As we all know today is the day we honor and remember all of our fallen Heroes who fought so bravely for the Freedom of our Great Nation and all Americans.
On this important day I want to share a very compelling story about my Father-in-law, John Hilton Bradley, and his wonderful Parents.
My Father-in-law was born in Manila, Philippines to an Australian Mom and an American Dad. His Father was an American soldier who had mustered out of the Army. He fell in love with the Philippines and an incredible Australian photojournalist and decided to make Manila his home.
Amelia Mary and Noble James were married in 1934 with a promising future ahead of them. They gave birth to my Father-in-law on May 12, 1936. On a side note …I will write a blog about Amelia Mary soon, an incredible lady in her time! They began their life as any young couple full of hope, dreams and ambition for a life together raising their young son.
Fast forward to December 8 1941 the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Japanese invaded The Philippines. Horrible atrocities occurred. American and British expats were rounded up and imprisoned in the University of Santo Tomas which was turned into an interment camp.
My Father-in-law was five years old at the time that he and 3,000 internees were imprisoned. The Japanese were brutal in their treatment on the internees. The treatment in Santo Tomas declined greatly from the beginning of the war until the end of WW2 in 1945. Most adult men nearly starved to death losing, on average, 53 pounds. This included my father-in-law’s father Noble. He was actually one of the last men able to pull in the horse drawn food ration cart.
MacArthur returned as promised in 1944 and the camp was freed by Allied forces on February 3, 1945. Noble was fed real food for the first time in three years and suffered a burst appendix. While he was hospitalized, the Japanese shelled Santo Tomas, wounding Noble Bradley. He was triaged out of line and sadly passed away with Amelia by his side. Imagine surviving all those months through untold pain and deprivation only to lose your life at the end! He is buried in his beloved Manila at the American Battle Monument Cemetery.
Amelia and now eight year old John left the Philippines for Australia and then America. They settled in San Diego completely alone to begin a new life in post WW2 America. Amelia became a very successful real estate agent. Can you imagine being so brave as to come to America with your young son and start anew in a foreign Country?
John grew up and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point! He graduated with distinction and served tours in Korea and Vietnam. He was an Army Ranger and parachuted behind enemy line many times. He returned to teach and coach sports at West Point. He has written several books including co-authoring the Academy’s textbook on World War II in the South Pacific.
My Father-in-law rarely speaks of his amazing life and career, but he is more than happy to give you a history lesson! He is extremely humble concerning his life and incredible accomplishments.
Amelia had written a diary of their time in Santo Tomas and now at 85, my Father-in-law has co-authored a book with his Mother. MacArthur Moon by Amelia and John Hilton Bradley is available to purchase on Amazon.
My father-in-law sent me this list of people to remember on Memorial Day. I include it to honor him and them.
My Remembrances by John Bradley
- Father: Noble J. Bradley, killed by enemy action, WW II
- Uncle: Trooper M. A. Langley, Australian Expeditionary Force, KIA, Boer War
Friends & Associates, Executed by the enemy
- Emil Johnson, adult neighbor, executed by the Japanese, WW II
- Maj Larry Malone, classmate, POW, probably executed by NVA, Bronze Star for Valor
- Capt Humberto Versace, Infantry, Executed by VC, VN – Medal of Honor
Friends/Comrades Killed in Action, Killed, Died of Wounds, or Died in War Zone
- Lt Col Len Hanawald, Infantry, DOW VN – Silver Star
- Lt Col Fred van Deusen, Infantry, KIA VN – Distinguished Service Cross
- Maj Ray Celeste, Infantry, KIA VN
- Maj Jerry Laird, Infantry, KIA, VN – Silver Star
- Capt William Johnson, Infantry, KIA, VN
- Capt Thomas McCarthy, Infantry, KIA, VN – Distinguished Service Cross
- Capt Phil Tabb, Infantry, KIA, VN
- Capt Frank Thompson, Infantry, KIA, VN
- Capt Richard Whitesides, Air Force, MIA/Died, Air Action – Air Force Cross
- SFC Henry T. Cannon, Infantry, KIA, VN
- SFC William Smith, Infantry, KIA, VN
- PFC Ernest Pylant, Died in Philippines, WW II – Bronze Star
And several paratrooper NCOs whose names I have forgotten, KIA VN
- Lt Col Mervin Morrill, Air Force, MIA/KIA, air action, North Vietnam – Silver Star
- Lt Col Lon Spurlock, Infantry, KIA, ground-air action, VN
- Major George Hussey, Infantry, KIA, Cambodia – 2 Bronze Stars for Valor
- Maj Robert Degen, Armor, Murdered by a US soldier, VN – Bronze Star for Valor
- Maj David Nidever, Artillery, KIA VN – Silver Star
- Maj Robert Olson, Air Force, MIA/KIA, air action, Laos – Air Medal
- Maj Floyd Spencer, Artillery, KIA, VN
- Capt Gerald Capelle, Infantry, KIA, VN – Silver Star
- Capt Richard Johnson, Infantry, KIA, VN – Bronze Star for Valor
- Capt Richard Lynch, Infantry, KIA, VN
- Capt Charles Moore, Armor, MIA/KIA, air action, VN – Air Medal