Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Almost GO Time...and 3 weeks till Bataan

Colonel Mucci and Captain Robert Prince

Colonel Mucci and his Army Rangers had made their way through the perilous Philippine country side. They were now mustered only two miles from Cabanatuan City. Captain Robert Prince served as Mucci’s Ranger Assault Commander and his fastidious nature had attempted to plan the mission to rescue only God knows how many U.S. P.O.W.’s in God only knows what kind of condition.

Getting to this point had been dangerous enough. Could you trust the native Filipinos? Were the Japanese leading them into a trap?...and if not…and the assault was completely successful…how in the hell were they going to transport American Soldiers who for the past three years have wallowed in misery and whose conditions were just this side of the fine line of the walking dead….and actually being dead. Prince was uneasy. He had actually ZERO intelligence of the Cabanatuan P.O.W. compound….ZERO….and any military commander knows that the key to a successful mission is knowing what kind of crap is about to come down the pipe. The Filipino guerrillas once again answered the heroic call. Appearing as natives, able to get close to the compound, to note the guard change over, the compound lay out…the details. Additionally there were the U.S. Army Alamo Scouts, that were able to hold up at advantageous viewing point for a 24 hour period. The information obtained was incredibly detailed and left Captain Prince in awe of the amount of detail. The plan was refined…and it was go time. Captain Prince reviewed the mission details with the Hard Charging Army Rangers….ripping and rearing to arrange the meeting with a Japanese Soldier and the Grim Reaper. There would be no dress rehearsal. This caused a certain amount of consternation among Colonel Mucci and his assault commanders, but hell, they were in uncharted waters as it was in covert ops….completely in their infancy. On that late January afternoon, they were on the eve of being the salvation to U.S. POW’s that had been held in captivity for 3 years. God Help Them!

For three years, the Americans had endured more than what could be imagined. After the diseases had somewhat subsided, malnutrition began to be take it’s toll on the Americans. The doctors in the infirmary began to observe what organs would fail first and to what vitamin deficiency was the culprit. Starvation coupled with the lack of will begin to put the American POW’s in the grave. Catching vermin, mainly stray dogs and rats became not fun thing to do, but paramount for survival. The skinning and prepping a dog or a rat for culinary purposes was as standard knowledge as field dressing an M1. Because of the savage condition of starvation, nothing was sacred, at least on the animal front….all except one dog. There was a small contingent of U.S. Marines with the Army Soldiers in the compound. Through a circuitous route prior to Bataan, the Marines had adopted an old bulldog that served as their mascot. The Japanese simply over looked the dog in the compound and the Marine element pampered that dog, even in the miserable conditions of Cabanatuan. The Army POW’s often eyeballed that dog as a main course for the evenings dinner…but lacked the intestinal fortitude to deliver to the butcher for fear of ramifications from Uncle Sam's Misguided Children (USMC). How I love my MARINE BROTHERS!

The training for the Bataan Memorial Marathon continues. This week, I realized how the Cross Timbers ½ Marathon Trail Race, torched my body harder than I thought. The legs and body were a bit beaten. I didn’t miss a work out this week, but I could tell the body waned a bit. The results from Cross Timbers showed that I finish 15th from the last. Running with Helga the 40 lbs pack, my goal was to just do better than DAL. On Friday, I began to review my Saturday schedule and realized that I either start at 10PM on Friday and run to about 4AM on Saturday morning or get up at about at 2 AM on Saturday and run to whenever. I chose to leave Friday night…and about 10:45 PM, I left the house with my 40 lbs pack into the dark lonely night…it was cold and had been raining….it was to be a long night. At the 10 mile marker I swing back by the house to rehydrate, eat and adjust the clothing as it had dropped to near freezing temperatures. The house was warm. My dear family was resting in deep slumber. The effort to cross the threshold back into the night was Herculean. There are people who hold me accountable, who encourage me. The thought of letting them down is more than I can stomach. They know who they are. The last 9.4 miles were tough…not going to sugar coat it. At about 4:30 AM on Saturday morning, I returned to the safe confines of our home…hungry, cold, tired, filthy….and forgiven. I remedied the first 4, my Father had already taken care of the last. Sunday was a day of rest.

This past week, David Hanenberg asked if he could feature me on his blog/website called ENDURANCE BUZZ for my “running with a purpose” and raising money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. I was humbled and honored. Here is the interview/article. Thank for those that support me in these efforts.

NEXT TIME: "A Cabaret Owner Turned Covert Operative"


Big Daddy Diesel said...

Way to tough thru the miles when your body feels all beaten up.

Jeff said...

Finished 15th from last... imagine how it felt to be one of the fourteen people watching a guy carrying a 40 lb. pack blow by you!

Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan said...

Dave, Team Relentless here in Austin is cheering for you and your commitment to training. Good on you, brother!

We did our 14-mile hike on Saturday to test our food and equipment. I think we were all surprised by how much we enjoyed it. We were hiking on some very hilly, rocky terrain -- and we had to peel off our shoes and cross a river on the way out and the way back -- so our pace wasn't very fast. All told, we were on the trail for 7 1/2 hours, which is great training for the March.

Can't wait to meet you in White Sands!

KK said...

I love that you're adding the real history lessons in with your adventures in training. It will hopefully remind folks of what some of our warriors went through for our country.

Now you're on the downhill and have to let the body rest and repair so you're primed and ready to go come game day. This is an amazing endeavor, Dave. Proud of ya!

Missy said...

I'm with Jeff - I would hate to be behind you. I don't know how you made it back out the door, seriously. With everyone all snug and cozy, the draw may have been too much for me!

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

I am proud of you and proud to be able to follow you through such and amazing journey!

This is what I miss most about endurance Ultra running... the moments where it is just you and the decision to go on... not give up... finish what you start. in these moments you really grow as a person.

Donald said...

This is great stuff, Dave. I love the history lessons along with the training updates.

Great interview, too!