WWII POW Recalls Captivity - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/24/03

WWII POW Recalls Captivity

It is a helpless feeling. Watching images of American soldiers held captive by the Iraqi regime. Scenes which rekindle unpleasant memories in the mind of 88-year-old, Ray Brookshire.

"Japs was right behind me," he says, pointing to the rear of the room. It was 1941, Ray was in the Philippines, out-numbered 20 to 1. "We could see 'em coming over the pass. Our guns wouldn't reach them, we had one airplane left, and we sat there and watched them. We knew our days were numbered," he said.

Captured, he was assigned to a Japanese slave labor camp. "The plan was to starve us to death," he said matter-of-factly. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisted of soupy rice and vegetable tops. His weight fell to 110 pounds. "I could reach around my waist with both hands. Reach around my arm with one hand. You've seen those pictures of the Jews in Nazi death camps, well, we looked just like that," he said.

He was held captive for three and half years, attributing his survival to never letting go of one thing. "Pride," he said, the emotions cutting his sentence short.

He's been free for 60 years, but the memories never get old. And so, to the POW's in Iraq, to their families here at home, Master Sergeant Ray Brookshire has one piece of advice. "Hold on to pride. Pride in yourself, pride in God, country, whatever," he said.

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