PARTY - SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 - 2:00 PM to
3813 N. Broadway
Wichita, KS 67219
Birthday cake, food and
refreshments while it lasts.
SHARE THE FLYER -
Eddie Graham - World War II “BATAAN DEATH MARCH
When Eddie Graham enlisted in the New Mexico
National Guard in 1941, he was prepared to serve
his country, but he was unprepared for how
dedicated this service would prove to be.
Mr. Graham is one of the few remaining survivors
of the Bataan Death March, a six day march
spanning more than 60 miles that led to the
death of more than 19,000 American and Filipino
prisoners of war during World War II.
Mr. Graham's story began when his New Mexico
National Guard unit, the 200th Coast Artillery,
was activated and assigned to the Philippines
Sept. 26, 1941.
When America declared war on the Japanese Empire
after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 8, 1941,
the Japanese soon attacked American bases in the
Philippines. These attacks lasted for more
than three months. Mr. Graham's regiment,
Company D, retreated into the jungle. The men
went without food or ammunition for the last
month before they surrendered.
Because then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
had concentrated resources into the European
Theater for the war, military bases within the
South Pacific were left vulnerable. This
ultimately led to the surrender in the
Philippines by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Edward P.
King, Jr., Luzon Force Bataan, Philippine
Islands commander, on April 9, 1942.
Though General King was assured by the Japanese
Army that the prisoners would be treated
humanely, the surrender immediately led to an
involuntary transfer of more than 75,000
American and Filipino prisoners of war.
The prisoners were forced to walk miles on dusty
terrain without food or water. Those who tried
to drink from streams near the trail were
immediately killed. "You couldn't even
help others who fell out or the soldiers would
kill you too," Mr. Graham said.
By the end of this "march," Mr. Graham and other
prisoners spent more than a year at a POW camp
in the Philippines under the supervision of the
Japanese Army. While there, the prisoners were
fed little and forced to work in the fields
daily planting vegetables.
Mr. Graham recalled an incident that he feels
helped him avoid death.
"When we first got to the camp, they placed me
in a small group of 25 men and gave us each red
ribbons to put on," he said. "I immediately knew
something was wrong and when the guard wasn't
looking, I tore the ribbon off and left the
Mr. Graham says he never knew what became of the
other men who wore the ribbons. During his time
at this camp,
Mr. Graham said at least four or five people
died every day from starvation or lack of
After a year at the camp in the Philippines, Mr.
Graham was shipped with other prisoners to a POW
camp in Japan, working in a steel mill under
civilian supervision. He remained there until
the surrender of the Japanese in 1945.
Once Mr. Graham returned to the U.S., he spent
more than a year in recovery at four different
military hospitals, before being honorably
discharged in 1946.
After completing his enlistment, Mr. Graham
moved to Wichita, Kan., to attend business
school. He has been a resident ever since this
Despite his harsh treatment by the Japanese
soldiers, Mr. Graham bears no hatred toward
them, instead realizing
that they were only performing their duty as
Of the 2,000 members of the 200th Coast
Artillery, less than 1,000 survived by the end
of World War II. "It's hard to believe that
something like this happened," Mr. Graham said.
"Unless you've seen it, you don't believe it.
When asked, how he maintained his spirit during
his captivity, Mr. Graham says: "I just kept
telling myself that I would get out one day."
As of March 6, 2017, there are fewer then 50 WW II Bataan
Death march survivors.