Phoenix

Fernando Jimenez


By: Voces Staff

Juan Espinosa De La Garza


By the Voces Staff

Gunshots peppered the ground around Cpl. Juan De La Garza. The mud of the rice paddies filled his boots. He did not know where the shots were coming from, just that he had to get his men back to Hill 327, a base camp near Da Nang, Vietnam.

U.S. machine guns would protect the squad once they were close enough to the communication towers on the hill. His radioman became hysterical, but De La Garza could not afford to lose his cool. He had to get his men back safely.

Rita Abeytia Brock-Perini


By Ben Wermund

As a captain in the U.S. Air Force Nursing Corps, Rita Brock-Perini provided care to thousands of soldiers, as well as guidance to hundreds of nurses in the largest Air Force hospital in the United States during the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War.

Some of the soldiers, who were often drafted right out of high school, had suffered severe physical and psychological wounds. Caring for them took a toll on the younger nurses at the hospital, Brock-Perini recalled.

Rudolph Lopez


By Stephanie De Luna

Growing up in Phoenix, Rudolph “Rudy” Lopez knew that he was destined to serve in the military. Born in 1946, Lopez grew up in a close-knit family with a long line of military war heroes.

“We were very much an all-American family. The military was just something that you do. That’s all there was to it,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s father was a member of the Army military police during World War II in France.

Ignacio Servín


By Miranda Bollinger

When Ignacio Servín volunteered during World War II for a mission so dangerous his commander wouldn’t even assign it to someone, he wasn’t even frightened. He wanted to do it.

"I just kept thinking, 'If I die, it will be for a great country,'" Servín said.

Salvador S Leon


By Melanie Boehm

Salvador León had a choice during World War II: either take the automatic deferment provided for a family's last son not in the military, or serve his country.

Salvador went anyway.

"My mom said, 'This country has been good to us, so you do what you think is right,'" León said.

And he did.

José María Burruel


By Laura Zvonek

As a child, José María Burruel's family lived in a shack on land that didn't belong them: They were, in essence, "squatters." And they were unwelcome. At night, the houses were pelted with stones.

"One morning, we got up, and there was a hole in the tent where the rock had come through the top of the tent and just barely missed my sister's head," Burruel recalled.

The other squatters living on Salt River Valley Project land in Arizona soon put a stop to the discrimination by blocking off both entrances to the territory.

Hector Acedo


By Melanie Kudzia

Hector Acedo was 19 and World War II had been in full swing for three years when an older friend who’d already been drafted said: "Let's join the Navy."

Acedo’s response: "Sure, well let's go."

After getting sworn in, the two friends were told to be at the bus station at midnight, where they’d leave for boot camp in San Diego, Calif. So began their naval experiences.

Gloria Flores Moraga


By Raquel C. Garza

Gloria Flores Moraga defied many social norms in her lifetime: She moved out on her own while single, attended college when most women were expected to stay home and even worked as a disc jockey at the first all-Spanish radio station in Phoenix, Arizona.

A "Depression baby," Moraga was born Dec. 5, 1930, in Phoenix, Ariz., only 14 months after the stock market crash of 1929. Her father, Manuel Flores, baled hay for 25 cents a day to support his wife, Anita Daniel Flores, and their new daughter.

José Jesus Urías


By Lynn Maguire

José Urías volunteered for tasks other men were loathe to do: combing the beaches of Normandy, littered with human remains; uncovering mines; going door-to-door in France in search of German soldiers hiding in private homes; and blowing up part of a castle that was a nest of enemy snipers.

Although Urías’ performance would earn him a Silver Star Medal and the admiration of his commanding officer and men, Urías says he was merely doing his job.