Instructables

Team building exercises: Bataan Death March...Are you worthy? Team-Building Galore

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The human spirit is profoundly resilient, and if you entertain that resiliency, the results are phenomenal. The human body, however, will challenge your every step.

In 1942, anywhere from 76,000 to 100,000 American and Filipino POWs were marched for days without food or water for fear of being executed by their Japanese captors across the Bataan peninsula. Thousands of them died.

Every year at the White Sands Missile Range outside Las Cruces, NM, a march is held in memory of those individuals so that we can honor their sacrifice for us to enjoy the liberties and freedoms we have today. The website is Bataan March

I am a Kansas Air National Guardsman. I participated on a team as the "Military Light" category, though you can go as a civilian.

This is an entry in the Burning Questions: team-building contest
 
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Step 1: Team it up

The spirit of Bataan is "No man(or woman) left behind." While many people will do the march on their own, having a team is what makes this event awesome. The march allows for teams of 5 people. I was invited to participate with the site defence team from my Air National Guard unit. I used to be on the site defense team so it was awesome to get to hang out with the guys.

Your team will help you train, keep you focused and most importantly support you to the finish.

Many of the original Bataan POWs marched alongside others and did not experience the support needed to keep themselves alive.
jbaily11 months ago
I love how you said freedom isn't free because its true, and being a military child know some unfortunate kids my age that have lost their family members protecting our country.
iljpj14 years ago
You guys make me proud !

