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


Foreword

Introduction

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

Japan

The Nomachi Express

Camp Nomachi

Surrender, Liberation, and Repatriation

Epilogue

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

Memorial:
Alf R. Larson


In Memory:
Alf R. Larson
Star Tribune


US Representative
Erik Paulsen's Tribute


PROCLAMATION
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 Nomachi

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Our most serious medical problem was malnutrition! We were all suffering from it. In the Philippines, when we went out on details, we could pick up weeds and stuff to eat. We would bring whatever we found back to camp and cook it. We ate everything that moved, grew, swam, whatever. We tried everything; I mean everything! We didn't have the opportunity to do that in Japan.

The hunger pangs or feelings never left for those years?
That's right. I was always hungry. Always! I was hungry before the American surrender on Bataan, and from the days of the Bataan Death March until we were liberated.


Why didn't your stomach shrink up? You wouldn't be that hungry.
It might have shrunk up, I'll tell you, but it was still there! We were hungry all the time. Without any food, the hunger pangs would have gone away. The Japanese gave us just enough food to keep hunger pangs alive so we would suffer!

What did you guys do spiritually? Did you discuss religion or pray?
I'll speak for myself. I had my little Bible. I read it every day and prayed by myself.

They didn't take your Bible away?
No. They would have in the Philippines if they had found it. They didn't bother in Japan. In fact, we never had any shakedowns in Japan. We didn't have any church services. We had to work seven days a week and never got a day off!

By the time we finished work, even though it wasn't that demanding, we were strapped. Surviving on starvation rations resulted in a very low strength and tolerance level. The Japanese didn't have time off either. They worked right along side us, seven days a week.

Did you sleep well?
Most of the time, yes. I just "zonked out." In the wintertime, I ate supper out of my mess kit on my bed. Then I crawled right in. It was cold!

What was winter like?
It was very cold and snowed like you wouldn't believe. We didn't get raging snowstorms but the snowfall was heavy.

Did anyone shovel the snow?
The civilians would shovel the path to the machine shop and the dock. I don't know how, but it was always open after a snowfall. There was nothing to shovel the camp compound with. We just packed the snow down when we walked on it.

Was the barracks heated?
Yes. But, the small stove would never get the barracks very warm. There wasn't much wood to burn either.

Was your workplace, the machine shop, heated?
Yes. It was warmer than the barracks.

What did you wear for winter clothing?
For winter, we were issued a jacket. Other than that, we wore Japanese military uniforms with baggy pants. We were issued regular hobnailed shoes.

How far away from camp was the machine shop?
It was about half a mile from the camp's main gate.

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All materials copyright © 2001 Rick Peterson.
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