By Eugene P. Boyt, David L. Burch

Like many different younger American males throughout the depression-era Nineteen Thirties, Gene Boyt entered Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps. Later, after receiving an ROTC fee within the military Engineers and a bachelor's measure in mechanical engineering from the Missouri tuition of Mines, Boyt joined the Allied forces within the Pacific Theater. whereas construction runways and infrastructure within the Philippines in 1941, Boyt loved the regal lifetime of an American officer stationed in a tropical paradise--but now not for lengthy. whilst the USA surrendered the Philippines to Japan in April 1942, Boyt grew to become a prisoner of battle, agony unthinkable deprivation and brutality by the hands of the ruthless jap guards. one of many final bills to return from a Bataan survivor, Boyt's tale information the notorious Bataan demise March and his next forty-two months in eastern internment camps. during this fast moving narrative, Boyt's voice conveys the quiet braveness of the iteration of guys who fought and gained history's maximum armed clash.

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The cCC ultimately employed more than two and one-half million youth, including me. In late June 193%two friends, Chester Morris and Gene BATAAN: A SURVIVORS STORY 16 Smith, and I hitchhiked thirty miles to Sapulpa, the county seat of Creek County, Oklahoma, to enrol1 in the CCC. The application was a simple one-page document. I merely had to list my name, age, and the number of people in my family (which was now only three-my mother, sister, and me). The Social Security system was still on the drawing board, so none of us had Social Security numbers yet.

Now the corps represented a new opportunity. Launched in March 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps was one of several relief programs created by the New Deal. It employed young single men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, assigning them to quasi-military units charged with improving the nation's public lands by planting trees; building small dams, bridges, and roads; fighting fires; and culling forests. The cCC ultimately employed more than two and one-half million youth, including me.

Mom was qualified to teach school, but there were no teaching positions available. Grandpa Phemister sent us what money he could, but the depression had hit him hard, too, and he now had 11 BEGINNINGS precious little to spare. In the fall of 1932, we hit rock bottom. It was only through the generosity of friends and neighbors that we managed to survive. Mom must have been devastated by Dad's sudden departure. Yet, to her credit, she never berated him in front of us kids. Drawing on an inner strength that came from her deep faith in God, Mom carried on in the aftermath of unbearable heartbreak, and I admired her greatly for that.

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