We are the children and grandchildren, the nieces and nephews, and friends of the men who fought and died defending Bataan and Corregidor, the airmen who were shot down and the seamen whose ships were sunk. We are the Descendants Group, an Auxiliary of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) and our mission is to perpetuate the story of the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who were thrown into the maelstrom of war in the early part of World War II. Our membership is open to anyone else who has an interest in this unique part of American history.
Within hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese bombed sites in the Philippines. What followed was a bloody five month defense of the Philippines in an effort to thwart and delay the advance of the Japanese army. The Fil-American troops were hindered by lack of food, medicine, guns, and ammunition. When the end came for Bataan in April, 1942 the already malnourished and diseased troops were rounded up and forced to march more than 65 miles to prison camps in searing heat. The Japanese guards allowed no stops for water, most men were fed no more than twice, and anyone who could not go on was brutally beaten or bayoneted. For some this ordeal lasted as long as two weeks. Most of the Filipinos and Americans of Bataan and Corregidor were then starved and brutalized in the miserable camps in the Philippines before being transported in unmarked “hellships” to be used as slave labor in Japan. Many thousands of lives were lost on these voyages as well as in the mines, shipyards, and factories where they were forced to work under deplorable conditions.
The men who suffered these cruelties are now reaching eighty and ninety years of age and have decided to disband the ADBC, the organization to which they have belonged for more than sixty years. It is therefore incumbent upon their descendants to carry on the spirit of the ADBC and keep the story from disappearing from contemporary history. We hope that through our emphasis on education that their story will live on. We are proud to continue the legacy.