By Darcy Keller
As a prisoner of war, Private Joe M. Ruiz narrowly escaped death at the end of World War II.
After a failed mission and a surprise encounter with the Japanese, Ruiz, who served with the 389th Coast Artillery Battalion of the 6th Army, was captured and taken to Kobe, Japan. As a prisoner, he endured beatings and starvation until the Red Cross rescued him after the war ended with the bombing of Nagasaki.
"It saved my life when they dropped those bombs in Nagasaki," Ruiz said. "When [the] Red Cross got me out, I was more dead than alive. I was 104 pounds."