The New Mexico national guard honors its Bataan veterans at the 75th commemoration of the surrender of Bataan in the Pacific in April of 1942.
The ceremony was first started as a yearly remembrance to honor former POW’s.
The storied legacy of the Soldiers of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments courageous service in Bataan during World War II is one the New Mexico National Guard promises to keep on telling and never forget. In keeping with that promise, the New Mexico National Guard hosted the 75th year anniversary of the commemoration of the surrender of Bataan in the Pacific theater during World War II on April 9, 2017.
The ceremony was started by First Sgt. Manuel Armijo as a yearly remembrance to honor his fellow former POWs after he returned home at the end of the war in 1946. It is a celebration of courage and honor, an important part of our New Mexico legacy of service to our nation, and in keeping with Armijo’s idea for the purpose of the event – we attend to reflect on a time when many brave New Mexicans and Filipinos perished on the Bataan peninsula or into captivity of the Japanese Army.
Brig. Gen Andrew Salas, the Adjutant General, always reminds us that the Bataan story is one to keep on telling. “It is a story of never giving up in the face of adversity, a story of drawing together when times are tough, and it’s a story of faith, opportunity, and the will to survive and prevail,” Salas said. “These Bataan veterans fought to the bitter end and represent a story of sacrifice and a legacy of honor and service that inspires us to serve to this very day and it reminds us how precious freedom is.”
Bataan heroes attending the 75th ceremony included Valdemar DeHerrera, A Battery, 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft); Bill Overmier, B Btry, 200th Coast Artillery; Santiago Lucero, G Btry, 515th Coast Artillery; Rosenaldo Lovato, A Btry, 200th Coast Artillery (AA) Trinidad Martinez, A Btry, 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) and Atilano David, 33rd Infantry Regiment, Filipino Scout. They represent 12 remaining veterans who are still alive as well as the other 1800 New Mexicans that were a part of the New Mexico National Guard and responded to our nations call in 1940.
They endured tremendous suffering so that future generations would remain free.