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May 13, 2011

News

NCO Academy Soldiers participate in Bataan Death March re-enactment

Five members of the Noncommissioned (NCO) Officer Academy at Fort McCoy participated as a group in a re-enactment of the World War II Bataan Death March.
PHOTO: Soldiers from the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort McCoy who participated in the Bataan Death March re-enactment. Photo by Lisa Albert
A group of Soldiers from the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort McCoy who participated in the Bataan Death March re-enactment pause for a photo. (Photo by Lisa Albert)

The event honored the heroic American and Filipino servicemembers who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.

The event, held in March at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., was the 22nd reiteration of the event. A record 6,300-plus people participated.

Participants walked the 26.2-mile course — the length of a marathon — braving sun, heat and this year, blasting wind, to honor a group of Soldiers who endured much worse during World War II, according to an Army News Service story.

Thousands of servicemembers died during the 1942 Bataan Death March. They were overcome by the sweltering heat, all the while being denied food and water and being abused by their captors, who would execute any who fell behind.

Following the march many more died while being transferred to work camps in Japan, as the transport ships they were on were not marked as prison ships and as a result were attacked by American aircraft and warships.

The NCO Academy personnel who participated as a group in the re-enactment event all the finished the course within the prescribed time limits and were: Sgt. 1st Class Travis Buckendahl, senior small group leader for the Warrior Leader Course (WLC); Sgt. 1st Class William Krause, NCO Academy medic; Staff Sgt. Charles Abert, senior small group leader for WLC; Staff Sgt. Jared Write, small group leader for WLC; and Sgt. 1st Class John Zywicki, Advanced Leader Course small group leader.

All of the NCO Academy Soldiers participated for the first time except for Zywicki who completed the event for the fourth time. First Sgt. Eric Dahl, NCO Academy first sergeant, also participated in the re-enactment event separately.

The Soldiers who participate don’t gain material rewards for participating, but are gratified to support those Soldiers who served before them and carrying on their tradition of service and duty, Abert said.

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