To honor Americans and our veterans, the Upson Historical Society and VFW Post 6447 are proud to present a story of service, sacrifice and forgiveness. Colonel Glenn Frazier, a survivor the Bataan Death March and a Prisoner of War for three and a half years in a Japanese POW Camp, will speak on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. at the R. E. Lee Auditorium. Frazier was featured on the Ken Burns and PBS mini-series, ‘The War.’ The event is free and open to the public.
Col. Frazier was born and raised in the farming town of Fort Deposit, Ala. In the summer of 1941, after a failed romance led him to break up a music hall one night, he was scared to face his parents, so Frazier went to a recruiting office, lied about his age, and joined the Army. Aware of the war ongoing in Europe at the time, he volunteered to serve in the Philippines.
He arrived on the Philippine island of Luzon in September and was assigned to the 75th Ordinance Depot and Supply Company. The Japanese launched their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. A day later, on Dec. 8, they attacked Luzon. Under the orders of General Douglas MacArthur, Frazier was among thousands of American and Filipino troops who retreated onto the Bataan Penisula, leaving most of their supplies behind.
On April 9, 1942, the largest surrender in the history of the U. S. Army occurred, with 78,000 American and Filipino troops surrendering to the Japanese, and beginning the horrific Bataan Death March to Camp O’Donnell on Corregidor. Frazier survived the appalling conditions of the camp, where hundreds of prisoners died every day from disease, starvation and abuse. Working on a burial detail one day, Frazier threw one of his two sets of dog tags into the mass grave, hoping that if he died, his parents might know what happened to him. (His dog tags were found in the mass grave in 1945 after the Americans retook the Philippines, and the army notified his family that he was dead.)
Six months later, Frazier was shipped to Japan, where he spent three years in a succession of prison camps, forced to perform slave labor. He survived beating, being bayoneted in his knee, pneumonia, and torture.
He witnessed the American bombing of Japan. After the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the prisoners were told to dig their own graves. But after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later, the prison guards walked away, and Frazier was free.
After returning to the state, Frazier married, had two children, and ran his own trucking business. His autobiography, entitled “Hell’s Guest,” was published in 2007.