Philippine Scout, Army Veteran shares story of his escape from the Bataan Death March


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Amado Ante enlisted with the Philippine Scouts in February 1941 at the age of 22. Just five months later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a military order calling all organized military forces in the Commonwealth of the Philippines into active service of the United States Armed Forces. Ante responded to the call and was assigned to the 12th Quartermaster Regiment, Company B.

Image: Amado Ante in WWII uniformJust hours after the Pearl Harbor attacks, Japanese forces invaded the Philippines. Ante would deploy to Bataan in support of the fight against Japan. After months of fighting, Ante’s unit had to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. Ante’s regiment was surrounded with nowhere to escape.

To save lives, the commanding general surrendered the troops. Ante, along with approximately 75,000 Filipino and American Soldiers, was rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march some 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando.

The men were divided into groups of approximately 100, and what became known as the Bataan Death March typically took each group around five to seven days to complete. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards.

Ante had hidden a little sugar under his belt to sustain his survival. On the fifth day of the march, Ante was stricken with malaria. His feet were badly swollen, and he could no longer walk. When the Japanese guards were on relief duty, his fellow soldiers urged him to escape immediately or risk death. Ante’s comrades pushed him into a ditch where he crawled into the bushes and laid low until dark. Later that night he was found by local civilians, who provided him with food, shelter and medical care. He stayed with them for three months until he was fully healthy.

Ante reenlisted and joined the guerilla movement until General Douglas MacArthur’s forces liberated the Philippines in 1945. Ante received various military medals including the Bronze Star. At the age of 99 on Nov. 10, 2017 Ante was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Ante receives care through the San Francisco VA Health Care System’s home-based primary care program (HBPC). The program provides comprehensive care for Veterans with complex medical, social and behavioral conditions.

Ante and his family have been complimentary of the care and services. “The HBPC program has been beneficial for my father; I’m certain it’s added years to his already long life,” said Ante’s son Steve.

For the staff, it’s an honor and privilege to care Ante and other Veterans.

“My work is very meaningful to me,” said nurse practitioner Cindy Cosbey. “I am providing personalized primary care, with the goal of supporting our most fragile Veterans in their homes. I am so proud of my multidisciplinary team who work very hard on behalf of our Veterans.”


About the author: Jeremy Profitt  is a public affairs specialist with the San Francisco VA Health Care System.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Dr. Edward Goldstein    

    I am a W.W.2 ,100% disabled Veteran. I’ll be 93 yrs. old.
    I also was the first Chiropractic Physician in Palm Bay, Florida.
    I practiced for almost 45 yrs.
    I volunteered at the Viera Florida V.A. to work in Physical Therapy and Prosthetics for almost 15 yrs. My wife also volunteered in X-ray for 8 yrs.
    I saw first hand how the P.T. Dep’t excelled in their care of the patient.
    If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have been a volunteer that long.
    As far as the complaint of having to wait to long to see the Dr….
    I can tell you of my experience… Long after retiring from being a Volunteer.
    One morning at 7:30 A.M. I went to my Provider’s Clinic without an
    appointment. I saw the Nurse at 7:40 A.M., and the Dr. at 7 :50 A.M.
    He then sent me to the Blood Lab, X-ray and Pharmacy…. and
    I was scooting out the front door on my way home before 9:00 A.M.
    I have NO complaints about the V.A.
    Respectfully yours,
    E.Goldstein

  2. Timothy Underwood    

    God Bless you! and Thank You for Your Service

  3. Foster Wendell    

    My Uncle Major John Morley was also on the Bataan Death March. He lived thru the march and also servived several years. He then was put on a ship bound for Japan, it was sunk in Manila Bay. He swam to shore, but was recaptured by the Japanese and put on a second ship, He did not survive this time and his body was thrown over the side. We have letters that he wrote to his wife and family. They were brought out at then end of war………

    1. Gary Hicks    

      More of Major Morley’s story is available here.

    2. David B. Wendell    

      Thanks foster. I really appreciate the information regarding our heroic uncle. May he rest in peace.

  4. Charles E. Ford. Jr    

    These men we’re truly the greatest generation. I seen in my father and other men and women from WW-2. After what they went through in the war the rest of there life’s struggles were a piece of cake. I never heard my father complain about work being tired or anything life through at him. These veterans will be missed. C. E. Ford. Alabama.

  5. Thomas Laney    

    Thanks for this! We willl be at the Bataan Memorial March in New Mexico March 25 with our friends Linda and Jack Stai. Linda’s Dad made Bataan and survived the POW camps. His name John Hryn from Eau Claire, WI.

    1. KENNETH PETERSON    

      THANK YOU THANK YOU !
      FOR ALL YOUR DAD GAVE.
      A FELLOW WISCONSINITE, FROM FREDERIC. WI
      NOW LIVING IN TEXAS

  6. Sherryl D Roberts    

    Thank you for your service and God Bless YOU!

  7. Foster Wendell    

    Gary Hicks, thank you for the more complete history of my Uncle. I would love to know where you got this info. My daughter did give some info to historians at the Pentagon a number of years ago.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      I did a Google search of your uncle’s name and it was second or third result.

  8. Ken Klein    

    I think one of the worst travesties of the post war was granting amnesty to the many Japanese soldiers who committed atrocities.Sickening!!!!

  9. Ronald Fowler    

    I had two Philippine Scouts in the HQ Battery, 47th Artillery Brigade in 1967 at Fort MacArthur California.

    Both were survivors of the Bataan Death March. Both were great soldiers from whom I learned a lot.

    Ronald Fowler

Comments are closed.