Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran William Burton Clark. William served during World War II from 1941 to 1946 and survived the Bataan Death March.
In an interview with the Veteran’s History Project, William describes joining the New Mexico National Guard when he was called for active duty. In January 1941, he was sent to El Paso, Texas for training. After his training, William was deployed to the Philippines as an anti-aircraft gunner. On Dec. 8, 1941, William was serving at Clark Field in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked his location after bombing Pearl Harbor. During this battle, William was shot in his right arm.
After William recovered from his injury, the Japanese were converging upon where he was stationed. William and his fellow men destroyed much of the equipment they had so the Japanese could not use it. William was forced to walk over 60 miles from where he was stationed to San Fernando. He and the others were forced on the seven day “Bataan Death March” with little food and no water. They were beaten by the guards as they marched. William believes that the only way he survived the march was because he was, “touched by angels” that gave him the strength to continue.
William was brought to Camp O’Donnell, a Japanese prisoner of war camp with inhumane living conditions. After Camp O’Donnell, William was sent to Manila and put in the Bilibid prison. After the Japanese surrender, William was freed from the Japanese prison camp. He spent a total of 1,248 days as a Japanese prison of war.
William passed away on Feb. 3, 2007.
We honor your service, William.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.