ROTC march raises $400 for veterans

Cadets with the Thompson High School Junior ROTC prepare to take part in the Bataan Death March memorial fundraiser in March. (Contributed)

Cadets with the Thompson High School Junior ROTC prepare to take part in the Bataan Death March memorial fundraiser in March. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Thompson High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC raised nearly $400 to help local veterans while honoring the memory of one of the biggest tragedies of World War II in mid-March.

The Junior ROTC hosted its first Memorial Bataan Death March, from March 18–19 at Buck Creek Park. The event, which was organized by Junior ROTC cadets over a several-month period, was meant to honor and remember the victims of the deadly march and to raise funds for Objective Homefront veterans’ organization.

Objective Homefront is an Alabaster-based organization providing assistance and support to local veterans and their families.

Key members of the event’s organizing committee were Cadet Lt. Col. Gavin Baker, Cadet Maj. Sean Wiles and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Hutcheson.

The event was supposed to take place at Oak Mountain State Park, but severe weather caused the first day of the event to move to the Buck Creek Trail. The 24 cadets then went to OMSP the next day after spending the night at the school. In total, the hike was 14 miles long.

During the march, the cadets were divided into 12-person teams called flights, and each flight was under the command of a cadet commander. Cadet Lt. Col. Gavin Baker commanded one flight and Cadet Major Sean Wiles commanded the other.

During the evening of March 18, Cadet Gavin Baker performed a small ceremony to honor the victims of The Bataan Death March.

The Junior ROTC thanks Alabama Army National Guard and Lowes in Alabaster for supporting the cadets on the march, and thanks Paul’s Diamond Center, Bradford Building Company and Merle Norman for supporting Objective Homefront