Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Edgar Doud Whitcomb




Photo of Edgar D. Whitcomb Edgar Doud Whitcomb was born in Hayden, Indiana on November 6, 1917 to John Whitcomb and Louise Doud Whitcomb. He went to Indiana University with the intention of studying law in 1939, but when World War II commenced, he joined the military, enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1940. He was sent to the Pacific and was a member of the first class of aerial navigators commissioned in the the Air Corps on April 9, 1941. He navigated a B-17 from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Clark Field and served two tours of duty in the Philippines. When Bataan fell, he escaped and served on beach defense with the 4th Marines at Monkey Point on Corregidor. He was then captured and taken to the 92nd Garage, from which he escaped by swimming back to Bataan.

He joined the Filipino guerrillas but was taken prisoner by hostile Filipinos on Luzon and held at Fort Santiago. He was also interned at the Santo Tomas Civilian Internment Camp before being transferred to Shanghai, where he was kept in the Chapei Civilian Internment Camp under a false name. After making contact with the U.S. Army, he was repatriated as a civilian in December 1943.

He was then assigned to air training command, flying in South Africa and Europe. He went back to Clark Field and he flew combat missions before being assigned assistant operations officer of the 5th Air Force. He was discharged from active duty in 1946 and he was a member of the reserves until 1977, at which time he was a colonel.

Whitcomb served as Indiana's state senator from 1950-1953. He graduated from Indiana University School of Law and married Patricia Dolfus on May 10, 1953; they had five children. He passed the bar in 1954 and began practicing law. He was elected Secretary of State for Indiana in 1966, and he began his term as Indiana governor on January 13, 1969.

Retiring from law in 1985, he sailed the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean solo in 1990.