Idaho Falls, Idaho – For a year fourth year in a row, North Wind, Inc. sponsored and participated with a 5 person team in the 19th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held on March 30, 2008 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The North Wind Team was represented by employees from the Idaho Falls, ID, Richland, WA, Los Alamos, NM, and San Antonio, TX offices.
A total of 4,487 registered with almost 3,900 completing the march along a 26.2 mile courses through New Mexico hilly desert terrain with elevations from 4,100 to 5,300 feet. A total of 28 Wounded Warriors who served in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq participated in the annual march. The beginning of the march was extraordinary this year with a fly over of a Stealth Fighter from Holloman Air Force Base with it’s under body painted with an American Flag.
The Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University began sponsoring the memorial march in 1989 to mark a page in history that included so many native sons and affected many families in the state. In 1992, White Sands Missile Range and the New Mexico National Guard joined in the sponsorship and the event was moved to the missile range.
The Bataan Memorial Death March honors a special group of World War II heroes, several of the surviving Bataan Death March veterans who were in attendance for the 2008 event. 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 They fought with outdated equipment and virtually no air power.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. 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.
North Wind Vice President Bruce Miller who led the 2005 North Wind Team had these comments, “It is a privilege for North Wind to sponsor this event each year and great to have employees who volunteer to train for and participate in this 26.2 mile march through the high desert. Our Teams are always honored to meet and thank the surviving veterans of the Bataan Death March, as well as the other military personnel who participate, for their service to our Country. Each year there are fewer Bataan veterans and there presence at this event is very inspirational to the participants. It also reminds everyone why they are there – to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the Bataan veterans – those who survived and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Additional information and photos from the 2008 event is available at the 19th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March home page Bataan Memorial Death March http://www.bataanmarch.com.
Photo: The North Wind 2008 Bataan Memorial Death March Team after completing the 26.2 mile march (from left to right) March Reiss, Margie Stockton, Carrie Hill, Cynthia Forbis, and Mike Bolender.