Back to Bataan - A Survivor's Story
Written by Rick Peterson
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Author Rick Peterson



The Road to Bataan

The Bataan Death March

The San Fernando Train Ride

Camp O'Donnell

Clark Field Concentration Camp

Bilibid Prison

The Hell Ships


The Nomachi Express

Camp Nomachi

Surrender, Liberation, and Repatriation


University of Minnesota
Alf R. Larson
Recorded Oral History

Governor Pawlenty
State of the State Address Tribute

KSTP TV Newscasts

Duluth TV Newscasts

KTIS Radio Interview
Rick P./Paulette K.
Alf's Christian Faith

Alf's Letter to God

Alf R. Larson

In Memory:
Alf R. Larson
Star Tribune

US Representative
Erik Paulsen's Tribute

Alf Larson Day -
City of Crystal

Bataan Death March Route Map

Philippine Department of Tourism

Star Tribune:
March of Time
("Article of Interest" for 4-6 Grade Basic Skills Reading Test Prep)

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Camp O'Donnell

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To make things worse we started hearing hair-brained rumors on a daily basis. They were flying everywhere, mostly from people who came back to the camp from work details. They didn't actually see what things the rumors were about. They were just hopeful they would happen.

What were some of them?
For example, someone would come in and say, "There is a Red Cross ship in the harbor with food," or "There is another ship in the harbor and we are going to be exchanged," or "We are going to be repatriated very soon." These rumors were really rough on morale.

Some soldiers believed them and died because nothing happened. If you listened to all that malarkey, you would go insane. I started to pay attention to them and they got to me. That's why I wanted to get out of there. I said, "I'm not going to stay here and take this."

The Water Line At Camp O Donnell -- Drawing Courtesy of Ben Steele What was the camp like physically?
There were long bamboo huts and one spigot of drinkable water for the entire camp, which held about 7,000 Americans. We would line up once a day and get water. One man was usually designated to get as many canteens as he could possibly carry, go to the spigot, and fill them up. When they wanted to harass us, the damned Japanese would shut the thing off for no reason! They would leave it off for hours at a time. You would have to stand there and wait for them to turn it on again.

How were the Japanese behaviorally on a day-to-day basis?
We had to acknowledge every single Japanese from the lowest to the highest. You didn't salute them like we did in our military. You bowed. And you better bow! They would club you if you didn't, especially the privates and privates first class. Those who didn't bow found out in a hurry that they better do it. Cooking Rice at Camp O Donnell -- Drawing Courtesy of Ben Steele Other than that, they left us strictly alone. Eventually, we were able to set up mess halls.

What would you eat, and how often?
We cooked rice we called lugao. We ate once a day, usually at noon. Everyone got a cup of that gruel. It was rice that was thinned out with water so you could pour the stuff.

You were fed once a day. Did you get anything besides water to drink?

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