Family will walk in honor of Bataan survivor

Courtesy Photo Richard Trask and Gov. Susana Martinez pose for a photo at the 70th Annual Bataan Remembrance ceremony in Santa Fe in 2012. Trask was a prisoner of war and survived the Bataan Death March during World War II.

Courtesy Photo
Richard Trask and Gov. Susana Martinez pose for a photo at the 70th Annual Bataan Remembrance ceremony in Santa Fe in 2012. Trask was a prisoner of war and survived the Bataan Death March during World War II.

By Eric Norwood Jr.
CNJ STAFF WRITER
enorwood@pntonline.com

At 94, Richard Trask says he lives the superstar life.

That’s how the Bataan Death March survivor describes the feeling of being honored each year at the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, which kicks off its 25th annual march on Sunday.

“It makes me feel pretty good. I’m 94 so I’m a little tired but still happy,” said Richard Trask.

Trask’s grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Mark and Lisa Trask, traveled from Chicago to participate in the march for the third consecutive year.

“I’m pretty proud of my grandpa. Not everyone has a grandpa who is a hero,” said Mark Trask.

Cpl. Richard Trask is an Albuquerque native, but has been living in Clovis for three years, with his son Richard Trask Jr. and his wife, Kathi. Richard Trask joined the New Mexico National Guard in January 1939 or 1940 — he doesn’t quite remember — and by 1941 he was in Manila as part of the 515th Coast Artillery.

Trask survived the 65-mile march from Mariveles to San Fernando, and was a prisoner of war for four years. He was liberated from a prisoner of war hospital in Tokyo on Sept. 27, 1945.

““He told me about being starved and eating a chicken egg before it had gotten hard,” Mark Trask said. “He also said he had his teeth pulled out with pliers. I’ve heard only a few stories; he doesn’t talk about it much.”

Trask’s age won’t allow him to make the ceremonial 14.2-mile walk, but he will be at White Sands enjoying the festivities.

“They make him feel like a star, and everyone wants to meet him and take pictures,” Mark said with a chuckle.

How does the 94-year-old spend his days now?

“He sleeps quite a bit and he loves to eat. He’ll eat anything,” Mark said.

Eat, sleep, and pose for pictures … the superstar life.