NM National Guard Hosts Ceremony Commemorating 73rd Anniversary Of Surrender Of Bataan

NMNG News:

SANTA FE – The New Mexico National Guard (NMNG) will host a ceremony honoring the 73rd anniversary of the surrender of Bataan in the Pacific theater of World War II.

The event is 10 a.m., Thursday, April 9 at the Bataan Building, 407 Galisteo St., in downtown Santa Fe. 

Following the ceremony, a special unveiling of Bataan Death March and other WWII artifacts will be dedicated and placed on permanent display inside the Bataan Memorial Building. The artifacts, on loan from the New Mexico National Guard Museum, are housed in special display cases at the intersection of the main hallways in the center of the building – just outside the main office of the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.

A reception will immediately follow the special unveiling – at the New Mexico National Guard Museum (formerly the Bataan Memorial Museum,) 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe.

While greatly being outnumbered and poorly supplied, more than 1,800 New Mexicans of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments of the New Mexico National Guard – who came to be known as the “Battling B*stards of Bataan” – fought valiantly for four months and held back the Japanese Army, which had orders to take the Philippines in four weeks – a timetable essential for the Japanese to take the Pacific before the United States could build back its forces, regenerate the fleet, secure the bases and reinforce Australia. 

April 9, 1942, they were forced by the U.S. to surrender to the Japanese Army and endured the suffering of the 65 mile forced march to prison camps which became known as the Bataan Death March.  About 900 New Mexicans survived the war and returned home. About 20 New Mexico Bataan survivors remain with us today.

For more information, contact Joseph Vigil at 505.553.1427 or joseph.l.vigil2.civ@mail.mil.

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