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ALBANY, N.Y. – A military funeral is planned for a New York woman who joined the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II after surviving months of torture by the Japanese for helping Filipino guerrillas.
Florence Ebersole Smith Finch will be buried Saturday with full honors in Ithaca, where she died in December at age 101.
Finch was born in the Philippines to an American father and a Filipino mother.
After the Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1942, she hid her American background and helped funnel supplies to the Filipino resistance and American POWs.
Eventually she was caught, imprisoned and tortured before being freed in early 1945. She joined the Coast Guard in the war's final weeks.
After the war, Finch was awarded the Medal of Freedom, among the nation's highest civilian honors.