NEW MEXICO NATIONAL GUARD HONORS THEIR WORLD WAR II BATAAN VETERANS AT THE 75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SURRENDER OF BATAAN
The New Mexico National Guard will host a ceremony honoring their Bataan Veterans at the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Bataan in the Pacific theater during World War II on Sunday, April 9, 2017, 10:00 a.m. at the Bataan Building, 407 Galisteo Street, Santa Fe.
A reception will immediately follow at the New Mexico National Guard Museum, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe.
While greatly being outnumbered and poorly supplied, over 1,800 New Mexico National Guardsmen of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments, who became known as “The Battling Bastards of Bataan,” fought valiantly for four months and held back the Japanese Army – who 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.
On April 9, 1942, these Bataan Heroes were forced by their U.S. Command to surrender to the Japanese Army, over the objections of the Soldiers themselves who preferred to fight to the end rather than surrender. They went on to endure the suffering of a 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.
Today, only 11 of our Bataan heroes are still living.