Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

John LeClair, ADBC Commander

ADBC Commander, 1967-69

John LeClair PictureJohn LeClair was born Oct. 22, 1917.

John LeClair served as a medic on The Bataan peninsula prior to the fall of Bataan. John LeClair walked the Bataan Death March, witnessing the beatings. He suffered two heart attacks during his imprisonment because of the intense heat and work.  From one of the camps he was in he saw the mushroom cloud as the first atom bomb exploded in Hiroshima.  He was at Hiroshima 06B Omine, Yamaguchi.

He worked as a dental technician after the war but eventually had to go on disability as a result of head injuries he had suffered during the war.

Victory Day (formerly called VJ Day) was important to John LeClair, and his state of Rhode Island is the only state in the United States to keep the day as an official holiday.  According to his son, in the Woonsocket Call Newspaper, he said that the holiday was always celebrated by his family and they came to the ceremonies  since the early 1950s.

His son also said that his father did not discuss the war much, but that he found things in his father's memorabilia and he learned his father had prepared the synopsis of the Bataan Death March as testimony for the war crimes tribunal.

John died Feb. 9, 1999.  In a strange twist of fate, the National Guard soldiers did not have time to do the military honors as they had to leave for their civilian jobs when the funeral services ran late.  His son considered this a "slap in the face."  John LeClair is buried at Cheetham Mortuary in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

John LeClair was awarded the Rhode Island Cross, the state's highest award for bravery, posthumously in May of 1999.