By Spc. Tackora Hand - Indiana National Guard
INDIANAPOLIS – Three teams from the Indiana National Guard participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March Sunday, March 25 to honor World War II service members.
Sixteen Indiana National Guard soldiers participated with more than 8,400 marchers in the largest turnout ever for the event.
All three teams performed outstandingly taking first and second place in the National Guard light division and first place in the National Guard heavy division.
“Both first place finishes are testament to the hard work and dedication put in by these traditional soldiers,” said Capt. Adam Barlow, Company D, 151st Infantry Regiment commander. “Their commitment to excellence in their daily lives and as Guardsmen is evident in victories such as Bataan.”
The 26.2-mile march takes place in the mountainous desert terrain of New Mexico with light and heavy divisions competing as a team or individually. The heavy division is required to carry a 35-pound rucksack.
“This is the most humbling experience I’ve ever had,” said Spc. Philip Craig, a heavy division competitor with Company D. “When you finish the march and you’re feeling exhausted and fatigued, at the end you see the survivors, and that made me stand up a little straighter.”
The memorial march honors members of the military who were forced by Japanese captors to make a grueling, 65-mile march across the Bataan Peninsula. In 1942, 75,000 U.S. and Filipino troops endured harsh conditions, including lack of water and food, torture and executions at the hands of Japanese soldiers.
“It's paratroopers like this emulating and honoring the men who endured the true Bataan Death March, that makes our unique unit a refreshing, challenging and rewarding place to serve our country.” said Barlow.
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