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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Surrender, Liberation, and Repatriation

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The massive air bombardment continued on Japan?
Yes. When low-level bombing began at about 5,000 feet, we knew the end was pretty dog gone close. When the first bombing started, we saw Japanese fighters taking off to intercept the American bombers. We never saw any Japanese fighters in the air after the beginning of 1945. We knew the end was coming because the Americans were flying with virtually no air opposition.

Why did bombing occur at night instead of during the day?
With nighttime bombing, opposition from the enemy wasn't there. At night, the antiaircraft was totally dependent on radar and theirs wasn't that accurate. It was very difficult, at that time, for fighters to be effective during night bombing, especially since they didn't have very many left.

After the bombing started, were you or fellow prisoners feeling scared and anxious?
We weren't really scared or anxious. In fact, we would look forward to the bombing. When it started, everybody's spirits rose.

We knew the end was coming otherwise the Americans wouldn't be able to bomb with such intensity. Towards the end of the war, bombng was around the clock.

The B-29 Bomber -- Photo Courtesy of C. Holvenstot When did the firebombing of Japan start?
The firebombing started about three months before the surrender. By that time, we knew darned well the end of the war was getting close!

Did you work at the machine shop during the bombing?
Yes. The bombing didn't change camp routine at all. The machine shop and manganese smelting plant in our area were drops in the bucket compared to other targets. The Americans weren't interested and didn't bother bombing them.

Did you see changes in the civilians and guards over the ninth-month bombing campaign?
Yes. The civilians became friendlier. The military guards didn't change.

What about the Red Cross? (Jane)
They never came to visit the camp. We each got one Red Cross package in Japan. The Japanese, not the Red Cross, delivered them. We got cigarettes towards the end of the war in Red Cross packages.

I didn't smoke so I traded my cigarettes for coffee. I finally got my coffee! The first Red Cross people I saw were in the Philippines after we were repatriated.

You liked your coffee! You didn't have any before this?
No, not in Japan. I had coffee in my Red Cross package at Clark Field in the Philippines.

This was the only time you got a Red Cross package in Japan?

You received two Red Cross packages your entire time in captivity?

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