Through our exhibits we strive to keep the legacy of the New Mexico National Guard alive. We house memorabilia from all the conflicts New Mexico Guardsmen and women have participated in from the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II through the most recent decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Why Bataan? The battle of Bataan and the ensuing events are among are a critical part of and have heavily influenced how the soldiers and airmen of today’s New Mexico National Guard function. It is more than just a story of heroism, patriotism, bravery and strength. It is a story that defines the most basic elements of what New Mexico Soldiers are, how they think and what makes them able to achieve such amazing accomplishments.
The Bataan Death March had a profound impact on New Mexico. 1,800 New Mexico Guardsmen from the 200th Coast Artillery and the battle born 515th deployed to the Philippines during World War II – and only half would return alive. Within a few years after the war almost half of the survivors had died.
Today, the New Mexico National Guard Museum is housed in the actual Armory where the soldiers of the 200th and 515th were processed before their deployment to the Philippines in 1941.
We are the battling bastards of Bataan,
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam;
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces;
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces;
And nobody gives a damn.
—Frank Hewlett, Associated Press International