WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., March 21, 2017 — The 75th anniversary of World War II’s infamous Bataan Death March was observed by 7,200 people who gathered here in the early-morning hours to participate in an 8.5-mile walk, March 19, 2017.

Once again, Ben Skardon, a retired Army colonel, was the oldest participant and the only living survivor of the Bataan Death March to walk in the event.

Ben Skardon, 99, a retired Army colonel and a survivor of the Bataan Death March, crosses the eight-and-a-half mile finish line at the Bataan Memorial Death March observance at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 19, 2017. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar

Skardon, 99, walked through the unforgiving New Mexico desert as temperatures reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refusing to quit until he’d finished the same distance he’d covered in his previous nine marches.

Skardon is a beloved alumnus and professor emeritus of Clemson University in South Carolina, so Clemson orange was the color of choice for the 64 members of “Ben’s Brigade” — his die-hard support group made up of friends, family, former students and relatives of his fellow prisoners of war.