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LRS Airmen ruck a Bataan Memorial Death March

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Violette Hosack
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

A small team from the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron took part in a 26.2 mile ruck April 6 as part of a Bataan Memorial Death March. 

The Bataan Memorial Death March honors the memory of 78,000 American and Filipino Prisoners of War who were forced to trek 65 miles through inhospitable conditions in the Philippines in April of 1942, with many perishing along the way.

Master Sgt. Kyle Rogowski, 375th LRS First Sergeant, said he urged his Airmen to do this memorial march as a tribute to the resilience of those who braved the challenges of their journey, adding that “it’s a true story of unimaginable cruelty and unimaginable resolve.” 

In anticipation of the physical challenge of carrying weighted plates while rucking 26.2 miles, the LRS Airmen began prepping months in advance to ensure they were ready for the demands of this ruck. 

Senior Airman Joseph Holliday, an LRS vehicle operator, explained that “It’s something we had to train for since we weren't used to doing something like that. It's not something you can just get off the couch and do.”

Maintaining high motivation remained a key focus throughout the preparation phase. The Airmen consistently supported each other, ensuring everyone stayed on track and prioritized self-care. 

With months of preparation and hours of practice, including weekends, physical and mental endurance wasn’t the only thing gained from the experience.

“What's good about us doing this ruck is not only is it a personal challenge, a spirit of competition and camaraderie,” said Holliday. “It's also remembering and putting respect on what they went through.

Rogowski added, “A bond is formed faster and stronger than any other way I’ve seen in my experience. You proved to yourself that you can conquer an extremely difficult task and you know now more than ever that you can trust the people that did it with you, because of the shared suffering. You know that the people with you aren’t going to give up or run away from the hard problems you’ll face in the future. They will be right there with you.”

The team hopes that they can attend the annual nationwide march in New Mexico, where people from all over the world travel to march and remember the sacrifices made during the Bataan Death March so many years ago.