Samuel Grashio Story Of Japanese POW Life

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January 18, 1945 Davenport Times-Tribune

Tells About "March of Death"

County Group Heard Major Grashio's Tales

Major Sam Grashio

The starkly terrible tales of the "March of Death" was told before the Lincoln count Red Cross chapter Monday evening. [Three Reardan men were in the Philippines in early 1942 and possibly on the March of Death: Cecil Cunningham, Bill Darnold, Dr. Harold Proff.]

It came from the lips of a man who made that eighty-five mile horror-ridden march across Bataan peninsula, a man who endured the indescribable hardships of Japanese prison camps, then miraculously escaped and is now able to tell his own story of those tortured days.

The man is Major Samuel B. Grashio, assistant executive officer of Geiger Field, who gave up his work in a Japanese prison kitchen, because he hated the Japs so much, he could not trust himself in a spot where butcher knives were present.

Men marching for seven days without food or water, a hundred soldiers suffering from dysentery and diarrhea, crowded into a box car and riding over six hours in blistering heat. Men fit only for the hospital were compelled to load bags of rice weighing 158 pounds.

These and other stories including that of a 19-year-old American air force youth, dying in a hovel with open sores all over his body--blew flies eating him alive--and begging to be taken away where the other fellows wouldn't see him dying like a rat, will be in his mind and heart always.

The story of Lieutenant Colonel William Dyess, taken from his posthumously published diary, shock the nation with its revelations of the Nipponese atrocities. Major Grashio served under Colonel Dyess and was with him on the frightful march. The two were together in Jap prison camps, and escaped together on April 4, 1943. Colonel Dyess was killed in a plane crash after his return to the states.

Colonel Dyess told his story how Major Grashio, whom he referred to as "Sam" had slipped extra food to him while he was sick with malaria at Davao, when the Major was on duty in the Jap kitchen. When Major Grashio was approached regarding escape plans, which Colonel Dyess and a U.S. marine whom he called "Shifty" had worked out, and asked if he wanted to "go over the hill," he replied at once: "When do we go? Right now? Sure!"

[At the time the Davenport Times-Tribune only reported Cecil Cunningham (of Deep Creek) as a Japanese POW from Reardan. Bill Darnold, Dr. Harold Proff, and John Hickenbottom, a civilian contractor, were also held since early in 1942.]