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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The Road to Bataan

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What was War Plan Orange?
War Plan Orange was a plan to stock Bataan with about six month's supply of food, ammunition, medicine, and supplies. It was never implemented because MacArthur was not in favor of defensive maneuvers. He ordered the supplies placed on front line positions around Luzon. The plan was to supply the Filipino troops while they were fighting Japanese. But the Japs went through the Filipino lines like you know what through a tin horn and got the food and supplies! As a result, the Filipino Army was starving. Therefore, we had a ration shortage that wouldn't quit.

Bataan/Corregidor Map -- U.S. Archive Photo By now, all American troops were located on the Bataan Peninsula except those on Corregidor?
Right. General Wainwright was originally the US commander in charge of the West Side defense of Bataan and General King had the East Side defense of Bataan. They both reported to General MacArthur. The East Side was mainly service troops, like the air corps. Like I said, I was at Bataan Airfield on the East Side. This base was about five miles from the front lines where the Japanese broke through. The East Side was had more fighting because of the open areas and sugar cane fields. The West Side had less combat because of the heavy jungle. The Filipinos were in the center of the line on the Bataan Peninsula and, therefore, got the brunt of the whole mess. The Japanese found holes in the third line of defense and kept pushing everyone back further and further. The Filipino regiment in the middle of our defensive area just walked back away from the Japanese. They quit because they were starving to death and large stores of food had been abandoned to the enemy! We were starving to death too and the Filipinos were getting less than we were. General MacArthur's inept planning wasted all the food. We received half rations on Bataan from day one because there was nothing to eat!

We were told to "watch the monkeys." "What they eat, you can eat." If we saw a monkey, that's what we ate! We ate the jungle, i.e. anything that moved, crawled, or grew!

We ate snake, lizard, pony, mule, iguana, rats, monkeys, you name it, and we tried it! We tried EVERYTHING! We spent more time looking for food than fighting the Japanese!

Could you find any vegetables?
We found wild bananas. They tasted good but have very little meat and a lot of seeds. You could just chew a bit around the edges and that was it.

Did you have water to drink?
There weren't any wells so we drank water from streams. I don't know why we didn't get sick.

Major General Edward P. King -- Photo Courtesy of the Battling Bastards of Bataan Everyone had to forage for food and fight at the same time?
Yes. General King tried to establish a line of resistance but failed. If we would have had food and equipment, we probably could have counter-attacked. We might have been able to push them off Bataan. They were just about as bad off as we were, in fact, maybe a little worse. Some of their units hadn't been re-supplied since they invaded. But they were finally re-supplied and broke through the defenses.

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