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On  the  last lap of the journey to Camp O'Donnell,  the men were shoved inside box cars.  They were jammed in where they had to  stand  with their arms pressed to their sides or if they sat, their knees were pulled tight under their chin. There was not  any ventilation  except for small cracks.  The oppressive heat turned the steel box cars into "sweat boxes".  Sensing the upcoming danger, Russ held back to position himself to be near the doors so as to get some air through the cracks. Men with  dysentery long since ceased to control themselves and the interior was filled with an unbearable stench.  The sick men got sicker and threw up all over themselves and the floor,  which was already covered with filth and slime. Men died on the floor or wedged in between others. 

Some men were able to escape from the trains and small amounts of food did get to a few from Filipinos outside throwing it inside.  But for the majority of prisoners it was an ordeal. 

When the train finally reached Capos, the men were released. Many unable to stand.  The physical condition of the prisoners was at it's worst - gaunt,  haggard,  dirty, unshaven, filthy men with torn clothes. Even best friends had trouble recognizing each other. Russ could find no one he knew. But this was probably for the best, as self survival was all that was left. 

It is unknown how many men died on the march,  but it is es-timated  between  2,000  and  2,330 Americans and possibly 10,000 Filipinos.  Indeed it was a "March of Death".  There are not  any precise records,  but the more reliable which err probably on the conservative side are  70,000 men  started  the march;  54,000 reached  O'Donnell;  10,000  died  on march from various causes -sickness, beatings, and execution;  of these,  2,330 were thought to be Americans 

Day 627 
Incredible luck! The Japanese Commander was in a good mood and we were given a Red Cross package and I got a package from my brother Bus and his wife Muriel.  In the one from Bus I got vitamins and Ovaltine,  but the cheese was like a rock.  I received a few oranges and saved the peels and bread ration and made a tasty orange flavored bread. It is truly a Merry Christmas! 

Most of the Red Cross and other packages shipped over the years never reached the prisoners, instead, being kept by the guards or just warehoused away. 



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