Oldest survivor of Death March dies Aug 16, 2011 9:02:06 GMT -5
Post by VeeVee on Aug 16, 2011 9:02:06 GMT -5
Oldest living survivor of Bataan Death March dies at 105
Albert "Doc" Brown was almost 40 when he was forced by Japanese soldiers to make the infamous 65-mile Bataan Death March to a POW camp along with thousands of other American GIs in 1942. Suffering wounds and broken bones, Brown survived years as a prisoner, but a doctor told him not to expect to make it to 50.
This undated family photo shows Bataan Death March survivor Albert Brown in uniform during World War II.CAPTIONBy Family Photo, APHe made it to 105, dying this weekend in a Nashville nursing home, the Associated Press reports.
The Nebraska native not only survived the horrendous conditions in the camps, he secretly documented it all, scrawling details on a tiny tablet that he concealed in a canvas bag.
"Doc's story had as much relevance for today's wounded warriors as it did for the veterans of his own era," says Kevin Moore, co-author of the recently released Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man's True Story, which details Brown's experience.
"The underlying message for today's returning veterans is that there's hope, not to give in no matter how bleak the moment may seem," Moore tells the AP. "You will persevere and can find the promise of a new tomorrow, much like Doc had found."
Brown, recognized in 2007 at an annual convention of Bataan survivors as the oldest one still living, remained in a POW camp from early 1942 until mid-September 1945, living solely on rice. He lost 80 pounds.
"He had this incredible spirit to live and overcome," Moore said. "Positive thinking or whatever you call it, he survived."
Born in 1905 in North Platte, Neb., Brown was the godson of Wild West folk hero "Buffalo Bill" Cody, The Omaha World-Herald reports. He studied dentistry in the 1920s and was called to active duty in 1937, leaving behind a wife and children.
At prison camps in the Philippines, Brown recalled fights breaking out in the line to a single brass water faucet.
"Every drop in that canteen was your life,'' he told The Omaha World-Herald.