and “heavy obstacles came crashing down from above.” Dust filled the air, and bleeding men lay “all over each other in mangled positions, arms, legs, and bodies broken.” He struggled up to the deck and found it “strewn [with] the mangled bodies of Japanese soldiers.” Nearby, surviving Japanese soldiers fired at Americans swimming in the water or shot at those struggling up from the holds. My uncle, William Boyd Holmes, was one of the Americans swimming in the water and he was swimming with a good friend who was one of 83 survivors. According to my uncle’s friend, William was shot and killed while attempting to swim to freedom. While 1st Lieutenant John J Morrett was swimming to freedom, he heard “a terrific cracking sound as if very heavy tissue paper was being crushed together, then the boat seemed to bend up in the middle and was finally swallowed up by the water.” A Japanese cipher clerk duly noted the death of the Shinyo Maru at 1650 hour. There was 667 American POWs who died at sea this day either in the ship’s holds or in the water. Yes, my uncle survived the Bataan Death March, but he did not survive the war and died at the age of 24 years old. May he forever rest in peace.
    Rodney Dozier

    • My uncle, Lloyd Munson, survived the death march and was also on the Shinu Maru. My aunt said another man who was there saw Lloyd swimming strongly after the ship was bombed and thought he had survived. He did not. I have all the letters he sent home as well as the postcards sent from the POW camp and the letters from the military.

    • Mary Hensinger,

      I see your uncle, Lloyd W Munson, was a Sergeant in the 515th Coast Artillery (CA) Regiment Anti-Aircraft (AA) in H Battery. This regiment was part of the New Mexico Brigade and they fought extremely well during the invasion. I am very sorry to see he was unable to swim to freedom, and I pray he rests in peace with my uncle after he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

      Rodney

  19. I was in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Clark Air Force Base Philippines from 1956 to 1958. I had an occasion to go to Camp O’Donnell where some of the American and Filipino prisoners were kept after the “death march.”
    While at Camp O’Donnell I met a Non Commissioned Officer and he told me that there was a monument erected close by where the death march supposedly ended and he offered to take me there. After searching for the monument we found it and it was overgrown with weeds and was difficult to locate. As an eighteen year old I thought what a shame for the Filipino government to allow that to happen. I was eight years old when WW 2 ended never knowing that I would one day visit such a historical site and see the deplorable condition the site was in.
    I never returned to Camp O’Donnell but I have told many people what I saw that day.

  20. My uncle, Joseph Green, survived the March and was liberated when Tokyo fell. He wouldn’t talk about the experience. The only thing he told me was the survivors were brought home on a slow ship because they were so emancipated. He was 5’10” tall, and weighed 87 pounds when liberated.

  21. My Uncle George Jones was murdered by the Japanese in the Bataan Death March. He was a tall, imposing man who had played on a basketball team in Chicago. He apparently shared the same name as an American General so during the march he was singled out by the Japanese. They thought he had information about the War. He was bayonetted and beaten to death. As he lay dying a priest who was on the march begged for water but they didnt listen and killed my Uncle George. The priest brought his dog tags back to my great grandparents in Illinois after the war. He was buried in a common grave in Bataan.
    Why did that US General surrender these men!???

    • Mac Arthur (if that’s who you mean) surrendered these men because HE was a coward, and then fled the island, first to Corregidor, and then under the cover of night to Australia, where he literally sat, safe and sound, eating steak and eggs, while our soldiers (including your family member and MY uncle too) starved to death. boooo for our government. You know, I bet that STILL happens today but we just never hear about it. People today REALLY need to read up on this horror story and finally find out the truth as to what happened when our men were abandoned there all over the Philippines.

    • Gen. King surrendered the troops because they were out of food, ammunition and medicine. They were starving and dying of malaria and dysentery. Estimates were that they couldn’t hold out another week. Perhaps Gen. King thought they would get better treatment if they surrendered. Perhaps he thought every one of them would die unless they surrendered. To see the photo of the surrender, it’s obvious that the American officers were ashamed and distraught by what they had to do. To their credit, the American officers went into imprisonment with the troops, although they did receive better treatment. From New Mexico, the home of the 200th CA AA regiment, Gen. Charles Sage, Col. Memory Cain, and Col. Virgil McCollum all went into captivity and were always revered by the soldiers under them for it.

