We’re the battling bastards of Bataan; No momma, no papa, no Uncle Sam; No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces; No planes, no pills, no artillery pieces; And nobody gives a damn!

Where Pearl Harbor had been like a quick punch to the face the battle of Bataan and its subsequent death march were like the beating that follows the first punch – and the kicking of the victim once he is down. This is an excellent book about the death march but with so many of our historians now following the convenience of it-was-a-long-time-ago-and-probably-never-happened-anyway school of politically correct story telling we are using this post to illustrate some of what the Americans at home saw at the time.

Theirs may have become the greatest generation but at the time the average citizen had replaced the uncertainty of the economic despair of the depression  for a war production job that reinforced on a daily basis the uncertainty of wartime despair. In all of our post World War II military operations it has been possible for huge sections of the citizenry to have no personal involvement in the conflict – they may not even know anyone who is serving – but in the second world war there were blue star homes on every block, there were single parent families not because of divorce but because fathers were half a world away fighting and every citizen from age five to ninety-five was somehow called upon to do their duty.

The men entombed on the USS Arizona did their job in providing the truth of the need to fight and the men of Bataan kept the fires burning for the four long years that it took the American people in their righteous might to subdue the empire of Japan. God grant them peace.

Death march : the survivors of Bataan  Donald Knox  New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c 1981  Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xxv, 482 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 25 cm. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Brothers in arms. Typical of the 10,000 Americans who helped to stall Japan’s forces on Bataan was Captain Arthur W. Wermuth (left) shown here with his Filipino aide. During the four months of fighting in Bataan, Captain Wermuth and his aide accounted for over a hundred of the enemy

War heroes to speak to war workers. A heroine of Bataan and a hero of Midway meet at the Capitol to join in Pearl Harbor Day ceremonies. Lieutenant Mary Lohr, Army nurse, of Greenburg, Pennsylvania, recently awarded the Royal Blue Ribbon for gallant service at Bataan, and Lieutenant Robert L. Laub of Richland, Missouri, who received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism as torpedo bomber pilot in the Battle of Midway, will speak to war workers in about 1800 war plants on December 7. They were selected by the War Production Drive Headquarters of the War Production Board (WPB) to participate with Honorable Joseph C. Grew, former ambassador to Japan, in personal messages for transcription as a feature of Pearl Harbor Day observance, which is being held under auspices of war production Labor-Management Committees

General view showing houses burning as the result of Japanese bombing raid in Bataan, the Philippine Islands

Last ditch stand in Luzon. On a rugged, mountainous peninsula and a heavily fortified island American and Filipino troops made their final stand against Japanese invaders of Luzon. Map shows the Bataan Peninsula-Borregidor-Manila area where the U.S. and Japanese forces clashed

One of our Filipino boys, injured in the fighting on Bataan, January 28, 1942, being brought back to a first aid station by his comrades. Longoskawayan Point, West Coast

General Douglas MacArthur, left, congratulates Captain Villamor of the Philippine Air Force, after awarding him the Distinguished Service Cross, December 22, 1941. Captain Villamor was one of the small group of flyers that did heroic service in the Battle of Bataan

Guiding genius of Bataan was General Douglas MacArthur (right) shown here with Major General Jonathan Wainwright, who assumed command when MacArthur was ordered to Australia

Production. Ventura bombers. The “Pony Express” driver in a large Western aircraft plant rounds the corner of “Bataan Boulevard,” one of the assembly lines on which many fighting and bombing planes are being built. His work is to distribute parts for Ventura bombers and other mighty ships of our new air armada. Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, California

One year of reciprocal aid. Food is probably the most important contribution of Australia to the supplies of the U.S. armed forces stationed in the Pacific. She sent shiploads to our beleaguered men at Bataan and has increased her contributions as the size of our forces has grown. The U.S. ships practically no food to our troops in Australia and New Zealand. The Americans are supplied on the spot, and the space thus freed in our ships is used for tanks, planes and ammunition.


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