By John Wukovits Staff Sergeant William Nolan dared not raise his hopes this August day in 1945, but something unusual was unfolding. Japanese guards normally escorted him and the other prisoners from their Kosaka, Japan, prison camp to the copper factory. Today, though, they were ordered to remain in their barracks. “Usually we tramped to work every day, except for the emperor’s birthday,” recalled Nolan. “Rumors of the war’s end had bounded through camp for the past week. Later that day, around noon, we heard the war was over.” For Nolan, an excruciating three-and-a-half-year ordeal neared its end. From April 1942, when he put down his weapons in the Philippines, until August 1945, Nolan endured a seemingly endless stream of prison camps, cruel guards, and hell ships that so ravaged his body that his weight plunged from the 170s to fewer than 100 pounds. His agonizing odyssey started with a march that has entered the annals of war as one of the most infamous deeds ever recorded, a walk more commonly known by its horrifying title—the Bataan Death March. A native of Michigan, William Nolan started his military service on March 7, 1941. He arrived in Manila the following September, where he worked in communications for the 515th Coastal Artillery out of nearby Fort Stotsenburg. Duty in the Philippines offered a luxuriant alternative to the rigid lifestyle offered by most military posts. “We had an easy life out there, with frequent parties and dances. Talk

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