World War II

Stories with interview subjects from our World War II collection. Browse all stories to see subjects across all Voces collections.

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Table containing information and links for subjects in the site.
Subject Collection Story Interviewed by

Benito Morales

Benito Morales  

World War II

By Kaz Edwards

Benito Morales sits perfectly still on his couch, adjusting only his hands, which lie neatly folded in his lap. Arranged next to him are various pieces of memorabilia from World War II, including a Bronze Star he received for...

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William Luna

Jose Ruben Moreno

Jose Ruben Moreno  

World War II

By Celina Moreno

Jose Ruben Moreno attributes his success in life to a journey on the "line of least resistance." But enduring economic hardship and performing dangerous wartime duties as a counterintelligence spy in Panama proved anything...

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Celina Moreno

Willie L. Moreno

Willie L. Moreno  

World War II

By Sara Delarosa

When Willie Luna Moreno entered the Armed Forces in April of 1943, he was only 19.

Moreno began basic training at Camp Robinson in Arkansas, and later in Massachusetts and Maryland. Afterward, he went to England,...

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Erika Martinez De Rizo

Julius Moreno

Julius Moreno  

World War II

By Jocelyn Ehnstrom

As a young kid, Julius Moreno enjoyed playing baseball, tending to his family’s farm animals at their home in San Antonio and singing in his neighborhood band called “The Holly Boys.”

But the first priority of...

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Anna Flores Peña

Antonio F. Moreno

Antonio F. Moreno  

World War II

By Frank Trejo

When Antonio F. Moreno stormed ashore Iwo Jima as a U.S. Marine medical corpsman, a familiar odor greeted him.

Moreno, who grew on Texas' Gulf Coast, knew there was no mistaking the smell that wafted up to him as he...

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Erika Martinez

Abraham Eleuterio Moreno

Abraham Eleuterio Moreno  

World War II

By Yolanda C. Urrabazo

While living in Mexico in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, Abraham Moreno developed a strong value of hard work at a young age.

His good work ethic was soon implemented when he arrived in the United...

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Yolanda Urrabazo

Leopold Rodriguez Moreno

Leopold Rodriguez Moreno  

World War II

By Kelly Tarleton

The thought of failure has never deterred Leopold Rodriguez Moreno from his goals.

Moreno says he was the first Mexican American to be sent to West Virginia as an inspector for the Southern Pacific Railroad Co....

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Mr. Paul Rodriguez Zepeda

Concepción Garcia Moron

Concepción Garcia Moron  

World War II

By Yolande Yip

A self-described “simple country boy” who served in World War II’s European Theater alongside other men from humble backgrounds, Concepción Garcia Morón said a lack of self-awareness led to a friendly-fire death one February...

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David Silva

Guerrero Nahúm Calleja Mosso

 

World War II

The Other Soldiers

Little-remembered treaty sent 300,000 sons of Mexico to the United States during WWII; their weapons were their labor-hardy bodies

By Violeta Dominguez

The battlefield wasn’t the only place where...

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Violeta Dominguez

Raymond Muñiz

 

World War II

By Amanda Roberson

When Raymond Muñiz came home to Corpus Christi, Texas, after serving his country in World War II, he expected to see greater equality for Mexican Americans: more Latinos in city positions such as mayor, for example.

...

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Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

Arthur Muñoz

Arthur Muñoz  

World War II

By Brenda Menchaca

“There are no barriers unless you make them yourself,” said Arthur Muñoz, who enlisted in the Marine Corps two weeks after Pearl Harbor.

While working as a Western Union messenger in Corpus Christi, Texas, he’d...

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Kris Edward Rodriguez

Daniel L. Munoz

Daniel L. Munoz  

World War II

By Allison Baxter

Dan Muñoz, Sr. grew up in the small community of San Fernando, Calif., a town that was segregated by race. At that time, he couldn’t even go to the white part of town after dark to go to a movie house without the fear of...

