In Memory

Leland Preston Chase - Class Of 1934



 
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03/11/14 09:25 AM #1    

Eric Chase (1967)

Leland Preston Chase was "seeing the world" after graduation from USC in 1938, and he had made it to Manila, Phillippines by 1941, where he was working at a paper factory during the day and broadcasting the news in English on a local radio station at night. When the war in Europe broke out Lee enlisted in the U.S. Navy and completed officer's candidate school in the Phillippines.  He was then made an Ensign in the Navy Reserves. In December 1941 the Japanese overran Manila, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  They kicked in the door of his apartment, and forced him at bayonet point into a prison camp as a civilian, having never noticed the U.S. Navy uniform hanging in the closet.  Lee spent the next 31/2 years in captivity.  He was liberated in 1945 by U.S. Forces at Los Banos, Phillippines, weighing just 110 lbs., but still standing 6 feet tall.  Many Americans and Europeans died in captivity there, of starvation and disease.  Dad always carried the Phillippine people in his heart.  The locals braved death throughout the war, tossing bundles of food and supplies over the twin fences in the night, right under the machine guns in the towers, to aid the starving prisoners.  Lee passed away in 2002, leaving behind his loving wife of 53 years, Helen.  Lee was a patriot to the end, and my hero.  Eric Chase '67


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