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    Wagonmasters complete Bataan Memorial Death March



    Story by Cpl. Michael Smith 

    1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade

    Five Wagonmaster soldiers decided to test their mental and physical strength and resiliency by entering and completing the 29th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 25.
    Capt. Robert Duncanson, 1st Lt. Michael Lukens, Staff Sgt. Deanna Cubert, Staff Sgt. Adam Small and Sgt. Trevor Johnson, all assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, trained six days a week for two months to prepare for the march.
    “Increasing our endurance, training up our feet and building up our team cohesion, we really set our team up for success with our training,” said Cubert, current operations noncommissioned officer (NCO). “Pushing past our comfort zone and not getting comfortable or complacent with our training was a key to our success.”
    The march is conducted to honor service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II and consists of a 26.2-mile ruck march through high desert terrain with at least a 35-pound pack.
    “I’m trying to go to Ranger School, and I thought this would be good training, but it was hard,” said Johnson, a combat medic NCO. “It was the most painful, greatest accomplishment of my brief Army career.”
    Although Johnson, 24, was the youngest member of the team, he jokingly compared this experience with another hardship his body had gone through in his life.
    Johnson survived heart surgery in 2016, during which he flat lined for an unknown period of time on the operating table.
    “That march was the toughest thing I have ever done except dying,” said Johnson.
    A special appreciation for the memorial march materialized when soldiers crossing the finish line were greeted by World War II veterans and survivors of the actual Bataan Death March, some of whom wore their original uniforms.
    “You really put things into perspective when you see the actual survivors out there,” said Cubert.
    Approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops were forced to make the 65-mile march to prison camps after the U.S. surrendered the Bataan Penninsula on the Philippine island of Luzon on April 9, 1942.
    “It was very humbling to see the survivors out there,” said Duncanson. “It really makes you reflect on yourself.”
    Everyone soldier agreed the highlight of the march was finishing together as a team.
    “It was emotional just finishing across the line together as a team and thinking about what we just accomplished,” said Cubert.
    Duncanson added that the cohesion of the team alleviated much of the mental difficulty of taking on such a task.
    “Mentally it is unpleasant, but as long as you have the team around you, that team pride, there was no doubt we were all making it,” said Duncanson. “You learn a lot about your teammates and yourself, and it was awesome to see people step up their game that way and elevate the group.”
    Although the consensus within the team was the most difficult aspect of the march was the sandy terrain, Duncanson reflected on his favorite stretch of the route.
    “The last mile was the best, coming in as a team, when you know you’re going to make it, and you can just enjoy the view.”



    Date Taken: 03.25.2018
    Date Posted: 04.05.2018 16:40
    Story ID: 271960
    Hometown: FORT HOOD, TX, US
    Hometown: KILLEEN, TX, US

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    Wagonmasters complete Bataan Memorial Death March