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Mobility Airmen march to remember Bataan

Military members, civilians, volunteers and veterans begin a 26.2-mile journey during the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The annual event draws more participants each year and provides today’s generation with a reminder of  harsh conditions that World War II veterans were forced to endure during their 60-mile march to a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Military members, civilians, volunteers and veterans begin a 26.2-mile journey during the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The annual event draws more participants each year and provides today’s generation with a reminder of harsh conditions that World War II veterans were forced to endure during their 60-mile march to a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

U.S. Air Force Airmen, carrying 35-lb. rucksacks, participate in the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March with 6,600 other participants, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The 27th annual march was 26.2 miles long and served as a reminder for today’s generation of the harsh conditions World War II veterans endured during their 60-mile march to a prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

U.S. Air Force Airmen, carrying 35-lb. rucksacks, participate in the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March with 6,600 other participants, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The 27th annual march was 26.2 miles long and served as a reminder for today’s generation of the harsh conditions World War II veterans endured during their 60-mile march to a prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Lyle Eldridge, Bataan Death March survivor, signs a runner’s certificate prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 18, 2016. The 26.2-mile march is designed to show participants what the prisoners of war at Bataan endured. In reality, however, the POWs marched more than 60 miles without food or water, while many were beaten and some never made it to the end. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Lyle Eldridge, Bataan Death March survivor, signs a runner’s certificate prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 18, 2016. The 26.2-mile march is designed to show participants what the prisoners of war at Bataan endured. In reality, however, the POWs marched more than 60 miles without food or water, while many were beaten and some never made it to the end. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

More than 6,600 military members, civilians, volunteers and veterans gather to honor World War II survivors prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. Two teams from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., participated in this year’s memorial march. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

More than 6,600 military members, civilians, volunteers and veterans gather to honor World War II survivors prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. Two teams from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., participated in this year’s memorial march. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Kenneth Womack, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery rigger supervisor, passes through a water mist machine along the 26.2 trek of the 2016 Bataan Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The march honors U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war during the notorious Bataan Death March of World War II. Historians estimate the death toll neared 10,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Kenneth Womack, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery rigger supervisor, passes through a water mist machine along the 26.2 trek of the 2016 Bataan Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The march honors U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war during the notorious Bataan Death March of World War II. Historians estimate the death toll neared 10,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Participants of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March trek across the desert sand during their 23rd mile, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The march is 26.2 miles long and honors prisoners of war, survivors, and those lost during the notorious Bataan Death March in the Philippines.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Participants of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March trek across the desert sand during their 23rd mile, March 20, 2016, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The march is 26.2 miles long and honors prisoners of war, survivors, and those lost during the notorious Bataan Death March in the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

A U.S. Army soldier helps his battle buddy finish the 26.2-mile Bataan Memorial Death March, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. Approximately 6,600 people participated in this year’s march, including two teams of Airmen from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

A U.S. Army soldier helps his battle buddy finish the 26.2-mile Bataan Memorial Death March, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. Approximately 6,600 people participated in this year’s march, including two teams of Airmen from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Peruvian Air Force exchange Officer Maj. Javier Camacho, center, and U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Corbin Aldridge, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial port flight commander, cross the finish line of the 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The 19th LRS team completed the World War II memorial ruck march in less than nine hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Peruvian Air Force exchange Officer Maj. Javier Camacho, center, and U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Corbin Aldridge, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial port flight commander, cross the finish line of the 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The 19th LRS team completed the World War II memorial ruck march in less than nine hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

U.S. Airmen assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., pose for a photo in the early morning prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The two teams from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron both finished the 26.2-mile march in less than 9 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

U.S. Airmen assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., pose for a photo in the early morning prior to the start of the 2016 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. The two teams from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron both finished the 26.2-mile march in less than 9 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- This year, approximately 6,600 people participated in the 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Marchers ranged in age from 10 to 98 years old and gathered from across the globe for the challenging event. Among the marchers were two teams of five Air Mobility Airmen from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. 

The 19th LRS aerial porters trained for several months in preparation of the 26.2-mile desert journey. One team carried light gear and camelbacks while the other team participated in the male heavy ruck category, which requires each member to carry a rucksack weighing at least 35 lbs.

The march began with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees but then rose exponentially. However, the light category team still managed to finish eighth out of 21 teams and the heavy ruck team finished the grueling event in just under 9 hours. 

The heaviest rucksack carried by the "port dawg's" team weighed 51 lbs.

The Bataan Death March was a forced transfer of Filipino and U.S. prisoners of war. They marched more than 60 miles without food or water. Those who fell behind were shot, beaten or bayonetted. 

The event serves as a reminder to today's generation of the harsh conditions the World War II veterans were forced to endure during their horrifying journey to a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines.



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