Paul Kerchum Death, Obituary – Paul Kerchum did not pass away at any point. He was a child during the Great Depression, lived through the Bataan Death March, and spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war in Japan. Kerchum, who is now 102 years old, is one of the few people to have survived the brutal march through the Bataan Peninsula in Luzon. In December of 1941, Japan launched an invasion of the archipelago’s coasts in an effort to eliminate Allied forces. Kerchum’s battalion provided cover for friendly elements that were making their way to the peninsula while Japanese soldiers pushed through the forest.

The regiment finally capitulated in April after being engaged in action for several months, suffering from illness and starvation, and having their ammunition and supplies dwindle. 10,000 Americans and 66,000 Filipinos were marched to the prisoner of war camp known as Camp O’Donnell. Camp O’Donnell was occupied by the enemy. The journey through the bush that Kerchum took seven decades ago is still very clear in his mind. Kerchum, a DAV life member who is a member of Chapter 26 in Benson, Arizona, recalled that while we were marching, we formed three lines, and he said that he was typically in the middle line because Japanese vehicles would hit civilians in the far line with guns or whatever else they had.

Kerchum is a DAV life member. As a result, I maintained my position in the middle of the line and focused on the shoes that were in front of me. The hazardous expedition will take between 60 and 70 kilometers to complete. On the way to their destination, the Japanese executed 10,000 prisoners by beheading, bayonetteing, shooting, and beating them. “I heard the shots and the screams,” said Kerchum. He is one of the few people alive today who survived the Bataan Death March. His forthrightness regarding the painful events in his past is a relatively new development. According to his daughter Paula Desmarais, he never brought it up in conversation.

He no longer hides his past and frequently gives presentations at schools. According to Joe Parsetich, DAV National Commander, “Paul is living history,” and he exemplifies both resilience and determination as a survivor of World War II. He makes sure that young people will not forget what he and others went through by sharing their experiences with the next generation.