Bronze Star for Bataan Death March Survivor

Retired CMSgt. Robert Brown, the youngest surviving member of World War II’s Bataan Death March, received the Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony Sept. 30 at Beale AFB, Calif., 66 years over due. Brown served as a medical technician, helping other prisoners of war during his more than three years of imprisonment by the Japanese. Due to illness, Brown was unable to attend the ceremony, but his wife Rosemary accepted the honor on his behalf. “He always knew he had earned the award, but it had never been formally presented to him,” she said and added, “I know he’ll be very proud and honored, and it’s hard for him to not be here.” Brown was among the Luzon Forces that surrendered to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula, Philippines, on April 9, 1942, and then were forced to march more than 60 miles without sufficient food and water through the jungle to a POW camp. From there, Brown was sent to Korea and then Manchuria, where he spent the next three years treating his fellow POWs until his liberation on Aug. 20, 1945, just four days before his 21st birthday. (Beale report by SSgt. Sarah Gregory) (For more on the Bataan Death March, click here for Air Force Magazine’s 1995 Valor piece)