Sgt. Virgil Wallace
98 years old
from Capitan, New Mexico
Congressman Steve Pearce was on hand for the award.
“…This week, Lea County native, Sgt. Virgil Wallace was presented with the Bronze Star. Sgt. Wallace turned 98 years old on Friday, July 29 and is the oldest living survivor of the Bataan Death March from New Mexico.
It was an honor to recognize Sgt. Wallace’s heroic service in the 200/515 Coast Artillery. His brave and selfless actions provide inspiration for all in our armed forces, and I am thankful for the sacrifices he made to defend our freedom. He faced horror in the name of liberty and deserves recognition…”
“…In June, 2001 U.S. Congressional Representative Rohrbacher described the horrors and brutality that the prisoners experienced on the march:
“…”They were beaten, and they were starved as they marched. Those who fell were bayoneted. Some of those who fell were beheaded by Japanese officers who were practicing with their samurai swords from horseback. The Japanese culture at that time reflected the view that any warrior who surrendered had no honor; thus was not to be treated like a human being. Thus they were not committing crimes against human beings.[…] The Japanese soldiers at that time […] felt they were dealing with subhumans and animals.”
Trucks were known to drive over some of those who fell or succumbed to fatigue, and “cleanup crews” put to death those too weak to continue. Marchers were harassed with random bayonet stabs and beatings.
From San Fernando, the prisoners were transported by rail to Capas. 100 or more prisoners were stuffed into each of the trains’ boxcars, which were unventilated and sweltering in the tropical heat. The trains had no sanitation facilities, and disease continued to take a heavy toll on the prisoners. After they reached Capas, they were forced to walk the final 9 miles to Camp O’Donnell. Even after arriving at Camp O’Donnell, the survivors of the march continued to die at a rate of 30-50 per day, leading to thousands more deaths. Most of the dead were buried in mass graves that the Japanese dug out with bulldozers on the outside of the barbed wire surrounding the compound.
The death toll of the march is difficult to assess as thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards (although many were killed during their escapes), and it is not known how many died in the fighting that was taking place concurrently. All told, approximately 5,000–10,000 Filipino and 600–650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell…”
You can read more here.
This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Cindy
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look
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