Chihuahua

Robert Leyva


By Andrea R. Williams

In the midst of conflict, Robert Leyva sometimes would think the enemy troops killed in World War II could have been among his friends in another time and place. This kind of love of mankind is a mainstay in Leyva's life.

Leyva was born into poverty in Chihuahua, Mexico, on May 10, 1915, to parents who were poor farm laborers. At age three, he's been told, Leyva's father, Jesus, left the family. At the age of five, his mother, Justina Ovalles Leyva, took his brother, Jesus, and sister, Justina, to El Paso, Texas.

Raúl A Chávez


By Amy Bauer

Aside from a move at 8 months of age, Raul Chavez had never traveled more than the 20 miles from Los Angeles to Catalina Island.

Born on Valentine's Day in 1926 in Chihuahua, Mexico, Chavez moved to East L.A. when he was an infant, during the Great Depression. His father, also named Raul, was a volunteer lieutenant in the California Militia State Guard and, thus, contributed to the war effort.

"I remember when I was going [to war] myself; he got a broomstick out and taught me the Manual of Arms," Chavez said.