Brownsville

Raul Cantu Villarreal


By Robert Inks

When Raul Cantú Villarreal came home to Brownsville, Texas, in 1949 after serving in World War II, he had adjustments to make.

For one thing, Villarreal lost his right leg after stepping on a land mine.

"I thanked God I made it back," he said. "Not in one piece, but I'm still ticking."

Born Nov. 16, 1919, Villarreal, had left South Texas only one other time. Before fighting in the war from 1936 to 1939, he lived in the Pacific Northwest as a part of a Civilian Conservation Corps labor crew.

Calixto Rangel Ramirez


By Jackie Montes

Calixto Rangel Ramirez's big fear about serving in World War II was being separated from his family. The soldier would go on to fight valiantly in the Battle of the Bulge, as well as be listed as missing for a few days, before finally returning to Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to live a as a prosperous storeowner.

"In war, you see all this suffering on both sides," Ramirez said. "You're hurt and you hurt others. After a while, you're wondering if you're going to make it to the next day. And then you get to a point where you don't care anymore.

Fortino S Quintana


Fortino S. Quintana's dream was to be a pilot for the Air Force. Quintana's dream was never realized, however, due to ear problems later attributed to a tumor.

Since he couldn't fly, he did the next best thing: repairing and maintained airplanes as a member of the 810th Air Division at Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas, a training center for B-17, B-24 and B-29 crews during World War II.

Abraham Eleuterio Moreno


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 States as World War II developed.

Moreno was born in 1912 in Monterrey, Mexico, one of nine children. His father, Abraham Moreno Villarreal, had been a merchant and a winery administrator through the difficult years of Mexico's war. Abraham lost his fortune because of the revolution, Moreno says.

Jesus Castro


By Anthony Sobotik

At 30 years of age, Jesus Castro was one of the older soldiers drafted for duty during World War II. However, this soldier and father of six children wasn't about to let his age hinder his dedication or performance.

Henry A Bebon


By Marisa Galvan

Not everyone in World War II worked on the front lines or manned the battleships. There were those who served behind the lines, who provided basic services and support and who were often taken for granted.

Henry A. Bebon never felt his contributions during the war were any less than any other soldier. He did what he was ordered to do and carried out his assignments accordingly.

Bebon was stationed in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, assigned to work in the officer's club. He performed any number of jobs needing to be done while there.

Jose Guadalupe Garza


By Liliana Martinez

When Jose Guadalupe Garza was in the 9th grade in Brownsville, Texas, in 1937, his Anglo teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"I told her I wanted to be a lawyer, but she told me that I wanted to fly too high because that career required a lot of money and I didn't have it," Garza said. "I got discouraged so I got out of school."