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


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)

Post/View Comments

The Bataan Death March

<<< Previous Page Page 3 Next Page >>>

Hunger! -- Philippine citizens throw food from the side of the road. -- Drawing Courtesy of Ben Steele Did you walk on the blacktop highway?
Yes. We had been starved for such a long time we were really run down. We looked like a bunch of stragglers. We didn't get anything to eat for four days.

Along the way, Filipinos would try to give us food. The Japanese shot some of them.

Finally, the last two days, everyone got one rice ball each day to eat.

How large were the rice balls?
They were about the size of the amount of rice you could get in a coffee cup.

You didn't eat a thing for four days and you were already starved when you were captured.
That's right. We weren't given any water either. There was good water all around us. Artesian wells flowing everywhere! They would not let us go and get it. Men went stark raving mad! Soldiers broke ranks and ran towards the water.

They went completely insane because they had to get it. They never got it! Of course, you know what happened to them.

Death Marchers Drink From Mud Hole -- Drawing Courtesy of Ben Steele Our soldiers were shot before they reached water?
That's right.

Did you ever drink stagnant water?
If you were lucky, that's just what you got. We drank foul smelling and stagnant water from the ditches. Some guys got terrible diarrhea. Fortunately, I didn't get any ill effects from drinking it.

There were clean artesian wells nearby but you had to drink stagnant water?
Yes. You scooped it up as you walked. We were not allowed to go to the artesian wells, which were about half a block from the road. We were able to get water at night by collecting canteens. You didn't dare get too many or they would rattle. We would handle them very carefully and quietly sneak off to an artesian well. You held a canteen under water and filled two or three of them. Then we came back and passed them around. If the Japanese had caught us, that would have been it! We would have been shot. Fortunately, I was never caught.

Did they ever cook food in front of you but not serve it?
During the day, the Japs would tell us we would get rice balls when we got to our nighttime destination. When we got to the field where we were going to spend the night, you could see and smell food cooking across the road.

They would give some excuse why we couldn't have any. I don't remember exactly what the excuses were. They usually had to do with some phony rule infraction on our part. Anyway, they would eat the food in front of us but we wouldn't get any. I remember this happened two nights out of five on the march.

<<< Previous Page Page 3 Next Page >>>

Print This Page

All materials copyright © 2001 Rick Peterson.
This manuscript is registered with the Writer's Guild of America.
Developed by Dragon Eye Design.

Add Me!