Belmont Village Heros Ernie Cortez

Ernie Cortez

1st Lt., U.S. Army
Resident, Belmont Village Sunnyvale, CA

“. . . when Bataan surrendered, my unit and others were marched in a column along the simmering dusty road. At sundown, two old schoolmates and I decided to break away from the column. We met three civilian boatmen who were ferrying soldiers across the bay. While crossing, we saw a Japanese patrol boat. Fortunately, they didn’t see us. Across the war zone, we changed into civilian clothes to find our way to our home town. We escaped the dreaded Death March, where hundreds of soldiers died before reaching the concentration camp 150 miles away.”