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515th Coast Artillery


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Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery


‘He was one of the youngest to die’


Private Jimmy Mares was 19 when he died of malnutrition in the Japanese prison camp in Cabanatuan, north of Manila.

It was June 8, 1942, and Mares had been in the Philippines less than a year.

Mares lies buried now in the American National Cemetery in Manila, under a manicured carpet of grass; Section C, Row 4, Grave 65. His monument is one of the thousands of crosses that curve around the green hillsides, marking the graves of the American men, known and unknown, who died during four years of war in the Philippines.

Jimmy Mares was the youngest of seven children of Santiago and Augustina Mares of Santa Fe. Three of his brothers, Dan, Arnold and Ramon, fought in Europe. All returned home at the end of the war, except Jimmy.

Mares’s brother, Ramon Mares, and his sister Rita Garcia, still live in Santa Fe.

Another brother, Arnold, lives in San Antonio, Texas.

His parents died in the early 1950’s.

“He was a wonderful boy,” sister Rita Garcia said. “He was one of the youngest to die. He was a good kid and he was never in trouble.”

When a young man dies at 19, he leaves little memory of his brief life.

Jimmy Mares attended the Guadalupe parish elementary school and Santa Fe High School. When he was a boy, he loved to play his harmonica. Later, as a young soldier, he loved the National Guard.

“That’s what he was always talking about,” his sister said.

Then, a prisoner of the Japanese after the 515th Coast Artillery Regiment surrendered on Bataan, he died.

“My God, he was so young,” Rita Garcia said.

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Bataan Death March bas relief at Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor)


The national shrine atop Mt. Samat, the scene of the most heroic defensive battle during World War II, immortalizes the agony of the Filipino and American soldiers.