• Maj. Max Self, liaison officer, program executive office, intelligence electronic warfare and sensors, nears the finish line during the Bataan Memorial Death March, a 12.5 mile ruck march honoring those who were forced to take part in the actual Bataan Death March, March 1, 2012, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Self was the first participant to finish, crossing the finish line with a time of two hours, nine minutes and 49 seconds. Third Army is honoring the service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II.

    Camp Arifjan MWR honors Bataan Death March heroes

    Maj. Max Self, liaison officer, program executive office, intelligence electronic warfare and sensors, nears the finish line during the Bataan Memorial Death March, a 12.5 mile ruck march honoring those who were forced to take part in the actual Bataan...

  • Service members began the grueling Bataan Memorial Death March at the Zone 1 track at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 1, 2012. The event called not only for participants to complete the 12.5 mile course, but also to carry at least 35 pounds in their ruck sack. Third Army is honoring the service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II.

    Camp Arifjan MWR honors Bataan Death March heroes

    Service members began the grueling Bataan Memorial Death March at the Zone 1 track at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 1, 2012. The event called not only for participants to complete the 12.5 mile course, but also to carry at least 35 pounds in their ruck...

  • Service members salute the flag during the morning playing of Reveille at the Zone 1 track at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 1, 2012. Following Reveille, approximately 130 service members and civilians began the 12.5 mile Bataan Memorial Death March, which honored heroes of Bataan. Third Army is honoring the service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II.

    Camp Arifjan MWR honors Bataan Death March heroes

    Service members salute the flag during the morning playing of Reveille at the Zone 1 track at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 1, 2012. Following Reveille, approximately 130 service members and civilians began the 12.5 mile Bataan Memorial Death March...

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (March 5, 2012) -- Morale, Welfare, and Recreation center workers organized a 12.5 mile Bataan Memorial Death March here March 1.

The MWR staff spent weeks planning the event, which honored American and Filipino prisoners of war who were forced to march 80 miles while being tortured, abused or killed.

"The march took me about a month to put together," said Sandra Yount, fitness center lead.

Before the participants tested their physical and mental endurance with the death march, organizers ensured the length of the course, said Yount.

"We measured the route by walking and driving," explained Yount. "We made sure we had the correct measurement, the correct miles, for the whole thing."

Since the march led participants across several busy roads, military police and road guards were needed to control traffic. In addition, several other organizations helped facilitate the memorial.

"We had participation from the provost marshal office, emergency medical services and the fire department," Yount said. "We also had a total of five medics on the route riding bikes, making sure everybody was safe on the road."

With plenty of medical personnel available, many Soldiers gave it their all to finish as fast as possible.

"I started running and I didn't stop," said Maj. Max Self, liaison officer, program executive office, intelligence electronic warfare and sensors. "I do a lot of distance running anyway, so I just rested up for it."

Self was the first participant to cross the finish line, with a time of two hours, nine minutes and 49 seconds. The additional weight of his ruck-sack didn't hinder him too much, Self said.

"I'm a pretty big guy, so percentage wise, adding 35 pounds wasn't a big difference," said Self.

Thanks to the coordination efforts by the personnel at MWR, participants spoke highly of the trail.

"It was a good course," Self said. "The course was a good mix of dirt and pavement. I had a good time. I appreciate everyone putting it together."

As the main organizer, Yount enjoyed learning about the history of the Bataan Death March and was happy with everyone who showed up, she said.

"This has been amazing for me. It's been a learning experience," Yount said. "I'm proud of everyone who participated to remember all the people who died and all the suffering they went through."

Page last updated Mon March 5th, 2012 at 10:57