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Philip Antuna


By Cheyenne Cozzalio

Brothers Ralph and Philip Antuna can joke now about the food they had to eat while stationed in Europe in 1944. But underneath the laughter is a note of relief they made it out of Europe alive after fighting in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

Sitting comfortably in his cozy living room in Hegewisch, Ill., a community located on the southeast side of Chicago, Ralph Antuna, 83, recalls how he had to search through knapsacks of dead German soldiers to find cold cuts, hunks of Limburger cheese and hard bread.

Santos Sandoval


By Melissa Sellers

Clad in a stiffly starched khaki dress shirt and pants that tent over his thin frame, Santos Sandoval calmly recalls his experiences in the South Pacific Theater during World War II.

Now retired in Los Angeles, the 82-year-old Sandoval enlisted in an infantry regiment at 18 because "it sounded good." He’d go on to receive numerous awards for significant heroic deeds during his tour of duty.

Charles Trujillo


By Melissa Duran

Charles "Junior" Trujillo remembers clearly the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Hearing the reports on the radio didn’t give him a good understanding of what war was about.

"If you have never been into it [war], you cannot comprehend what it really is," Trujillo said, "No matter how good of an imagination you have."

But at the young age of 18, Trujillo was about to get his first taste of war.

Anthony Olivas


By Mayella Gonzalez

Tony Olivas' mother always told him and his brothers during World War II not to volunteer for the Army -- to wait until they were drafted.

"Don't volunteer. Let them come after you," Olivas recalls his mother saying around the time political and military tensions were running high between the United States and Japan, and Washington was warning military commanders to be on guard throughout the Pacific.

Ernest J. Montoya


By Isis Romero

While many 18-year-olds are getting ready for college and planning their senior trips, teenagers living in the early 1940s got ready for something else, and took trips of a different sort.

Ernest J. Montoya was one of those teenagers. Born in 1925 to farmers from Colorado, Montoya remembers the day he left for the Army.

"I didn't join the service. I was drafted," Montoya said. "I knew there was a war going on ... I didn't realize how serious it was to get drafted."

Joseph Marion Autobee


By Joseph Money

Joe Autobee, of Publo, Colorado, grew accustomed to the taste of whiskey during his WWII service. As an Air Corps gunner pilot during World War II, he was given a sandwich and a glass of whiskey at the end of every raid.

While Autobee wasn't sure how the service had made their choice of refreshments, he took it just the same.

"I think whiskey's good for your nerves," Autobee guessed.

Ceprian Armijo


By Silky Shah

Ceprian Armijo started working on nearby farms with his father in his hometown of Avondale, Colorado when he was at about 8 years old. Little did he know that nearly ten years later he would be going off to fight in World War II in Europe.

Armijo spent most of his time in the war moving through the European mainland, experiencing the realities of war that most people only hear about. Despite being seriously wounded and witnessing the death and destruction of the war, Armijo can now look back upon his WWII experiences as a time of growth.