White Sands Missile Range, White Sands, NM
No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam
The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A small group of our walkers have attended the Bataan Death March several years - 2017 will be mine (Alison's) 4th, Buddy's 5th (heavy division once), and Bob, David and Dave's 6th, and in the past, Joanne, Cathy, Candy and others have done it more than once. My daughter Meglyn participated once. We are all amazed, humbled and inspired by the route, the survivors, and the entire experience!
This is a tough course, but you have 7a - 8p to complete it. YES!!!! 8:00 pm!!!! There is a ton of support on the course, and hamburgers halfway, at the top of the hill! In spite of the distance, the bit of altitude and elevation, the sand, and the cold mornings and hot afternoons, anyone can complete this event given the long time available - just be sure to come prepared to be outdoors for that length of time.
We stay at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a short drive from where the event is held at White Sands Missile Range. http://www.hotelencanto.com/
You may also camp onsite if you prefer and there are services available for those who desire that.
Some of us fly (Southwest Airlines to El Paso and drive from there) and some drive. Las Cruces is a beautiful place to visit. This is Spring Break for many - if you decide to make it a road trip vacation for the week, Guadalupe Peak (Texas' highest peak, at 8,750') and Carlsbad Caverns can be squeezed in!
Bataan Death March History
The Bataan Memorial Death March honors a special group of World War II heroes.
These brave soldiers were responsible for the defense of the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the harbor defense forts of the Philippines.
The conditions they encountered and the aftermath of the battle were unique. They fought in a malaria-infested region, surviving on half or quarter rations with little or no medical help. They fought with outdated equipment and virtually no air power.
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.
The Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University began sponsoring the memorial march in 1989 to mark a page in history that included so many native sons and affected many families in the state. 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.
In 2003, for the only time in its history, the memorial march was canceled. Operation Iraqi Freedom required extensive deployment among the units that usually support the march and event could not be safely and efficiently conducted.
Since its inception, the memorial march has grown from about 100 to some 6,500 marchers from across the United States and several foreign countries. While still primarily a military event, many civilians choose to take the challenge.
Marchers come to this memorial event for many reasons – personal challenge, the spirit of competition or to foster esprit de corps in their unit. Some march in honor of a family member or a particular veteran who was in the Bataan Death March or was taken a prisoner of war by the Japanese in the Philippines.
Schedule of weekend events: (Our little group tends to not do a lot of this - mostly just packet pickup ("inprocessing") and go out to eat at fantastic local restaurants.)
March 19, 2016
7:00 am - 10:30 amBREAKFAST BUFFETTFrontier ClubMore info
9:00 am - 9:00 pmPACKET PICKUP1318 AerobeeMore info
10:00 am - 2:00 pmBATAAN HISTORICAL SEMINARPost TheaterMore info
11:00 am - 4:00 pmMARCHER LUNCH SPECIALBowling CenterMore info
11:00 am - 12:00 pmNEW MEXICO DESCENDANTS GROUP MEETINGProfessional Development CenterMore info
12:00 pm - 1:30 pmAMERICAN DEFENDERS OF BATAAN AND CORREGIDOR DESCENDANTS GROUP, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION MEETINGProfessional Development CenterMore info
3:00 pm - 5:00 pmMEET THE BATAAN POWSProfessional Development CenterMore info
4:00 pm - 8:00 pmPRE-MARCH PASTA BUFFETFrontier ClubMore info
7:00 pm - 9:00 pmMOVIE AT THE POST THEATERPost TheaterMore info
March 20, 2016
5:00 am - 5:00 amARRIVE AT WHITE SANDSPost TheaterMore info
5:45 am - 6:00 amREPORT TO START AREA1318 AerobeeMore info
6:35 am - 6:50 amOPENING CEREMONY1318 AerobeeMore info
0730 - 0930BREAKFAST BUFFETFrontier ClubMore info
7:00 am - 7:00 amMARCH BEGINS1318 AerobeeMore info
1030 - 2000BATAAN MARCHER MEALFrontier ClubMore info
3:00 pm - 3:00 pmSURVIVOR’S RECOGNITION CEROMONYFrontier ClubMore info
No walk- in registration will be taken at Family & MWR facilities. You must register online. All marchers must pre-register!
