Seven Area Support Group Kuwait soldiers recently honored thousands of Philippine and American troops killed during World War II by marking the 66th anniversary of the Bataan Death March on April 9.
The soldiers, stationed at Camp Arifjan, marched more than 26 miles — far less than the nine-day, 60-plus-mile march Allied prisoners of war were forced to make by the Japanese, but still a challenge in the desert heat.
“I needed to get out there and do it,” said Master Sgt. Charles Tennant in an ASGK news release. “I need to keep up my heritage of fellow Soldiers and the lineage of the U.S. Army.”
One soldier, Staff Sgt. Timothy Bridge, was marching not only in remembrance of the men who fell in the Philippines in 1942 but also for one of his buddies who was recently killed in Iraq.
“I was focused on the fallen Soldiers I did it for,” Bridge said in the release.
“The hardest part was pushing through the physical and emotional pain. The march greatly subdued the pain and anger of losing him.”
Another soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Derek Greenough, said he simply remembered and focused on the men who had marched before him.
“I kept asking myself, ‘What did these guys have to look forward to,’ ” Greenough said in the release, adding, “there is no way what we did compares to the Soldiers at Bataan.”
Bridge, who organized the memorial march, said he hopes that others will hear of it and be inspired to participate.
“As the word spreads from the seven of us marching, it will bring more participants in the years to come,” he said.