HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Tackling 26.2 miles: The 76th annual Bataan Memorial Death March

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Right), 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Right), 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Left), 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes down a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Right), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry, 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., March 11, 2018. Webb hiked 10 miles as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., March 11, 2018. Webb hiked 10 miles as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Left), 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes down a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Right), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Left), 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes down a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Right), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Right), 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Left), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, hikes up a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Right), 60th Air Mobility Wing, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Left), 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes down a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Right), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb (Left), 60th Air Mobility Wing, hikes down a hill at Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, Calif., with her cousin, Senior Master Sgt. Jenny Hendry (Right), 60th Aeromedical Squadron, March 11, 2018. Hendry joined Webb on a 10-mile hike as she prepares for the Bataan Memorial Death March on March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Participating in a death march, even a memorial one, may not sound appealing to some people, but that’s exactly what Tech. Sgt. Nikki Webb, a native of Stanford, Kentucky, will do March 25.

The self-proclaimed “not athletic” noncommissioned officer in charge of resource management for the base chapel at Travis Air Force Base, California, plans to participate in the 76th annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

“I’ve always wanted to do a marathon and I thought this would be the perfect one,” said Webb. “I’m always up for a good challenge.”

According to the BMDM website, the march is 26.2 miles through high desert terrain and sand. The event has been held every year since 1989 to honor the service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, many of whom died during an approximate 65-mile forced march known as the Bataan Death March in April 1942. During the march, thousands of Filipino and American Soldiers perished after they were subjected to harsh treatment from Japanese guards.

One moment, Webb said she’s really looking forward to, is meeting survivors of the Bataan Death March. Seven survivors will attend the event, including retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon. Skardon, now 100 years old, survived the death march and three years as a prisoner of war. He later served during the Korean War and retired from the Army in 1962. He is the only survivor who participates in the memorial march every year.

“It will be so amazing to meet them, talk to them and hear their experiences firsthand,” said Webb.  “We talk about how important it is to be resilient, but they epitomize resiliency. They probably thought they were going to die every day and somehow found the strength to survive. I’m looking forward to meeting them and saying ‘thank you.’”

“I want to thank them for having the strength to survive, for fighting to return for their families and for everything they’ve done for our country,” she said.

Webb will be joined on her journey by one of her childhood friends, Tiffany Lipinski. After deciding to participate in the BMDM, Webb asked Lipinski to join her.

“Nikki has had a strong desire to do a marathon for quite some time and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share in that bonding experience with her,” said Lipinski. “I also enjoy participating in races that celebrate and honor our military and family members, both past and present. The Bataan Memorial Death March is a perfect event for that cause.”

“I am extremely proud of Nikki’s decision to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March and of all the hard work she has put into her training,” she said.

To prepare to complete the 26.2-mile route, which features numerous hills, steep climbs and miles of sand, Webb has relied on a variety of different training methods.

Along with hiking and running a few times each week, she also does spin and combat-ready classes at the Travis Fitness Center. On weekends, she goes on long hikes, often in the hills of Pena Adobe Regional Park in Vacaville, California.

She recalled a recent hike in the Redwood Forrest that was kind of a preview of what’s to come.

“We were hiking in the Redwood Forest and we took a wrong trail at about mile 19 and wound up hiking about 24 miles,” she said. “I also twisted my ankle and had to hike the final three miles through rain and hail.”

Webb also ran out of water at mile eight, so she had no means of hydration for about 16 miles.

“I learned after that experience that I need to pack more water and more snacks as well,” she said. “While finishing that hike was amazing, it was painful. I still have blisters on my feet and a sore back. Because that was the first time (I hiked) that far.”

Webb said her and Lipinski plan on completing the BMDM, which begins at about 7 a.m., on March 25, in 7 hours and 30 minutes. She also said, no matter how difficult the march becomes, failure is not an option.

“I want to prove to myself that I can do a full 26.2 miles and quitting is not an option,” said Webb. “It’s also about me doing my part. This memorial march is a small fraction of what the Soldiers who marched in the actual death march endured. No matter how much I’m dealing with, whatever I’m going through, it will be nowhere near as difficult as it was for the survivors of the Bataan Death March.”

