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Oklahoma Army National Guard members Col. Brian Coleman and Maj. Jeffrey Kragh competed in the recent Bataan Memorial Death March, March 19, 2023.
Coleman competed in the military light division, which is 26.2 miles in a full military uniform and finished 7th overall with a time of 5:59:51.
Kragh competed in the civilian light division and finished 26th overall with a time of 4:17:28.
The pair joined more than a dozen National Guard Soldiers from 11 states who competed in the competition as part of the National Guard’s All Guard Marathon and Endurance Teams.
The memorial march is a 26.2 mile event in the high desert of New Mexico that honors the service members that were forced to march over 60 miles in the Bataan Death March during World War II.
On April 9, 1942, U.S. and Filipino service members surrendered after seven months of battle combined with exposure to the extreme elements, disease and lack of supplies. Tens of thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were forced to become prisoners of war to the Japanese. The service members faced horrifying conditions and treatment as POWs. They were deprived of food, water, and medical attention and were forced to march to confinement camps throughout the Philippines.
To compete in the memorial march, service members had to have qualified for the All Guard Marathon and Endurance Teams at the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 2021 and the DEKA Fit competition in Austin, Texas, January 2022, respectively.
“I am extremely proud and pleased with the service members on this team,” said Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Stephens, military competitive events coordinator. “This event is historically significant and I am honored that the team was able to run it while a survivor of the original death march was still alive.”