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American Homefront

Farewell To A WWII POW And Veterans' Advocate

Bobbie O'Brien
WUSF Public Media
WWII Veteran and POW "Tracy" Taylor, front, with two younger veterans at the Gator Hunt in Polk County.

At the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell today, Jasper G. Taylor, Jr. will be laid to rest.

Taylor was a World War II Army Air Corps radio operator who was captured by Imperial Japan in the Philippines in May 1942.

He spent three years, five months and 28 days – one of the longest captivities recorded – in Japanese POW camps and was forced to labor at the Mitsubishi Ship Yards and later at a copper mine in northern Japan.

After his release, he spent 38 years working for fellow veterans at Hillsborough County Veteran Services and then with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a profile on WUSF's Off the Base earlier this year, Taylor shared his philosophy with the younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan while on a Gator Hunt in Polk County.

“I made a rule, promise, or whatever, I’d talk about the things that may have happened in my life as a POW,” Taylor said. “But not with the abuses, because nothing would be gained and I don’t think anything is accomplished by that.”

Jasper Taylor, better known as Tracy, was 95.  You can hear his profile from the day he spent on a gator hunt sponsored by the community based Wounded Warrior Sportsmen Fund and Operation Outdoor Freedom.

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