Brainerd’s Last Surviving Member of 194th Tank Battalion Dies at 101
At the age of 101, Brainerd’s last surviving member of the 194th Tank Battalion, and Minnesota’s last living Bataan Death March survivor, has died.
According to a post on the Share history and stories about Brainerd Lakes Area Facebook page, Walter Straka passed away in the early morning on July 4. Straka, a member of 194th Tank Battalion in Bataan and Luzon from 1941 until 1946, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in October of last year for 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 post on Facebook received over 200 comments and 300 shares with those in the community sending their sympathy and thank yous for Straka’s service.