Telling the proud history of New Mexico National Guard from 1598 to the Present
The New Mexico National Guard traces its origin back to 1598 as Spanish militia. In the same tradition of the colonial Minuteman, these citizen-soldiers plied their civilian trades until called to duty, reporting with their own arms, mounts, and other equipment. Life for them and their descendents continued in this fashion when the area became a territory of Mexico in 1821 and a U.S. territory in 1846.
New Mexico's citizen-soldiers participated in the Indian campaigns as the Old West was settled and in the Civil War, notable the 1862 battles of Valverde and Glorieta Pass. New Mexicans again answered the call in the Spanish-American War, joining Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders.
Receiving statehood in 1912, New Mexico's sons spent an arduous year on the border during the punitive expedition into Mexico from 1916 to 1917. Out of federal service for just three weeks, they were again mustered for duty in France during World War I.
World War II and Beyond
The museum is dedicated to the bravery and sacrifice of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery regiments who fought at Bataan and Corregidor until ordered to surrender to the overwhelming force of the Japanese army. They then endured the infamous Bataan Death March and subsequent hardships aboard the "hell ships" which transported them to Japanese prisoner-of-war camps and forced labor.
However, New Mexico's involvement in World War II went beyond the Philippines. The state's 120th Engineers and 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion both fought with distinction in the European theater.
Although New Mexico National Guard units were not deployed to the Korean War, individual volunteers left home to fight. The 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the New Mexico Air National Guard spent a year in Vietnam during the war there, as did individual replacements from both Army and Air units. Both the New Mexico Army and Air National Guards sent units to operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, 1990-1991. Since 9/11, our Army and Air units have completed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan - some more than once.
Federal and State Missions
In addition to fighting our nation's wars, members of the New Mexico National Guard have deployed to literally all over the globe performing federal missions. These missions have taken them to Cuba, Egypt, Kosovo and Kuwait - just to name a few.
Our National Guard also has a long tradition of service to the State of New Mexico. Whenever the Governor calls, the Guard stands ready to respond to state missions ranging from natural disasters to civil unrest, including the 1980 prison riot.
In quieter times, Guard members stay involved with their local communities while continuing to train for full-spectrum operations. More than just a slogan, the New Mexico National Guard is "Always Ready, Always There."
New Mexico National Guard Museum
Our mission is to preserve the past, present and future of the New Mexico National Guard and to educate visitors about our proud history both in peace and war time.
The New Mexico National Guard has participated in the defense of the citizens of this region since 1598 and defended New Mexico and America’s freedom in every major conflict.
The museum began as a tribute to the Veterans of the infamous Bataan Death March. This tribute remains and has grown into a world class display that chronicles the struggle and desperate years of the experiences of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery regiments. You can follow the story of the 1800 brave New Mexico Soldiers through their odyssey from New Mexico, Fort Bliss, Bataan, Japan and finally of the 900 soldiers who survived confinement and returned home.
Through our exhibits we strive to keep the legacy of the New Mexico National Guard alive. We house memorabilia from all the conflicts New Mexico Guardsmen and women have participated in from the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II through the most recent decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bataan Memorial Museum Foundation, Inc.
The New Mexico National Guard Bataan Memorial Museum Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Donations to The New Mexico National Guard Bataan Memorial Museum Foundation, Inc. are tax deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Visit the New Mexico National Guard website