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GENERAL GREETS HEROES — General Wainwright greets four heroes of the Pacific campaign: Sgt. Felix M. Latas, Cpl. Vicente R. Ojinaga, Cpl. Pablo P. Gutierrez and Cpl. Max Villalobos. At the right is George Matkin, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. [El Paso Herald-Post]

 

The photo at left was taken at a reception in El Paso, Texas on December 13, 1945. Felix M. Latas is actually the 200th's Felix M. Salas. Ojinaga, Gutierrez and Macario “Max” Villaloboz were also 200th Coast Artillery men. Earlier in the day, the General reviewed 4,000 troops at Fort Bliss.

 

On November 28, 1945, Colonel Sage read in the newspaper that New Mexico Governor John J. Dempsey had invited General Wainwright to Santa Fe during his upcoming visit to New Mexico. The General had declined, but informed the Governor that he (the Governor) could meet him (the General) in Deming!

 

The Deming Headlight reported that General Wainwright's appearance at Smith Auditorium on December 11, 1945 “was attended by every man, woman and child in Deming who could get into the place . . . 1,600 crammed into the auditorium.”

 

The guest list was a virtual "Who's Who" militarily speaking, but the special attendees were survivors of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery — men, and officers, including Deming's “First Citizen” Colonel Sage, Cols. Peck, Cain, and Reardon; Majs. Stump and Brown, and more. Governor Dempsey, Albuquerque Mayor and former Governor Clyde Tingley, were in attendance while Land Commissioner and former Governor Miles was not able to attend due to Land Commission meetings. Prominent citizens at both the state and local levels also were present at the auditorium and the reception that followed.

 

The following day a special luncheon was held for the General and members of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery. Known to be in attendance there were enlisted men: McCan, Huxtable, Gobble, Gavord, J. Lewis, Wilkerson, J.B. Gutierrez, the Chaires brothers, Byers, Zimmerman, B. Duran, A. Pacheco, Lindsay, F. Thompson, and Aranda.

 

LtGeneral Jonathan M. Wainwright said in part, during his December 11, 1945 speech, as reported by the Deming Headlight on December 14, 1945:

“Men of the 200th were the first land troops of the United States forces in action in this war. They were the spearhead outfit of our war. They were stationed adjacent to Clark Field, near Fort Stotsenberg, in the Province of Pampanga, and were engaged in action from first to last — even as infantry on Bataan at the very last.

 

“I was standing in Fort Stotsenberg, the morning of December 8th and saw the great cloud of Jap bombers come over the mountain and head directly for Clark Field. As I listened to the deafening crash of heavy bombs being dropped on Clark Field I immediately heard the sharp crack of anti-aircraft guns and knew that Sage's guns were at work . . . That the 200th was alert and on the job. And they took a toll of the Jap bombers even against the overwhelming and disastrous odds being thrown against us.

 

“The men of the 200th were inspired by a high sense of duty; gallant, intrepid and heroic. None of them were more so than their Colonel, a citizen of Deming, whose gallantry, intrepidity and heroism were unsurpassed — your own Gordon Sage.”

The reporter noted that, “during their imprisonment, the General called Colonel Charles Gurdon Sage, 'Gordon' Sage, insisting that he had never heard the name 'Gurdon', and that habit caused him to call the Colonel 'Gordon' in his address.”

 

Colonel Edmund J. Lilly referred to Colonel Sage in his Prisoner of War diaries as “Gundam” Sage.