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. The conditions they encountered and the aftermath of the
battle were unique. 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with outdated equipment and virtually no air power.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 were surrendered to
Japanese forces. The Americans were Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and
Marines. Among those seized were members of the 200th Coast Artillery,
New Mexico National Guard.
They 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.
The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the
high desert terrain of White Sand 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.
Students who join this team will participate in the GREEN route,
which is the full 26.2-mile, while carrying 35 pounds. Awards are
presented to the top two finishers in each category.
26.2 Mile Route Description
The 26.2-mile course, the route
proceeds northwest from Water Point 4/8, circling a small mountain known
as Mineral Hill. Returning to Water Station 4/8, marchers travel south
along the paved road covered earlier in the route. The course then
veers west along dirt and sand trails, coming up the backside of the
White Sands community and returning to the finish line. The area know
as the "Sand Pit," featuring deep sand, comes after Water Station 9.
But, be aware, the dirt trails elsewhere along the route can be sandy
and dusty as well. This is particularly true of the stretch between
Water Station 1 and Water Station 3.