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Sgt Manuel A. Armijo
Birth: Dec. 10, 1911, USA
Death: Jun. 22, 2004
Santa Fe
Santa Fe County
New Mexico, USA

Oldest Bataan Death March survivor who co-founded the Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library. Armijo and other survivors co-founded the Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library in Santa Fe and established the annual white-flag surrender anniversary observances held every April 9 near the Capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Consequently, Armijo's face and words are familiar to historians and others researching the Bataan Death March. He was interviewed for various documentaries, accompanied by a video crew on his return to several death march sites in early 2002, and he continued to organize the annual surrender observance through April 2004, even as his health and vision declined, giving his last speech at the 2004 observance. Armijo was 29 when he deployed with the New Mexico National Guard in 1940. Thousands of U.S. and Filipino troops fought off the Japanese for four months before Maj. Gen. Edward King ordered the surrender. Soon after, Armijo and the other prisoners were forced to march 65 miles up the Bataan Peninsula without food, water or medical attention. Those who collapsed along the way were shot or bayoneted; thousands more died in labor camps or on ships that transported the POWs to camps in Japan, Korea or China. After the "Death March", he was imprisoned in Camp O’Donnell for 3 months and then in Camp Cabanatuan for two more years until he was taken by way of the Mati Maru "Hell Ship" to Omuta, Japan where he remained captive for another year. At the end, Armijo heard that Japan had surrendered, and decided to liberate himself from the labor camp by simply leaving with a fellow POW. Of the approximately 1,800 captives from New Mexico National Guard units, fewer than 900 survived. As the first sergeant of his company, Armijo minded and cared for fellow prisoners and repeatedly fought with Japanese captors and insisted on uniting the soldiers from New Mexico at one location. He finally returned home to Santa Fe in 1945, where the 3 1/2 years of captivity and forced labor continued to affect him physically and through nightmares in which he would wake up screaming. Armijo spent most of his career in state government and was director of the state Veterans Service Commission from 1957 until 1966, when he retired.  (bio by: Fred Beisser) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Frances Apodaca Armijo (1920 - 2010)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Santa Fe National Cemetery
Santa Fe
Santa Fe County
New Mexico, USA
 
Created by: Fred Beisser
Record added: Jun 27, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9000552
Sgt Manuel A. Armijo
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Sgt Manuel A. Armijo
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Sgt Manuel A. Armijo
Added by: Mark Dutton
 
 
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Thank you Manuel. Rest in peace.
- Wayne L. Osborne
 Added: Dec. 24, 2013
Thank you Manuel. Rest in peace.
- Wayne L. Osborne
 Added: Dec. 10, 2013
For Sgt. Manuel Armijo - wishing you a very happy 4th of July in Heaven! I wouldn't be celebrating if not for men like you who fought - and gave so much for my freedom. Thank you and God bless you, Sir. With honor and respect,
- Laura Virgil
 Added: Jul. 4, 2012
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