Profile: Quentin Pershing DeVore
In October 1941, Gen. Douglas McArthur welcomed Quentin Pershing DeVore and the rest of the men in the 7th Material Squadron, 19th Bomb Group at what was then known as Clark Field on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
He had no idea that less than two months later, America would be at war with Japan, and that group of islands would be surrounded by the Japanese fleet.
Though DeVore fought alongside other U.S. troops for weeks to keep the Japanese at bay, eventually the island fell, and DeVore and thousands of other Filipino and U.S. soldiers became prisoners of war.
But to listen to DeVore talk about what later would be infamously known as the Bataan Death March, when 78,000 prisoners were forced to walk 70 miles to prisoner-of-war camps in the south part of the island, you’d think he was talking about a little hike, though not a pleasant one.
“They told us that if we kept marching, well they wouldn’t bother us, and they didn’t, but the ones that got sick and got down and couldn’t go, they just shot them or bayonetted them. They didn’t fool with them,” DeVore said. “I made it all the way in about three days. I never did give up because I knew that America wouldn’t let us stay more than, I figured we’d be there a month maybe. But it turned out to be three years.”