  22. Marine Sergeant George Samson was in China, assigned to bring relics from the Chinese National Museum in Peking down to Shanghai, where they could be transshipped for safety. They ran out of gas on the way there and were forced to abandon the relics but made it to Shanghai just in time to catch the last gunboat out. War was declared while at sea just off of Formosa. They mixed all the paint they could find together and applied the light brown coating to their vessel with mops. They then proceeded to capture a Japanese fishing fleet before heading as fast as they could to Manila. The navy there took over the gunboat for harbor patrol and anti aircraft duty. The marines were put ashore. George didn’t think much of McArthur (nor did any of the other men I knew who served directly under him in either World War or Korea). George didn’t surrender with the rest of the forces on Bataan. He and a few of his comrades sneaked through the Japanese lines and stole a fishing boat, which they sailed to New Guinea. He served throughout the war but was wounded at Guadalcanal.

  23. In Forest Park, Maywood and Melrose park IL, three burbs outside of Chicago. All three burbs had men that were in the march and now have parks, streets and Blvds named “Bataan”

  24. My great uncle:

    SSgt Layton W. Dunbar
    34 AAF Pursuit Sq.
    17 AUG 1920 – 28 OCT 1942

    He made it to Camp O’Donnell where he succumbed to starvation and died. I have a heart-breaking set of letters from his mother detailing her grief as she was dealing with her son’s death. His remains were actually just delivered to Roselawn Cemetary in San Antonio, TX where I am currently stationed. I am still trying to set aside some time to visit his site and stand among a hero. I’ve visited many war-related grave sites, but never one from a family member that could have been alive today. It will be humbling to say the least.

    “When you go home, tell them of us and say
    For their tomorrow, we gave our today.”

    I recently was stationed at Holloman AFB and took part in the Bataan Memorial Death March to honor his sacrifice and all veterans of that battle. He is one of the many heroes that has died for the preservation of freedom and the defeat of evil.

    “We’re the battling bastards of Bataan.
    No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
    No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces
    And nobody gives a damn.”

    • Thank you so much..for your message and for your service. My brother in law was stationed at Hollomon AFB when I md into the family. We spent a lot of time there and our first daughter was born in Alamogordo’s Geral Champion Mem. Hosp. She was the only baby there at the time.
      We were not blessed to see the Memorial Death March back in 1949/50. It was still so fresh that I don’t know who could have made it at the time. Johnnie’s 3years, 9 months and 27 days were still very much alive in his memory at that time./
      Their sacrifices are still remembered!

  25. Rather than finish the third year of his college education at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., in 1940 my uncle and godfather Donald Vautrinot enlisted in the U.S. Army. Based on a promise that he would be trained as a pilot, he volunteered for duty in the Philippine Islands. He had been there for about a year when on December 7th, 1941, ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the U. S. and Philippine forces who retreated to the Bataan peninsula. Don was wounded during the so-called Battle of the Points and was present at the surrender at Marivales on April 9, 1942. In fact, he is clearly recognizable in a picture of the surrender in the June 20th, 1942 Life Magazine.
    He survived the Bataan Death March to Camp O’Donnell only to die of malnutrition in the prison camp at Carbanatuan a year or so later. The family elected rather than bring him home to have him buried with his fellow soldiers in the American Military Cemetery in Manila.

    • My husband was stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the early 1970s. We had the opportunity to visit both the Bataan Memorial, north of the base and the American Cemetery in Manilla. Very moving experiences. Sorry for the unnecessary loss of your uncle.

  26. A tragic example, in the long history, of man’s inhumanity to man. Perhaps a somewhat greater percentage of fatalities than was dealt to American indigenous people on their inhuman forced march to a hostile destination. But no less reprehensible and no less inhumane.

  27. My dad, Hugh W. Jenkins was a member of the Army Air Corps and was a Bataan Death March Survivor and prisoner of war for 3 1/2 years in the Philippines, He weighed less than 85 pounds when he was rescued. He never really talked much about his experiences afterward, just a few things. If anyone heard of him, I would love to hear from you

  28. I have the book, by ABE Abrem [ BACK TO BATON ], signed by him, he barly survived THE MARCH,AND THE DEATH CAMP, it was given to me by my father, when he was in a v mac in WITCHATAW, RECOVERING FROM an amutation. one leg, from wwII , HE IS CONE NOW, I thought viet nam was bad!!! MR. ABREM, WAS VERY DISCRPTIVE ABOUT THAT, AFTER THE SURENDER, THE JAPANESE COMMANDER SAID THAT TEEY WER NOT RESPONABLE, AT THE TIME OUR TROUPS OUT NUMBERED THE JAPANESE 3 TO 1, BUT DID KNOW IT.

