Glenn Dowling Frazier was born December 1, 1923 and grew up in the little farming town of Fort Deposit, Alabama.
In the summer of 1941, he discovered that the girl he loved was interested in someone else. Frazier was so angry and upset that when the owner of a juke joint refused him service, he stalked outside, climbed onto his motorcycle, and roared through the door, shattering bottles and smashing furniture. As he raced away, the bar-owner chased him down the street with a shotgun. The next morning, humiliated, scared, and unable to face his parents, Glenn Frazier went to the nearest recruiting office, lied about his age and joined the peacetime army. Mindful of the war already raging in Europe, he volunteered to serve on the other side of the world, in the Philippines.
He landed on the Philippine island of Luzon on September 18, and was assigned to the 75th Ordinance Depot and Supply Company. When the Japanese attacked on December 8th, 1941, Frazier, a corporal now, found himself in the midst of a war he thought he would never have to face. Under orders from General MacArthur, Frazier retreated onto the Bataan Peninsula, along with thousands of American and Filipino troops. Most of their supplies were left behind; rations were soon cut in half.
On April 9 ,1942, Frazier became part of the largest surrender by the United States Army in its history -- 78,000 American and Filipino troops. He then endured the Bataan Death March, and months of horrific conditions at Camp O'Donnell where hundreds of prisoners died every day from disease, starvation and abuse. One day, he volunteered to work on a burial detail, and decided to throw one of his two sets of dog tags into mass grave, hoping that if he died somewhere in the Philippine jungles, his parents would have some idea "what had happened to me."?
In October of 1942 Frazier was shipped to Japan, and spent nearly three nightmarish years in a succession of prison camps there. Forced to perform slave labor, Frazier and his fellow prisoners did their best to sabotage the Japanese war effort, putting rocks into cement mixers, drilling holes in the bottoms of oil barrels, pouring sand into gas tanks, and loosening blocks so that a submarine under repairs slid into the bay, upside down.
During his imprisonment, Frazier survived double pneumonia, torture, a week of isolation in a covered pit, and beatings so frequent they became routine.
At one camp a guard bayoneted him in the knee as punishment for not lifting his legs high enough while marching, and he almost lost his leg to gangrene.
In the late summer of l944, because he had not been heard from in 2-1/2 years, the army sent a telegram to Frazier's family saying that he was presumed dead. When his dog tags were discovered after the Americans retook the Philippines in early 1945, the army notified his family that he was now "confirmed"? to be dead.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Frazier witnessed the American bombing of Japan, and began to hope that the war's end might be in sight. After the atomic bomb was dropped, the Frazier and his fellow POWs were given orders to dig their own graves, but after the second atomic bomb, the guards at his prison camp simply walked away. Frazier and a number of other POWs walked out among the dazed Japanese civilian population and took the train to Tokyo, and freedom.
After the war, Frazier married, had two children, and ran his own trucking business. His autobiograpy, published in 2007, is called Hell's Guest.