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"I'm not proud of all my actions, but when fighting for survival, one's morals are secondary to basic instincts." (Memoir)

   Richard Henry Peterson
Image of Richard Henry Peterson
Richard Peterson, POW processing photo, 1942
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 30th Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group
Service Location: Fort MacArthur, Los Angeles, Hamilton Field and Fresno Air Base, California; Clark Field (Philippines); Pacific Theater
Rank: Technical Sergeant
POW: Yes
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Richard Peterson was stationed in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked in December 1941, but for nearly six months he managed to stay one step ahead of the invaders. At one point, he could only watch in dismay as General MacArthur loaded a plane with VIPs to escape the islands. After a sojourn in Manila's notorious Bilibid Prison, he was shipped off to the Kawasaki Prison Camp outside Yokohama, Japan, and went to work at a steel plant, ten hours a day, with one day a month off. When American planes began flying overhead, Peterson was moved to an iron mine, where his living conditions actually improved.

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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