Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Robert Reynolds Picture

Robert Reynolds

Robert Reynolds spoke of his experience as a Bataan Death March  survivor to the Independent Journal (Marin,California)  in January,1964.  He was one of 217 men of the 34th Pursuit Squadron who shipped out of Hamilton Field.  Of that group only 21 returned from the war.

He stayed in the military after the war and finished 23 years of service, retiring as an advisor to Army Reserve units in the Oakland Army Terminal.  He left from California to become a clerk in the Army Air Corps.  He arrived in the Philippines eighteen days before Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He shortly became assigned to the 31st Infantry regiment.

He was captured, joined in the Bataan Death March and then was sent to prison camp where he suffered from malaria and malnutrition.  He had corneal ulcers that caused any light to hurt his eyes.  The only reason he said he survived was his youthful age and luck.  He was only 21 when he was captured.  He felt that by being assigned to a small group of engineers he was given a better chance at survival.  He also went on a “hellship” that was not sunk. 

 His final imprisonment was at Camp Funatsu where both captured American and British soldiers worked at a zinc mine about 100 miles west of Tokyo.  At the end of the war they painted POW on the roof and the Americans dropped them food.

 He returned to Duluth, Minnesota and re-enlisted.  He was put on temporary duty at home and he was satisfied with that arrangement.  Later he became a reserve office and served as a second lieutenant during the Korean War.  He was an adjutant at the Richmond Quartermaster Deport, and spent three in the same position at the Quartermaster Corps in Stuttgart, Germany, and then finally ended at the Oakland Army Terminal.

 After he retired from the Army he chose to live in Marin because he liked the area when he was assigned there at Hamilton Field.  He then went into the bicycle business.  He wrote a book about his story called “Of Rice and Men.”