Alternative Spring Break becoming the norm
Five cadets going on grueling 26.2-mile march through New Mexico desert
While most college students think of sunny beaches and relaxation as their ideal spring break, five Citadel cadets will spend part of their break honoring their fallen brothers.
For the second year, “Team Big Red” will compete in the 23rd annual Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25, 2012, in White Sands, N.M. The cadets represent all four ROTC branches. Team members are Angela Foyt, Christopher Gamble, James Hurton, Charlotte Perrott and Ron Willis.
Spring break at The Citadel is March 24-April 1.
"Initially my reasons for going were for the challenge of rucking a marathon,” said Perrott, the cadet commander of 5th Battalion. “What the prisoners of the march endured only recently became known to me after I read Col. Roy C. Hilton journals. Now I want to be able to connect the proud history of The Citadel to the current pride of today."
Hilton, Class of 1915, was among 23 Citadel alumni and tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Philippines in early 1942. He was also among those subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March in the scorching heat of the Philippine jungles. Thousands died. Those who survived faced the hardships as prisoners of war.
The Bataan Memorial Death March is a 26.2-mile race hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to honor those who participated in and lost their lives during the Bataan Death March.
The Citadel team will participate in the “heavy” category, which requires each team member to carry a 35-pound rucksack filled with non-perishable food items that will be donated at the end of the race.
“Team Big Red” also will carry with them a Citadel class ring on loan from The Citadel museum as a symbol of the connection between Citadel graduates past and present.
The ring belonged to Bataan Death March participant 1st Lt. Pope Lott Browne, Citadel Class of 1933. Browne lost his ring off Sullivan’s Island before being sent to the Philippines. Two boys swimming off Station 11 found the ring in 1964. Their father returned it to The Citadel hoping to reunite it with its owner. Pope died in October 1944.
The team goal is to raise $4,000 to endow a fund that provides for expenses for cadets making this year’s trip and for future cadet teams to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March. In addition, this year the team hopes to make a donation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Anyone can donate to support the cadet’s trip to the Bataan Memorial Death March. Contribute online by clicking on Bataan Memorial Death March Fund or copying into your browser this url https://foundation.citadel.edu/SSLPage.aspx?pid=422. Under the headline “The Citadel Fund Donations” look for the drop down box marked “Designation.” Click the arrow and then click on “Bataan Memorial Death March Fund.”