LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
Members of the 913th Airlift Group are training to prepare for the March 17, Bataan Memorial Death March held in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
April 9, 2019 marks the 77th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March. According to the event website, the New Mexico State Army ROTC Department began sponsoring the Bataan Memorial Death March in 1989 and the number of participants have grown to 8,000.
“The story of the Bataan Death March is incredible,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Womack, 96th Aerial Port Squadron non-commissions officer in charge of aerial port operations. “I’ve coordinated teams from Little Rock for the past five years. It’s incredible to see and interact with the wounded warriors and Bataan survivors.”
On April 9, 1942, the U.S. and Filipino soldiers surrendered after seven months of battle. The tens of thousands of U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced to become prisoners of war to the Japanese Forces. The captive soldiers were marched for days, approximately 65 miles through the scorching jungles of the Philippines. Thousands died and those who survived faced the hardships of prisoner of war camps.
“The military history and story of courage commemorated by this event draw me to it,” said Womack. “I’m not a marathon guy, but this is a great team building event. I help train and guide the teams to complete the 26.2 miles within eight hours.”
Those interested in learning more about the event or joining the 913th AG team should contact Womack at 501-804-4487.