Back to Bataan - A Survivor's Story
Written by Rick Peterson
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Website Dedication
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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Clark Field Concentration Camp

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How were the duties and work details assigned?
The Japanese would tell our officers each evening what they wanted, i.e. how many men they needed, etc. The officers would tell the platoon leaders, and we would assign the people. The Japanese had bombed the area before the surrender. The first thing we did was to police up the entire area. That took us about a year. We picked up and got rid of all the junk. If we could use anything we were allowed to bring it back to camp. We did manage to scrounge up some medical supplies such as bandages and iodine, but no quinine. After everything was cleaned up, we started working on the airfield and quarried rock.

Where did you get the rocks?
There wasn't a quarry. We dug these rocks out of the ground. They were used to repair the runways. The Japanese broke us into squads. The size would vary, but was usually eight to ten men. I had to assign each man, i.e. you go here, you go there, etc.

How many squads were in your platoon?
There was no set limit because sometimes they would want fifteen men to go here, ten men to go there, etc.

Assignments were different each day depending on what was supposed to be done?
Right. They gave each squad a quota for the amount of rock that had to be dug each day. If you were lucky, you found a place where you could get lots of rocks and had your quota by 4:00 p.m. If you were unlucky, you stayed out there until you did. Many times people stayed out until midnight. I'll tell you, I was one of them. We stayed out close to midnight several times to get our quota.

Could a squad always find enough rocks?
Yes, eventually.

Did they give you tools to dig with?
Yes. We had shovels and picks.

Who enforced these quotas?
The Japs did. Someone from their engineering department had figured out you had to get so much rock and pile it a certain way. Each pile was so long, so high, and so wide. I got injured because this stupid Jap walked on top of the rock pile. He tried to make us build the pile straight up instead of tapering it like we were supposed to. We built it up high and when he walked on it, the rocks tumbled down across my legs, injuring both my knees. I was in bad shape. They had to carry me in to camp.

When did the rocks fall on you?
We had been at Clark Field close to one and one half years.

Did the Japanese give you any medical treatment for that injury from the rocks?
No. We had no medical supplies whatsoever other than what we found on our own. The Japanese had taken all of ours after the surrender. I just had to sweat it out.

Did your injuries ever heal?
No. They never completely healed and gave me trouble for years. I finally ended up getting both knees replaced, one in 1998 and one in 1999.

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