Bataan Death March survivor from Las Cruces dies at 101

Bataan Death March survivor dies at 101.

One of the last surviving veterans of the Baatan Death March died Monday. Prior to Monday, there were only eight of these survivors left from New Mexico. Now, there are seven.

Julio Barela died Monday afternoon. He was 101 years old. He was one of the prisoners of war forcibly transferred by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Barela tried to enlist in the U.S. Army before he was old enough and then got drafted when he was 18. He was married and had one daughter.

Ray Silva, the organizer of the Bataan Memorial Bike Run,said our community should honor all of Barela's sacrifices for our country.

“They were marched from Baatan, 65 miles. What did they go through? They went through hell. They were beaten, stabbed, put in solitary, tortured. Some of them were used as punching bags, bayonet practice,” Silva said. "Their legacy is what makes America today."

Services for Barela are planned for Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. They will be held at Our Lady of Purification Catholic Church in Dona Ana, New Mexico. Burial will follow at the Masonic Cemetery in Dona Ana.

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