Wichita West High cadets prepare for marathon hike
A team of four JROTC cadets from Wichita West High School is traveling to White Sands, New Mexico to participate in a grueling hike in honor of soldiers who were forced to participate in the Bataan Death March during World War II.
Cadet Quentin Diveley says they will hike 26.2 miles through the high desert terrain.
"The reason they chose that area is because a lot of the people who were actually defending the island were from the artillery corps they have there," Diveley said.
West is the only JROTC team from Wichita to participate in the memorial on March 17. Hundreds of youngsters from around the country will join in the march.
"It's going to be a pretty rough course, basically, but I think our team can handle it, and we'll march all together and finish as one team," said cadet Jorge Tapia.
Francisco Ruea said he is looking forward to meeting some of the Bataan survivors who will be there.
"I want to hear some of their stories," Ruea said. "Just knowing what they've been through is kind of mind-boggling."
The World War II Bataan Death March took place in the Philippines in April of 1942. Thousands of Filipino and American prisoners of war died from disease and murder along the 63-mile forced march. Historians disagree on the actual number of prisoners who died.