CA

Ramon Vasquez Lugo


By Mary Gould

When Ramon Lugo reminisces about his life, he speaks of hard work on farm fields as a child and on battlefields as a young man.

Once the Lugo children got old enough, they worked in the fields, picking cotton, carrots and cantaloupe during the summers in their hometown, Glendale, Arizona.

“I guess you’d call it child labor now. It was rough,” he said.

The family lived in the barrio on the other side of the railroad tracks from Anglos. "The tracks were like a divider: 'You guys belong there,' " he said.

David Valladolid


By Kassandra Balli

After almost getting his eyes blown out of his head by a mine in Vietnam, David Valladolid was hospitalized for three months. He lay flat in a bed in a hospital in Saigon for 30 days; doctors feared that if he moved and began to bleed, he would go blind. Today, doctors still say it is a miracle that he regained 90 percent of his eyesight.

Jesus Ramirez

Jesus Ramirez


By John Weber

Jesus "Chuy" Ramirez believed serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War taught him responsibility.

But even as a child, Ramirez, the oldest of four growing up on a farm in the Mexican municipality of Mexicali, Baja California, had many obligations.

He had many memories from a tough childhood. He recalled when his father kidnapped him and his three siblings after lying to school authorities about their grandmother's health. Ramirez's parents, Fortunato Ramirez and Maria Cecilia Navarro Ramos, had been involved in a custody battle.

Frank Aguerrebere


By Kimberly Tran, California State University, Fullerton

Although he never talked much about his wartime experiences, Frank Aguerrebere parachuted into the Normandy Invasion and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, two of the bloodiest and most decisive clashes of World War II.As an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, he he jumped over Normandy on June 6, 1944 and then over Holland in Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

Arnold V Cordova


By Matthew Pier, California State University, Fullerton

He was only a junior in high school, working a part-time job on Sept. 10, 1941, when Arnold Cordova received a government letter ordering him to report for military service. Once in the Army, Cordova did not recall very many other Latinos around him. They became even scarcer when he was chosen to be a surgical technician, a field in which he had no prior experience.

Rafael Flores


By Victoria Brown

Cal State, Fullerton

Rafael Flores put his life on hold when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II at the age of 22. His experiences in the Army not only matured him, but also changed his outlook on life as a Mexican American, he said.

Maximino Rodriguez


By Ashley Isordiam

>CSU, Fullerton

Maximino Rodriguez, who was 91 years old at the time of his interview, was unable to remember some of the details of his experiences, such as when and where he was wounded. But he clearly recalled other moments of hardship and tragedy. Rodriguez, a Mexican immigrant, was drafted in 1942 at the age of 21, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was not until Rodriguez received his draft card that his father realized the significance of World War II. Rodriguez’s father wanted him to move to Mexico to avoid going into the service.

Ramiro Castro


By Roxanne Telles, California State University, Fullerton

After dropping out of high school, Ramiro Castro was working as an electrician when he was drafted in 1943 into the U.S. Army during World War II. He would go on to use his expertise as part of his service--working with engineers and installing electrical services wherever they were needed.

Moses F. Diaz


By Trina Berberet

He may have been only 16 at the time, but Moses Diaz decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy because, as he recalled: “I didn’t want to miss out on the war.”

It was 1945, near the end of the World War II, and Diaz completed his basic training in San Diego.

It was his first time away from home and he often wrote letters home to see which of his family and friends had enlisted. His mother, Martina Diaz, had five sons serving in the military during World War II.