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The Fight in the Philipines

MacArthur It can be argued that the defining moment of Douglas MacArthur's life came on March 11, 1942, when he reluctantly left the Philippines and headed for Australia. Already a well-known figure, MacArthur's quest to return -- and free those he had left behind -- would make him into an icon.

Less well known is what happened to the Filipinos and Americans who remained in the Japanese-occupied Philippines for the nearly three years it took MacArthur to lead an army back. Despite cruel and often inhuman treatment at the hands of the Japanese, Filipinos and their American allies put up fierce resistance, and most never lost hope that liberation would come if they could just hold on long enough.

The best way to learn about this extraordinary chapter in history is to hear from those who lived it. From the battle for Bataan to the infamous Death March, in which thousands died during a 60-mile forced march; from prison camps to guerrilla warfare, theirs is one of the least known but most dramatic stories of the Second World War. The following five men, each of whom appears in the program, describe the struggle in their own words.

Leon Beck Leon Beck -- Mr. Beck served as a Private in the 31st Infantry Batallion, U.S. Army. He was a POW for fourteen days until he escaped from the Death March. He then fought against the Japanese with several different guerrilla outfits until American forces returned to Luzon in January, 1945.

Alfred X. Burgos -- Along with his fellow ROTC students at university in Manila, Mr. Burgos mustered into the Philippine Army when the war broke out. He survived the Death March and was held at Camp O'Donnell until September, 1942, when the Japanese released most of their Filipino prisoners. Mr. Burgos then participated in the resistance movement until the Americans returned. He rose to the rank of Colonel after the war. Alfred X. Burgos

Richard M. Gordon Richard M. Gordon -- Mr. Gordon enlisted as a Corporal in the 31st Infantry in 1940. Taken prisoner with the fall of Bataan, he, too, survived the Death March, then was held at Camp O'Donnell before being moved to Cabanatuan. In November of 1942, he was sent to Japan, where he worked in a labor camp in Nagano Prefecture until the war was over. Now a retired Major, Mr. Gordon organizes a group called The Battling Bastards of Bataan.

Gustavo C. Ingles -- Mr. Ingles, then in his first year at the Philippine Military Academy, escaped into the hills and joined the guerrilla movement in April of 1942. Captured in 1943, he suffered as a prisoner of war for over a year before escaping and rejoining the resistance. Mr. Ingles, who eventually became a Colonel in the Philippine Army, is the author of "Memories of Pain," a book about his wartime experiences. Gustavo C. Ingles

Edwin P. Ramsey Edwin P. Ramsey -- As an officer in the 26th Cavalry, Lieutenant Ramsey participated in the last mounted cavalry charge in U.S. military history, in January of 1942. After Bataan fell, Mr. Ramsey made his way into central Luzon, where he helped organize the Luzon Guerrilla Force under Colonel Claude Thorpe, and fought the Japanese until liberation nearly three years later. Mr. Ramsey left the army in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His book "Lieutenant Ramsey's War" chronicles his experience in the Philippines.

begin here...The Siege of Bataan
Capture and Death March
The Guerrilla War
Prison Camps
The Filipino Veterans Movement