“Participating in patriotic races means a lot to me and I am so excited to get to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March,” added Lipinksi. “I will be thinking of the American and Filipino Soldiers, those lost and those that survived, as well as all our veterans and current service members. I will be thinking of those I knew who have lost their life while serving, as well as their loved ones they have left behind–our Gold Star families. I will start and end the event incredibly thankful.”

Webb and Lipinksi will join a record number of marchers at this year’s event as 8,380 people have registered, an increase of more than 1,000 from 2017 according to Lisa Frankson, a recreation specialist with the White Sands Missile Range Garrison Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation office and the BMDM director.

Event participants can march as individuals or in teams in light or heavy categories, she said. They will have about 13 hours to complete the full 26.2-mile route. Anyone who fails to make water point 10 at approximately mile 21 will be pulled off the course.

Webb stressed, while some people may experience being pulled from the course, she and Lipinski won’t be among them.

“The course will be challenging, but we will finish,” she said. “There’s no other option.”

 

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
The Shooting Stars Drones will launch again at around 10:20 p.m. and we will do another live video stream at that time. Thank you for your patience.
#TeamTravis, As we get closer to tonight’s festivities, what part of the celebration are you most looking forward to? In addition, we’ll also be hosting a bounce house, a beer and wine truck, a hotdog and burger food truck, and an on-site DJ. We will also be allowing families to bring in their own food and water as long as the water is in a clear container. Hope to see you all out there!
#DidYouKnow the United States Air Force has a new Airman Against Drunk Driving app available on the App Store and Google Play? Just another way the U.S. Air Force is committed to #NeverDUI
**Edited for clarification*** #TeamTravis, As weather updates continue to come in, the Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show show portion may not happen. As of now, the show is still happening, but we're monitoring tomorrow's weather on a minute-to-minute basis and will continue to update you all as we get closer to the event. No matter what, festivities are a go! Airmen and the public are still invited to celebrate with bouncy houses, food trucks, a DJ, and a rock climbing wall! Below are maps to the parking areas and entrance for the event as well as the event location.
Due to forecasted high winds, the scheduled July 3 rehearsal, which was open to DoD ID Cardholders, has been canceled. Please stay tuned for more updates as we monitor the weather for the 4th of July event.
#Repost Visit Fairfield, California -- "There are no active fires near Travis AFB or Solano County. . . . Good morning friends! Solano County photographer James Guzzo was up early for the sunrise and captured these images from our hills. The smoke cloud you can see is from a fire burning in Yolo County. There are no active fires near Fairfield and Solano County. #VisitFairfieldCA"
To all of #TeamTravis and our local community, please be safe! For continued updates, please sign up with alertsolano.com to get them sent straight to your device.
"Anything that is an extension of, what I call, America's power, promise, or ideals, is done through logistics and transportation." --USAF Gen. Darren W. McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander. Travis #Airmen deliver on that promise...anytime, anywhere. And we're proud it. #NoBounds | #TeamTravis
🎶This is ground control to Major Tom...🎶 Always on the cutting edge, #TeamTravis has recently entered into talks with NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration to establish a research collaboration leading to advances in medical support for deep space missions as well as warfighters. Read more about Travis' potential role in the future of space exploration in the article below. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | Air Force Times | AFMS - David Grant USAF Medical Center - 60th Medical Group, Travis AFB | U.S. Military | #NoBounds
Congratulations SMSgt Lucero Stockett, 6th ARS, for being named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018! It is a honor to call you a member of #TeamTravis!
This 4th of July, #TeamTravis is partnering with Intel to put on a #patriotic light show with the help of more than 500 individual drones. Check out the video below and visit our event page, Travis AFB 4th of July ft. Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show, for a taste of what's to come during next week's jaw-dropping spectacle. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | United States | Air Force Times | Military.com | #FourthofJuly ***The DoD does not endorse Intel***
Team Travis Defenders teamed up with #SpecialOlympics athletes to run through Travis AFB and Vacaville, California last week for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
