Fate Bars Ex-POW From Aid to Buddies
Albuquerque, N.M. (UP) — DEC. 3, 1949
— A 32-year-old survivor of the Bataan death
march has gone to his grave, cheated by fate of one more
chance to help his fellow veterans.
Joseph S. Smith of Albuquerque, who lived through four years
of imprisonment by the Japanese, had worked constantly since
the war for increased government aid to Bataan veterans. His
work ended abruptly last Tuesday when he died with 27 others
in the crash of an airliner at Dallas, Tex.
In a note left to his family, Smith asked that an autopsy be
performed on his body, including a thorough diagnosis of his
stomach. He wanted the report to be sent to the Veterans
Affairs Committee of Congress.
“I request this,” Smith wrote, “because I want this
committee to know the condition of hundreds of other
veterans who starved for three years as prisoners of war
under the Japanese.”
Several months ago, Smith appeared with other Bataan
veterans at a congressional hearing on veterans affairs.
They testified that four years of mistreatment in Japa[-]
prison camps had left them and their comrades with ailments
not always apparent to a doctor. An autopsy, Smith told the
congressmen, would be the only method to really find out how
the men were affected.
Before his funeral Thursday at Carlsbad, N.M., his family
said it would be impossible to fill the final request.
Smith's body was burned so severely in the Dallas crash that
any attempt at an autopsy would be useless.
Stars & Stripes (Pacific)