Mail-in registrations will not be accepted for the 2016 march (Exceptions will apply in cases where payment must be made with a purchase order. In this event, please contact us via [masked] for mail-in forms and information. Must be postmarked NLT 2 March 2016).
We have changed our race registration site, so all marchers will have to sign-up for an account on our new site. Click Here for help with signing up for a new account.~~~~~~~~~~~~
We don't register as a team, because that means that if you don't finish within seconds of everyone on your team, then you are all disqualified and won't get your finishing time.
Unless you are active military and want to register and participate that way, be sure to register as "Civilian Light Individual". It is a bit of a process to get an account and then register properly - take care to do it right the first time on this site! It is very important to read all the FAQs at: http://bataanmarch.com/faqs/
Early Bird Registration 1 October - 31 December: $95 Individual
Registration After 1 January- 28 February: $100 Individual
The Course - (one of the toughest things you will ever love!!)
Miles & Miles of Nothing but Desert
From the start line (blue star at the South end of the map) the routes go counterclockwise. The numerically-marked (1-12) blue drops indicate the water points. The red stars indicate medical stations.
The 14.2-mile route is essentially the lower portion of the 26.2 mile course.
On the 26.2-mile course, the route proceeds Northwest from Water Point 4/8, circling a small mountain known as Mineral Hill. Returning to Water Station 4/8, marchers travel south along the paved road covered earlier in the route. The course then veers West along dirt and sand trails, coming up the backside of the White Sands community and returning to the finish line.
The area know as the “Sand Pit,” featuring deep sand, comes after Water Station 9. But, be aware, the dirt trails elsewhere along the route can be sandy and dusty as well. This is particularly true of the stretch between Water Station 1 and Water Station 3.26.2 Mile Course 14.2 Mile Course Elevation Testimonies......I’ve done 17 marathons – this was unreal. I wasn’t prepared for the sand.I wasn’t prepared for all the loose sand – many miles of this and a lot of it uphill.This course was nice due to the dirt. Not much pavement to pound the feet and joints.I was shocked as to how difficult walking 26.2 miles could be. I’ve been on a lot of forced marches but none were harder than this.Training for this course like a regular marathon doesn’t quite do the trick. I should have done a lot of hiking, hills, rough terrain type training.
Late March at WSMR is characterized by abundant sunshine and dry west-to-southwesterly winds, so marchers can expect warm, windy, and dry conditions. In fact, March is the driest month of the year, in terms of average precipitation, with only 0.30″. Long dry spells are common. Not surprisingly, snow and thunderstorms are rare.
The main weather hazard in late March is the threat of driving windstorms, which can produce areas of blowing dust and sand, due to the typically dry soil conditions. Over the period of record[masked], the 24-hour average wind speed in late March is about 8 mph, with daily maximum gusts of near 30 mph. However, wind speeds along the east-facing slopes of the Organ and San Andres Mountains, near much of the march route, can be much higher, with gusts of 50-60 mph quite common during windstorms. This is due to the downsloping effect. Such gusts greeted many of those crossing the finish line during the 2005 and 2009 events. Winds are typically at their calmest early in the morning, around sunrise, then gradually increase in intensity as the ground heats up through the morning. Peak winds are usually observed during the mid or late afternoon hours.
Morning low temperatures average in the low-mid 40’s Fahrenheit, with subfreezing temperatures unlikely. Ironically, a windy night will actually keep morning temperatures higher, with low-mid 50’s common in such cases. Temperatures rise fairly quickly in the late March New Mexico sun, reaching the mid-60’s by noon and topping out in the mid-70’s around 1600L. Exceptionally warm days may reach the mid-80’s. Relative humidities are low, as might be expected in desert environment, and in late March average 52% at 0500L, 18% at 1100L, 18% at 1700L, and 32% at 2300L.