Vintage: Everyday Life in New Mexico during the WWII by John Collier Jr.

Vintage: Everyday Life in New Mexico during the WWII by John Collier Jr.


World War II lasted nearly four years for the United States. During that time, 49,579 New Mexican men volunteered or were drafted into military service. New Mexico had both the highest volunteer rate and the highest casualty rate out of all of the forty-eight states which were then in the Union.

Soldiers from New Mexico were some of the first Americans to see combat during the war. Hundreds of soldiers from the 200th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard, were in the Philippines manning the anti-aircraft guns at Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg when it was bombed by the Japanese aircraft just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The New Mexicans found their job frustrating because their shells could not hit high-flying Japanese bombers, although they did manage to shoot down a few fighters, which were flying at a low altitude. After the Japanese launched their main offensive to conquer the Philippines, the 200th Coast Artillery and New Mexico’s 515th Coast Artillery covered the withdrawal of Filipino and American forces during the Battle of Bataan, which ended on April 9, 1942. The New Mexicans then took part in the Bataan Death March, in which thousands of Allied prisoners of war were killed during a forced march from the battlefield to camps at Balanga, where they remained until the end of the war. Of the 1,800 New Mexican troops serving in the Philippines, only 800 returned home.

A boy reading in one-room school in an isolated mountainous Hispanic community, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943

A boy reading in one-room school in an isolated mountainous Hispanic community, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A nurse and an interpreter trying to reach a patient's house beyond passable roads, Llano Quemado, New Mexico 1943

A nurse and an interpreter trying to reach a patient’s house beyond passable roads, Llano Quemado, New Mexico 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

An old Hispanic couple, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943

An old Hispanic couple, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Children in Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

Children in Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A dance, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943

A dance, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Congregation leaving after mass, San José de Gracia, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

Congregation leaving after mass, San José de Gracia, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Congregation leaving after mass, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

Congregation leaving after mass, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Emergency transport, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943

Emergency transport, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A family around the kiva fireplace, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

A family around the kiva fireplace, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Going to the mountains for wood, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

Going to the mountains for wood, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

In Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943

In Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A family in front of kiva fireplace, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943

A family in front of kiva fireplace, Trampas, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

In the one-room school, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943

In the one-room school, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Listening to folk songs, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1943

Listening to folk songs, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

Students in front of one-room school, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943

Students in front of one-room school, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A gunsmith as well as a cattleman chatting in front of his shop, Moreno Valley, Colfax County, New Mexico, 1943

A gunsmith as well as a cattleman chatting in front of his shop, Moreno Valley, Colfax County, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

A Hispanic family in their wagon, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943

A Hispanic family in their wagon, Peñasco, New Mexico, 1943. Photo: John Collier Jr.

via John Collier Jr.


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