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Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

Jesus Esparza Muñoz

Jesus Munoz  

World War II

By David Pearl, Cal State Fullerton

Jesus "Jess" Esparza Muñoz emerged from a fragmented and impoverished family to live a version of the American Dream,...

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Henry Mendoza

Betty Muñoz Medina

Betty Muñoz Medina - Voces Oral History Project  

World War II

By Brian Goodman

During World War II, commissioned military officers would receive deployment orders by telegram, often believing they’d been called up for duty by their senator.

Little did they know that the assignments were...

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Olga M. Briseno

Emilio Muñoz Membrila

Emilio Membrilla - Voces Oral History Project  

World War II

By Valerie Jayne

As a young boy growing up in Clifton, Ariz., Emilio Muñoz Membrila played war games with his friends, inventing different maneuvers and strategies. Later, during World War II, he’d be engaged in historic battles in the...

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Violeta Domniguez

Mary Martinez Olvera Murillo

1942 - The first time Mary (right) had seen her brother, who went into the Army in 1941, in uniform.  Sandy Olvera, her sister in law (married to brother Snow Olvera) is at Herman's left.  

World War II

By Ana Cristina Acosta

For most Americans, walking down the street, entering a restaurant through the front door or going to the grocery store is routine. But for Mary Murillo, 75, who grew up at a time when Mexican Americans suffered...

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Ana Acosta

Willie Garcia Murillo

Willie Garcia Murillo  

World War II

Willie Murillo was the third of five brothers who served in World War II.

Older brother David joined the Air Force; Gonzalo joined the Army; Mike and Mario, the two younger brothers, served in the Navy and Merchant Marines, respectively...

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Lynn Maguire-Walker

Manuel Najera

 

World War II

By Leigh Cole

Manuel Najera certainly made his presence known in the service during World War II, flying 35 missions in Europe before coming home.

"If I would have died, it would have ended my family," Najera said.

But he took...

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Juan Marinez

Jesse D Nava

Jesse D Nava  

World War II

By Kristina Radke

Before World War II, Jesse Nava led a simple life in California, swimming in the Los Angeles River and gaining a strong work ethic from his immigrant father. But since the war, that carefree life has been elusive.

...

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Wilfred Navarro

Wilfred Navarro  

World War II, Political & Civic Engagement

By Brittany Wilson

After getting discharged from the Navy in 1948, Wilfred Navarro, Jr. returned to his hometown of Houston. He finished high school and decided he’d like to be a police officer. But first, he and other Latino veterans would...

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Mr. Paul Rodriguez Zepeda

Jose R. Navarro

 

World War II

By Guillermo X. Garcia

José Navarro, a 20-year-old farm boy with a limited education from segregated South Texas schools, went to war in 1942 to better himself.

By the time of his discharge, due to injury as a member of the U.S....

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Veronica Franco

Eliseo Navarro

 

World War II

By Tammi Grais

Eliseo Navarro and his three brothers found a positive experience, overcame the hardships and returned home safely.

Born in 1925 in Asherton, Texas, a small town 100 miles southeast of San Antonio, Navarro suffered...

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Octavio Negrón

Octavio Negrón  

World War II

By Juan De La Cruz

En route to Africa on a ship with more than 5,000 soldiers, Octavio Negrón knew he needed to leave home, even if it meant going off to fight.

Negrón had enlisted in the Army at the age of 18, an act he...

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Carlos I. Hernandez

Arnif G. Nerio

Arnif G. Nerio  

World War II

By Caren Panzer

Arnif G. Nerio felt his life was really coming together in the fall of 1942. While so many were still out of work, he’d just landed a job at General Motors in Saginaw, Mich.

Just three months earlier, he’d married...

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Jeffery K. Watanabe

Ismael Nevarez

Ismael Nevarez  

World War II

By Paul Brown

Ismael Nevarez was headed west across the Pacific Ocean aboard a troopship in early August of 1945. Countless other United States Navy vessels surrounded him as far as the eye could see, and they were all headed in the same...