    • My husband’s uncle was one of the survivors of the Bataan Death March and kept track of where our boys were murdered and burried. He was asked by General McArthur to return and help locate their remains after the war. The Japanese commander surrendered to Uncle Abe in a big ceremony. He had the sword which is now in a small museum in West Virginia. They name our new VA clinic here in Butler after him. His name was Abie Abraham.

  29. I had a professor at Ariz State Univ in 1969 – 1971 who survived the march and spent the rest of the war in Japanese coal mines. He was Lester Irwin Tenney and his book My Hitch in Hell is available on Amazon. I loved and admired that man!

  30. The Harrodsburg Tankers were a Kentucky National Guard unit stationed on Luzon when the Japanese attacked. Nearly 75 men from same small town in Kentucky, brothers, cousins, neighbors, and school classmates all fought together in Battle for Luxon and entered captivity together on Bataan Death March. Nearly half didn’t make it home

  31. my dad William C Stacy was a survivor of the march he was
    a pow for three years. he was in the army air corp and then
    retired from the air force in 1963. he was forced to bury the
    sick and dying prisioners along the march.

  32. Some records can be found and accessed at National Personal Records Center/Military Personal Records/9700 Page Avenue/St. Louis, MO. 63132-5100/Fax 314-801-9195….some were destroyed in the 1973 fire –But can be reconstructed<NA Form 13075 (Questionnaire About Military Service and/or… NAform 13055 Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data. Another source ARCHIVES. GOV (http;//.archives.gov/).Another is CONTACT US(http://www.archives.gov/govcontact/)….(Freedom Of Information Act.gov) (FOIA.GOV.VA.MIL)

  33. My father’s first cousin Elihu Z. Herndon and my dad James F. Ingram both entered the US Army on June 23, 1941, They went to boot camp together at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.Then they were split up. Elihu was sent to Manila, Philippines, where he arrived on December 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and invasion of the Philippines. He was assigned to the 454th Ordnance Company, 27th Bombardment Group (Light), USAAF, Clark Field. He became a prisoner of war in April, 1942, following the surrender at Corregidor. He survived the Bataan Death March, and as a prisoner he sent 2 Red Cross “in good health” notification cards to his parents in Tennessee while in captivity at Cabanatuan, Philippines. On 24 October 1944, he was listed as missing, presumed dead with the sinking of Arisan Maru off northern Luzon, Philippines, in the Bashi Channel. The Arisan Maru was sunk either by the USS Shark II SS-314 (itself sunk by a Japanese depth charge attack that same day) or USS Snook SS-279 (operating in the same area as Shark, and sank several other ships in the same convoy with Arisan Maru).

    • The sinking of the Arisan Maru was the largest loss of life in an American maritime disaster, and it was friendly fire. The Japanese didn’t mark the hell ships as being POW transport ships, so they were often targeted by U.S. submarines. 1800 American men lost their lives on the Arisan Maru, including brothers Gene and Dwayne Davis from Carlsbad, New Mexico. There were eight survivors, a few of whom were able to get to China and make their way back to U.S. forces. One of them was Calvin Graef who returned to Carlsbad. His story is told in “Ride the Waves to Freedom.”

  34. http://ghostofbataan.com/bataan/page14.html

    Had the honor to meet Abie before he passed. His bok is a must read on the death march.

  35. The last parade in America specifically for the brave soldiers who survived the Baatan Death march was in Maywood, Illinois. There is still a memorial monument there because so many people from the town were involved with this event. My friend’s father, Robert Martin, who later became captain of the Maywood Fire Department, endured the march. His stories of the march and how the Japanese bayoneted any who fell, the ship travel to Japan, his work in the coal mines, the many things he endured while in the camps and ultimately the sight and feeling the explosion of the atomic bombs will never be forgotten. His story of the priest they all called “The Red Raider” who took the best items from the Red Cross packages for himself was shocking. He got his name because of his red hair. After they were released, they all were announced individually as they got off the ship in America. When The Red Raider (priest) got off, while everyone was skinny and looked near death, he looked fat and healthy. When his name was announced, everyone booed and Bob Martin said it was one of the most dramatic things he ever witnessed. But that was war.

