Richard Manriquez

By Jordan Haeger

Richard Manriquez served one tour in Vietnam, and he came back a changed man. He saw dead Americans, 15-year-old Vietnamese prostitutes and young suicide bombers.

It took him a long time to begin to heal.

"War has torn my soul," he said.

Manriquez, an auto mechanic turned body collector, witnessed things in Vietnam that haunted him the rest of his life.

The bitterness and sadness Manriquez felt were clear in writings he recorded at his therapist's request. He provided copy of his written story to Voces.

Alfred Hurtado

By Cara Seo, California State University, Fullerton

If anyone deserves to be called an American war hero it's Alfred Hurtado.

He survived the Normandy Invasion as well as the Battle of the Bulge and received 11 medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf clusters and the Distinguished Unit Citation with three Oak Leaf clusters, just to name a few.

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.

Juan F. Guajardo

By Anna Kavich

For Juan Guajardo, life before and after Vietnam was just as traumatic as the five months he spent overseas. From growing up surrounded by gang fights to struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, the decorated U.S. Army veteran, who would become a leader of the Brown Berets and a civil rights advocate in San Antonio, continuously fought for his health and happiness at home.

Edmundo Nieto

By Chelsea Franklin

Through his service during World War II, Edmundo Nieto learned about the hardships and horrors of war but also experienced different cultures, met a wide array of people, and participated in once-in-a-lifetime experiences that ultimately became part of history.

Just over 90 years old at the time of his interview, Nieto was all smiles and laughter when recounting those long gone days of his 20s.

Benny C. Martinez

By Jackie Rapp


Benny Martinez was born a helper.


He served as a medic in the Korean War. He taught unruly 6th graders. He once delivered a baby in the back seat of a car. He encourages kids to stay in school and pursue higher education.


“The best thing we can do here is to educate the children,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”


But when Martinez started the first grade in Goliad, Texas, in 1940, he hated school.