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Late WWII veteran survived Japan’s Bataan Death March

David Laster’s late father, Ralph H. Laster, was a Prisoner of War in the Philippines and Japan from 1941 until 1945.

He survived and lived a long life, passing away in 1999.

Ralph was born on April 9, 1916 and attended what is currently Berry College until he was drafted into the Army on June 5, 1941, prior to the start of World War II.

“He spent virtually the entire war as a POW under the Japanese,” David said. In the 1980s, Ralph wrote a letter that detailed his experience, treatment, diseases that plagued them and the atrocities he witnessed during WWII.

Ralph arrived in the Philippines on Nov. 20, 1941. After Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, the Japanese began bombing them. Ralph’s company was ordered to counter-attack, despite being overrun by the Japanese.

Ralph H. Laster, WWII POW

Ralph Laster spent nearly four years
as a Japanese Prisoner of War during
World War II. [Submitted photo]

For complete coverage, see the December 7, 2023 edition of The Oconee Enterprise. Subscribe today!

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