El Paso

Teodoro Franco

By Cheryl Smith

Looking at the elderly man in the brown fedora and navy blue dress coat, preening his snowy mustache with a miniature comb from his shirt pocket, one would never suspect the turbulent road he has followed throughout his life.

Teodoro Franco was unaware of battles raging overseas before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He wasn't supposed to get drafted, he said, because he had a bad back; however, he entered the Army in 1942 without protest.

Ramon C. Flores

By Cari Hammerstrom

Ramon C. Flores was 64 years old when the Persian Gulf War began. Struck with pangs of patriotism, the World War II veteran promptly showed up at the recruitment office and tried to enlist, but was turned away because of his age.

"I can still handle a gun," Flores said. "I was tired of being a civilian."

Moises Flores

By Deborah Bonn

During a brief trip home from the war in Japan, Moises Flores surprised a whole colony in Mexico that thought he’d been killed in combat.

Among those shocked by Flores' return was the sheriff in Chihuahua, Mexico’s Colonia Dublan, the town in which Flores was raised. Although he’d been born 200 miles across the border in Los Angeles, Flores was well known in the town where he spent his formative years. The lawman had heard of Flores' heroics abroad, and wanted to discover just how brave he really was.

Luis Reyes Davila

By Liliana Velazquez

Lying on the deck of the USS Tripoli on a quiet night on the Pacific Ocean, Luis Reyes Davila felt at peace in a time of war. During this brief respite from battle, with the soothing waves splashing against the aircraft carrier and the twinkling stars above, he thought of the peaceful life back in El Paso, Texas, that he left behind to serve his country.

"I used to think about home, how things would be back home," Davila said.

Jose Eriberto Adame

By Lindsay Blau

Jose "Joe" Eriberto Adame saw combat in one of the most defining events of World War II -- the Battle of Normandy. But one of his most vivid memories is at the genesis of America's involvement in the conflict -- the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

"We heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been attacked or bombed," recalled Adame, who was a senior in high school. "Everybody knew that when the Japanese did the sneak attack, the United States would have to go to war and they did."

Ernesto Pedregón Martinez

By Nikki Muñoz

Before he reached the age of 22, Ernesto Pedregón Martinez had already worked as a painter of bullfighting posters, helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp and returned home to start a new life, which would eventually lead to his becoming a nationally known artist.

Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1926 to a hardworking tailor and a mother who was a homemaker. Martinez proved to be a survivor: All six babies his mother bore died at birth before he was born.

Albert Armendariz

By Shannon Owens

Albert Armendariz has practiced law in Texas for over 50 years. The 81-year-old WWII veteran spends many weekends driving to represent his immigrant clients in West Texas who are trapped in the legal system.

"It's like Mohammed and the mountain," he said. "If the mountain can't come to Mohammed, Mohammed has to go to the mountain and we go and see the people."

Narciso Garcia

By Scott Reister

To become an Air Cadet in the Army's World War II training program, one had to display physical and mental superiority. Cadets had to be the best of the best, and follow a path of intense training in preparation for military service. Former Staff Sgt. Narciso Garcia knew he had what it took, including the ability to remain humble.

"Cadets were treated like ultra-special people," Garcia said. "Our superiors ... constantly built us up and told us how great we were. Some guys really believed it, but I never let it get to me."