Grayford Cleborn Payne


Grayford Payne

MAY 8, 1998 — Grayford C. Payne, 78, a retired Army chief warrant officer who served in three wars and survived five Japanese prisoner-of-war camps in World War II, died of emphysema May 1 at his home in Annandale, Va. An ordnance technician, Payne was on active duty in the Army from 1941 to 1968. After World War II, he was stationed at various posts in the United States and in Germany, Italy and Okinawa. He also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, and his personal decorations included two Bronze Stars with the combat V device for valor. But by his own account, nothing compared with his experience as a prisoner of war. He was captured in the Philippines in April 1942, and within 15 minutes he watched in horror as a Japanese soldier bayoneted a 15-year-old Filipino boy “right next to me.” Payne survived the infamous Bataan Death March and spent the next “three years, five months and 20 days” as a slave laborer in five Japanese prison camps in the Philippines and Japan. He nearly starved. By the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and brought the United States into the war, Payne’s unit was in the Philippines. Of the 22 soldiers from his immediate area in New Mexico who were called up with him, only six survived the war.


The Tampa Tribune