Sometimes the men would fall at night having marched all day resting for only two hours and not receiving food or water. They would be wakened and kicked to their feet by the guards. Then they would be marched back south for an hour or so, then turned back north until in the small hours of the morning they finally stopped Just a short distance from where they first halted.
When the prisoners were herded into enclosures, two guards using bamboo clubs flanked the entrance. The slightest provoca-tion cost a prisoner a swift kick In the stomach or a blow across the back. It was a bitter introduction to the corral that already reeked with the smell of animal excreta.
More and more began to drop by the wayside. Each wondering when he too would stumble and fall to rise no more.
Rest came at odd intervals. Some men were given regular breaks every hour and a half, but others only during the hottest part of the day. Many were given no breaks at all.
There were contrasts too. Some Japanese threw food to the captives, while others were killed, beaten and looted. Russ and some of his buddies had managed to find a five pound can of dried beef and this enabled them to keep their strength up. How they eluded the Japanese with this food supply was almost a miracle.
Japanese soldiers used prisoners for bayonet practice, plunging their weapons repeatedly into their screaming victims.
It was also the practice that each night when the guard changed, a Jap would bayonet one or two prisoners. When it came time for the guard to change the men would move back leaving several men in the open to become victims. Russ woke one night to find himself in this situation, so he found a piece of tar paper and went out and laid it on the latrine area and slept there the rest of the night without incident.
Men were buried alive, often by other prisoners forced at bayonet point to carry out this task. The Japanese seemed to get "animal pleasure" out of beating men. Sometimes the men were allowed to assist the weaker ones and sometimes not. The Japanese also looted constantly.
Thirsty, dehydrated men drank from bacteria filled pools, polluted streams and muddy rice paddies. They held their noses to seal off the sickening odor but they drank all they could. Russ had found some chlorine tablets and since he hadn't lost his canteen, he was fortunate to have a little purified water. Even the rains didn't help the dehydration. As much as they suffered from lack of water, their need for food was just as serious. Russ received one meal of rice in four days and three nights of marching.
Russ kept moving from one group to another hurrying along out of the filth and misery. He was able to avoid being beaten or run over by a truck or tank as he could move along at a pretty good pace.
In one encampment, a Filipino girl crawled through a drainage ditch, risking death, to get food to Russ and a few men there. At other times he ate turnips pulled out of fields or was able to get a stalk of sugar cane to help his thirst and hunger.