with Manuel Armijo
Manuel A. Armijo was born in the Albuquerque suburb of Armijo on December 10, 1911 and was raised on a farm close to Manticello. In the 10th grade, Manuel dropped out of school to work for the New Mexico State Highway Department. Later, he joined the Bureau of Child Welfare as a stock boy.
On November 4, 1940, Mr. Armijo married Frances Apodaca in Mora, New Mexico. At the age of 28, he enlisted in the services. By the beginning of 1941, he was on his way to Manila as part of the 200th Coast Artillery (AA) to defend Clark Field from Japanese attack, leaving behind his pregnant wife. When Japan attacked Clark Field, the 200th had been divided into the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (AA) because Manila also needed defending. Manuel and a fellow soldier, Arthur B. Smith, spotted the Rising Sun under the wings of an airplane and they knew they were under attack. The men battled until April 9, 1942 when they were ordered by General Edward P. King to surrender.
After the surrender, a 55-mile "Death March"
began. During this march, Mr. Armijo was denied food and water for the
first five days. After the "Death March", he was placed in
Camp O’Donnell for 3 months and then he was taken to Camp Cabanatuan
where he remained for two years. Mr. Armijo was taken by way of the Mati
Maru "Hell Ship" to Omuta, Japan where he remained captive for
another year. At the end of that year, Manuel had heard that Japan had
surrendered, and he decided to liberate himself. Mr. Armijo and a fellow
POW, Evans Garcia, simply left the Japanese labor camp.
After World War II, Mr. Armijo returned to the United States. He resumed employment with the State of New Mexico. Manuel is 88 years old, and he is a 30 year state employee retiree.
Manuel and Frances had two more children: Peggy and
Manuel; they now have 9 grandchildren: Loreen, Vincent, Dawn, Mark,
Nicole, Anthony, Manuel, Jennifer, and Adam.
Armijo Biography courtesy of MSG Geronimo R. Padilla, Curator of the Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library Bataan Memorial Museum Sante Fe, NM
June 2004 We are
sad to announce the loss of this dear friend June 23.