The Bataan Memorial Death March is an event held every spring to commemorate the sacrifices of a special group of World War II heroes.
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.
Every year military and civilian personnel come to White Sands to remember the sacrifices these men and women made.
This year the event expects 10 survivors to be at the event. This may well be one of the last opportunities to meet these incredible men and hear their stories first hand. This being the 75 anniversary, it is a special event.
You can come as a spectator or participant.
You can participate in the march, either as a full course participant or as an honorary marcher. Don't be fooled, the honorary march is still some 14 miles of trail, dust, and pavement.
If you want to participate, we will have mentors who can help you with staying focused and to provide encouragement while you train. Please note that we don't have coaches - if you need a coach, please find someone local who can help you directly.
There is an RV parking area set aside for this event on the Missile Range. The RV parking area has no facilities and no hookups. There is a public restroom, however it is typically overrun with some 7,000 marchers and spectators, so plan accordingly. Bring enough water and food for the entire weekend. Water is available on base but you have to drive to get it.
There are very few spaces with hookups available on the Missile Range. DO NOT count on getting one of these; there are 7,000 marchers and spectators and 5 or so spaces with hookups, so odds are not in your favor.
There are very few places to stay outside of the Missile Range. Make reservations early.
How it works:
If you're a participant, go to the Bataan Memorial Death Match website and sign up. Once signed up, come here and let us know you signed up and what event you're doing. Signing up here does not enter you in the event.
If you're a spectator you do not need to sign up at the website. We do ask that you sign up here so we know you're coming and we can make the appropriate arrangements with the organizers for parking. You will need to bring 2 forms of government issued ID to get on base.
Any money collected will go to offset the costs incurred by our mentors and to support Wounded Warrior Project.
The picture is son Jason at the finish line of the 26.2 mile civilian light division when he was 11.