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Paul Brown

Joe Nevarez

Joe Nevarez  

World War II

By Melanie Sewell

A pioneer in his field at a time when jobs were scarce, Joe Reyes Nevarez was one of the first Mexican Americans to work for The Los Angeles Times as a reporter.

"I used to tell the managing editor, 'Why don't...

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Steven Rosales

Edmundo Nieto

 

World War II

By Chelsea Franklin

Through his service during World War II, Edmundo Nieto learned about the hardships and horrors of war but also experienced different cultures, met a wide array of people, and participated in once-in-a-lifetime...

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Liliana Rodriguez

Albert Nieto

Albert Nieto  

World War II

By Angel Flores

From a cardboard box, Albert Nieto rummages through old newspapers, postcards and other keepsakes that bring back memories from his days of service in the Army. One of the artifacts he pulls from the box is a sightseeing...

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Ben Olguin

Virginia G. Nunez

Virginia G. Nunez  

World War II

By Jennifer Lindgren

These are some things Virgina Gallardo Nuñez remembers about growing up in South Texas during World War II: curling her hair with the string ties from coffee bags instead of bobby pins because metal was rationed;...

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Jennifer Lindgren

Jesus Ochoa

 

World War II

By Raquel C. Garza

As a child, Jesus Ochoa once spent the 16th of September, a Mexican holiday celebrating independence from Spain, at home with his family. When he returned to school the next day, his teacher admonished him, saying missing...

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Rene Zambrano

Anthony Olivas

Anthony\Tony\"Olivas just before he shipped out in 1943."  

World War II

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...

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Rea Ann Trotter

Gilberto Ornelas

Gilberto Ornelas  

World War II

By Ismael Martinez

Gilberto Ornelas saw the aftermath of one of the most important yet horrific inventions of the 20th Century. His experience almost killed him but granted him many opportunities.

Ornelas was born in Globe, Ariz., on...

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Liliana Velázquez

William R. Ornelas

William R. Ornelas in Paris, France.  

World War II

By Juliana A Torres

William R. Ornelas grew up in a family of seven brothers and two sisters in Brownwood, Texas. They worked in the fields picking cotton, corn and wheat.

Like the rest of the country, the Ornelases were hit hard...

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Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

Aurora Estrada Orozco

Aurora Estrada Orozco  

World War II

By Desirée Mata

Aurora Estrada Orozco was only about 4 years old when she came to the United States due to the unrest in Mexico. Her father, Lorenzo Estrada, worked as a bookkeeper at an American gold, silver and coal mining company in...

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Desirée Mata

Carlota Ayala Ortega

Carlota Ayala Ortega  

Political & Civic Engagement, World War II

By Angela Walker

Dr. Carlota Ayala-Ortega sits proudly by as husband Guadalupe Ortega recalls his memories from World War II.

Guadalupe recalls the time the owner of a museum learned of his many medals earned in combat, and told...

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Gloria Monita

Guadalupe F. Ortega

Guadalupe F. Ortega  

World War II

By Gillian Lawlor

Guadalupe Ortega remembers having to put a dead Japanese soldier into a foxhole with him to escape detection by enemy forces -- just one incident in his harrowing World War II military career.

Even before he received...

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Gloria Monita

Abel Flores Ortega

Abel and Naomi Ortega (wife) outside their home in San Antonio, Texas. March, 2001.  

World War II

By Joanne R. Sánchez

When Abel Ortega was growing up, his family used to call him "the big thinker." "I was thinking of ways to reach the Far East," he said.

He had seen magazine pictures of the Chinese and the Japanese. Later, he sat in a...

