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