Airmen traverse Bataan Memorial Death March

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett
  • Air Reserve Personnel Center Public Affairs
Fourteen members from the Air Reserve Personnel Center were among more than 6,700 men, women and children who participated in the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March March 25, 2012, at White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M.

The participants endured six to eight hours of marching or running in the desert. They marched in airman battle uniforms and combat boots or wore civilian attire over a rugged terrain nearly a mile high in elevation...all in the name of honor.

Step by step over a 26.2-mile journey, they paid homage to tens of thousands of heroic American and Filipino World War II service members who sacrificed their freedom, health and lives defending Bataan, a province of the Philippines, April 9, 1942.

This wasn't the first time some of the ARPC team members have marched this course.

Master. Sgt. Deann Gallegos, ARPC careering service team NCO in charge, has participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March four times.

"I've participated twice in the Military Light Category and twice in the Civilian Category," Sergeant Gallegos said. "No matter how many times I've done the march, it's always a challenge, especially the last few miles when I am close to the finish line. Those miles can feel like an eternity, but it's a great feeling once you cross the finish line."

This year, Gallegos marched the course with her husband. "We motivated one another throughout the course, which made the course easier to overcome," she said.

Another Airman who wasn't new to the march is Staff Sgt. Jo Anna Goodenough, an ARPC separations service team technician.

"The march this year was a lot easier because I knew what to expect from the event," said Goodenough, who completed last year's event as a member of the ARPC Militia Team, and completed this year's course on her own.

"In the future I would like to do it with a team again so there is a sense of camaraderie," Goodenough said. "I was by myself and it made the experience more difficult for me because I didn't have anyone to socialize and agonize with."

A few Bataan survivors attend the marathon each year to motivate and cheer on competitors at the start of the march. It's a show of support at a grueling course, which commemorates their survival and inhumane treatment Soldiers suffered 70 years ago as they traveled more than 60 miles and lost more than 1,000 Soldiers who died from being beaten, bayoneted when they fell or from malnutrition.

Today, these Soldiers are revered in a marathon march by many willing to emulate the same sacrifice of mind and body.

Here are the names of the 14 people who participated in this year's event:
Maj. Chad Manifold
Capt. Trent Champion
Allison Lynch
Patricia Quisenberry
Senior Master Sgt. Eric Dugger
Senior Master Sgt. Stephanie Moncalieri
Senior Master Sgt. Felicia Holly
Master Sgt. Dennis Derwacter
Master Sgt. Michael Moore
Master Sgt. Deann Gallegos
Staff Sgt. Zakia Walker
Staff Sgt. Jo Anna Goodenough
Staff Sgt. Melissa Heivly
Senior Airman Iris Morales