Fort Bragg's Paraglide Features Sgt. Mims
Sgt. John Mims, a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March of World War II, is featured in a recent edition of Paraglide, official newspaper at Fort Bragg.
The article, written by Eve Meinhardt, fills the front page of the Life section of Paraglide. It includes a 1950 photograph of Mims when he was a sergeant first class stationed as quartermaster in Tokyo, a recent photograph and a map of the area of the Philippine Islands, where the fateful march began in 1942 after the island fell to Japanese forces.
Mims, who lives near Pinebluff, recently returned from his 20th reunion with fellow survivors and their families at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. He is the final survivor from his unit with the Army's 21st Infantry. However, he enjoys visiting with the few remaining survivors from other companies and the families of fellow 21st Infantry members.
The march is re-enacted annually during the reunion as a memorial to those who died on the 60-mile march during which some 75,000 American and Filipino military personnel were tortured and forced to walk in fierce heat, cold weather, sickness and deprivation, without medical care or adequate food and water. On the march they endured brutal beatings and were denied adequate clothing. The harsh treatment that characterized the march was later designated as a war crime.
Mims was still in his teens and in good health at the time of the march. After he and the other prisoners of war were liberated in 1945, Mims recovered his health and decided to make a career of the Army. He will be 87 in November.
Despite advice from his doctor, Mims drove the entire route from North Carolina to New Mexico to attend the reunion, then drove back to his home. He traveled alone.
The reunion at White Sands, near Las Cruces, has grown from the 150 who attended when it was initiated 20 years ago to thousands today.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at email@example.com.
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