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New Mexico Remembers World War II

March 29, 2012

New Mexico is famous for its hot air balloons and amazing cultural festivals; many people aren’t as aware of its representation of World War II. Four New Mexico museums have formed a partnership in order to highlight New Mexican contributions to the era: the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, the New Mexico National Guard Bataan Memorial Military Museum, and the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society.

The group has established a blog, http://nmrememberswwii.blogspot.com, which includes information about each of these organizations as well as stories and facts about WWII in New Mexico.

The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico has the Flossenbürg Flag proudly on display at 616 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque. This likeness of the United States Flag amazingly was created by prisoners of the Nazis in the Flossenbürg work camp, in Germany, where inmates labored in a stone quarry and in the manufacture of munitions and arms. The flag’s background and stars and stripes most likely were painted over what was once a Nazi flag. At war’s end the inmates, not knowing who would liberate them, created at least three flags: a Russian, a British, and an American. It was the Americans who marched into the camp on April 23, 1945. In May of that year, a Medical Collecting Company, Third Army, entered the camp. Roy Shaffer, whose life journey eventually took him to Albuquerque, noticed that no one had claimed the flag, so he was allowed to remove it and bring it back to the United States.

The actual casings of Fat Man and Little Boy as well as aircraft and other war memorabilia are on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, 601 Eubank Blvd SE in Albuquerque. In addition to the famous B29 Superfortress airplane (which was the same model as the Enola Gay, which delivered the Little Boy bomb over Hiroshima), there are two automobiles are on view: a replica of the 1942 Plymouth Special Deluxe that carried the plutonium core to the Trinity Site, and the 1942 Packard custom limousine that carried senior scientists from Los Alamos to Trinity and other New Mexico locations.

When war broke out in Asia and Europe in 1939, New Mexico’s contribution to the upcoming war effort was unclear. However, by early 1941, all New Mexico National Guard units had been ordered to active Federal duty. Many suffered unbelievable atrocities in the Japanese run prison camps and some of these soldiers would suffer the infamous Bataan Death march.  The New Mexico National Guard Bataan Memorial Museum at 1050 Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe features artifacts, images, press clippings, weapons, and uniforms carried or worn by Guardsmen dating back to the 19th century.  The Museum (in Santa Fe) honors the history of the New Mexico National Guard and places specific importance on the infamous Bataan Death March.

Since our interstate highway system that allows for long distance trucking did not exists in 1940 and air cargo was in its infancy, railroads were the only way that troops, equipment, food stuffs and raw material could move rapidly and efficiently around our nation. Over the years of the war, railroads moved 783 billion breight miles and 93 billion passenger miles. That movement included 43 million members of the military on 114,000 troop trains. Santa Fe #2926 exists because of the US War Production Board would not grant the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway’s request for additional new Diesel Locomotives. It is estimated that her 22 months of war service covered 405,570 miles. The restoration can be viewed at 1833 8th St. NW in Albuquerque.

The collaboration is funded by a grant from the New Mexico Department of Tourism.

Summer Camp - May 29 - August 10

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will host "Science is Everywhere" Summer Camp 2018 for children who are 6 to 12 years old. Experience the wonders of science in week-long sessions, May 29 - August 10. Sessions include "Code of the Robot," "Chemistry and Intrigue," "Science of the X-scape," "STEMinists," "Spy Kids" and many more!

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100.3 The PEAK FREE Summer Fun Road Show

100.3 The PEAK, an iHeartRadio station, will host its 2018 Free Summer Fun Road Show at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History on Friday, June 22, from 6 am to 10 am. All members of the community are welcome to visit the museum for FREE from 6 am to 10 am on the morning of Friday, June 22, as Albuquerque's own Jackie, Tony and Donnie host their popular morning show inside the museum. Doors will open at 6 am.

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B-47E Stratojet Restoration

Help us restore New Mexico’s only Boeing B-47E Stratojet, serial number 53-2280, one of only 23 surviving B-47 airplanes in existence! This airplane will be the focus of a special initiative within “Operation Preservation” – a multi-year campaign to repaint and refurbish the iconic aircraft in the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s nine-acre outdoor exhibit area, Heritage Park.

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