San Antonio

Luis Aguilar Calderon

Soon after his 18th birthday, Luis A. Calderon was drafted into the Army. He fought with the 75th Infantry Division for 94 consecutive days ending on April 13, 1945. That relatively short period of time in his life would have lasting effects on him and his family.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the temperature was 10 below zero, causing Calderon to develop frostbite. The medics merely sprayed his feet and sent him back to fighting.

Delfina Cooremans Baladez

By Kim Loop

Sisters Wilhelmina Cooremans Vasquez, 79, and Delfina Cooremans Baladez, 81, have done nearly everything together throughout their lives, including joining the workforce during World War II.

In early 1942, when the United States was mobilizing to join the war in Europe and the Pacific, the two sisters were eager to help.

Francisco Xavier Jacques

By Hiram Jacques

When he attempted to join the military after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Francisco “Frank” Xavier Jacques of the West Texas town of Sweetwater was turned away because of his lack of education; he’d only been to the third grade. But on August 18, 1942, Jacques was drafted and inducted into the Army Air Corps, where he would serve as a side areal ILO gunner.

Elena V. Ortiz

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.

Henry Martinez Guerra

By Lindsay Fitzpatrick

From the fields of west Texas to the beaches of Normandy, Henry Guerra has fought adverse conditions to succeed. He spent much of his young life under the scorching Texas sun, picking cotton, spinach and radishes, and later participated in some of the most gruesome battles of World War II.

Marcelino Ramirez Bautista

Shortly after Marcelino Ramirez Bautista’s mother, Petra Ramirez, died in 1916, Bautista’s father took young Bautista with him when he left Zacatecas, Mexico, for New Mexico in search of work.

When Tiburcio Bautista lost his job in the United States, he and Bautista moved back to Mexico, where Bautista later met and married Anastacia Muñez Robles on June 7, 1930, in Zacatecas.

Noé Sandoval

By Amy K. Williams

Down in a foxhole in the midst of World War II Germany, Noé Sandoval, Jr. looked up to see a soldier standing at 6 feet 4 inches staring down at him saying, “Get the hell out of there. This is my foxhole. Go dig your own.”

Rafaela Navarro Juarez

By Rebecca De Leon

At the age of 18, Rafaela Navarro’s faith was tested. In 1942, her soon-to-be husband, Anastacio Juarez, was called to fight in World War II, leaving her and his family to fret about his safety.

Anastacio’s cousin was Rafaela’s brother-in-law, so the two families had known each other since Rafaela and Anastacio were very young. Both Rafaela and Anastacio grew up in San Marcos, Texas, as well as attended the same Catholic church, Sacred Heart of Mary, in nearby Martindale.

So when Anastacio returned from the war in 1946, he and Rafaela got married.

Richard Ortiz

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 for him, too.

“Man, if you can go to college, I can go to college,” Ortiz recalled saying to himself.

With aspirations of becoming a pharmacist, he knew he needed more education. He also knew he didn’t have the money for tuition.

Juventino Guerra

BY Juliana Torres

Raised in small towns and on ranches, Juventino Guerra never went far from home. Then WWII opened new opportunities to travel and learn other perspectives. He enlisted on Jan. 8, 1941, in San Antonio, Texas. Initially, he was promised two weeks to say goodbye to his family before leaving Texas. But the two weeks were reduced to a phone call in New Jersey just before shipping out on the USS Lusitania with the 324th Material Squadron, bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina.