San Diego

Robert L. Cardenas


By Rachel Platis

In 1939, National Guard Pvt. Robert Cardenas was in the final stage of obtaining a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology, having just completed two years of pre-engineering study at San Diego State College. In one hand, he held a letter regarding the scholarship; in the other, a letter from his commanding officer:

“Welcome, Private Cardenas, we are going to the Philippines,” Cardenas recalled the communiqué reading.

Crisantos D. Botello


By Patrick Lynch

The story of the Botello brothers – Crisantos, Gregorio, John, Simon and Trinidad, who all served during World War II – is one of honor and bravery. And thanks to another of the brothers, their tales of heroism won’t be lost to time.

Younger sibling Thomas D. Botello wrote a booklet called “Proud I Served” about his brothers’ service in WWII, also detailing his family’s struggles back home. The narratives included present a glimpse into history from the perspective of a Mexican American family during that era.

John D. Botello


By Patrick Lynch

The story of the Botello brothers – Crisantos, Gregorio, John, Simon and Trinidad, who all served during World War II – is one of honor and bravery. And thanks to another of the brothers, their tales of heroism won’t be lost to time.

Younger sibling Thomas D. Botello wrote a booklet called “Proud I Served” about his brothers’ service in WWII, also detailing his family’s struggles back home. The narratives included present a glimpse into history from the perspective of a Mexican American family during that era.

Simon D. Botello


By Patrick Lynch

The story of the Botello brothers – Crisantos, Gregorio, John, Simon and Trinidad, who all served during World War II – is one of honor and bravery. And thanks to another of the brothers, their tales of heroism won’t be lost to time.

Younger sibling Thomas D. Botello wrote a booklet called “Proud I Served” about his brothers’ service in WWII, also detailing his family’s struggles back home. The narratives included present a glimpse into history from the perspective of a Mexican American family during that era.

Trinidad D. Botello


By Patrick Lynch

The story of the Botello brothers – Crisantos, Gregorio, John, Simon and Trinidad, who all served during World War II – is one of honor and bravery. And thanks to another of the brothers, their tales of heroism won’t be lost to time.

Younger sibling Thomas D. Botello wrote a booklet called “Proud I Served” about his brothers’ service in WWII, also detailing his family’s struggles back home. The narratives included present a glimpse into history from the perspective of a Mexican American family during that era.

Lorenzo Falcon


By Karina Valenzuela

The Falcon family's military service extends beyond four brothers' time in World War II.

Frank Bonilla


By Anne Quach

Frank Bonilla planned to attend college after finishing high school, but within two weeks of graduation, he was drafted into the Army to fight in World War II.

Daniel L. Munoz


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 being arrested. Today, he’s the publisher of La Prensa San Diego, a newspaper that allows his words to be read by nearly 35,000 readers every week.

Domingo Zatarian


By Donetta Nagle

Domingo Zatarian looked on a map and set out to find his brother's division shortly after the Battle of the Bulge had ended in Europe.

And he found him. There was Marty in a ditch, doing the last thing Zatarian would have imagined: singing the song "Swinging on the Star."

"He was singing 'Would you rather be a mule?' or some such thing," said Zatarian, a smile on his thin lips.

Jesus Ochoa


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 classes was inappropriate because he was an American, not a Mexican.

When Ochoa returned from World War II, September 16 took on a new meaning -- he came back to the United States a veteran after being injured in battle.