Brainerd Survivor of Bataan Death March Awarded Congressional Gold Medal
The last remaining Brainerd survivor of the Bataan Death March was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal today in Brainerd for his bravery and service during World War II.
Walter Straka, who is now 100 years old, was a member of the 194th Tank Battalion in Bataan and Luzon from 1941 until 1946. The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Straka due to his courage against a brutal enemy in defense of the Philippines and the United States, as he was held as a prisoner of war in Japan for three and a half years during his time of service in the Army.
The Congressional Gold Medal is considering an equal honor to the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has been awarded to the likes of George Washington, Thomas Edison, and the flight crew of Apollo 9.