LTC Frank George Aigrisse died of acute colitis—the direct result of malnourishment and maltreatment—in a prisoner of war camp on Honshu Island, Japan, on February 4, 1945.
Born in Belgium on October 25, 1897, Aigrisse came to the United States with his parents at an early age. He learned English and worked hard to graduate from both high school and law school while working to support his family. He passed the Ohio Bar exam in July 1919 at the age of 22 years old.
Aigrisse was commissioned a captain, Judge Advocate General’s Department Reserve in March 1933. He was very active in Reserve matters and, after being called to active duty in November 1940, was promoted to major and assigned to the 5th Division as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate. He served with that division at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana and Fort Custer, Michigan. In May 1941, Aigrisse sailed for the Philippine Islands for an overseas tour of duty.
When World War II broke out, Maj. Aigrisse was serving in Manila as the Assistant Department Judge Advocate, Philippine Department. After the Japanese attack on the islands on December 8, 1941, Aigrisse moved to Corregidor, where he continued to provide legal support to the command. He subsequently went to Bataan, where he served as Commanding Officer of II Corps’ motor transport center. In this position, Aigrisse was in charge of soldiers unloading ammunition and other supplies sent from Corregidor to the fighting forces on Bataan. These supplies were transported and unloaded at night, and this meant Aigrisse worked under blackout conditions close to the fighting front. More than once, Aigrisse worked under Japanese artillery fire.
In early March 1942, Aigrisse returned to Corregidor and, when Gen. Wainwright surrendered all American forces there on May 6, he was taken prisoner along with more than 10,000 American soldiers. Aigrisse was in the Cabanatuan POW camp until November 1942, when he was transported to a prisoner of war camp on Honshu Island, Japan. He died there on February 4, 1945. The War Department posthumously awarded him the Bronze Star Medal in 1947 for his meritorious service in Manila, Bataan and Corregidor.
On October 3, 2007, LTC Aigrisse's stained glass pane was dedicated in the Hall of Heroes.