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World War II Prison Camp Survivor to Talk at Marshall Foundation

Bataan Death March survivor Col. Glenn Frazier will give a talk in the Pogue Auditorium of the George C. Marshall Foundation, Wed., June 29, at 7 p.m.

A reception and book signing in the Marshall Museum will follow.  The public is invited to attend.  Frazier wrote the bestselling book Hell’s Guest — 3½ Years as the Emperor’s Guest in Japan’s P.O.W. Camps.

Frazier was one of 40 veterans chosen to be featured in the Ken Burns’ miniseries “The War.”

Enlisting in September 1941 at age 16, after his girl dumped him, Frazier was too angry and hurt to stay in Port Deposit, Ala. He was more afraid to face his parents than he was to join the Army. He knew of the war in Europe, so he chose to volunteer for safer duty in the Philippines.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Frazier found himself in the middle of the very war he had tried to avoid. He retreated with Gen. Douglas MacArthur to the Bataan Peninsula and on April 9, 1942, was part of the largest surrender of U.S. Army soldiers. More than 78,000 American and Filipino troops were moved in what became known as the Bataan Death March.

Through horrific conditions, Frazier survived the trek and then months at the notorious Camp McDonnell. Hundreds of the prisoners there died daily from starvation, overwork, abuse and disease. In October 1942, he was aboard a Death Ship to Japan — a hellish journey of starvation and thirst. Somehow, he managed to hold on and survive until August 1945 when he witnessed the bombings of Japan.

The man who had cheated death for so long was then forced to dig his own grave after the first atomic blast at Hiroshima. But, when the second atomic bomb was dropped at Nagasaki, his captors just walked away from the camps. Frazier then walked out himself and returned home to the family who had been told months before that he had died at Camp McDonnell.

Years later, after marrying, having two children and founding a trucking service, Frazier wrote the bestselling book “Hell’s Guest — 3½ Years as the Emperor’s Guest in Japan’s P.O.W. Camps.” Today Frazier and his wife tour the United States, personally conveying his war story.

Frazier’s lecture and book signing is sponsored by the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation Inc. in connection with the George C. Marshall Foundation and the VMI Museum.