Walter DeHaas Chatham – Captain, United States Air Force

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“I would like you to know that my father, Walter DeHaas Chatham, Jr. (Captain, USAF, Ret.) was buried at Arlington in October of 1989. He was a POW of the Japanese during World War II, and was one of the survivors of the Bataan Death March (actually, he escaped quite by accident, he said, but was subsequently re-captured at one of Fassoth's Camps about five months later).

“He was one of those who was shipped to Japan in late 1944 or early 1945 in one of the infamous “death ships,” those unmarked Japanese freighters that the Americans unknowingly and routinely blew out of the waters. Once there, he was forced to mine coal 12-16 hours per day, until the bombing of Nagasaki which ended the war.

“He was, by the way, less than 50 miles away from ground zero of that bombing. The only thing that saved his life then was that he was seven levels underground.

“In my mind (and heart) it is men like him who constitute the real heroes of our nation, and I am proud that he rests among the hest. I hope to see his name in the future on this page and I commend you for doing such a fine work in honoring those, like my father, whose stories would otherwise be forgotten. My father was forgotten once, I would hate if the nation that he fought for and almost died to protect, would let his name be forgotten again. His story was related in the book by Ray Hunt (whom he met when he escaped just ten minutes after my father) entitled ‘Behind Japanese Lines'.

Thank you again, Betty Horn.”


CHATHAM, WALTER D JR

  • CAPT   US AIR FORCE
  • WORLD WAR II, KOREA
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 02/01/1920
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/01/1989
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 65  SITE 2186
    ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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