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 • Valencia County
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Corp Jose Salazar "Chaveta" Chavez
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Birth: Jun. 18, 1918
Los Lunas
Valencia County
New Mexico, USA
Death: Mar. 17, 2011
Los Lunas
Valencia County
New Mexico, USA

Jose S. Chavez, Los Lunas resident, was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He was predeceased by two children.

Chaveta was survived by his wife of 65 years Susie Chavez and six children.

Jose "Chaveta" talked little about his World War II experience. He served with Regimental Headquarters Battery of the 200th Coast Artillery (AA) in the Philippines. When the Japanese attacked Clark Field, Chaveta reported, "All of our aircraft were on fire none made it into the air. Me and Jimmy Morris jumped under a truck for coverage. What we didn't know is that the truck was loaded with fuel for the airplanes. Everything was in chaos." He was 23 when Bataan and Corregidor were surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. After surviving the Bataan Death March, Jose was taken by a "Hell Ship" to Japan and in 1944 arrived at the Kamioka prisoner of war camp at Nagoya. Chavez was among the prisoners who worked in the Mitsui lead and zinc mines. According to the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico, "Prisoners lived in extremely harsh conditions, sleeping on straw mats and allowed only two handfuls of coal per day for heating. Men who might have been injured during their shift in the mines were required to stay in the mine until the end of their shift. Mistreatment of the prisoners caused two of the camp guards to be tried for war crimes". An undated, unidentified newspaper article on display at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts, Chavez told reporter Frank Duran: "The Japanese threw me into a grave and dirt was thrown over me and the rest of the dead, decaying soldiers. I don't know how, but I managed to crawl over many dead bodies and saw a light opening at the top of the grave. It took me two hours, but I made it out. The Japanese were totally stunned. My buddies carried me back to the barracks. Two weeks later, they buried me again." The latter time it began to rain, and Chavez was revived.

Chaveta was the last surviving member of the 200th living in Valencia County, according to the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation.

Jose worked as a laborer when he returned, then as a custodian for the Veterans Administration and the Postal Service. He was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Los Lunas. His wife said that "he was always working on small motors lawn mower motors and pumps and things like that."

Chaveta was buried at the San Clemente Catholic Cemetery.
 
 
Inscription:
US Army; World War II; Beloved Husband & Father
 
Burial:
San Clemente Cemetery
Los Lunas
Valencia County
New Mexico, USA
Plot: K-14
 
Created by: truchasnm
Record added: Jan 11, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83317024
Corp Jose Salazar Chaveta Chavez
Added by: Jim Macey
 
Corp Jose Salazar Chaveta Chavez
Added by: Jim Macey
 
Corp Jose Salazar Chaveta Chavez
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Linda Jasmin
 
 
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Click on image for full size.

May the ordeal of your honored service never be forgotten.
- truchasnm
 Added: Jan. 20, 2014
 
 
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