Marines

Jesus Ochoa


By Raquel C. Garza

As a child, Jesus Ochoa once spent the 16th of September, a Mexican holiday celebrating independence from Spain, at home with his family. When he returned to school the next day, his teacher admonished him, saying missing classes was inappropriate because he was an American, not a Mexican.

When Ochoa returned from World War II, September 16 took on a new meaning -- he came back to the United States a veteran after being injured in battle.

Carlos Guerra Samarron


By Cliff Despres

Three weeks after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Charles "Carlos" Guerra Samarron, of San Antonio, Texas, joined the fight and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, beginning a four-year stint in the military and opening the door for a lifetime of memories.

As part of the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Samarron would survive perilous beach assaults on the islands of Guam and Iwo Jima, face down the possibility of invading Japan and exit the war in 1946 with a new perspective on life.

Andrew Aguirre


By Kathryn Tomasovic

Andrew Aguirre's youth was overwhelmed with battlefield events that continue to haunt him to this day.

Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas, on Jan. 4, 1925, and moved to San Diego three years later.

Growing up during the Great Depression, Aguirre's parents, Maximo and Sara Aguirre, struggled to feed and clothe nine children. All 11 members of the family lived in a tiny home, about 480 squared feet -- two rooms of about 12 feet wide and 20 feet long, with an outdoor toilet and a faucet for drinking water in the back.

Guy Gabaldon


By Ruchika Joshi

Guy Gabaldon said he stopped counting how many people he was taking prisoner in Saipan during World War II. But in a 1957 episode of the television program, "This Is Your Life," his fellow Marines credited him with single-handedly capturing more than 1,500 Japanese soldiers and civilians.

He was hero at 18. In 1960, a movie was made of his life, called "Hell to Eternity." But the role of Gabaldon was changed from being a short Mexican American from East Los Angeles to the tall, blue-eyed Jeffrey Hunter.