Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Lt. Gen. Alva Revista Fitch

Photo of Lt. Gen. Alva Revista FitchAlva Fitch was born on September 10, 1907 in Amherst, Nebraska. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1930 and became a career Army officer. In January 1940 he was assigned as the Executive Officer of Battery A, 23rd Field Artillery Pack and sent to the Philippine Islands. He became a prisoner of war when Bataan fell on April 9, 1942 and was interned at Camp O'Donnell after enduring the Bataan Death March. He was sent to Moji, Japan in December 1944 aboard the hellship Oryoku Maru, then upon its sinking by American forces, he spent five days on tennis courts with no shelter from the sun and with little food or water. He and the other surviving POWs were taken to San Fernando, Pampanga on December 20, and on Christmas Eve they were transported to San Fernando, La Union via railcars. They marched to the beach and remained there for two days and nights before boarding the Brazil Maru.

Fitch entered Fukuoka Camp #1 on January 29, 1945 and was sent from there to Jinsen, Korea until the war ended. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star. He also served in the Korean War as an artillery commander and a commander of the 3rd Armored Division in West Germany. He retired from active duty in 1964 and became the military editor of the Kipplinger Washington Newsletter.

Alva Fitch passed away at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on November 25, 1989. He was buried in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Read more about Fitch in the April 1966 Quan