Wedding Bells Will Ring Joyously In Unusual War Romance

 

Soldier Escapes From Japan Prison, Returns To
Find His Sweetheart Has Waited For Him

 

Pacheco after his return to American custody.

APR. 6, 1945 — T/Sgt. Albert D. Pacheco of Deming, captured at Corregidor, grew restless in the Palawan prison camp early in December.

The member of the New Mexico 200th Coast Artillery began to lose hope that MacArthur's men would return. Grapevine messages to Palawan, an island between Luzon and Borneo, approximately 400 miles south of Manila, were few. The 150 Americans and Filipinos interned there felt their doom was already sealed.

With nine other prisoners, Albert escaped from the camp.

In El Paso yesterday, Sergeant Pacheco said he still can't tell all the details of that miraculous escape.

“I have just returned from Washington, where I was told not to give that information,” he said.

Palawan has since been invaded and is one of the points being used for the strike on Borneo.

“But I don't want to talk about those four years; I'm too happy to care,” the soldier said.

“You see, my girl — who said she would wait for the year I expected to be in the South Pacific — was still waiting when I came back to El Paso Friday.”

He told the story yesterday as Henry Garcia, deputy county clerk, filled out a marriage license for Pacheco and Catalina Valles of 911 East Overland street.

“I had two letters from Katie,” Albert said.

“I hurried to the place in South El Paso where she had lived when we met two months before I left Ft. Bliss. Neighbors gave me another address. The family had moved again. Finally, I was told to try 911 East Overland.

“A stranger came to the door of the East Overland street address. I asked for Katie.

“She appeared but she just looked at me. Like I was a dead person walking.

“Finally, she believed her eyes. 'Alberto!' she cried. Then she hugged me tight.

“I guess she was just speechless at first; you see she hadn't received a single letter.”

The couple will be married April 22 at Mass at St. Ignatius Church, with the Rev. P. Zagni officiating.

After receiving the marriage license, the soldier returned to Deming to visit his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Florentino Pacheco. He will come back to El Paso Monday.

 

El Paso Herald-Post