Jesse Mallares Baltazar, a World War II veteran who fought under the US Armed Forces and received the United States Purple Heart, passed away due to cancer last week at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, US. He was 95.
He was also a survivor of the Bataan Death March, where Japanese troops coerced their Filipino and American counterparts to trek 106 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan, to Camp O’Donnel in Capas, Tarlac. On the third night, he escaped from the agonizing procession that starved thousands of soldiers to death.
After the war, Baltazar flew to the US and worked at the Office of Special Investigations under the US Navy and was commissioned to Korea and West Germany. Upon his military retirement, he joined the US Agency for International Development in Vietnam and retired from the State Department in 1988.
Baltazar was born on October 8, 1920, in Quezon City. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian at Georgetown University in 1950 and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Virginia in 1979. He left behind five children with his wife Margrit Kilchmann.
This year, he published a novel entitled ‘The Naked Soldier’, which is a memoir about his prodigious life and times in the military.