General King of the U.S. Army had surrendered at Bataan and the EL Supremo Commander, General Macarthur had safely arrived in Australia.
The men of Bataan knew little to what to expect…most clung to the slender hope that the Japanese would adhere to the Geneva Convention rules and regulations regarding a captured prisoner of war. Never had America fought against an enemy they knew so little about….and a lesson was about to begin that would have been better forgotten.
Japanese General Homma did not feel victorious despite the Bataan Surrender. The main goal for the Imperial Army was to have the Japanese Navy control and utilize the docks and wharfs of Philippines’ Manila Bay. Geography did not permit this without controlling Corregidor…and at the moment U.S. General Wainright refused to surrender Corregidor. General Homma would need an immanent artillery barrage but before that could be begin, the U.S. Soldiers of Bataan would need to be swept off stage right.
The prisoners were to be marched to Camp O Donnell, a Philippine Army Training facility laying 75 miles north. Those able would march it…but reasonable distances of 10 miles a day. There would be adequate food, shelter and water. There would also be adequate transportation for the sick and wounded.
There were two major flaws to this plan. The first was that the Japanese intelligence thought that there were 25,000 troops…there were closer to 100,000 in number. Second, there was grave underestimation of the health and well being of the American soldiers. There was no sense of the scale of starvation and disease that racked the troops.
The MARCH would still commence, but under much different circumstances…and those slender hopes of Geneva Convention protocol would be hopelessly dashed.
Three years later, an Army Ranger Unit would be traipsing through that territory on a high risk rescue mission…but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Bataan Marathon training continues. The month of January is the busiest months for TEAM ELLIOTT…4 out of 5 of us celebrate our birthdays….which tells me we really like to celebrate Easter. ;-) My wife’s birthday was this past Saturday and we’ll celebrate Macy’s next weekend. Fortunately it was the 4th training week, aka, recovery week. I embrace the recovery week. Ten miles total on Saturday, the first 5 with my beloved 40 lb pack…that sits idle in the corner during the week but early on Saturday morning beckons like a whore in heat. Another easy 5 “pack” miles early on Sunday morning. The body continues to hold up well….due to, in my opinion, all the core work. The week workouts consist of speed work on the track, boot camps, strength training and more cardio. I have learned that this race is not run with the legs….but with the back. Because of the aforementioned January Craziness, I plan on picking up fund raising efforts next week for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. This fund helps the U.S. Servicemen and their families, providing everything from special wheel chairs, home modifications, and travel expenses of families to where the serviceman may be rehabilitating. Many of you have donated. I can not put into words what that means to me and am humbled. I realize some would love to donate but cannot at this time…they have wished me all the best….I am humbled by that too. I am blessed…and try to have a spirit of gratitude…even in the later miles where that pack becomes heavier with each passing shuffled step.