9. A Deadly Diehard
As US forces fought to retake the Philippines in 1944, 22-year-old Japanese Imperial Army Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was sent on a reconnaissance mission to the island of Lubang. An intelligence officer specially trained as a commando, Onoda was directed to spy on American forces in the area and conduct guerrilla operations. He was ordered to never surrender, but also expressly ordered that, under no circumstances, was he authorized to take his own life.
On Lubang, senior Japanese officers meddled and prevented Onoda from carrying out his mission. Within months, American forces invaded the island, and in short order killed or captured all Japanese personnel, with the exception of Onoda and three other soldiers. Taking charge of the survivors, Onoda took to the hills. Over the following years and decades, Onoda would prove himself a deadly diehard – or bloody minded idiot – who would claim the lives of dozens while continuing to fight a war that had already ended.