LOS ANGELES – Lester Tenney, a former U.S. prisoner of war held by the Imperial Japanese Army and a survivor of the notorious 1942 Bataan Death March, died at a nursing facility Friday in Carlsbad, California, a local newspaper reported. He was 96.
The Chicago native was one of 60,000 to 80,000 U.S. and Filipino POWs forced to march more than 100 km (60 miles) to a prison camp on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines during World War II. Many died on the journey from malnutrition, thirst and abuse or rampant torture and murder. The event was later judged as a war crime.
He was forced to work at a coal mine in southwestern Japan from 1943 until the end of the war in 1945. After returning to the U.S., he became a college professor.
When he visited Japan in 2010, then-Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada apologized to Tenney for the inhumane treatment he suffered at the hands of his captors.
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