Categotry Archives: Military

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Albert Bland

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Categories: Extraordinary People, Military

Albert J. Bland, a World War II prisoner of war, died on the 58th anniversary of the day he was liberated. Cause of death was cancer. He was 87.
Bland was a formidable 240-pound tackle when he played football for Washington College. In 1937, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to work as a mechanic at Nichols Field in the Philippines. He was defending the Bataan Peninsula in 1942 when American and Filipino troops were overrun by the Japanese.
Bland and 75,000 other soldiers were then marched 65 miles, in brutal heat without food or water, to a railhead for dispersal to prison camps. Thousands died en route; those who survived suffered through years of malnutrition and torture. Until they were liberated by Allied forces in 1945, the prisoners were forced to work as slave laborers in coal mines, factories and shipyards.
He survived imprisonment in the Philippines, Formosa, Japan, Korea and Manchuria, by existing solely on a daily ration of rice and pumpkin soup. When freed, he weighed only 98 lbs. and was blind from malnutrition.
Despite his experiences during World War II, Bland recuperated and served in the Air Force until 1957. He retired as a master sergeant and remained active in POW issues for the rest of his life. Bland received the Prisoner of War Medal in 1988.

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Burton Lewis Hutchings

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Categories: Law, Military

Burton Lewis Hutchings, a retired officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, died on Aug. 20 of cancer. He was 67.

Hutchings graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree, then completed an intensive course in Mandarin Chinese at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages at Yale University. With this knowledge, he got a job as a communications intelligence specialist with the Air Force Security Service and served in Korea.

In 1965, Hutchings joined the CIA. During his 24 years with the agency, Hutchings worked as chief of the legislative division in the director’s office and as chief of operations of the counterterrorism component. When he retired, Hutchings handled security for Trans World Airlines in London, the Port Authority of New York and CBS.

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Frank MacDonald

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Categories: Military

Frank MacDonald, Australia’s oldest decorated World War I veteran, died on Aug. 23 of pneumonia. He was 107.
MacDonald tried to enlist in the military in 1914, but was rejected for having bad teeth. He was allowed to sign up two years later, however, when the war’s carnage created a need for more manpower. As a corporal in the all-Tasmanian 40th Battalion, he was sent to fight in Belgium and France where he was gassed three times. In 1917, he earned the Military Medal for Gallantry for repairing telegraph lines during the battle of Ypres.
MacDonald worked in administrative positions at Victoria Barracks in Sydney during World War II. A resident of Tasmania, he was the last survivor of his battalion.
“I’m too pig-headed to die,” MacDonald once said. “I should have been killed a dozen times, but I wasn’t. I had 10 times as much luck as any man is entitled to.”

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Laura R. Borsten

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Categories: Military

Laura Rapaport Borsten, the last surviving officer of the Navy’s WAVES program, died on Aug. 11 of a stroke. She was 91.
In 1942, Borsten was helping German refugees resettle in the U.S. when she enlisted in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. During her four years as a WAVES ensign, Borsten trained thousands of female recruits and championed the inclusion of black women in the service.
She retired as a lieutenant commander of the WAVES, which was disbanded after World War II. Her wartime experiences were featured in her autobiography, “Once a Wave: My Life in the U.S. Navy 1942-1946.”

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John Lansdale Jr.

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Categories: Law, Military

Col. John Lansdale Jr., the security and intelligence chief of the Manhattan Project, died on Aug. 22. Cause of death was not released. He was 91.
Lansdale graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1933 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He worked for the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey until the start of World War II.
From 1941 to 1945, Lansdale ran the investigation and review branches of the G-2 War Department. He also took command of the security and intelligence teams of the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, N.M. For his contributions to the war effort, Lansdale received the Legion of Merit and the Order of the British Empire.
After the war, Lansdale returned to Cleveland, where he practiced law and served on the city council for Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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