Photos of doomed US soldiers headed for Bataan in WWII on exhibit
SANTA FE, New Mexico – The 1940 photographs show them doing drills or lining up for chow at Camp Luna near Las Vegas, New Mexico, but they realize hundreds of them would die fighting in the Bataan Peninsula, walking in the Bataan Death March, or during brutal imprisonment by the Japanese.
The collection of 1940 photographs by an unknown photographer, which ran in an issue of New Mexico Magazine, will be exhibited at the Jean Cocteau Cinema gallery at 418 Montezuma Avenue and open to the public from 1 to 8 p.m. daily until October 12.
In August 1940, members of the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, which included more than 1,800 New Mexicans, were training for the last time on home soil, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/before-bataan-photo-exhibit-captures-soldiers-unaware-of-their-fate/article_cceaacb4-fb6c-5d54-af2b-28ccf2d8f3df.html. A year later, their units were deployed to the Philippines.
The 10 black-and-white images capture the soldiers’ blissful innocence. Daniel Kosharek, the photo curator for the Palace of the Governors where the collection is kept, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that he has long wanted to display the photos to honor and recognize the young men.
Many of the 1,816 New Mexicans in the regiment were fluent in Spanish, which led military officials to deploy them to the Philippines before the war to aid Filipino troops in defending the Bataan Peninsula.
By the end of the war, 829 New Mexicans from the regiment were dead or missing. More than 800 died during the death march or during their imprisonment. A third of the survivors perished within the year due to injuries or illness. Two survivors still live in Santa Fe– Richard Dalyand John Moseley.
But the photos in the exhibit show only the innocence of the doomed men and none of the horrors awaiting them young men.
As part of the exhibit, the Jean Cocteau will screen the 2005 film “The Great Raid” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The film was based on William Breuer’s “The Great Raid on Cabanatuan” and Hampton Sides’ “Ghost Soldiers,” both accounts of the rescue mission to save Bataan prisoners of war. Tickets are $7.
What: Photo exhibit titled Before Bataan: New Mexico’s 200th Coast Artillery
When: 1 to 8 p.m. through Oct. 12
Where: Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma Ave.
• For more information about the photo exhibit, visit nmhistorymuseum.org or jeancocteaucinema.com.
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