George S. Vasquez

By Krystal De los Santos

When George S. Vasquez was separated from his unit during the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, he lived by his wits behind enemy lines for a month

“The whole company had just vanished in the dark,” Vasquez said.

Company K of the 424th Infantry Regiment, 106th Army Infantry Division, had been defending its positions, trying to keep the Germans from marching on to Belgium, when its members were surrounded.

“One night the company commander says we couldn’t hold anymore ... so we infiltrated out,” he said.

Augustine Martinez

By Angela Macias

Augustinee Martinez knew little about being a solider when his 65th Infantry Division reached La Havre, France.

Though Martinez trained at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and then in France for more than a month before hitting the front lines in March of 1945, he wasn't prepared for the intense battle his division entered.

"Two, three days [in combat], you learn everything," Martinez said.

He found himself holding the Saarlautern Bridge in Germany. The rifleman got his first glimpse at the German forces as they threw flares into the air to find U.S. soldiers.

Manuel Joseph Aguirre

By Angela Macias

Manuel Aguirre’s small stature prevented him from joining the Marines, but it didn’t keep him from doing his part in the war effort.

After hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt tell the nation the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Aguirre knew he had to get into the service somehow.

"What's going to happen now, I wonder," said Aguirre of his thoughts after hearing the news on the radio. "I thought if I had to go, I'd go."