Bataan Death March Survivor Tells Story - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/17/04

Bataan Death March Survivor Tells Story

The name Donovan Gautier, may sound familiar to you. He was recently featured on our Veteran's History profile on WLOX-TV. He is a Bataan death march survivor, and former prisoner of war in the Philippines during World War Two.

For years, he has been telling the story of his experiences during the war, so that future generations may understand the sacrifices of war.

Tuesday, he was at Keesler Air Force Base, speaking to a group of 145 tech sergeants from bases all around the country. All those there, were born long after world war two, but the message they heard spanned the generations.

"It's history, we will never experience anything to that effect again,'' said Tech Sergeant Lisa Pharr from Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana. "What they endured, and to have that relayed and told to us, inspired us to pass it on, it is great."

Mr. Gautier talked of hundreds of men dying every day. Some from starvation, others from beatings at the hands of their Japanese captors. Sadly, it's a chapter in the history of World War Two that many know little about.

"It bothers me because I have a granddaughter studying history, there is a paragraph about the Philippines, but only one sentence about Bataan, and that's not right. Too many men died, to be forgotten like that," Mr. Gautier said.

Many of those who survived the nightmare of Bataan, have passed away over the years. Now, more than 60 years removed from his time as a prisoner of war, Donovan Gautier wants their sacrifices to always be remembered. That's why he will continue to tell the story.

When his audience of tech sergeants, all less than half his age, gave Mr. Gautier a standing ovation at the end of his speech, it was clear, his message had spanned the generations.

By Jeff Lawson

Powered by Frankly