CO

Anthony Duane Lopez


By Anjli Mehta

Looking back on his childhood, Anthony D. Lopez chuckled to himself and said, “Yeah, I was a runaround kid.” Maybe it was all that running around that got him through years of combat leading up to the liberation of the Philippines during World War II.

In an interview in Denver, his hometown, Lopez described how his adventurous streak in his childhood became one of his strengths while he fought for his country. He re-enlisted twice while in the 82nd Airborne Division, and he later served in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1950.

Robert Lee Urioste

Ernesto Torres


By Grant Abston

After his graduation from Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver in 1969, Ernesto Torres developed a hobby -- racing cars.

Torres, who registered for the draft after graduation, had trouble finding steady work after getting his diploma. Although he worked part time at the Columbine Country Club in high school, the draft affected his job search.

Daniel Thomas Archuleta


By Jonathan Woo

War can affect people in ways that no one can anticipate. Daniel Archuleta, a Vietnam War medic and Bronze Star recipient, might understand what Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn meant when he wrote: "Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction."

Raymond Phile Alvarado


By Mary Margaret Tobin

It was Nov. 26, 1943, and Pvt. Raymond Alvarado played poker with his buddies on the HMT Rohna as it sailed along the coast of Algeria. The soldiers were relaxed. They chatted about their wives and girlfriends back home, about the smells of home-cooked Thanksgiving meals, about the comfort of a real bed.

Alvarado remembered he was dealt a good hand. “I had a dead man’s hand: aces and queens.” Little did he know that a few hours later the reality of death would be all around him.

Rose P. Sandoval


By Gabrielle Muñoz

When Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Rose Sandoval was nearly 5,500 miles away in Torres, Colo., where she grew up on her family’s cattle ranch. But like countless others, Sandoval experienced the war in the confines of her own home when her oldest brother, Leo Vallejos, was deployed overseas as a member of the Army. Her brother’s military service brought the war to Torres, located in the mountains of southern Colorado 30 miles northwest of Trinidad.

Juan Ramon Alires


By Xochitl Salazar

Juan Ramon Alires was already the father of two children, with another baby on the way, when he went to war as part of the 11th Armored Division.

Alires was drafted into the Army and assigned to the 11th Armored Division, known as the Thunderbolt Division, in 1944 at the age of 25. He was the second in his family to serve in WWII; Maximinio, his older brother, served four years.

Jose Fuljencio Martinez


By Tony Cantú

Jose Fuljencio Martinez remembers the minutest details of his tour of duty's defining moment, his unit's surrender at Bataan, recalling virtually every tear and each bead of sweat he shed as he faced his captors.

"I could feel the tears coming down. They would burn. And then a drop of sweat would run down. It would be so cold and all of a sudden it would burn like fire! Like you got a lit match and put it against your skin."

Charles Trujillo


By Melissa Duran

Charles "Junior" Trujillo remembers clearly the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Hearing the reports on the radio didn’t give him a good understanding of what war was about.

"If you have never been into it [war], you cannot comprehend what it really is," Trujillo said, "No matter how good of an imagination you have."

But at the young age of 18, Trujillo was about to get his first taste of war.

Anthony Olivas


By Mayella Gonzalez

Tony Olivas' mother always told him and his brothers during World War II not to volunteer for the Army -- to wait until they were drafted.

"Don't volunteer. Let them come after you," Olivas recalls his mother saying around the time political and military tensions were running high between the United States and Japan, and Washington was warning military commanders to be on guard throughout the Pacific.