    • Very interesting. Oddly enough a priest tried to help my Great Uncle George Jones after he was nearly beaten to death by Japanese and then bayonetted when he couldn’t walk. Priest brought dog tags back to family in Carmi, Illinois.
      I’m a Catholic. So horrible to see the Red Priest behave this way. How could he live with himself?
      Why did US Generals leave our men to die like this??

    • He and MacArthur were of the same ilk.

  36. My husbands Uncle Elmer Toalson from Pearsall Frio County Texas was taken prisoner by the Japanese. He was on a troop ship on his way to the South Pacfic his ship was bombed and sunk by the Japanese. He was picked up by aJapanese ship and taken prisoner he was sent to aPOW
    Camp in Burma. He was in the Battan March for days and many of the men died are were murdered. When he was liberated out of 22,000 there was 1500 left. They were beaten and starved he was put in a cage where he could neither stand or lay down. They were in the jungle they ate whatever they could find one time they killed a elephant they ate snakes bugs whatever He did say the boys that were raised in the countryknew how scavage and were among the ones that servived. He said they didn’t know that the Americans were coming but all at once the Japanese left them and pulled out. When they were liberated they were taken to India to a hospital. He was 6ft 2 in and he only weighed 80 Lbs. His family thought he was dead because his Parents had been told he was missing in action. But one of the men was from Hondo Tx and got word to his family that Elmer was alive. All of his papers were lost when his ship was sunk. For years he wasn’t able to get any help from the military. He suffered from numerous ailments contracted while he was a prisoner. He was there 3 yrs.

  37. God Bless all of those heroes who fought and died for us. Rest in Pease Hero’s

  38. My grandpa, Sylvester G. Lane, survived the Bataan Death March also. He was captured April 6, 1942 and was liberated January 30, 1945. He was a Technical Sergeant with the Medical Department, a sub unit of Provisional Air Corps Regiment. He was confined on Bataan until June 19 when detachment was transferred to Bilibid prison, then to Camp 1 at Cabanatuan.
    I saw him only once, in 1960. He was dying and wanted to see his family. He passed away in 1961 at the age of 59.

  39. My grandfather William Beaurnan survived the march to return to the States and join another service to fight in Vietnam. I miss my grandfather he was a great man.

  40. My uncle Raymond Porter was there ,it stayed with him and he never got over it.Uncle Ray passed away a few years ago.

  41. My dad was a paratrooper in WWII. He had 8 majors jumps. One jump was to help liberate Corregidor. He said the island had rebar sticking out of the ground which killed several troops. It defiantly was bloody Corregidor.
    My maternal uncle was captured on Corregidor three years earlier and was digging his own grave, when rescued by Russian soldiers.

  42. To Them & Theirs All, Duty Honor Country.

    U S Navy Veteran BM3

  43. My dad, Buford E. Thurmon, was on Corregidor and then was prisoner in Cabanatuan and in in June, 144 sent to Japan to Camp Fukuoka. He was a proud member of the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor.. We attended the reunion in San Diego in 1997 before he passed on 9-10-1997, the same day he says the Japanis guards left the prison camp.

    • Our dad’s likely knew each other. He too was an ADBC member and I’m a member of the descendants group.

  44. In the book Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides, it details the march. It really does not detail the extent of how inhuman Japanese along The March, or in The camps were. The film…sadly underrated, The Great Raid is a very accurate account of the rescue of members of one large camp.
    Be sure to read book….there are many names at the beginning and I suppose the prisoners.

    I honestly do not know how we EVER forgave the Japanese. Or Germans, for that matter.

    • My uncle DOES give details in his book, Condemned to Death Six Times. It’s a very sobering account of what happened, like seeing prisoners bayoneted along the way and left to die and rot. He himself could barely walk and was supported on either side by other prisoners to keep him from collapsing on the ground. He would have been murdered too. He said there were grease spots in the dirt roadway from where trucks had run over dead prisoners many times and were just left where they fell. In the prison camp they ate whatever they could catch in order to stay alive. Prison rations were pretty meagre. He suffered from dysentery, malaria an beri-beri, like most of the prisoners did. He prayer daily to God that if He let him survive this hell, he would spend the rest of his life being the best Christian he could be and would do all he could to help his fellow man. After he came home and regained his health, he went to college and became an anesthesiologist and spent the rest of his adult working life practicing medicine.