Tsgt (Ret)
Pkranger88 (author)  iljpj14 years ago
Thanks for your support and your service!
unspecified6 years ago
This is nice, but it seems like you are just trying to show off your accomplishment rather than instruct on team-building.
Pkranger88 (author)  unspecified6 years ago
I'm trying to understand if this is intended to be a constructive comment or a tongue-in-cheek comment. If I wanted to show off my accomplishment, I would've done an instructable on how I am a distinguished military member. It's a show and tell. There aren't many websites posting information on how to do the march, so I helped out. As for team-building, I guarantee that doing an event like this will strengthen your team. If you have something to offer for team-building, please post.
For what it's worth, I really appreciated coming across your instructable recently. I'm a civilian, but I've been training to do this for a couple of months now and your points are definitely helpful. Reading over what you said, I now have some ideas on what to do as far as incorporating longer hikes and how to make sure I don't end up in the medic's tent (I don't think I would have realized the sock thing until it was too late). I may even try to put a team together just for the added support (that's a bit trickier though). So yeah, I think it's a great instructable, definitely for this particular march, but probably also for any other endurance type event. Great work, and thanks for sharing it with us!
i have great respect for anyone who finishes an endurance task like this. especially in conditions like in the photos - hot sandy hilly and HOT i go hiking a fair bit and recently completed a 45M (75km in 12h 28m ) hike (which also happened to be a race) and to our joy we came third. alot of the things you've said ring true - keep hydrated, work as a team etc. but if i was to say 1 point, and this 1 point is far more important that any other because with this thing alone you can beat an endurance task. positive mental attitude it is a persons ability to blank out pain, ignore the fact that they are at the bottom of a massive hill and they have to get to the top. the best member of our three man team is practically a machine. he has well over 500 miles under his belt and legs like an elephant from all the hiking he does. the other two members (myself included) are no way near as fit. we hit "the barrier" far earlier in the race. "the barrier" is a term given to the first point at which the athelete really has to focus on not stopping. personally i hit this fairly early on - at about 30 miles. this was because we'd decided not to stop at all (because stopping after that distance, even for 1 minute makes it very hard to keep going again) so my socks were wet from sweat and i was getting blisters. i kept going. then at about 35 miles i fell over and sprained/twisted my knee and from then on i couldn't extend it. my teammates had to carry some of my pack but i kept going. the other equally able member of my team never seemed in alot of pain but because i know him quite well i noticed the subtle signs... he went quiet, he started tripping over sticks on the ground he started getting annoyed at little things. often when people get like this i make a team stop, have some tea etc. we didn't have time so i made him eat a couple of my energy bars and he was pretty much fine. the machine like member of our team, however, "hit the barrier" at about 40 miles and hit it hard. we have him food, he didn't speed up, we took his pack he didn't speed up we tricked him into thinking we were practically there... it worked! he realised about 2.5 miles on but by then he had his head back in the game and was marching at pace again. its not a tactic we used lightly, it could have backfired if he hadnt got his thinking hat back on but overall it was an amazing hike. and we came third ... three 17y/o's beat loads of experienced hikers with lots of determination and not alot of thinking (it was pretty stupid to be honest - i couldn't walk properly for 3 days afterwards and i had a blister about the size of a £2 coin). summary positive mental attitude is the most important thing of all determination, looking out for your teammates and food ( tee hee) are all important part of this teams are great mainly because even if you lose your positive mental attitude theres the basic caveman instinct not to look like a whimp infront of other guys to keep you going! :P (sorry this was so long)
catndhat6 years ago
I was there and did it with you guys this year. I am going to do it again next year as well. Great Advice on how to survive that thing. I would just add make sure you trim your toenails and have a some room in your boots or the downhill portion will tear your toes up. Go Air Force CatNDhat Air Force (ret)
leemac6 years ago
I have known survivors of Bataan Death March and their families and can only say that which commemorates their ordeal and suffering and remembers their valor is an event worth participating in. My hat is off to those who have not forgotten. May no member of our armed forces ever have to suffer the fate those guys did. Most of those who made it home never really recovered physically or in their hearts. Thanks for the blog PKranger88.
jan_ram6 years ago
baTaan daY... _
jongscx6 years ago
My grandfather survived the Deathmarch but just recently passed away, 2 years ago. He rarely spoke of it, as it was understandably pretty horrible. In any case, I always feel humbled when I look back on all that he's gone through and survive.
CementTruck6 years ago
We had close family friends (as to me as blood relatives) who were actually in the Bataan Death March. I've heard all the horror stories first hand. My Dad and his father (a retired American GI who was under Pershing's command), and my Mother's father (a Spaniard) fought as Guerrillas alongside Filipinos during WWII. I'm proud to have come from this lineage of brave men. I commend you and your friends for the time you take out of your lives to remember the the troops who lost their lives defending our freedoms. Freedom isn't free. I also thank you and your friends for your service to our country. Please pass my gratitude on to them. Signed, A Veteran 1986 -1996 (USAF 461X0/2W0X1 - AKA AMMO!)
tanesung6 years ago
don't forget that they marched in the tropical HEAT....summers in the Philippines are sweltering! Those POWs were really lucky to have survived through their ordeal....only right that we honor them for the heroes that they are. Hats off to the veterans. Bataan Day here in the Philippines is commemorated every April 9.
Erfunden6 years ago
I live down here in Las Cruces and I walked it with my younger brothers Scout Troop last year. It is a fantastic experience ad a great event. I recommend it to anyone. I also recommend that if they aren't in good shape they train first.
im in the air force cadets and think a team of any kind needs to be strong and participate in team building events like this, i learnt this form a five kilometre hike with packs, and then an 800 metre rise with 3 Kms marching, it was heavy stuff but it built more morale than i thought was possible. I hope to do this, or something similar soon. thanks for posting.
RabidAlien6 years ago
Holy crappola, I'm gettin chills just reading about this! I'm a small, ameture WW2 history buff myself, and have read many books dealing with the Bataan march and other trials our guys went through during the Pacific Campaign (currently reading about the re-taking of Corregidor). I'm gonna have to seriously look into doing something like this soon!!! My hat's off to everyone who participates, and my utmost respect to those who survived the original!!!!!
Is the airforce authorized to wear under armor? and gray socks? We cant wear under armor because the synthetics will melt to the skin in an explosion. And we would get hemmed up if we wore something other than Army green socks. Good job on the March.
Pkranger88 (author)  thematthatter6 years ago
The Air Force uniform regulation, AFI 36-2903, In garrison, we are allowed to wear whatever material we want so long as it adheres to the AFI's requirements for color and logos. When I was deployed we weren't told that we couldn't wear synthetics. I wore synthetics, because of the heat. I was marching in an area where I didn't think an explosion was going to be an issue. Now, if I was in downtown Baghdad, I might choose a different shirt. Socks must be black if they are visible, but can be other colors if they are hidden from sight.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
The bataan death march (from what I've heard) was horrible! I can't imagine even recreating it, especially here in NM . I live in Santa fe and I can barely stand the heat just working outside, not to mention marching through the desert! Great job! (and much respect to all the survivors)
Pkranger88 (author)  LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
The stories I heard from family members of the survivors and from what I've read are incredible. The original Bataan survivors are cut from a different cloth. Thanks for posting.