Ernest J. Montoya

By Isis Romero

While many 18-year-olds are getting ready for college and planning their senior trips, teenagers living in the early 1940s got ready for something else, and took trips of a different sort.

Ernest J. Montoya was one of those teenagers. Born in 1925 to farmers from Colorado, Montoya remembers the day he left for the Army.

"I didn't join the service. I was drafted," Montoya said. "I knew there was a war going on ... I didn't realize how serious it was to get drafted."

Frank Arellano

By Veronica Sainz

In the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, 22-year-old Frank Arellano had just gone down for breakfast at Schoffield Barracks, on the Hawiian Island of Oahu, when he heard the sound of machine guns firing. He looked up and saw a group of planes diving to the left.

"I could see the red rising sun on them and I noticed their wheels were down," Arrellano said in an interview last fall.

Joseph Marion Autobee

By Joseph Money

Joe Autobee, of Publo, Colorado, grew accustomed to the taste of whiskey during his WWII service. As an Air Corps gunner pilot during World War II, he was given a sandwich and a glass of whiskey at the end of every raid.

While Autobee wasn't sure how the service had made their choice of refreshments, he took it just the same.

"I think whiskey's good for your nerves," Autobee guessed.

Ceprian Armijo

By Silky Shah

Ceprian Armijo started working on nearby farms with his father in his hometown of Avondale, Colorado when he was at about 8 years old. Little did he know that nearly ten years later he would be going off to fight in World War II in Europe.

Armijo spent most of his time in the war moving through the European mainland, experiencing the realities of war that most people only hear about. Despite being seriously wounded and witnessing the death and destruction of the war, Armijo can now look back upon his WWII experiences as a time of growth.