Whale Wars Hero Heads for Death March

Matt Smith and Mikey May

Matt Smith & Mikey May

Thousands of servicemen died in April of 1942 — during World War II — while being forced to walk for days in the Philippines. In honor of these fallen heroes, thousands will be marching a similar route through a desert in New Mexico and Sea Shepherd’s Matthew Smith will be there.

The 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March will be held on March 25. Registration is now closed to the public for this 26-mile marathon, but you can still show your support. As posted on the official site at bataanmarch.com:

The Public is invited to attend the “Heroes of Bataan” Memorial Monument 10th Anniversary Dedication Ceremony on Saturday, 24 March 2012, 9AM-10AM, Veteran’s Memorial Park, 2651 Roadrunner Parkway, Las Cruces, NM.

Matt is very excited about this event. He says that he will do his best to win the race but he’s just glad he can go to represent Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

There are two routes. The Blue route (14.2 miles) is for those who don’t want to go the full stretch but still wish to show their respects. The Green route (26.2 miles) is for the warriors like Matt Smith and he doesn’t plan to walk it! There’s more! Not only is he going to run a marathon in the White Sand desert of New Mexico; he’s doing it through a missile range. This is no joke! Participants of the Death March are urged to familiarize themselves with the White Sand unexploded ordnance safety video!

I asked Matt if he wanted me to urge people to show up and lend their support. He said, “No. Not at all.” He just wants everyone to know that Sea Shepherd will be represented in this courageous memorial. My hat is off to Matthew Smith! He’s been to the Antarctica to save whales, Taiji to save dolphins and now he’s running through a frickin’ mine field to raise awareness for Sea Shepherd and what they do. Wow!

I really wish I could be there to give him a nice cold glass of water when he is done. May I suggest that if you are in the neighborhood on March 25, show up wearing your SSCS gear.

Geert Vons and Matt Smith

Also See:

More about Matt Smith from Animal Planet

Deckhand and Crane Operator

Bob Barker

Born in Ohio, raised in Illinois, and living in Wisconsin, Matt Smith, 34, wasn’t always a conservationist. Trying to expand his horizons and leave his small town of Charleston, Illinois, Matt joined the U.S. Army right after high school. After serving multiple tours overseas, he decided to come home and start a family. Back in the US, Matt joined the International Union of Operating Engineers and traveled to Japan to try and stop the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji. While there, he was introduced to Sea Shepherd and asked by Paul Watson to join them on a campaign to the Southern Ocean. Matt is married and has a six-year-old child. He lives a green life and continues to be an activist wherever there is an animal in need of a human voice.