Sol­diers of mis­for­tune

Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA - — Michael Abatemarco

Among the his­toric pho­to­graphs do­nated to the Palace of the Gover­nor’s Photo Ar­chives by New Mex­ico Mag­a­zine is a col­lec­tion of images from 1940 de­pict­ing mem­bers of the New Mex­ico Na­tional Guard en­gaged in train­ing ex­er­cises, cer­e­mo­nial march­ing, and other ac­tiv­i­ties. The images, shot by un­known pho­tog­ra­phers, are un­re­mark­able in them­selves but in the con­text of what hap­pened to the men they de­pict, they take on poignancy. Th­ese are the faces of the men who be­came the mem­bers of the 200th Coast Ar­tillery Unit, the unit that was cap­tured by the Ja­panese in the Philip­pines in 1942. Many of them lost their lives dur­ing the Bataan Death March, a forced trans­fer of Amer­i­can and Filipino pris­on­ers of war. “There’s a be­fore Bataan and an af­ter Bataan in the con­scious­ness of New Mex­ico,” said Rob Dean, for­mer edi­tor of The Santa Fe New Mex­i­can. “What’s re­mark­able is the con­trast be­tween th­ese pho­to­graphs and what we know was the heroic and tragic story of Bataan. They doc­u­ment this unit’s last sum­mer camp to­gether on home soil be­fore the war. They de­pict th­ese guys full of hope, maybe bravado.” Dean gives a talk, “Be­fore Bataan: New Mex­ico’s 200th Coast Ar­tillery,” at 6 p.m. on Fri­day, June 5, at the New Mex­ico His­tory Mu­seum (113 Lin­coln Ave.). The lec­ture is held in con­junc­tion with a small ex­hibit of the pho­to­graphs on the mu­seum’s sec­ond floor. Ad­mis­sion to the mu­seum is free on Fri­days from 5 p.m. For in­for­ma­tion call 505-476-5200.

The 200th Coast Ar­tillery near

Las Ve­gas, New Mex­ico, Au­gust 1940; Col­lec­tion/Palace of the Gov­er­nors Photo Ar­chives (NMHM/DCA)

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