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Navy vet caught on tape, yet denies the interview

– John Carl Pequignot was videotaped talking about his time as a prisoner of war. His story was to be included in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

In the recording, Pequignot talks about being in a boat when the group hit a mine in November or December 1943. Ten of 14 men were killed. Pequignot and three others survived at sea and were taken as prisoners four days later by a Japanese submarine, he said on tape.

Taken to Manila in the Philippines, they were marched inland to a POW camp. Pequignot said he was in the camp with the legendary Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. In the spring of 1944, they were rescued by the 6th Army Ranger Battalion, which landed by submarine in Luzon. The rescued POWs, Pequignot said, were taken by submarine to Guam.

But the story does not match records about Pequignot’s military service. According to Pequignot’s military records and what he told The Journal Gazette, he did not join the Navy for active duty until July 28, 1944, nine months after the alleged POW experience.

Pequignot does not appear in any of the POW lists for that period which are quite complete, said Jonn Lilyea, a retired infantry platoon sergeant who served in Desert Storm and has a popular military blog, “This ain’t hell, but you can see it from here.”

The 6th Army Ranger Battalion performed a POW rescue in January 1945 at Cabanatuan in the incident made famous in the movie “The Great Raid,” Lilyea said. But in early 1944, the group was being formed to lead an invasion of the Philippine Islands that would not occur for six more months.

The Library of Congress deleted Pequignot’s video from the Veterans History Project’s website last week after officials were contacted by C. Douglas Sterner, curator for the Military Times Hall of Valor in Alexandria, Va., who shared information gathered by The Journal Gazette.

After Robert “Bob” Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project, and others analyzed the video, it was deemed fraudulent, Sterner said.

Friday, Pequignot denied he had participated in the project. After it was pointed out that he was recorded on camera, he then said he did not remember doing the interview.

vsade@jg.net

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