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Minuteman Minute | Sgt. Errett Lujan POW Vest

On December 7, 1941, Sgt. Errett Lujan of the New Mexico National Guard was already deployed to the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. In this Minuteman Minute, see the vest worn by Lujan, a Bataan Death March survivor, which his fellow POWs signed to commemorate their experiences. This item is on loan from the New Mexico Military Museum.

Learn more about the New Mexico National Guard at New Mexico Military Museum, or visit their website here.

Hi, I’m Will Roulett, Director of the National Guard Memorial Museum, here in DC, and this is YOUR Minuteman Minute! This vest is unique in our museum because it is not a uniform piece. Well, not from an American uniform. Sgt. Errett Lujan of the New Mexico National Guard’s 200th Coastal Artillery modified this British Army field shirt to stay cool while he was a POW during WW2. The 200th deployed to the Philippines in September of 1941 and was one of the first American units to see combat when the Japanese invaded. The 200th resisted until it was forced to surrender in April 1942. They were among the 60 to 80,000 American and Filipino POWs forced to endure the brutal, 60+ mile Bataan Death March. Only half of the 200th’s 1,800 men eventually returned to New Mexico. At the war’s end, Sgt. Lujan had his fellow American and British POWs sign the vest, forever commemorating their shared experience of three years in captivity. Come see this and a whole lot more at the National Guard Memorial Museum. I’m Will Roulett and that’s been your Minuteman Minute brought to you by the National Guard Educational Foundation.