Bataan & the NM Guard

April 9 marked the 73d anniversary of the day Gen. King lowered the flag on Bataan (Dougout, safely in Austrailia, FDR in DC and Wainright on Corregidor would have preferred the battling bastards fight to the last cartridge) and a good day to stop for a moment and remember the 1,800 men of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery, the NM Nat’l Guard.

Their story, like Nana’s. is an epic of courage, defiance and endurance, survival against all odds. (Well told by Eric Morris in Corregidor: The End of the Line and in Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers .) I’ve seen different pieces on the guard units specifically, and the effect on the home front in New Mexico, but I don’t know there’s a comprehensive history available. If you know of a good source, let me know.

The difference is the guardsmen’s sacrifice was ultimately rewarded. About half of them died on the March or in Japanese camps, but the rest lived to see victory. Nana died in Oklahoma.

Albuquerque ceremony is today at Bataan Park, 1 p.m.


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