Retired Maj. Bert Bank of Tuscaloosa, Ala., who died on June 22, 2009 at the age of 94, was a native of Montgomery, Ala. He attended the University of Alabama and was a graduate of the UA Law School. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant through the ROTC program and was assigned to the 27th Bomb Group, arriving in the Philippines on November 20, 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, his unit was moved to the Bataan Peninsula on December 24, 1941. After months of intense fighting, Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942 and shortly thereafter the infamous Death March began during which approximately 20,000 prisoners died. Mr. Bank was held in several locations including the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp in which 2,656 Americans died. It was from that camp that he and 512 other prisoners were liberated by the 6th Ranger Battalion on January 30, 1945. He returned to the United States where he spent two years in the Valley Forge General Hospital recovering from malnutrition. He separated from the Air Force in 1947 with the rank of Major. His book, "Back From the Living Dead", recounts his experiences as a prisoner of war. Mr. Bank came to Tuscaloosa where he started radio stations WTBC-AM and WUOA-FM and in 1953, started the University of Alabama Football Network where he continued as the Producer Emeritus until his recent death. He was a close friend of legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.I was fortunate to have met Bert Bank. He was a bonafide American patriot and hero.
Nominated By Mickey Noah
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