  45. In about 1962, our neighbor in Monterey, California was a Master Sergeant in the Army stationed in Fort Ord. His family said that he was a survivor of Bataan, but he never spoke of it.

  46. My father began the march, escaped to Corregidor Island where the final surrender occurred. He endured three and a half years of starvation, deprivation and a victim of every parasite and illness known to the tropics. He was 69 lbs at liberation, which for him ended up in Inchon Korea on 9/9/1945.

    He’s gone now, as are most of our Bataan internees. Unfortunately this is a piece of history few have heard or learned about in school.

    • Yes indeed; all too few today know what happened, and even some of those who do know, don’t seem to realize (or don’t want to realize), just how awful our own government and military treated our soldiers there in the Philippines. By that I surely mean how Mac Arthur abandoned his troops by first moving to Corrigedor and then in the dead of night, left the Philippines all together for Australia. His men were beaten, starved, some bayonetted, many killed, while he sits “high and dry” eating steak and eggs in Australia. He promised, “I shall return.”, but never did so until about 9/1945 when so many had suffered/died ALREADY! I don’t he believe he cared about anyone but himself, and if you read accounts of what some of his own officers even said about him, he was all about self-lauding, especially to make himself look good to those on the home front. He was a real piece of work in my opinion. I know some (even those who have written comments here) don’t agree, but they need to look back at the real history of this horrific event. Thanks to family members like yours and mine, we were able to have the lives we now have, right?

  47. Has anyone here read the book titled, “My Hitch in Hell” by Dr. Les Tenny? He was a finance and insurance professor at Arizona State University and died only last year in 2017. At the moment, the paperback edition is sold out on Amazon, but the kindle and hardcover version are available. By far the best book I ever read about the Baatan Death March. His true full name was Lester Tennenbaum but shortened it. My friend’s father, Robert Martin, from Maywood, Illinois, credited him with saving the lives of not just his own but several other people when they became sick while imprisoned in Japan.

  48. I had the privilege to work with Peter Domenicali, MD. in El Paso who was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He related several stories. I remember him telling about boarding a transport to Japan, he said that he was next in line to board the boat to take them to Japan. He was fortunate not to make that specific trip in that he witnessed the sinking of that boat by a submarine with all killed.
    The other story was that when the war was over the prison gates were opened and the prisoners could then walk freely among the other Japanese almost as one of them.

  49. My grandfather, Max Eaken Sweeney. My mother and uncle were children(6 and 9 yrs old) at the time, living in Manila. They were taken to Santo Tomas during the Japanese occupation(1945), survived the war and liberation. My grandfather did not survive captivity in Cabanatuan. The Chief Watertender rank was changed to Chief Petty Officer after the war. He was one of 5 brothers, in a family of 8 children, from Rockford, Illinois.

    Prisoner of War Medal
    AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
    DURING World War II
    Service: Navy
    Rank: Chief Watertender
    Division: Prisoner of War (Philippine Islands)
    GENERAL ORDERS:
    NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 – 1947

    CITATION:
    Chief Watertender Max Eaken Sweeney (NSN: 1745747), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

  50. My Grandpa, Woodrow (“Woody”) Wilson Berard, was a member of the U.S. Military who was taken captive in the Bataan Death March. He was one of the lucky ones and survived. When he did tell me some information about this experiences as I got older, he said did not think he would survive. Regrettably, I did not get as many details from him about this from him as I wish I would have although I was much younger in the pre-Internet era. Part of the stories that I do recall were not just about how exhausted he was from the march, heat, and humidity…but just how hungry they were. If he didn’t die of exhaustion, he thought he was going to die of starvation. He eluded to other POWs getting beaten, but never really elaborated or told of any personal experiences.

    Again, he was one of he lucky ones – truly part of “The Greatest Generation”. He returned home and worked in a Milwaukee factory until retirement and lived into his early 80s with the love of his life (my Grandma – a true “Rosie The Riveter”). They never had a lot of money, but were extremely rich in their love of each other, family, friends, and enjoyed many (Milw.) Braves, GB Packers, & Milw. Brewers games along the way.