VFW Proudly Sponsors Bataan Memorial Death March

The VFW’s presenting sponsorship helps ensure the sacrifice and story is never forgotten

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Marking its 13th consecutive year of support, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to announce it is the presenting sponsor of the 34th annual Bataan Memorial Death March at the United States Army’s White Sands Missile Range.

On April 9, 1942, approximately 75,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers surrendered after mounting a courageous months-long defense of the Bataan Peninsula. Tens of thousands of these soldiers became prisoners of war to the Japanese and were forced to endure a torturous march of more than 60 miles to prison camps throughout the Philippines. Thousands died, and those who survived faced the hardships of prisoner of war camps and the brutality of their Japanese captors. April 9, 2023, marks the 81st anniversary of the Bataan Death March. 

U.S. Army National Guard and Filipino soldiers shown at the outset of the Bataan Death March
U.S. Army National Guard and Filipino soldiers shown at the outset of the Bataan Death March. Allied forces were forced to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, the largest surrender in U.S. history. Their defense and sacrifice under dire circumstances allowed the United States badly needed time to mobilize in the Pacific Theater of War, and avoided a greater catastrophe beyond the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Photo courtesy of the National Guard Bureau.
Known for being one of the most challenging, grueling full-marathon expeditions, the annual memorial march through 26.2 miles of high desert terrain is conducted in honor of the heroic American and Filipino service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II.

Since its inception in 1989, the Bataan Memorial Death March’s participation has grown from 100 marchers to more than 9,600. The March 19 event is expected to attract thousands of military members and civilians from around the world to participate individually or as teams. 

Each year, VFW and VFW Auxiliary members line the march route to demonstrate their support. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the VFW booth to meet members and learn more about the essential assistance and support programs the VFW offers. 

Registration for the live in-person event closed on Monday, March 6, while the virtual event registration will close March 26 at 12:00 p.m. MST. To find out more about the Bataan Memorial Death March, visit bataanmarch.com.