Skip to comments.Does a Serviceman Who Died During the Bataan Death March Automatically Get the Purple Heart?
Posted on 07/30/2008 2:48:46 PM PDT by Pyro7480
My great uncle was captured in the Philippines by the Japanese during World War II, and died during the Bataan Death March. As far as I remember, I cannot recall anyone in my family saying that he was awarded the Purple Heart.
If he was never awarded the Purple Heart, would he be eligible? If he did get it, how can I find out?
I would hope that he would get more than that. He is a hero in my book
I thought you got the purple heart for being wounded, not for dying.
YES. Google Stolen Valor and they have the forms to fill out and send in. Anyone can look up anyone’s military records with a SS#
Wounded or killed in action.
Didn’t know that, thanks. He certainly should have gotten one then.
I would think that if anyone would deserve it, it would be one of these fallen heroes.
I believe people have been awarded the purple heart for being killed as well. They had to be wounded first, no? It was a mortal wound.
I’m glad you found it. I am surprised however that this was not already covered, it seems like a no-brainer that they should have been covered all along.
I just talked to my Mom, and she said that the Japanese starved him to death. Inhumane...
Obama is just dispicable.
Military Order of the Purple Heart which contains a link to National Personnel Records Center of the National Archives
And This link allowing veterans or next of kin of veterans to obtain records, as well as instructions on how others may obtain the records. As a great nephew or neice you can't use the next of kin process however.
Your great uncle may not have been awarded the Purple Heart, unless sustained injuries while fighting the Japanese but before becoming a POW. However PUBLIC LAW 104-106 - FEB. 10, 1996, made injuries received as a POW eligible, retroactively. (They had been made eligible after 25 April 1962, but only for those injured *after* that date).
Purple Hearts awarded to POWs 50 years later Clifford Vose, a Bataan Death March survivor, was a U.S. Army corporal assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations in World War II from April 1942 through Sept. 1945. He received the medal for wounds sustained as a result of hostile actions while a prisoner of war. Another veteran of the Bataan march received his medal as well, but was unable to attend the ceremony. Romie Gregory Jr. was in the hospital Monday, so General Rosborg and Congressman Jones presented the medal to Mr. Gregory at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, N.C. Air Combat Command News Service 18 Jul 03
Nothing yet regarding the Purple Heart for those who were murdered during the Bataan Death March.
Yeah, it looks like the next-of-kin would be my mother, my uncle, or their cousin.
“I just talked to my Mom, and she said that the Japanese starved him to death.”
My mom’s uncle was a Bataan survivor. He was a member of a New Mexico guard unit that surrendered. The way my tio survived was by volunteering to fix boots. He lied and told the Japaneese that he was a cobbler back home. He was terribly abused for any work that wasn’t perfect, but was able to draw an extra ration of rice, which he shared with his friend until the friend died of the beatings and starvation (maybe this was your relative).
He came home severely damaged mentally and physically. For us kids, he was the strange uncle who collected thousands upon thousands of empty TV dinner trays and boxes - he had a barn full of them, no kidding. He never threw plastic utinsels away either.
He so loved this country and farmed chili for most of his life. I don’t believe there were any medals for him either, but the family was just glad to have him home.
Another thing you should check into- unless rules have changed every Veteran/next of kin is allowed to get one complete set of replacement medals for free- the link to that used to be on the National Records website where you could order military records. Many Veterans have lost their medals over the years due to moves, divorces, etc. and it is really nice to be able to put them together again- even if the Veteran is deceased it is nice for the family to have them.
If he died during the Bataan Death March he was probably Bayoneted and deserves a Purple Heart.
See my #11.
He undoubtably qualified for other US and Philippine medals. It would be best to research and request all of these together. Appropriately mounting all of the medals and related items in a shadow box is a good way for the family to remember him and to honor his ultimate sacrifice for the country.
My uncle was a survivor of the Bataan Death March and wrote a book on it. It’s a small book, written so casually, but every page tells the most horrendous events.
He says the prisoners would try to bend down to get some grass on the march to put in their mouths, but if they got caught they got bayoneted. He also told me that when they finally got to the camp, the Japanese commander told them the only thing he wanted to hear bout them at the end of each day was how many of them had died.
I get sick when I hear whiney liberals talk about compassion over the Japanese. You can’t think that way. It was war. It was us or them. People seem clueless over that.
Was it published? Can I get the title?
It is not a fancy book, nor written by a professional. But the events in it boggle the mind. I was always amazed reading it. I know I would not have survived what he just handled as life. But he grew up in the dustbowl, in a tiny house. Today’s children would have no understanding of how hard life was.
I think you can get second hand copies from Amazon.
Here is part of an article from a newspaper when he passed just this year:
Longtime Las Cruces resident died at son’s home in California on April 16.
Weldon C. Hamilton, a longtime resident of Las Cruces who survived the Bataan Death March and years as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, died April 16 at his son’s home in Sebastopol, Calif., the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Sunday. He was 86.
His experiences during the infamous 65-mile death march at the beginning of World War II and his 3 1/2-year ordeal as a POW were chronicled in his book “Late Summer of 1941 and My War With Japan,” the paper reported.
Hamilton joined the U.S. Army Air Corps on Oct. 5, 1940, and was sent to the Philippines in November 1941 where he served until the surrender of troops on Bataan on April 9, 1942, according to the Sun-News.
By the end of the war, Hamilton was working as a slave laborer at a coal mine just 30 miles from Nagasaki, Japan, where he saw the mushroom cloud from the second atomic bomb the United States dropped on Japan, effectively ending the war, the Sun-News said.
After the war, Hamilton remained in the service, retiring as a chief warrant office in the U.S. Air Force in 1969, after receiving The Presidential Unit Citations with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Bronze Star.
Thanks for the information, Ill definitely have to get ahold of that one.
‘Fancy’ book doesn’t alway mean ‘good’ book.
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