About Santa Fe » General » History » Bataan Death March in Santa Fe

Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library
1050 Old Pecos Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 474-1670

‘New Mexico “celebrates” its three dominant cultures, and in fact, there was a time when race, religion and economic status played no part in the lives of men so desperate they sought only the comfort of one of their own. I am speaking of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Anti-aircraft units of the New Mexico National Guard who were sent to the Philippines three months prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were young men, some just boys who had lied about their age. They were Anglos, Hispanos, Mexicans, Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache. The 200th and 515th would become what is believed to be the most decorated units of World War II.’  – Bernadett Charley Gallegos.

Following the surrender of Bataan on 9 April 1942, prisoners were force marched 65 miles – for up to twelve hours a day for five to seven days – without food, water and rest to Camp O’Donnell. Those that fell behind were brutally slain. Men were made to dig their own graves and then were buried alive. They were used as target practice for uninitiated Japanese guards, or executed for having souvenirs of Japanese origin. Men were pushed in front of passing trucks, their bodies becoming only shadows on the road. One survivor recalled counting two decapitated heads for every mile of the march.