Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bataan Memorial Death March

This past weekend I competed in the Bataan Memorial Death March: A 26.2 mile march with a 35lb+ ruck in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Their website describes the event this way:

"The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march  through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives."

History of the Bataan Death March
The Bataan Memorial Death March honors a special group of World War II heroes. These brave soldiers were 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. They fought with outdated equipment and virtually no air power.

On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces and were marched for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles. Thousands died. 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.

Since its inception, the memorial march has grown from about 100 to some 5,200 marchers from across the United States and several foreign countries. While still primarily a military event, many civilians choose to take the challenge.

Marchers come to this memorial event for many reasons - personal challenge, the spirit of competition or to foster esprit-de-corps in their unit. Some march in honor of a family member or a particular veteran who was in the Bataan Death March or was taken a prisoner of war by the Japanese in the Philippines.

Our Results
My company entered this event with a 5-man team: my commander, the executive officer, two fellow platoon leaders, and myself.  Each of us carried 40lb packs, and all were fortunate enough to finish the event.  It was an extremely challenging course that took us just under 8hrs to finish.

This was my second marathon (the first was the Long Island Marathon in 2008), and each were quite unique.  In the Long Island Marathon, I was much more physically exhausted at the end and experienced the infamous 'hitting the wall' around mile 20.  In this marathon, however, my feet suffered more (blistered and beat up due to the army boots), and my back was in much more discomfort (because of the rucksack); but overall I wasn't as physically drained at the end. 

Looking back, it truly was a rewarding experience, and I am thankful to have honored the survivors of the actual Bataan March in some small way.

My apologies for the short break in writing.  I will resume regular posting and continue my Dividend Portfolio Analysis Series next week.

Thanks for Reading,

DivPartisan

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History of the Bataan March provided by http://www.bataanmarch.com/r09/history.htm

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