"Kermit Lay was born Jan.30, 1916 in Altus, OK. He joined Co. A, 38th Infantry, Ft. Still, OK on Feb. 17, 1933. Prior to WWII he was stationed at H Company, 31st Infantry, Manila, PI. He last served with G Troop, 14th Horse Cav., Ft. Riley, KS.
On August 1, 1941, Sgt. Lay left the Horse Cavalry and re-enlisted as a Private in the 724th Aviation Ordnance Co., Ft. Douglas, UT. In late September the 724th was transferred to the Philippines, arriving 45 days prior to World War II. On Dec. 24, 1941 all U.S. planes were destroyed on the ground, all Air Corps Units were issued rifles (Springfield) and named Provisional Air Corps Infantry and ordered to Bataan. In Jan. 1942 Pvt. Kermit Lay received a commission as a second lieutenant in the infantry. On Jan. 28, 1942 he was assigned assistand as provost marshall, 1st Philippine Corps.
He was taken prisoner on April 9 of that year. After the Bataan Death March he was interned in Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan, PI, then in Japan at Tanagawa, Zentusuji and Roko Roshi. He was liberated on Sept. 8, 1945. Upon return to duty he served at Ft. McClellan; occupational army duty in Germany and served on the Berlin Airlift. Upon return to the U.S. he was assigned to Ft. Sam Houston, TX, where he retired as captain. He later became a deputy sheriff, Tarrent Co., Fort Worth, TX and was a member of the Sheriff's Posse, and member of the Moslah Shrine Temple Mounted Patrol. He was coronoted a 33 degree mason in 1985. He moved to San Francisco where he worked and retired from the Wells Fargo Bank. He is a past commander, 1973-1974, Western States Chapter, American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc. He was the editor of the Zentsujian, EX-POW newsletter, which he founded in 1974. He was married to Paula for 44 years (in 1991), and had two sons and three grandsons at that time. In 1987, he and his wife moved to Clayton, CA.
Kermit retired from the Army as a Captain in 1951. He was awarded and received many medals for his duties while serving his country including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star w/ Cluster, the Purple Heart w/ Cluster, the POW Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the WWII Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Philippine Unit Citation, the American Defense Medal w/ Star, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal w/ 2 Stars, and many more.