Relays Grand Marshall
Ex-POW Ralph Baggett (USMC) was invited to be the Grand Marshall
for the annual Drake Relays Track Meet Parade on April 27, 2002.
The relays are held at the Drake University Stadium in Des Moines,
The Drake Relays are
considered to be one of the most prestigious events in Track
and Field competitions. In the spring of 1940, Ralph Baggett
was a member of the University of Texas "Longhorns"
that won the hurdle relays. As a Drake Relays Champion, he was
awarded the coveted Drakes Champions Watch.
At the start of Word War II, Baggett was stationed on Guam when
5000 Japanese assault troops invaded and captured the small detachment
of 178 Marines and some 300 medical personnel. His treasured
watch was lost as a spoils of war. Baggett and his fellow prisoners
were transported to Japan where they were enslaved by the Japanese.
Over three and one half years of unending brutality, torture,
and starvation, they were rescued by the occupation forces of
General Douglas MacArthur.
In June of 2001, the President of Drake University (Dr. David
Maxwell) and the Director of the Drake Relays (Mark Kostek) presented
Baggett a 20001 Drake Champions Watch with their thanks for his
sacrifice in protecting America's freedom. "Once a Drake
Champion, always a Drake Champion."
At the awards banquet. two standing ovations were given - both
for Ralph Baggett.
Sadly, Ralph passed on to the Lord on March 16, 2005
Original Baggett Story