Navy

Henry A Bebon


By Marisa Galvan

Not everyone in World War II worked on the front lines or manned the battleships. There were those who served behind the lines, who provided basic services and support and who were often taken for granted.

Henry A. Bebon never felt his contributions during the war were any less than any other soldier. He did what he was ordered to do and carried out his assignments accordingly.

Bebon was stationed in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, assigned to work in the officer's club. He performed any number of jobs needing to be done while there.

Hector Acedo


By Melanie Kudzia

Hector Acedo was 19 and World War II had been in full swing for three years when an older friend who’d already been drafted said: "Let's join the Navy."

Acedo’s response: "Sure, well let's go."

After getting sworn in, the two friends were told to be at the bus station at midnight, where they’d leave for boot camp in San Diego, Calif. So began their naval experiences.

Beatrice Amado Kissinger


By Amanda Traphagan

World War II gave Beatrice Amado Kissinger a ticket out of her small-town life in southern Arizona and into the big city adventure of serving as a Navy nurse in San Francisco.

When the United States entered the war, Kissinger was a nursing student at a Catholic school -- and tired of the discipline.

Salvador V. Aguilar


By Joel Weickgenant

Salvador Aguilar remembers lonesome nights aboard the cargo ship he served on during World War II. On many nights, he and fellow sailors and troops were forced to lie in the dark, ordered not make any sounds. It was frustrating -- the trips across the Pacific were long and the troops were often prohibited from engaging in conversations that could be picked up by Japanese submarines swimming the waters like sharks.

Oscar Villarreal


By Rachel Howell

At 16, Oscar Villarreal was too young to vote in 1943, but he wasn’t too young to serve his country in World War II by joining the Navy.

Arthur Tenorio


By Melissa Watkins

Arthur "Chavalito" Tenorio spent Dec. 6, 1941, at a hotel in Honolulu playing craps with a fellow sailor. He lost the game, but a hotel employee warned the pair it didn't matter, because after tomorrow, they wouldn't be around. Tenorio awoke aboard the USS New Orleans the next morning, a day that will live in infamy.

Baptized Arturo, Tenorio was born June 5, 1924, in Las Vegas, N.M., to Merenciano Tenorio and Ophelia Lucero, who Tenorio describes as a tough street fighter and spoiled rich girl.

Tenorio was small for his age.

Henry Sillik


By Brandon Rawe

It was a time in America's history when communities were racially segregated and shunning minorities was accepted.

But none of that mattered during World War II to Henry Sillik, who served on a naval ship in the middle of the China-Burma-India Theater, the first racially equal setting in which he says he ever lived.

Sillik grew up in Buckeye, Ariz., a segregated town of about 600 outside of Phoenix. Sillik, who is of Anglo and Latino parentage, noticed the different standard of living for Hispanics.

Daniel L. Munoz


By Allison Baxter

Dan Muñoz, Sr. grew up in the small community of San Fernando, Calif., a town that was segregated by race. At that time, he couldn’t even go to the white part of town after dark to go to a movie house without the fear of being arrested. Today, he’s the publisher of La Prensa San Diego, a newspaper that allows his words to be read by nearly 35,000 readers every week.

Pete Moraga


By Yvonne Lim

Growing up in the segregated town of Tempe, Ariz., during the late 1930s, Peter "Pete" Moraga recalls feeling nervous about public speaking.

Despite those early fears, Moraga, a World War II Navy veteran who served in the Pacific, fashioned a life as a journalist that consistently affirmed "La Voz Mexicana," or "the Mexican voice.” He worked with government radio program Voice of America, CBS Radio and, finally, at a Spanish-language television station.

Higinio Albelo


By Luisito Caleon

The choppy seas north of Scotland were dark.

A dense fog enveloped the Navy ship loaded with ammunition destined for Normandy, the site of the beginning of the end of World War II.

The ship, on its way to help with the liberation of France, was stuck on uncharted rocks, and Higinio Albelo remembers he and his mates thought they were facing death.

"It was a 27-man gun crew. We were supposed to take care of the guns on ship and take care of the cargo. We were in a big convoy of close to 250 ships," Albelo said.