Mexico

Placido Jose Lozano


By Andrew Stark, St. Bonaventure University and Alicia Machuca, Cal State Fullerton

On Dec. 7, 1941, Placido Jose Lozano was at a movie theater, enjoying a soda and 25-cent popcorn with his friends. Suddenly the film stopped, and the theater manager came out and placed a large radio on the stage.

Uriel Robles Bañuelos


By Stephanie De Luna

At around 1 a.m. on Jan. 10, 1969, gunner Uriel “Ben” Bañuelos and other soldiers were roused from their sleep at Fire Support Base Pershing, 40-50 miles northwest of Saigon.

Bañuelos and the other men were in an underground bunker. He remembered it was a hot night. Bañuelos got up and put on his helmet and his jacket. He later said they probably saved his life.

Fred Castaneda


By Ednna Solis

“For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know,” reads a flier carefully placed in a Vietnam War photo album.

The album belongs to Fred Castañeda, a Mexican citizen from Aguascalientes, Mexico, who served in the United States Army for nearly four years, and as a combat infantryman during Vietnam. Although he was 60 years old at the time of his interview, he had yet to file for American citizenship. He still traveled on a Mexican passport, even though U.S. citizenship was offered to him upon his return from Vietnam.

Alfred G Gonzalez

Rene A Cazares

Robert L. Cardenas


By Rachel Platis

In 1939, National Guard Pvt. Robert Cardenas was in the final stage of obtaining a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology, having just completed two years of pre-engineering study at San Diego State College. In one hand, he held a letter regarding the scholarship; in the other, a letter from his commanding officer:

“Welcome, Private Cardenas, we are going to the Philippines,” Cardenas recalled the communiqué reading.

Henry McDonnell


In 1945, Henry McDonnell battled through Germany as a part of the 17th Airborne Division; 60 years later, he returned to Europe with his sons.

Henry and his three sons, Bernard, Henry Jr. and Mark, traveled to the Netherlands in 2005 so they could visit the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial. Among the 8,301 graves was a white headstone for Bernard McDonnell, Henry’s youngest brother.

Adolfo Roberto Ramirez


By David M. Ramirez

On June 6, 1944, Staff Sergeant Adolfo Roberto “Rusty” Ramirez was a member of the largest invasion force in all of recorded history. He was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, 116th Regimental Combat Team’s 121st Combat Engineering Battalion. The 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions had been given the mission to assault Omaha beach in Normandy, France. Of this 55,000-man combat force assigned to Omaha beach, the 116th Regimental Combat Team of the 29th Infantry Division was assigned to land at Zone “Dog Green.”

Manuel Camarillo


By Kayla Young

Peering through the door he’d just kicked in with his combat boots, the Manuel Camarillo serving on the front lines of World War II Germany was a different man from the one he’d been back in South El Paso. Back then, he’d started fights just for fun.

“I spent my time fighting. I wanted to fight anybody,” said Camarillo of his early teen years. “My oldest brother would get two or three guys in the morning. He would get them so I could fight with them. I went in [the alley] and I gave them a good whipping.”

Leno Flores Díaz


By Kathy Adams

As an immigrant from Juarez, Mexico, living in East Los Angeles in the ’20s and ’30s, Leno Flores Díaz remembers going to school in hand-me-downs and feeling ostracized when the teachers anglicized his name.

“They had all kinds of names. They never could pronounce my name. … It was discrimination, racism,” said Díaz, adding later in writing that whenever there was trouble at school, he was always called to the office as a suspect.