By Kelsey Keener
Members of Southern Utah University’s Army ROTC participated in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March.
The march took place in White Sands, New Mexico. The march honors prisoners of war who were forced to march over 60 miles through the Philippines to confinement camps during World War II, while deprived of food, water and medical attention.
The memorial march is a marathon, and participants have the option of completing a full or half marathon, with or without a 35-pound pack. Seven cadets from SUU’s Army ROTC participated in the march, as well as Sergeant First Class Billy Brashears.
Cadet Garrett Minkler was team captain for the group, and said they start training months in advance. While similar to training for a regular marathon, training for the march can be more involved.
“With a regular marathon you do a lot of runs, you’ve got that endurance training,” Minkler said. “You have to do endurance training with this one as well but it’s a little more focused on the strength aspect of it because you got a lot of weight (to carry).”
Registration for the marathon can be difficult to afford for students, so they reached out and were sponsored by several Cedar City businesses and the SUU School of Business.
Minkler said in addition to demonstrating support for veterans, particularly those going to SUU and in Cedar City, participating in the marathon and meeting survivors of the World War II march can also be a spiritual experience.
“You feel that it’s really emotional to see these veterans,” he said. “And you come to appreciate the prisoners of war, the POWs out there and how much they suffer for our freedoms.”
Mary Pearson, Dean of the SUU School of Business, said participation in the march is one way Army ROTC cadets demonstrate their commitment.
“Their participation in the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico is another demonstration, among many, of the dedication and honor these young cadets exhibit regularly to our country,” she said.