Stella Lavadie enlisted in the WACS after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She wanted to do her part during World War II. She was of one of more than 150,000 women who enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Lavadie worked in supply headquarters keeping track of inventory at different bases around the country. In 2010 she took part in the tribute “Women in the Military,” at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. She is a lifetime member of the VFW Post 2951 in Santa Fe and is also a member of the Santa Fe Fiesta Council and the Catholic Daughters of America. Lavadie is especially proud that two of her sons are military veterans.
New Mexico’s Military Legacy
The creation of Fort Marcy in 1846 helped support and protect traders along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort played an important part during the Mexican-American war and the California Gold Rush of 1849. Brigadier-General Stephen Watts Kearny travelled along the Santa Fe Trail with his troops taking control of New Mexico. Commonly referred to as the “Gettysburg of the West,” the Battle of Glorieta, 22 miles from Santa Fe took place on March 28, 1862. That battle marked the turning point for the Civil War in New Mexico where close to 200 confederate soldiers lost their lives. On April 9, 1942 the entire New Mexico platoon of the 200th Coast Artillery was captured during World War II. All of the 1,800 soldiers joined 75,000 POWs in the arduous sixty-mile march to a prison camp Luzon in the Philippines. The walk claimed the lives of 16,950 American and Filipino soldiers.