For a 6th consecutive year, North Wind, Inc., a CIRI Company, was a primary sponsor and participated with a team in the 21st annual Bataan Memorial Death March. The resounding boom of cannon fire broke the sound of thousands of participants talking as they waited in anticipation for the start of the 2010 Bataan Memorial Death March at the White Sands Missile Range, NM. The event drew a record 5,704 participants and for the fifth year, more than two dozen Wounded Warriors, amputees from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, took part, once again demonstrating to the other march participants what is physically possible.
The Bataan Death March occurred in 1942 after the Japanese attacked the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines, where American and Filipino soldiers were stationed. After three months of fighting the Japanese with insufficient weapons and dwindling supplies, the American and Filipino soldiers were ordered to surrender April 9, 1942.
The Japanese forced the soldiers to march more than 60 miles with nearly no food or water. The prisoners were subjected to heinous acts of torture and many were killed or perished while marching. Some of the soldiers who survived the march spent the next three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps until freed in 1945.
The opening ceremony for the march included a roll call of the New Mexico National Guard survivors, who were members of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery units.
One by one, the names of those living and deceased were called out as a reminder of what’s called America’s “Greatest Generation.” Some of the Bataan survivors lined up along the starting line and shook hands with the marchers as a show of gratitude to those who were marching in their honor.
North Wind Senior Vice President Bruce Miller, who participated as the captain of the first North Wind Bataan Team in 2005, said “it’s an honor each year for the North Wind Team members to be able to meet and thank the surviving veterans of the Bataan Death March at the event 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 and 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.
North Wind 2010 Bataan Memorial Death March Team (from left to right): Don Minnick, Jace Fahnestock, Brad Nelson, Kevin Edmundson, and Tami Taylor nearing the finish line of the 26.2 mile march. The 2010 Team was made up from employees from North Wind’s Idaho Falls and Kellogg, Idaho offices as well a our Las Cruces, New Mexico office.
Additional information and photos from the 2010 event are available at the 2010 Bataan Memorial Death March home pagehttp://www.bataanmarch.com.