Honoring Sacrifice and Service: Coterra Employees Participate in WSMR Bataan Death March

In a tribute to courage and sacrifice, three employees from Coterra recently undertook the formidable challenge of the Bataan Death March at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). With unwavering determination, they navigated the arduous terrain, carrying 40 pounds of nonperishable food in their backpacks. Their remarkable feat not only commemorated the historic event but also embodied Coterra’s commitment to service and community.

Marchers get ready at the starting line. The event commemorates the 65-mile march of American and Filipino soldiers during World War II after they surrendered to the Japanese Army. 

During World War II, on April 9, 1942, 75,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces after months of battling in the Philippines. These soldiers, including members of the 200th Coast Artillery from the New Mexico National Guard, endured extreme conditions, defending crucial lands such as Luzon and Corregidor with outdated equipment and limited supplies. Following their surrender, they faced horrific treatment as prisoners of war, enduring deprivation and a grueling 65-mile march known as the Bataan Death March, where thousands died. The POWs wouldn’t see freedom until 1945, when U.S.-Filipino forces recaptured the Philippines, yet many suffered health complications or perished after liberation. This event profoundly impacted New Mexico families, with hundreds of soldiers from the 200th and 515th Coast Artilleries never returning home.

The Bataan Memorial Death March, sponsored by the Army ROTC Department at New Mexico State University since 1989 and later joined by White Sands Missile Range and the New Mexico National Guard in 1992, commemorates a significant chapter in history that impacted many families in the state. The event, held at White Sands Missile Range, has grown from 100 to nearly 10,000 marchers, attracting participants from across the United States and abroad. While primarily military, civilians also take on the challenging march, opting for either a 14.2-mile or 26.2-mile course. 

Weston Sleeper, Matt Hoffman, and Shane Brannan trekked the 26-mile course, navigating the challenging terrain of White Sands Missile Range with 40 pounds of nonperishable food items on their backs. The team, like many other participants, donated the food to Casa de Peregrinos after they crossed the finish line. 

Coterra Energy employees Weston Sleeper, Matt Hoffman, and Shane Brannan walked the 26-mile course with 40 pounds of non-perishable food items in their backpacks. At the end of the march, the food was donated to Casa de Peregrinos. 

The WSMR Bataan Death March stands as a solemn commemoration of one of the most harrowing chapters in military history. For Coterra’s team, participating in the WSMR Bataan Death March was more than a physical challenge; it was an act of remembrance and solidarity. In commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of those who came before them, they inspire us all to strive for greater heights and to never forget the enduring legacy of those who gave their all for freedom and justice.