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New Mexico State University

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New Web site recounts stories of New Mexico Bataan veterans

The New Mexico State Department of Education and the Regional Educational Technology Assistance (RETA) Program at New Mexico State University recently created and released a Web site about New Mexico veterans who were involved in the Battle for Bataan.


e, located at http://reta.nmsu.edu/bataan, recounts the ordeal of New Mexico's 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Units in the first land battle of World War II.

In the late summer of 1941, the 200th Coast Artillery Unit of the New Mexico National Guard was chosen to defend the Philippines because of their excellent skills as an anti-aircraft unit. Hours after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that began World War II, the guardsmen in the Philippines faced a surprise attack by the war-hardened and well-equipped Japanese armed forces.

After a four-month siege by the Japanese, the Americans were starving, exhausted and plagued with tropical diseases. On April 9, 1942, General Edward King surrendered his 78,000 American and Filipino troops to the Japanese on the main Philippine island of Luzon. When the soldiers came out of the jungle they entered into a nightmare that began with the infamous Bataan Death March and ended after three years of brutality, starvation and forced labor.

The story of Bataan is told through multimedia on the interactive Web site, which uses material from the New Mexico State Archives, the National Archives, the Library of Congress and other museums around the state. It also includes oral histories, written accounts of veterans, photographs and audio and video recordings. Veterans around the state read through the information on the Web site before it was released to verify the material's accuracy.

One feature of the site allows users to create a slide show from more than 300 images related to World War II. In the "Curriculum Resources" section of the site, visitors can find a collection of articles on Bataan and classroom lessons for teachers of New Mexico history.

The Web site project was sponsored by New Mexico senators Manny Aragon and Mary Jane Garcia through Senate Joint Memorial 82. The RETA program was contracted by the N.M. Department of Education to create the Web site for teachers state-wide.

For more information, contact the RETA Program at (505) 646-8231, (877) 999-7382 or by e-mail at reta@nmsu.edu.