History of the Bataan Memorial Death March
The Bataan Memorial Death March honours a special group veterans from the United States who were responsible for the defence of the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the harbour defence forts of the Philippines during World War II.
These American soldiers fought in very inhospitable terrain with outdated equipment and very limited resources. On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were surrendered to Japanese forces. Among those taken as Prisoners of War (POW) were members of the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard.
The POW's were marched for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles. Thousands died, and those who survived faced severe hardships at the hands of their captors at a prisoner of war camp.
To honour those who endured this hardship for their country, in 1989 The Bataan Memorial Death March was started. 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. It has been held annually since then, with the exception of 2003 when the demands on personnel and resources for Operational Iraqi Freedom made it impossible to do so.
The memorial march has grown from about 100 to some 5,200 marchers from across the United States and several foreign countries, including Canada. While still primarily a military event, many civilians choose to take the challenge.
For further details about the Bataan Memorial Death March visit http://www.bataanmarch.com/
Robert Land Academy's Association with the Bataan Memorial Death March
In 2008, through its association with the New Mexico National Guard, Robert Land Academy (RLA) was invited to enter a team to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March.
Since 2008, Robert Land Academy has entered one or two teams per year, consisting of 4 cadets and a staff member on each team. RLA cadets volunteer to participate in this gruelling march which requires teams to compete in either the 15 mile or 26.2 mile march through the heavy sand trails of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Cadets begin training at the Academy two months in advance, in competition to make the selection to travel to New Mexico to represent Robert Land Academy at the Bataan Memorial Death March.
Robert Land Academy - Bataan Death March Participation
March 20, 2016 - 27th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March. One team (3 cadets & 2 staff) from Robert Land Academy - 26.2 mile course
March 22, 2015 - 26th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March. One team (4 cadets & 1 staff) from Robert Land Academy plus one additional staff (independent) - 26.2 mile course
March 23, 2014 - 25th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March. Two teams from Robert Land Academy. Intermediate/Senior Team (26.2 mile course) and a Junior Team (15 mile course)
March 17, 2013 - 24th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March
March 25, 2012 - 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March
March 27, 2011 - 22nd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March
March 21, 2010 - 21st Annual Bataan Memorial Death March
March 29, 2009 - 20th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March
March 30, 2008 - 19th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March