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Apr 29, 2013 6:48 PM by Jason Laird - Q2 News

One In a Million - Bataan Death March survivor and artist - Ben Steele

BILLINGS - As history goes on to tell us, September of 1939 through August of 1945 produced some of the most horrific events the world has ever seen.

Nearly 70 years later, a Billings man by the name of Ben Steele tells us his story and reflects the years following the capture of the 19th bombardment group by the Japanese during World War II.

Ben Steele served in WWII with the 19th Bombardment group.

This week One In A Million features Steele as he witnessed the Bataan Death March first hand, only to let it transform his life for the better, leading him to pursue a career of art.

He was originally a bomber mechanic but that quickly changed when the Japanese attacked the area where Steele and the bomber group were stationed in the Philippines.

Upon his capture by the Japanese Steele and his fellow soldiers were forced upon what is now known as the Bataan Death March. Steele went on to suffer for two and a half years at Camp O'Donnell and was later transferred to Japan for the remainder of the war.

Steele often drew while in the camp to pass the time and keep from losing his mind and after suffering a grueling three and a half years as a prisoner of war.

He went on to pursue his dream of art where his interest in art was picked up from a friend of his by the name of Will James.

Throughout the years, Steele has been featured in many books, illustrates his own book, and taught art as a college professor for many years.


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