Army ROTC Joins Bataan Memorial March
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG - 4/13/2006 - UCM's Army ROTC Fighting Mules competed in the 17th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, NM, March 26.
Team and Individual Competitors
The team of Cadets Kyle Robinson, Clayton Hammer, Andrew Potter, Tanner Smith, and Justin Reeves participated in the ROTC Light Category, and Cadet Scott Beck participated in the Male Military Light Category individual competition. The team placed fourth, and Beck placed second in the marathon-length competition that drew 1,775 individual competitors and 183 teams.
Best Finish in History of UCM's Participation
This is the best finish in the history of UCM ROTC's history of participation in the event. UCM's team missed a third place finish by only one minute, 30 seconds, and second place by only five minutes. The training totaled over 40 hours and covered more than 125 miles.
History of Bataan Memorial Death March
The Bataan Memorial Death March honors a special group of World War II heroes responsible for the defense of the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the harbor defense forts of the Philippines. They fought in a malaria-infested region, surviving on half or quarter rations with little or no medical help, outdated equipment and virtually no support.
Tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces on April 9, 1942. The American forces consisted of Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines. Members of the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard, were among those taken as prisoners. They were marched for six days over 90 miles from the Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell and later moved to Camp Cabanatuan.
Thousands died as they marched through the Philippine jungles in the scorching heat. Those who survived faced the hardships of a prisoner of war camp. Others were wounded or killed when unmarked enemy ships transporting prisoners of war to Japan were sunk by U.S. air and naval forces.
Event Has Grown to Include Thousands
Initially sponsored by the Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University in 1989, the memorial march has grown from approximately 100 to more than 4,000 marchers from across the United States and several foreign countries. While still primarily a military event, many civilians choose to take the challenge.
The 26.2 mile route starts on the White Sands Missile Range, crosses dusty and hilly desert terrain, circles a small mountain and returns to the main post through sandy desert trails and washes. The elevation ranges from about 4,100 to 5,300 feet above sea level. Before the race begins, all participants have the opportunity to shake the hands of Bataan Death March survivors.
For More Information
For more information or to view the results and photos of the 2006 march, visit the website at www.bataanmarch.com.