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Homer Spensley

Grave Site

 

Albuquerque dentist Dr. V. H. Spensley, chairman of New Mexico’s Bataan Relief Organization and father of PFC Homer Vernon Spensley, B Btry. 200th CA(AA), wired his protest to General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, when in January 1944, a joint report by the Army and Navy was released detailing the atrocities committed by the Japanese on the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. The information contained in the report had been kept secret for over a year. Dr. Spensley's remarks read in part: “In my position, personally wondering why help was not sent to them instead of building morale and bases in Britain, why have not our own been taken care of? May God forgive those responsible. I can't. If my son, who is reported to have died of starvation, had to pass on, I sincerely hope it was shortly after the fall of Bataan.”

Dr. V. H. Spensley dedicates “The Spirit of Bataan”. His son Homer died in Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp.

Flying Fortress “The Spirit of Bataan”

 

The “Spirit of Bataan” was specifically designated for action in the Pacific.

 

On June 2, 1945, Sgt. Estele Davidson, making a stop in Albuquerque, reported to the people of New Mexico:

 

“I'm shot up a bit — and so is the old Fort — but she's carrying on anyway.

“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 Corregidor.

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.