Paul Inzer’s Account as told to Linda Dahl:
Answers from a series of questions - Summer of 2003

     "I am honored to think that a group of students, their teacher, and supporters would remember 'The Battling Bastards of Bataan'.
If you will allow me to expound - you see, we few (approximately 18,000) men on Bataan, who were abandoned, left to hold off an enemy army, we felt much like a bastard must feel when left by an uncaring mother.
So consequently someone coined the phrase: "Battling Bastards of Bataan". Then a song was written to baptize the phrase. It went something like this;

"We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan, with nothing in the pot,
Just a bunch of soldiers that Uncle Sam’s forgot", ….etc.

  "Why did I have two numbers? The numbers were 1300 and 415. Upon arrival to Camp #17, I was assigned number 1300".
I was then transferred to Camp Fukuoka # 3, that was 415.
Note: The Camp was not #3, but #4B Moji. Paul was transferred there in January of 1945.

"After a few days in the hole of Black Death (coal mine) there were men intentionally placing their legs under a coal car, loaded with coal, and being crippled so they would no longer be expected to go down in the mine. Believe me it was that bad.
I hated the dark hole also, but I wanted to keep my legs, so I flatly refused to go down into the mine. Sure, I knew there would be consequences, -even death. But I was sick and tired of that torture so I changed it - they beat me until I passed out and then they beat me again – passed out again".

"How many times? I do not remember – still I refused".
"Why they did not kill me, I do not know. I was carried by the Japs back to the barracks and I was quietly transported to another camp. Camp #3 in Moji, northern Kyushu I assigned another number, #415. There, after my recovery, I was put to work as a Stevedore to work on the docks until the end of the war".

Birth date – December 6, 1925

Biography – "No, I do not have one written. But I do have memories of those 5475 days spent in 8 different hellholes, plus the Death March, and the hell ship, Moti Moti Maru (also known as Mati Mati) on the way to Japan from the Philippines".

In response to a question asking Paul if he had a memory of being called “The baby or boy of Bataan”, due to his young age at enlistment:

 “Oh! No offense intended, but I was truly not a baby. I walked as a man, served as a man and for all intent and purpose I was a man from the age of 11 until now. You see, I was raised on a farm in the state of Tennessee, known as the Volunteer State.
In the 30’s and the 40’s and after WWII for a short while, this was a great country.
And you know, until I received your letter, hearing about your students, reading about what they and you were doing, I was beginning
to feel that the country had totally gone down the drain, but you give me hope for the future.
I hope and pray that there is many more like you all".

Thank you - Paul

Born December 6, 1925 and enlisted in the Air Corps on June 13, 1941 at Knoxville, Tenn.,
making him just 15 years of age at time of enlistment.
Interned at O'Donnell, Cabanatuan, Tayabas Road work detail and Nichols Field work detail
and liberated at Fukuoka Camp 17.

He was a prisoner of war 45 months and 12 days.
He retired from the Air Force on August 8, 1969.

Addendum: I make this note with the saddest of heart - Paul passed away at Copper Ridge Nursing Home (Redding, CA.) December 12th, 2008

PHOTOS

Paul Inzer on the Bataan Death March, age 15
(linked with permission of Paul Inzer)

Paul Inzer 1941     Paul Inzer & the 409th     Paul Inzer 1963     Paul Inzer 2003

 

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