Col. William E. Dyess
, Air Corps
, of Albany, Tex. Dyess is dead-killed in a fighter plane crash at Burbank, Calif., recently while preparing to return to duty in the Pacific.
What was in store for them was to begin with "the march of death" - and Dyess
reported that, beaten and hopeless as they were, they never would have surrendered if they had guessed what lay ahead.
About June 1, the Americans were removed from Camp O'Donnell to Cabanatuan, where Dyess joined Mellnik and McCoy, who had come in from Corregidor.
Conditions there were a little better.
There was adequate drinking water, it was possible to bathe in muddy water; but the diet did not improve.
And the brutality continued - men were beaten with shovels and golf clubs, "men were literally worked to death."
Three officers who tried to escape were caught, stripped to their shorts, their hands tied behind them and pulled up by ropes fastened overhead, and kept in this position in the blazing sun for two days; periodically the Japs beat them with a two-by-four; finally one was beheaded and the others shot.
By Oct. 26, when Dyess
, McCoy and Mellnik
, 3,000 of the American prisoners had died.
Red Cross Salvation
The three officers were taken with 966 other prisoners, to a penal camp at Davao, Mindanao and put to hard labor.
Food was slightly better there, but "the salvation of the American prisoners of war," Dyess
reported, was the American and British Red Cross supplies, both clothing and food, that finally began to arrive months late.
The beatings, the murder, the studied mistreatment and humiliation continued.
By April 1943, there were 1,100 of the 2,000 prisoners at Davao still able to work.
This was the life from which McCoy, Dyess
escaped April 4, 1943.
Captain William Dyess was a fighter pilot stationed on Luzon when the Japanese invaded.
Captured when the American forces on Bataan surrendered, he joined the Death March and was interned by the Japanese.
In April 1943, Captain Dyess
was one of three prisoners able to escape from their captors.
eventually made his
way back to America where his
story was published.
We join his
story as he
first atrocity of the March: