The “Spirit of Bataan”
was specifically designated for action in
On June 2, 1945, Sgt.
Estele Davidson, making a stop in
Albuquerque, reported to the people of New
“I'm shot up a bit — and
so is the old Fort — but she's carrying on
“You can tell the people
here that their Fort helped avenge their
boys in a big way. On the long trail back,
the ‘Spirit of Bataan’ smashed several
important Japanese targets, and then came to
the most glorious day in her career — she
struck the Philippines themselves.”
When the wounded
Davidson left the “old Fort” she was bombing
the Japs on Okinawa.
ALBUQ. (AP) — JUL. 19, 1943 — “The Spirit of Bataan” joined
the army air force today—a new “Flying Fortress” paid for
with the dimes and dollars of New Mexicans, many of whom had
relatives and friends who fought to the bitter end at
The big bomber was dedicated Sunday at a Kirtland Field
ceremony during which Gov. John J. Dempsey declared that
“every effort” was being made to return the New Mexico
soldiers captured in the Philippines through diplomatic
channels and if this failed they would be brought back
“through the channel of force.”
Other speakers at the dedication were Mayor Clyde Tingley,
Dr. V. H. Spensley, chairman of the Bataan Relief
Organization, and Col. Kenneth McGregor of Kirtland Field.
Mrs. Arturo Garcia, described as the first gold star mother
of New Mexico’s 200th, unveiled the nameplate on the bomber.
Funds for the purchase of the plane were raised in a war
bond sale sponsored by the BRO last January.
Mrs. Garcia had been
mistakenly identified as the first Gold Star
Mother of the 200th. When the first bombs struck
on December 8, 1941, the 200th's Douglas Sanders
and Roy Schmid were hit and killed instantly.
Sanders and Schmid were the only 200th Coast
Artillery deaths on that first day. Mrs.
Garcia's son Rueben was killed in action on
December 12, 1941. He was, however, the first
Santa Fean to die.