NM

Arturo Madrid


By: Voces Staff

Bennie Trujillo


By Robert Reiss, California State University, Fullerton

"You could hear the tanks coming. You could hear the squeak, the tracks squeaking and the motors running. You could hear them coming. The Americans and the infantry were aware that they were no match for that kind of assault. So we picked up our machine guns and retreated. ... When we asked the sergeant where [his men] were, he replied, 'They are gone. They sprayed them in their dugouts. They killed them all.' "

Alfred Hurtado


By Cara Seo, California State University, Fullerton

If anyone deserves to be called an American war hero it's Alfred Hurtado.

He survived the Normandy Invasion as well as the Battle of the Bulge and received 11 medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf clusters and the Distinguished Unit Citation with three Oak Leaf clusters, just to name a few.

Emily Matilda Martinez Alvarado


By Jasmine Powell

Emily Martinez Alvarado never served her country in the military. She served it at home, as one of the thousands involved in the Chicano movement, by way of the Crusade for Justice, and as an important civil rights activist during the Vietnam War era.

Emily Matilda Martinez was born on Feb. 18, 1935, in Taos County, N.M. She moved with her family to Taos as a baby. When she was three, her parents separated. They divorced two years later. She was their only child. Both later re-married and had more children.

Anthony Duane Lopez


By Anjli Mehta

Looking back on his childhood, Anthony D. Lopez chuckled to himself and said, “Yeah, I was a runaround kid.” Maybe it was all that running around that got him through years of combat leading up to the liberation of the Philippines during World War II.

In an interview in Denver, his hometown, Lopez described how his adventurous streak in his childhood became one of his strengths while he fought for his country. He re-enlisted twice while in the 82nd Airborne Division, and he later served in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1950.

Raymond Phile Alvarado


By Mary Margaret Tobin

It was Nov. 26, 1943, and Pvt. Raymond Alvarado played poker with his buddies on the HMT Rohna as it sailed along the coast of Algeria. The soldiers were relaxed. They chatted about their wives and girlfriends back home, about the smells of home-cooked Thanksgiving meals, about the comfort of a real bed.

Alvarado remembered he was dealt a good hand. “I had a dead man’s hand: aces and queens.” Little did he know that a few hours later the reality of death would be all around him.

Jose M. Salas


By Cheryl Smith Kemp

On July 25, 1944, with 160 hours of B-24 Liberator tail-gunner training under his belt, but no combat-flying experience, Jose M. Salas was picked to fill in with a crew for a flight from a United States base near Torretta, Italy, to Linz Austria.

“It was a very rough mission. We had a lot of enemy planes hit us,” recalled Salas, who was still a teenager at the time. “There was about 50 or so airplanes shot down that day. … I had six fighters shooting at my tail.”

Manuel F. Calderon


By Cheryl Smith Kemp

Manuel Calderon’s crossed arms seemed to reflect his mood when asked if he was drafted into World War II.

“Of course,” replied Calderon, who served in the Army for four years.

Not happy about his afternoon routine at Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home in El Paso, Texas, having been interrupted, he was reserved and answered reluctantly. For example, when asked if he was surprised when drafted in October of 1941, he said, “Never thought about it.”

So he was surprised?

“No, not really.”

Gilbert Paul Sanchez


By Cara Henis

Gilbert Sanchez not only survived the Pacific typhoon of 1944 that capsized three U.S. Navy destroyers and killed 790 people, he also witnessed the largest aircraft carrier skirmish in the Pacific during the Battle of the Philippines Sea that same year.

Serving as a Navy radioman aboard the USS Macdonough, Sanchez took part in nine military offensives across the Pacific. He also witnessed the sinking of a Japanese submarine near New Guinea in April 1944 and the shelling of enemy troops in January of that year on Parry Island, in the Marshall Islands.

Juana Mani Sierra


By Lindsay Fitzpatrick

Almost 100 years after her parents immigrated from Zacatecas, Juana Maria Mani Moreno Sierra considers her Mexican heritage a gift.

“God gave me my mom and my dad and their Spanish. It is so beautiful to talk real Spanish,” Sierra said. “And I give thanks to God that my children know both languages.”

Growing up in the New Mexican mining town of Fierro, in the southwest corner of the state, being the child of immigrants wasn’t always easy: discrimination and poverty were prevalent.