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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USS Grant -- Photo Courtesy of the Battling Bastards of BataanI spent March 1939 until September 1939 in the infantry. We went on maneuvers at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for two weeks. We walked from Camp McCoy back to Fort Snelling! Two guys in the infantry kept bugging me saying, "You ought to go to the Philippines." "It's wonderful duty over there." When we got back, I applied for and received a transfer to the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Philippines Islands. I later found out those two guys had been there, didn't like it, and "bought out." At that time, you could buy a discharge from the Army for $120.00. I went there on the ship USS Grant. It was a big old tanker the United States had taken from Germany after World War I. On the trip over, we had a storm. Some of the guys got sick and lost their "cookies" all over everything.

Did you get sick on the voyage?
He never gets sick. (Jane)
When we got to Hawaii, we laid over for a day.

Did you go ashore in Hawaii?
Yes. Something happened over there. I don't know if I told you or not.
No. (Jane, laughter).
They had a hula gal's show for us, free of charge. When I got up to leave, the others had already gone. I didn't know where the heck they went. I went through an exit and ended up in the ladies dressing room.
Oh (Jane, laughter).
I got out of there without anything happening.
I can just see him! (Jane, laughter).

Was that on Oahu?
Yes. We were in the main terminal at Honolulu. Pearl Harbor was off to the side. The next day we sailed to Guam, and stopped there for a day.

You went ashore. What was there?
There were a few natives and a small village. We had to anchor quite a ways out and were "lightered" (ferried) ashore. From Guam, we went to Manila. That first day it was so hot and humid a big typhoon came. It was a fitting welcome! I thought, "This is lower than Lower Slobovia!" "What the heck have I got into here."

How long were you stationed in the Philippines?
I was there from 1939 until 1944. Then, from 1944 until mid-1945, I was in Japan.

Alf Riding His Bike In Manila Area -- Photo: Alf Larson Private Collection You were how old when you arrived in the Philippines?
I was twenty-two and assigned duty at Nichols Field outside Manila. We worked from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. At noon, everything was closed up and locked and I mean everything! The medics suggested we take a nap in the heat of the day. I got so dog gone lazy I didn't want to get out of bed. I said "to heck with this!" I bought a bicycle and hit the countryside. I peddled all around southern Luzon; anyplace there was a road. One time I biked from Nichols Field to Cavite, which is about twenty-five miles from Manila. I ate with the Marines and came back the same day.

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