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    Bataan Commemorates 77th Anniversary of Battle of Bataan

    77th Anniversary of the Battle of Bataan

    Photo By Seaman Apprentice Travis Decker | 190418-N-KC192-0133 NORFOLK, Va. (April 26, 2019) Sailors aboard the amphibious...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Anderson 

    USS Bataan (LHD 5)

    It’s often heard that the amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD 5), is the only U.S. warship named after an American defeat, and while it’s true the ship shares the same name as the Battle of Bataan, it is actually named for the fighting spirit of the American and Filipino Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who fought valiantly during the four-month battle during World War II.

    Seventy-six thousand Filipino and American troops were forced to make an arduous five-day 65-mile march to Camp O’Donnell that has come to be known as the Bataan Death March. Of the 76,000 who participated in the march only 50,000 made it to the camp. Over the next two and half years, the survivors of the Death March would continue to face hardships, from the journey on Japanese prison ships, known as hell ships, to the harsh conditions of prison camps. Only 15,000 made it back home at the end of the war.

    Battle of Bataan survivor, Dan Crawley, 96, joined the crew to share his story, along with fellow World War II veterans, Mickey Casady, 101, and Anthony Gravino, 93, as they answered questions during the 77th Anniversary of Battle of Bataan commemoration held onboard April 26.
    The ceremony included words from Commanding Officer, Capt. Gregory Leland, a question and answer session with the honored guests, and the Bataan Heritage Committee reading the timeline of events from the Battle of Bataan to the troops coming home at the end of the war.

    “When you’re drinking clean water, remember how some soldiers went mad trying to get just a drop while walking 65 miles in the scorching hot sun for five days,” said Bataan Heritage Committee member, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate [Fuel] First Class Christopher Hunter. “When you’re eating a hot meal, remember how they were lucky if they got a cup of rice to eat for the day after an intense day of manual labor in a brutal concentration camp. When you’re lying in your bed tonight, remember that only 15,000 service members returned home at the end of the war.”
    Leland closed the ceremony with a request to the crew of Bataan, to reflect on the experiences the ship’s special guests shared and take those experiences with them into their personal lives.

    “Today, I ask you all to pass on the unconquerable faith, that glorious something in your heart and soul, to the next generation,” said Leland. “To remind us and others of what they fought for and what we fight for today. To never be forgotten.”

    After the ceremony ended, the floor was opened for Sailors to come up to Crowley, Casady and Gravino to ask questions, listen to war stories, and shake hands.



    Date Taken: 04.26.2019
    Date Posted: 05.02.2019 11:43
    Story ID: 320417
    Location: NORFOLK, VA, US 

    Web Views: 41
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    Bataan Commemorates 77th Anniversary of Battle of Bataan