Rio Grande City in Starr County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
W.W. II Veteran, POW and Survivor of the Bataan Death March
Gregorio Barrera was born in Rio Grande City in 1917 and volunteered to serve in the Army in 1941. He was assigned to the Philippines and was there when the United States declared war against Japan in December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the three month long Battle of Bataan, 76,000 American and Filipino solders surrendered to the Japanese Army, including Gregorio Barrera. As prisoners of war, they were forced to march 70 miles without food or water and under extreme conditions, suffering from disabling diseases such as malaria and dysentery, to Balanga the capital of Bataan. It is estimated that 10,000 soldiers died from the frequent beatings or were summarily executed by the Japanese. The cruelty of the Japanese captors was subsequently judged a war crime.
Gregorio Barrera survived the physical abuse and other atrocities. He attributes his survival to angels that appeared and saved him. When Japan surrendered in 1945, the POWs were liberated. Mr. Barrera returned to Rio Grande where he married Teresa Hernandez and raised five children.
In 1998, the City of Rio Grande named the plaza in his honor to memorialize the courage and sacrifice of Gregorio Barrera, survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Patriots & Patriotism • War, World II.
Location. 26° 22.855′ N, 98° 49.199′ W. Marker is in Rio Grande City, Texas, in Starr County. Memorial can be reached from the intersection of North Britton Avenue and 3rd Street (Canales Brothers Street), on the left when traveling south. Marker is located within the Gregorio Barrera Memorial Plaza, between the northbound and southbound sides of Britton Avenue, north of 3rd Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rio Grande City TX 78582, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Immaculate Conception School (within shouting distance of this marker); José de Escandón (within shouting distance of this marker); Starr County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rio Grande City, C.S.A (about 500 feet away); Site of Old Rancho Davis (about 700 feet away); Site of Cortina Battle (about 700 feet away); Historic Rio Grande City (about 800 feet away); San Agustín de Laredo a Visita (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rio Grande City.
Also see . . . Bataan Death March. The surrendered Filipinos and Americans soon were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march some 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando. The men were divided into groups of approximately 100, and what became known as the Bataan Death March typically took each group around five days to complete. The exact figures are unknown, but it is believed that thousands of troops died because of the brutality of their captors, who starved and beat the marchers, and bayoneted those too weak to walk. Survivors were taken by rail from San Fernando to prisoner-of-war camps, where thousands more died from disease, mistreatment and starvation. (Submitted on June 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 4, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 102 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.