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Jun 5, 2015
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Before Bataan: New Mexico’s 200th Coast Artillery
A Free First Friday Evening talk

New Mexico History Museum

In August 1940, talk of war swirled around Camp Luna near Las Vegas, N.M. The 1,800 men of New Mexico’s 200th Coast Artillery Regiment gathered there to train one last time on home soil before heading to the Philippines. A photographer was there, capturing images of youth and dedication, young men unaware of the ordeals they soon would face.

At 6 pm on Friday, June 5, Rob Dean, former managing editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican, talks about the hardships endured by New Mexicans caught in the Bataan Death March. This is a Free First Friday Evening event; admission to the museum is free to everyone from 5 to 8 pm.

The Photo Archives’ exhibit of images from the men’s training near Las Vegas, NM, will be on exhibit outside the Cowden Café space on the museum’s second floor.

The 200th Coast Artillery held 1,816 New Mexicans, many of them fluent in Spanish. That skill inspired military leaders to deploy them to the Philippines in September 1941. Along with Filipino troops, they were defending the Bataan peninsula when it fell to the Japanese military in April 1942. During the Bataan Death March and their subsequent imprisonment, 829 men from the regiment died or were missing. Though they were freed in 1945, a third of the survivors died within a year from injuries or disease.

The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives holds a series of images of the men taken before they were pressed into service. Last year, the photos were displayed at the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe and have since been on exhibit at other venues. This is their first appearance at the History Museum.

“For some time I have wanted to exhibit or show the behind-the-scenes photographs of the 200th Coast Artillery in Las Vegas before going into action,” said Photo Curator Daniel Kosharek. “We all know the story of Bataan. These photographs show the young men of New Mexico before they are sent into that horrendous situation. Many of them did not come back.”


Related Photos

200th Coast Artillery

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