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The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico (BCMFofNM), in cooperation with the City of Albuquerque, the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) and Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG), hosted the 2017 Bataan Memorial Ceremony on April 8, 2017 at the Bataan Memorial Park, Albuquerque. The keynote speaker was Col. Steve Garcia. The Gallup and Crown Point Dance Group performed Philippine dances. The event at the Bataan Park was attended by around 300 people.
The dinner banquet that same day which was held at the Sandia Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, was attended by 450 people. The keynote speaker was Lt. Gen. (Ret) Edward Baca. Guest speaker was Deputy Consul General Ambrosia Brain F. Enciso III. Entertainment was provided by Jam Morales, Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group and several bands. The events were chaired by Maj. Richard Luena, USAF (Ret.), vice president of BCMFofNM and assisted by Nelo Edillon and Kathy Bartnick of FAFNM. Dr. Dely Alcantara, president of both BCMFofNM and FAFNM assisted in getting grants for the event.
The events honored veterans from the New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) regiments (see below) and New Mexicans from other units. It also honored a Bataan survivor, Al David, now an Albuquerque resident, who was with the 33rd Infantry, 31st Regiment, Philippine Division, USAF (Far East).
The New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) regiments fought in the defense of Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor in the opening days of World War II, and with their courage and sacrifice, for over five months, gave Our Nation time to arm and prepare a defense which would lead to ultimate victory in the Pacific.
This year, 2017, marked the 75th anniversary of the April 9, 1942 surrender of Bataan and the May 6, 1942 surrender of Corregidor, after which American and Filipino troops would fall behind a shroud of silence, enduring brutality and privation as prisoners of war.
Only 988 of the original 1,816 men of the 200th & 515th Coast Artillery men
would survive 3-1/2 years as prisoners of the Japanese. Today, only 11 of these men are still living. Two of the Bataan survivors who attended the events were Mr. Bill Overmier and Al David, 96, who just published his book “End of the Trail”, a novel of the Philippines in World War II.
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