In honor of those who fought to defend the Philippines, Franklin Annis of the Chadron State College Army ROTC Program and Sarah Polak of the CSC Museum Studies Program are teaching a Military Science Leadership course this semester centered on the Bataan Death March.
Annis said the goal of the course is “To educate, establish, and equip students with the knowledge and strength it takes to face extreme circumstances and make it out alive. Though students will never actually know the fear of death that the prisoners faced during the Bataan Death March, they will get a taste of what it was like while participating in the 24th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March on March 17 at White Sands Missile Base, N.M.”
Polak said, “The physical training for the course is not for the faint-hearted and has challenged both cadets in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and civilian students enrolled in the course. The training ahead is not only physical, but will stretch the mental and emotional capabilities of the students in this course.”
Amanda Gibbs, a junior from Gering, said, “I believe it’ll make me a better individual in the end and if I think I can do it, then I know I will be able to do it. The Bataan Death March has opened my eyes and inspired me to get involved. The Bataan Memorial March is conducted to honor of those who faced the torturous march but it is continuing to work inspire the next generation of Americans.”
Of the 11 students enrolled in MSL 391, two plan to complete the 14-mile short course and nine will attempt the full 26.2-mile course while carrying 35 pound packs. Videos of the students in the class who are training for the march are posted weekly at www.gofundme.com/bataan.
The team has a goal to raise at least 350 pounds of food to be carried the 26.2-mile length of the Bataan Memorial Death March. At the conclusion of the march, the food will be donated to a shelter. Both human and pet food will be accepted. Excess food collected will be donated to local veterans in need. Canned food can be donated, until March 11, at the following locations in Chadron: CSC Student Center, The Bean Broker and Wreckers.
Annis said, “On April 9, 1942, approximately 12,000 American and 63,000 Filipino prisoners of war, captured by the Japanese during World War II, were forced to march nearly 60 miles uphill on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese culture frowned upon surrender which fueled the fire for mistreatment of the prisoners. As they were marched, they were starved, beaten, and mistreated. Anyone who fell out of the march was bayoneted, beheaded, or run over by trucks. Many were killed by the Japanese and others escaped only to perish in the Bataan jungle.”
(Article contributed by Amanda Haney, a junior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, a member of the CSC Army ROTC program and an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran.)
—CSC Information Services