Tillman of San Antonio, Texas was only 17 when he was captured in Bataan on April 9th, 1942. Tillman was an Army PFC. 6th CL specialist assigned to Co F and 2nd BN HGS. Det., U.S. 31st Inf.
He spent 3 and 1/2 years as a POW in the Philippines. He made the Bataan death march before being self-liberated in September 1945.
After the war Tillman stayed in the service and joined the Air Force and served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He had orders to DaNang, but failed to pass his physical and was forced to retire on Combat-rated disabilities.
During his career in the service Tillman was held in such camps as ODonnell, Caban Cabanatuan, Bilibid, Las Pinas, Tanagawa, and Fukuoka and received over 31 decorations and awards including the Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, and the POW Medal.
Tillman attended Florida State University, SAC (San Antonio College), La Salle Law School and St. Mary's University. He volunteers his time in Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service, and he was the recipient of the Secretary Of Affairs Outstanding Volunteer with Diamond award, the DAV National Volunteer of the Year for 1996 award, and the AHA Award for Volunteer Excellence for 1997.
Tillman has also written a book entitled My Japanese POW Diary Story that was published in 1997. It is a personal account of the survival of young teenager under the worst of the worst conditions.
Tillman's wife, Joyce Ann Counts Rutledge, graduated from Popular Springs High School in Florida. She met Tillman while she was working in Tallahassee and he was assigned to the AFROTC detachment #145, attending Florida State.
Tillman and Joyce were married November 3rd 1951 in Tallahassee. They have five children. Joyce was one of the first ten volunteers at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital, San Antonio, TX and served for over 24 years and 15,000 certified hours. She also served our Lord as a volunteer helping others as a Sunday school teacher.
Tillman volunteers their collaboration, My Japanese POW Diary Story, would not have ever been started, much less finished, except for Joyce. She was a victim of PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), an incurable hereditary disease that they fought for over ten years together.