Received: Combat Infantry Badge, Distinguished Unit Badge w/2
Oak Leaf Clusters, BRONZE STAR MEDAL, ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL w 1 OAK
LEAF CLUSTER, AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL, Asiatic-Pacific Theater
Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Occupational Medal, National Defense Serice
Medal, Good Conduct Medal W/Silver Clasp, And POW Medal
MILITARY FOR 30 YEARS
On April 1942, we were surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army by
Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright at Balanga, Bataan, Philippines.
We were ordered to form six lines on the road and we began what is known
as the infamous “ Bataan Death March.”
Walking under the blistering heat of the April sun, we were a pathetic
sight to behold. Coughs, sneezes, and groans were heard throughout the
march. Many collapsed from utter exhaustion, intense hunger, and
weakness. They were carried or dragged by others to prevent them from
being left to the mercy of the guards.
We were given no food or water the entire march, except for one occasion
when several 32-gallon cans of spoiled cooked rice were served to us. We
had to eat this rice or we would be killed.
At night, we slept on both sides of the road. Sometimes, these were rice
paddies being plowed for the planting season. Other times they were
pasturelands with carabao and cow manure, or thick grasses infested with
tropical insects. Under these environmental conditions, we tried to
sleep in a sitting position to prevent our backs from getting wet and
catching a cold.
Passing by the city of San Fernando. Pampanga we were treated with
compassion by the people who lined the road. Wrapped food (rice, fish,
and meat) fruits and sugar were thrown to us. Surprisingly, no Japanese
guards interfered in this show of compassion.
I thought of my loved ones, especially my asthmatic mother whose love
and sacrifices for me I vividly remember. I thought of my father who
also had asthma and who could no longer farm and catch fish. I thought
of my sister, Carmen, who sacrificed immensely for me by obtaining a job
as a housemaid that I might complete my high school education. I felt
helpless and frustrated and a thought came to me several times, that it
would have been better to die in Bataan so my parents would benefit from
my pension that they would receive.
From there we marched to the city of Angeles, Pampanga, there we also
received the same treatment that we were shown in San Fernando, some of
the women even risked everything to come out and hand us the gift of
food and bottled water. Once again the soldiers showed no sign of
It was noon when we reached the town of Capas, Tarlac, where camp
O’Donnell, a Philippine Army training camp was located. The camp was
barren, sandy, and deserted. After the ordeal I was released on Dec.
Message to Future Generations:
Let the example of the military servicemen, living and dead, who made
extreme sacrifices in war, to be your guiding light in preserving the
greatness of our nation.