TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Military and Civilian members recently joined together to remember the 10,000 lost in the Bataan Death March during a memorial event.
Under the theme of ‘One Team, One Fight,’ nearly 300 Team Tinker members, representing the Air Force; Army; Navy; Marines; Reserves; National Guard; Civilians; and ROTC all came together to ruck, run, walk or bike the 26.2-, 14.2- or 3.2-mile courses of the Memorial Bataan Death March to honor and remember those who were forced to endure the death march.
“Think about the fact that you have gotten to eat what you want to eat, sleep when you want to sleep and no one is shooting at you,” said Col. G. Hall Sebren Jr., Tinker installation commander. “For those who actually endured the death march that was not the case - they had already endured months and months of not eating and sleeping while getting shot at before they started the 65-mile-long march.”
The Bataan Death March began April 9, 1942, after American and Filipino soldiers surrendered following the three-month-long Battle of Bataan. The Prisoners of War were forced to march 65 miles with no food or water. It was only when they reached their destination that they received small bowls of rice. Ten thousand of the 75,000 POWs who started the march were killed or died on the march. The POWs were not liberated until the end of World War II. This year marks the 81st Anniversary of the Bataan Death March.