Mar 262009
Authors: Jessica Cline

As the sun rises Sunday mornings on the sleeping town of Fort Collins, six members of the CSU Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and eight from Army ROTC tie up their boot laces, pull on 45-pound backpacks and head off on a 10 to 22-mile trek across the still-frosted landscape.

These 14 repeat this action every Sunday as part of their training for the 26.2-mile Bataan Death March they will be participating in this Sunday in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. in honor of thousands of World War II heroes.

The Bataan Memorial Death March, which grew out of the New Mexico State University Army ROTC department in 1989, serves as a living tribute to the American and Filipino soldiers who defended the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the defense forts of the Philippines against Japanese troops.

According to The Bataan March Web site, tens of thousands of soldiers from the Army, Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines, among others, surrendered to Japanese forces after fighting for days in the malaria-infested region with outdated weapons and minimal rations.

On April 9, 1942, thousands of soldiers were seized; among those were members of the 200th Coast Artillery of the New Mexico National Guard.

These men were marched for days across the forests and the scorching Philippine landscape. Thousands died on the march. Those who survived the tortuous walk of death were reserved a seat in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Since its inception almost 20 years ago, the march has grown from about 100 to 4,000 marchers from across the globe, and this year, CSU’s own military men and women will make the symbolic journey across the dried and cracking New Mexican terrain.

The memorial march was cancelled only once over time when Operation Iraqi Freedom, a 2003 call-to-action in Iraq, required the extensive deployment of military units who usually supported the event.

“It’s important for students to understand the sacrifices that soldiers in the past have made; its a very humbling event that is just a portion of the experience that the survivors and fallen soldiers went through in WW2,” said Army ROTC cadet Chris Rutherford. “For ROTC cadets or future officers it’s very good to get to see the history behind the event.”

Air Force ROTC cadets echoed Rutherford’s sentiments.

“It is always important to remember those who came before us and the sacrifices that they endured. It is because of them that we are able to enjoy the freedoms that we have today,” sophomore Air Force ROTC cadet Connor Ruark said. “We also chose to do this in order to challenge ourselves and create a stronger sense of camaraderie in our detachment.”

By the time the march arrives before the end of the month, the CSU team will have been training several days a week for about six months.

Training includes weight training, sprinting, long distance runs and rucks, long treks made while carrying more than 30 pounds, all of which is necessary to endure the physical challenges that await them to the west.

“The training has forced us to challenge ourselves in ways that most of us never have before,” Ruark said. “If any of us are able to walk with ease on a Sunday afternoon it means that we either didn’t go far enough or we weren’t carrying enough weight.”

When the group goes on their longest rucks of the week on Sundays, they cover anywhere from 10 to 22 miles while carrying back packs weighing upwards of 45 pounds. Some stuffed their back packs with school books, filled water bottles, others with computers, bricks and several changes of clothes.

Junior Dustin North said that because they are constantly pushing themselves harder and building training intensity from week to week, training never seemed to get any easier.

“Training has not gotten any easier because we are constantly pushing ourselves to go further and faster,” he said, adding that he had noticed great improvement in the team over the course of training.

The actual event experience will vary widely from what the AFROTC and Army ROTC have trained for because the weather and the terrain in New Mexico sharply contrast Colorado’s.

Temperatures in New Mexico will most likely be hotter and harsher than in Colorado, and the designated path is cut over hills and through a sand pit, resulting in a 1,000-foot elevation difference from the beginning to the end of the course.

However, participants in the Bataan Memorial Death March are allowed to eat and drink as much as they would like, although the luxury is ultimately up to the individual. Ruark said the soldiers he hopes to honor did not have that choice.

“The soldiers who were forced to march in the actual Death March went for around five days, were not given food, got little to no water and were executed if they fell behind or stopped,” Ruark said.

North agreed that the memorial march presents a challenge but is nothing compared to the events it serves as a memory of.

“This event will be very challenging for all who do it and will be a great hurdle to overcome and experience, but it is just a small token of our appreciation for those who have fought, served and sacrificed for our country,” he said.

