Home Is Where We Park It: Dream Catcher RV Park, Deming, New Mexico
Oct 3, 2019
The Exodus Has Begun
Deming Luna Mimbres Museum WW I and WW II
The Exodus is under way. The Convergence is over and the rigs are rolling out. Some are headed to the Balloon Fest, some to family in California, some to other parks in Texas, others to who-knows-where. We’ve had a wonderful time going here and there with the group, making new friends, and in general just hanging out with everyone. Business cards have been exchanged and I’m sure we’ll be seeing many of our new friends in other parts of this great land again some time in the future.
Today I was able to accomplish a few things. I was able to defrost the freezer. I got all the blinds dusted. I changed our route back to Florida at the end of 2020 – and will probably change it again at least a dozen times before we start home. I cleaned half of the wood work with Murphy Soap. Barbara went off to the Wishy Washy and got the laundry done. Late afternoon we both went to Social Hour at the Activity Center. What a great time that was. We ate chocolate chip cookies, swapped RV war stories, and laughed until it hurt.
OK, there’s a few points of history that I want to share with you regarding Deming that we learned last week during our visit to the Museum.
We begin with Camp Cody.
During the First World War, the War Department established Camp Cody near Deming, as a training encampment that covered over 2,000 acres.
During it’s height it housed over 30,000 troops. It was named after the famous Buffalo Hunter, William F. Cody – also known as Buffalo Bill.
The camp setup had three main streets and eighteen cross streets. Altogether there were twelve miles of graded streets. There were 6,000 framed tents with wooden floors, electric lights and coal heaters. The men ate at one of 120 mess halls and showered at one of 1,200 shower bath houses. There were also five YMCA buildings, a Knights of Columbus, a library, and a Post Office. Eleven warehouses stored food and provisions for the Army of 30,000 men.
The men stationed here even wrote a song entitled We’re Coming From Camp Cody which became the official song of the Thirty-Fourth Division, US Army Camp Cody Division.
At the end of WW I the base was closed and a serious economic decline hit the Deming area. Deming’s two banks, The Bank of Deming and the First National Bank were forced to close their doors. Recovery was slow.
We move now to the 1940’s. The coming of WW II stimulated economic growth in Deming. Part of this was due to
A diagram of the air field. Runways are at the top.
Here is a model of the above diagram. Again, runways are at the top.
There was also a large number of support personnel necessary to keep the training aircraft in the air. They might be mechanics, fuelers, or ordinance personnel. There were also the cooks, bakers and even truck drivers.
A picture of a preflight check.
The program ended in September, 1946 and the Deming Air Field became the Deming Municipal Air Field. Today some of the structures and foundations still remain. Some of the hangers are still used today. This is a picture of one of the remaining hangers which was used in the film Indian Jones and The Crystal Skull.
Another noted but tragic event in Deming’s history also took place during WW II.
As a part of the war effort, the Deming National Guard was called into federal service and was sent to Bataan, Philippines. This unit was the 200 Coast Artillery commanded by C.G. Sage, the publisher of the local paper. Altogether, there were about 246 men from Luna County in the regiment.
Unfortunately, it did not end well for the 200 Coast Artillery. In the face of unrelenting Japanese attacks Bataan fell to the enemy.
What happened next was even worse than being captured. The surrendered Filipinos and Americans soon were rounded up by the Japanese and forced to march some 65 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando. The men were divided into groups of approximately 100, and the march typically took each group around five days to complete. The exact figures are unknown, but it is believed that thousands of troops died because of the brutality of their captors, who starved and beat the marchers, and bayoneted those too weak to walk. Survivors were taken by rail from San Fernando to prisoner-of-war camps, where thousands more died from disease, mistreatment and starvation.
Outside in Veterans Park is this Memorial.
We’ve now come to the end of another chapter in the history of Deming, NM. We have a few more items of interest to cover but we’ll save them for another blog in the future.
That was our day on The Road of Retirement. It had a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It was just our kind of day. It started well and it ended even better as we gathered one more time with new friends. You just can’t ask for anything better.
Thanks again for checking in with us. We always enjoy your company and your comments. Catch you tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road!