A Connecticut man who fought in the Pacific Theater in World War II and was a prisoner of war was honored on Monday, 75 years after the end of the war.
Dan Crowley received an honorary Combat Infantryman Badge in recognition of his fighting in the Philippines during a ceremony at the Air National Guard hanger at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks on Monday. He also received a Prisoner of War medal.
Crowley enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in October 1940 and was sent to the Philippines in March 1941. Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, they also bombed airfields in the Philippines, including Nichols Field where Crowley was stationed.
Private Crowley and others defended Nichols Field but it ultimately fell to the Japanese. He made his way to the Bataan Peninsula and then to Corregidor Island, where he was eventually captured and held as a prisoner of war.
The Japanese took POWs from Corregidor Island back to Manila where he was taken from the prison camp there to build an airstrip. Crowley was then taken to Japan in March 1944 to be a slave laborer in a copper mine. He was liberated on Sept. 4, 1945, and returned to Connecticut.
In addition to the two honors Crowley received on Monday, he was also promoted to the rank of sergeant. He attained the rank in 1945 but was never notified about the promotion.