“The Debt I Have To Pay”: From Childhood In An Internment Camp To Service In Vietnam

Bob Chambers


Bob Chambers was a child living in the Philippines when World War II started. His parents were Baptist missionaries, his mother in medicine, and his father in education. When the Japanese invaded, some of the missionaries fled to the mountains and established a camp there. The rest of the missionaries were interned at the Santo Thomas Internment Camp. Later in the war, those who escaped to the mountains were discovered and massacred. Bob’s formative years were spent in the internment camp, and that experience shaped the man he became. Later, he joined the military and served in Vietnam. In this interview, he talks about his childhood in the Philippines and the Japanese invasion. He describes his life in the internment camp, and explains the privations he endured. He recalls the first Americans he saw when his camp was liberated, and his high opinion of MacArthur. Finally, he discusses his life after the war, concluding with his service in Vietnam and his feeling that he needs to repay all he was given as a child.


conflicts World War II Vietnam War
topics Air Force War in the Air Civilians Concentration Camps P.O.W.s Patriotism
interviewer David Siry
date 15 April 2016


name Bob Chambers
service Air Force
unit 7th Air Force Information Office
specialty Mobility Officer / Motion Pictures Photography / Cartoonist