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A POW's Inspiring Story

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

In 1941, a young Bud Kirchhoff was deployed to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Just 18 days later his life would change dramatically.

Friday, at a ceremony remembering those who were taken as Prisoners of War and those who were never found, he told his story.

A Staff Sergeant in the 192nd Tank Battalion, Bud remembers December 7th vividly. Overshadowed by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Clark Air Base was also bombed, destroying the airfield and all of the aircraft lining it.

Shortly after the attack, the Japanese took between 60,000 and 80,000 American soldiers as Prisoners of War. Among them was Bud Kirchhoff. For a year, and a half Bud lived as a POW, even surviving the infamous Bataan Death March. Eventually, he was moved to Japan, where he spent another two years under Japanese control working in a coal mine.

Liberated at the end of the war, Kirchhoff finally jumped aboard an Indian freighter and made it back to Seattle on Navy Day in 1945. He is now a commander with the ex-POW's here in Spokane, offering his support for others who went through the same thing he did.

 


 

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