Korean Conflict

Francisco Armando Ríos Padilla


By Bryce Spadafora, St. Bonaventure University

During the Korean War, Francisco Ríos Padilla, a high school dropout, was determined to leave Denver, Colorado. One day, he walked past a Coast Guard recruiting station on 15th Street. He went in and enlisted on March 10, 1950.

“I didn’t tell anybody,” Ríos Padilla said. “They sent me to Cape May, New Jersey. I jumped at the chance to get out of Denver.”

Carlos Rudolph Quijano Sr.


By Stephanie De Luna

Carlos R. Quijano, a native of San Antonio’s west side, never imagined that his future would include world travel and achievements most people couldn’t accomplish in two lifetimes. Over 23 years, he served in both the Marines and Air Force and participated in military operations in Korea and Vietnam.

Philip Cervantes


Philip Cervantes mastered the science of destruction as a specialist in explosives and demolition in a military career during the earliest years of the Cold War.

Born in East Los Angeles, California, in 1929, Cervantes was the fourth of 11 children. His mother, Catalina Rodarte, tended to the household, and his father, Antonio Cervantes, was a carpenter in the construction business, venturing to destinations where work was available.

Cervantes began to work with his father while attending junior high school. He spent his Saturdays watering down concrete for him.

Tereso Reza


By Michael John Loffredo, St. Bonaventure University

While many Navy sailors stepped foot on land to fight for the United States during the Korean War, Tereso Reza spent his years of service working aboard a ship. While not seeing action bothered him at times, he recalls his experience as "pleasant," and he returned unharmed.

Reza was born in East Los Angeles, California, on Sept. 23, 1931, to Salvador Reza and Maria Berroteran. He was the second-oldest of seven brothers and sisters.

Hector Albert Padilla


By John Mazzullo

A lifelong athlete and a trailblazing educator and coach, Hector Albert Padilla is no stranger to the discipline, hard work and camaraderie that goes into assembling a strong team.

Padilla was born in Tucson, Arizona, on March 22, 1930, to Manuel and Concepcion Juarez Padilla. His father worked as a boilermaker for Southern Pacific Railroad, and his mother was a seamstress.

Samuel Padilla Echeveste


By Hayley Stern, Rutgers University

An elementary school teacher told Samuel Echeveste he would one day be defending his country.

The young boy sitting in that classroom in Miami, Arizona (about 70 miles east of Phoenix), would fulfill that prophecy, finishing basic training and being sent to the Korean War before his 20th birthday.

Echeveste never saw himself becoming a decorated war veteran serving the U.S. during a time when he was not accepted by his fellow Americans.

Alejandro M. Lizárraga


The late 1940s and 1950s were tense times in America. Fear of Communism was spreading, and Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union were growing. In 1950, communist North Korea sent troops into South Korea, and the U.S. came to South Korea’s aid, in accordance with its treaty obligation. President Harry S. Truman declared a national emergency: From 1950 through 1953, 1.5 million men were drafted and another 1.3 million volunteered for military service.

Louis Joseph Lopez


By the Voces Staff

Louis Lopez had a distinguished 29-year career as a police office in Denver. Long before community policing was a widely adopted practice, he focused on establishing good relationships with the minority communities where he worked, to defuse tensions with a department that was mostly Anglo and sometimes hostile.

He faced bigotry from some of his colleagues but never let it slow him down.

Angel Montenegro


By Danny Frank

If Angel Montenegro could live his life over again, he would not change a thing.

Since childhood, the Army veteran has made a habit of making the best of his opportunities.

Ramon Vasquez Lugo


By Mary Gould

When Ramon Lugo reminisces about his life, he speaks of hard work on farm fields as a child and on battlefields as a young man.

Once the Lugo children got old enough, they worked in the fields, picking cotton, carrots and cantaloupe during the summers in their hometown, Glendale, Arizona.

“I guess you’d call it child labor now. It was rough,” he said.

The family lived in the barrio on the other side of the railroad tracks from Anglos. "The tracks were like a divider: 'You guys belong there,' " he said.