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Drs. Joanne Rao & Mario Sanchez

Leo Ortega

Leo Ortega  

World War II

By Jessica Propst

Pride runs through Leo Ortega’s veins. It was placed there by his mother, Rose Valdes Ortega, as a small boy in the 1930s amidst the backdrop of the Great Depression. Ortega watched her work day and night in Raton, N.M.,...

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Delia Esparza

Elena V. Ortiz

 

World War II

By Matt Norris

San Antonio, Texas, resident Elena Ortiz has a deep family history rooted in the Canary Islands, Spain, Mexico and San Antonio. Her family fought at the Alamo, in the Battle of New Orleans and World War II.

Ortiz was...

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Cheryl Smith

Jessie Ortiz

Jessie Ortiz  

World War II

By Cindy Carcamo

From a young age, Jessie Ortiz learned his Mexican American heritage would be an obstacle in a world dominated by what he calls the "white man's law." He would experience prejudice and discrimination -- even when he fought...

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Cindy Carcamo

Richard Ortiz

Richard Ortiz  

World War II

By Julie Flowers

Richard Ortiz was a senior at San Antonio Technical Vocational School in 1941 when he heard a fellow classmate discussing plans to go to college. At that moment, Ortiz realized that pursuing a higher education was an option...

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Antonio Gilb

Henry Oyama

Henry Oyama was interviewed by Voces on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at the Tucson Veterans Center in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by: Marc Hamel)  

Political & Civic Engagement, World War II

By Lauren Harrity, California State University, Fullerton

After growing up in a Spanish-speaking Japanese-American family in Tucson, Arizona, Henry "Hank" Oyama went on to be a tireless supporter of bilingual education for American...

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Taylor Peterson

Amos Pacheco

 

World War II

By Eunmi Christina Lee

One September night in 1942, Amos Pacheco and Gloria Robles both happened to be at Bergs Mill Platform, a San Antonio, Texas, dancehall with a music box and bar.

“I was dancing with this other girl and she said...

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Pacheco Pacheco

Ernesto Padilla

Ernesto Padilla  

World War II

By Matt Harlan

The life of Ernesto Padilla is one marked with opportunities masked by tragedy.

Padilla’s childhood was spent with his large family in Puerto de Luna, N.M. The town, nestled on the Pecos River, was a community...

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Brian Lucero

Fernando I. Pagan

Fernando I. Pagan  

World War II

By Juan De La Cruz

Fernando Pagan was a jack of all trades during his childhood in Puerto Rico.

At the age of 12, Pagan shined shoes every Sunday in Carolina, Puerto Rico; on Saturdays, he sold clothes for a wage of $2 and...

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Doralis Perez-Soto

Berta Parra

Berta Parra  

World War II

By Rachel Taliaferro

Berta Parra’s memory is slipping away from her.

People, places, names, dates – as she sat in an armchair at the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home, in her native city of El Paso, she worked through the...

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Cheryl Smith Kemp

Maria Cristina Parra

Maria Cristina Pozos Parra - Voces Oral History Project  

World War II

By Adrienne Lee

Maria Cristina [Pozos] Parra knows few details about World War II outside the stories her husband, Ambrosio Parra, chose to tell her, and a wound on his foot that left him in pain for the rest of his life. As she put it: “...

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Elvia O. Perez

Xavier Pelaez

 

World War II

By Gina Ross

World War II gave Xavier Pelaez many gruesome experiences -- from witnessing the horror of a concentration camp to the pain of being wounded in battle.

Pelaez was born in Los Angeles in 1925, his parents having moved from...

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Luis Torres

Placido Peña

 

World War II

By Hasive Gomez

Cleaning land mines and building bridges in front of enemy lines leaves little room for luck. Yet former combat engineer Placido Peña says luck is one of the reasons he survived the war under hazardous conditions.

...

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Cristina Salinas

Carlos Pena

 

World War II

By Melissa Watkins

Carlos Peña's mother, Natividad, used to say the only time Anglos came around their little farm near San Benito, Texas, was when they needed another...

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Rick Leal