Marching to Remember
Soldiers, veterans and civilians walk to honor the sacrifices of military members
More than 7,000 marchers endured 26.2 miles of rocky trails and 90-degree temperatures on March 19th to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March, one of the most tragic incidents of World War II, and the sacrifices of military members everywhere.
Raytheon was a major sponsor of the Bataan Memorial Death March, an annual event across the high desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The event honored the 75,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers who surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, and were forced to march about 65 miles across the Philippine island of Luzon to prison camps. Thousands perished in the intense heat and harsh conditions.
Many of the memorial marchers, including more than a dozen Raytheon employees, wore posters on their backpacks with photos of Bataan POWs or soldiers who died in various conflicts. Some marched in the “military heavy” division, sporting full combat uniforms, boots and up to 50-pound rucksacks.
“The steps were sometimes so difficult that I thought if I walked quicker it would help," said Cameron Gibson, a systems engineer for Raytheon and first time marcher. "It was definitely more challenging than I thought.”
Gibson recalled family members who served in World War II and Afghanistan. “I have seen the profound effect that these experiences had on their lives and it really inspired me to keep going,” he said.
The memorial aspect of the march makes it more than a typical marathon for participants.
“My motivation is to stay connected with our veterans and show gratitude for their sacrifices,” said Mike Nulk, a business development lead at Raytheon and eight-year Army veteran.
It took nearly 12 hours for all the participants to cross the finish line. Covered in dust and sweat, Glen Dare, an operations lead at Raytheon and Army veteran, finished his first march carrying a 40-pound rucksack. Stitched on its back were the names of brothers and sisters he knew in combat.
“I wear their names to remind everyone about the sacrifices they made," he said. "Even though they are no longer with us, by talking about them and sharing their stories I hope to keep their spirits alive.”