Frank A. Gabaldon; Death March Survivor
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Photo by B. Charley Gallegos
MAR. 6, 1991 — Frank A. Gabaldon, a
decorated survivor of the Bataan Death March of World War II,
died of cancer Saturday in his Spring Valley home after a brief
illness. He was 75.
Mr. Gabaldon had been a resident of the San
Diego area since 1953 and was employed by National Steel and
Shipbuilding Co. for 25 years as a working-teaching shipwright.
He retired in 1981.
He was a professional drummer and had played
in bands from the time he was a youth in his native Albuquerque,
Mr. Gabaldon joined the U.S. Army in 1940 and
went overseas as a bandsman. He was stationed at Clark Field in
the Philippines when it was bombed by the Japanese shortly after
the Pearl Harbor attack.
He was wounded during jungle fighting and was
a staff sergeant when the U.S.-Philippine forces surrendered. He
walked the infamous Bataan Death March and later was forced to
work in the rice fields and was tortured and beaten. After 18
months, he was shipped to Japan and weighed only 85 pounds when
he was finally freed in 1945. He was virtually blind from
malnutrition. He received three Purple Hearts, three Silver
Stars and two Bronze Stars. He was awarded the gold Freedom
Medal by the Philippine government in 1967.
Mr. Gabaldon was a member of the Musicians
Union and was made a member of the Girl Scouts of America as a
result of his assistance on camping trips.
He also was a member of the Purple Heart
Society and the Ex-POWs.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years,
Charmette; two daughters and a son, Charmette Haberkoran, Yvette
Prato and Alan Gabaldon, all of Spring Valley; two
stepdaughters, Cheri Sporleder of Michigan and Edwina Clark of
Tucson, Ariz.; three sisters and two brothers, Flora Sanchez,
Margie Gabaldon and Helen Moya, all of Albuquerque; Rudy
Gabaldon of Nevada and Orlando Gabaldon of Los Angeles, and 11
Military services will be at 11 a.m. today at
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. He was a member of St. John of
the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove, but rosary service
will be at Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley.