MILLVILLE – A nearly forgotten hero of World War II will be laid to rest by his family here on Saturday, May 18.

After surviving the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in the early days of that conflict and enduring the brutality of the subsequent Bataan Death March, Ballard King Yeates passed away on July 29, 1942 as a prisoner of war in the Cabanatuan camp on the island of Luzon.

Yeates was a technical sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, assigned to the 21st Pursuit Squadron of the 35th Pursuit Group when the war broke out on Dec. 7, 1941.

His remains were recently identified by an Armed Forces pathology unit and returned to Utah for burial.

The Yeates family will honor his life at White Pine Funeral Home on May 18. Visitation will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m., with a memorial service at noon. Internment with full military honors will follow at the Millville City Cemetery, when Yeates will be laid to rest beside his parents and other family members.

He is survived by many nieces and nephews, who are reportedly grateful for the privilege of honoring him.

The fourth of six siblings, Ballard King Yeates was born to Alma and Grace King Yeates on May 22, 1922, in Millville, Utah.

He attended schools in Millville schools and later graduated from South Cache High School.

After graduation, he studied radios at the Utah State Agricultural College. He also was an accomplished flutist, played in band/orchestra and won honors for solo performances.

Yeates enlisted in the U.S. Army in March of 1941.

The infamous Bataan Death March began on 9 April 1942, after the surrender of U.S. forces in the Philippines that ended the three-month Battle of Bataan.

Already weakened by sickness and malnutrition, about 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were forced by their Japanese captors to march 65 miles from the town of Mariveles to the nearest railhead and onward to various POW camps, without being provided either food or water.

The march was characterized by severe physical abuse and wanton murder by Japanese guards. POWs who could not keep up the murderous pace were shot.

After the war, the Japanese commander, General Masaharu Homma and his subordinates were tried for war crimes and executed for sanctioning atrocities.

Although casualty estimates from the march vary, historians suggest that as many as 18,000 Filipinos died on the way to POW camps along with about 650 Americans.

Like Yeates, deaths in the POW camps continued as a result of exhaustion and mistreatment.

The funeral service for Ballard King Yeates can be viewed via Zoom at:

The White Pine Funeral Home is located at 753 South, 100 East in Logan.

The Millville Cemetery is located at 310 East, 100 North in Millville.

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