“It is a great honor for us to remember and honor them.”

Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at

The CSU Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC took 6th and 14th place in the march respectively.


1. 31:06:43 UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING ROTC (6:13:21)


1 6:13:19 M Logan Dannemiller 363C

2 6:13:20 M Dustin Wambach 363E

3 6:13:21 M Geoffrey Dean 363D

4 6:13:21 M Casey Dschaak 363A

5 6:13:22 M Ben Nemec 363B

2. 34:59:52 DWIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE (6:59:59)


1 6:59:58 M Johnathan Briggs 364E

2 6:59:58 M Angelo Jamora 364B

3 6:59:58 F Lisa Ward 364D

4 6:59:59 M Chris Yackley 364C

5 6:59:59 M Andrew Woolridge 364A

3. 35:17:56 ASU ARMY ROTC MALE 1 (7:03:36)


1 7:03:26 M Justin Hayes 527C

2 7:03:26 M Frank Sherod 527D

3 7:03:38 M Thomas Connolly 527E

4 7:03:43 M Russel Jonam 527B

5 7:03:43 M Matthew Vitellaro 527A

4. 37:46:07 5TH BDE ROTC CADRE TEAM (7:33:14)


1 7:33:05 M Brian Varble 543D

2 7:33:06 M James Greer 543E

3 7:33:18 M Kirk McIntosh 543B

4 7:33:19 M Jason Mammoser 543A

5 7:33:19 M John Nelson 543C

5. 38:15:48 TEXAS A&M ROTC HEAVY (7:39:10)


1 7:39:09 M Jeffrey Edwards 505D

2 7:39:09 M Brian Hua 505A

3 7:39:10 M Marshall Newsom 505C

4 7:39:10 M Adam Unger 505B

5 7:39:10 M Kyler Dillon 505E

6. 38:56:36 CSU ROTC (7:47:20)


1 7:47:18 M Derek Smith 384E

2 7:47:19 M Jj Schumacher 384C

3 7:47:19 M Chris Rutherford 384A

4 7:47:20 M Nathan Seitz 384D

5 7:47:20 M Diego Barros 384B

7. 39:21:24 THE PACK (7:52:17)


1 7:52:16 M Justin Wilson 367E

2 7:52:16 M David Lee 367C

3 7:52:17 M Greg Schoon 367D

4 7:52:17 M Richard Romani 367A

5 7:52:18 M Joel Moore 367B

8. 39:58:26 UNM ARMY ROTC HEAVY (7:59:42)


1 7:30:57 M Michael Collins 553A

2 7:31:02 M Seth Holt 553E

3 7:41:32 M Jimmie Hyatt 553D

4 8:37:27 M Ernest Toseland 553C

5 8:37:28 M Marco Garcia 553B

9. 40:15:31 UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND 1 (8:03:07)


1 8:03:03 M Matt Stein 285D

2 8:03:04 M Alex Capasso 285B

3 8:03:04 M Adam Robitaille 285C

4 8:03:05 M Cory Pinheiro 285A

5 8:03:15 M Michael Haynes 285E

10. 41:04:55 BOULDER ARMY ROTC (8:12:59)


1 8:12:58 M Eric Bowerman 471B

2 8:12:58 M Steven Wilson 471A

3 8:12:59 M Unknown Runner 471E

4 8:13:00 M Carey Duval 471C

5 8:13:00 M Mike Burnette 471D

11. 41:35:56 UTSA ROTC (8:19:12)


1 8:19:11 M Greg Gilmore 503E

2 8:19:11 M Robert Garcia 503B

3 8:19:11 M Patrick Hamilton 503D

4 8:19:11 M Eric Gutierrez 503C

5 8:19:12 M Arthur Anderson 503A

12. 42:10:07 COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES (8:26:02)


1 8:26:01 M Christopher Kessler-Tiffany 477C

2 8:26:01 M Jonathan Lanning 477B

3 8:26:01 M Bret Martin 477E

4 8:26:02 M John Rush 477A

5 8:26:02 M Ryan Gibbons 477D

13. 43:50:40 WILDCAT BATTALION (8:46:08)


