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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

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.

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.

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.

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Comment by Holise E. Cleveland III on April 17, 2012 at 8:49

Hi Grace! The Whale Wars television show is produced by Animal Planet, so I doubt that Sea Shepherd has any control over the final editing of the content. If you are a avid Whale Wars fan, you will see how the only food on board the vessels is vegan. I learned about the documentary The End of the LIne and Earthlings from Sea Shepherd members. They do promote veganism, but it is not at the forefront of their proclamations. Those who become involved in Marine Conservation via Sea Shepherd soon find out how veganism is a part of saving our oceans (as noted in The End of the LIne).

Comment by grace lorraine on April 9, 2012 at 22:09

I've camped White Sands on a night of the full moon--awesome! It is like the ocean, just no water. :) I wonder if Matt did any vegan advocacy or if he only generated interest in SSCS....

Some young people were talking about how much they love Sea Shep's TV show. (?) I asked what they've learned about going vegan on it. They looked at each other and me, quizically, replying "that's never mentioned."

Maybe the "kids" just wanted to meet, so my shirt gave them an "excuse" to strike up a conversation--but since I don't watch TV, the conversation didn't follow. And their answer may have been the result of not REALLY being "huge fans" of it, afterall.

Do YOU watch it? Is there any indication that the home viewer can "join the crew," (or war, or whatever), simply by going vegan? I appreciate your shedding light on this for me--it's been in the back of mind a few months already. THANKS!

Comment by Holise E. Cleveland III on March 18, 2012 at 9:07

Matt is simply one individual who wants to do something to raise awareness of the plight of our fellow Earthlings at sea. By spreading the word about Sea Shepherd, he is spreading the word about how our oceans (and the inhabitants thereof) are in peril --- as saving marine life is what Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does.

As I stated above, however, Matt is just one man. There will be more than 5,000 other participants, including: military service personnel, war veterans, families of those who lost their live in the march that is being commemorated, those who simply want to show their respect, etc. May I suggest, Roger, that you submit your question to them, asking why they "seem to need to get involved in this sort of macho man crap."


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