A KC-10 crew recetly completed a mission in the pacific refueling fighters supporting Exercise RED FLAG-Alaska and strengthening relationships between the USAF and the Japan Air Self Defense Force. To learn more click on the photos below. #NoBounds | #EngagingGlobally | #GotFuel
Not only is 2018 the 75th anniversary of Travis but also the 9th Air Refueling Squadrons #75thAnniversary. The diverse history of the 9th ARS includes operating in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, flying the F-4U Corsair as well as the P-38 Lightning. Click on one of the photos below to see what it means to wear the 9th ARS patch. #GucciPride | #Universal | #Travis75th
This week we salute SrA Steven Fing for being named the #TeamTravis Warrior of the Week. Fing is a Nondestructive Inspection Technician in the 60th MXS. His leadership skills as a shift leader enabled 22 maintenance acts ensuring 620 sorties. #WoW | #Maintenance
#TeamTravis is kind of a big deal in Fairfield, California! On Tuesday during a city council meeting, leadership received a proclamation from the city in honor of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the base. #Servinglocally | #Travis75th
During a recent KC-10 Extender mission, two flying crew chiefs kept the aircraft serviced enabling it to complete a roundtrip journey of more than 9,000 nautical miles and offloaded more than 200,000 pounds of fuel to eight F-15s. #FueltheFight | #RapidGlobalMobility | #NoBounds
The rumors are true! #TeamTravis is celebrating #IndependenceDay with a special light show featuring the Intel Shooting Star Drones. We are opening our gates to the community for this event. Stay tuned for more information! #NoBounds | #PoweredbySpark | #75thAnniversary | AFWERX | Air Mobility Command | Heather Wilson
Gen. Paul J. Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is no stranger to Travis. He has commanded a squadron and a group here in the past. Last Friday #TeamTravis was honored for him to return to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Travis and the 9th ARS. #Travis75th | #NoBounds Check out more images here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmnD5ga6
#PhoenixSpark, Travis's grassroots innovation program is kindling connections and spreading ideas on their new LinkedIn page! Airmen, community members, and business leaders alike, join the conversation as we deliver tomorrow's tools to the Warfighter today! #PoweredBySpark https://www.linkedin.com/company/travis-afb-phoenix-spark/
RT @usairforce: Today we celebrate 71 years as the world's greatest #AIRPOWER! #Birthday #AFBDay https://t.co/VOY8ixMUlO
#TeamTravis now has their new commander, Col. Jeff Nelson. https://t.co/bmac1rbjxd
Check out our live stream currently on Facebook. #WorkingTowardYes #NoBounds
#TeamTravis Airmen are preparing for Col. Jeff Nelson to assume command. https://t.co/rqj9ARJAML
Rules of engagement: Train the way you fight > Travis Air Force Base > Display https://t.co/cjRNwM2dLT
“You matter”: A look inside Travis’ mental health clinic > Travis Air Force Base > Display https://t.co/1XJSR0l0V9
RT @KCRAMax: Medical response teams from @Travis60AMW are on standby for #HurricaneFlorence. Members of the Critical Care Air Transport Tea…
US Air Force participates in Angel de los Andes https://t.co/pWYPxPb19Z
Like an ICU in the sky, CCATTs assist in transporting critical patients to higher levels of care. Contact us… https://t.co/7iwphVdPV7
At request of civil authorities, four Critical Care Air Transport Teams are preparing to respond. Five Airmen with… https://t.co/aepOTzLPAr
#TeamTravis medical personnel are on stand-by and contingency response Airmen are providing support relief efforts for #HurricaneFlorence.
RT @usairforce: #USAF Reserve #Airmen from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron assisted the @USCG w/ a search & rescue mission, locati…
Update as of 4:00 pm, Sept. 11: both fires are completely contained and extinguished with neither posing an immedia… https://t.co/HWLx28DJkz
We are currently aware of 2 fires in Suisun City, southwest of TAFB. First responders are on scene. Please follow… https://t.co/PdRjA2lG3R
Today #TeamTravis honors the lives that were lost on 9/11 during a #PatriotsDay ceremony. TAPS will play four times… https://t.co/XY50aYnooR
RT @AirmanMagazine: A1C Jason Klaus, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, renders a salute to a C-17 Globemaster III with CMSgt. Steve Nich…
First Sergeant Council: Team effort to care for Airmen, families > Travis Air Force Base > Display https://t.co/LFIp6XQ2SI
Mental health is just as important as physical health. This goes a long way in de-stigmatizing the act of seeking h… https://t.co/iHWgDlFdM0
RT @usairforce: We are just 23 days away from the OCP! @AFCareers is going to help you avoid getting called out for uniform violations! Che…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Enormous thanks to Gen Everhart for his leadership of our mobility enterprise. No doubt, @AirMobilityCmd will continue…