1 8:46:07 M John Cahir 390D

2 8:46:08 M Tyler Basara 390E

3 8:46:08 M Matthew Gasser 390C

4 8:46:08 M Scott Severance 390A

5 8:46:09 M John Deakin 390B

14. 44:07:44 DETACHMENT 90 AFROTC (8:49:33)


1 8:49:32 M Dillon Shaffer 481C

2 8:49:32 M Glen Pfeiffer 481B

3 8:49:33 M Dustin North 481A

4 8:49:33 M Daniel Szczotka 481D

5 8:49:34 M Connor Ruark 481E

15. 44:21:09 NO H20 (8:52:14)


1 8:52:10 M Trevor Robert 365C

2 8:52:14 M Lucas Masiarak 365A

3 8:52:15 M Matthew Wolford 365D

4 8:52:15 M Richard Friedman 365B

5 8:52:15 M Michael Brown 365E

16. 45:14:58 SDSU ARMY ROTC (9:03:00)


1 9:02:58 M Zack Gauer 536B

2 9:02:59 M Jordan Weiss 536A

3 9:03:00 M Paul Gibson 536E

4 9:03:00 M Josh Vernlund 536D

5 9:03:01 M Kale Skogen 536C

17. 45:31:52 FIVE DEEP IN A JEEP (9:06:23)


1 9:06:21 M Steve Winkler 305E

2 9:06:22 M Dustin Rockow 305D

3 9:06:23 M Dave Cocchiarella 305A

4 9:06:23 M Neal Stainbrook 305B

5 9:06:23 M Dane Rockow 305C

18. 46:45:03 UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY ARMY RO(9:21:01)


1 9:20:59 M Brennan Parker 352A

2 9:21:00 M Adam Crawford 352B

3 9:21:01 M Charles Hoffman 352D

4 9:21:01 M Brett Reichert 352C

5 9:21:02 M John Wardlaw 352E

19. 46:48:04 ASU ARMY ROTC MALE 2 (9:21:37)


1 9:21:36 M Michael Debroy 539A

2 9:21:36 M Palmer Bradley 539B

3 9:21:37 M William Thompson 539D

4 9:21:37 M Steven Golisch 539E

5 9:21:38 M Sean Begaye 539C

20. 51:25:04 METRO ROTC (10:17:01)


1 10:17:00 M Emanuel Barron 474B

2 10:17:00 M Daniel Herrera 474E

3 10:17:01 F Ariel Bazulka 474D

4 10:17:01 F Sarah Brennan 474A

5 10:17:02 F Jaime Crownoves 474C

21. 54:00:41 RICE NROTC (10:48:09)


1 10:48:07 M Ian McLinn 293C

2 10:48:08 M Joshua Rodriguez 293E

3 10:48:08 M Daniell Ledeen 293A

4 10:48:09 M Patrick Anderson 293B

5 10:48:09 M Michael Cedeno 293D

22. 54:05:38 FULLERTON ROTC (10:49:08)


1 10:49:06 M Aaron Valencia 445A

2 10:49:07 M Brett Conover 445E

3 10:49:08 M Zakary Hartley 445D

4 10:49:08 M Joshua Rosner 445C

5 10:49:09 M Steven Swaleh 445B

23. 57:51:14 HALF WAY THERE (11:34:15)


1 11:34:14 M Nicholas Sternitzky 513D

2 11:34:14 M Anthony Anderson 513E

3 11:34:15 M Zachery Hancock 513C

4 11:34:15 M John Hitsos 513B

5 11:34:16 M Daniel Spiecher 513A

24. 59:09:08 NSU BLACK KNIGHTS (11:49:50)


1 11:49:31 M Philip Duffy 325D

2 11:49:52 M Louis Weldon 325E

3 11:49:53 M Nathan Tillotson 325A

4 11:49:54 M Brian Lane 325C

5 11:49:58 M Brett Guse 325B

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.