Korean Conflict

Luis J. Landin

By Brett Alexander

"When you get ambushed, you're supposed to get killed."

That's what the Army tells every soldier during training, Luis Landin said.

"But for me," he added, "my life consisted of events that weren't normal, so I knew what I had to do when the chips were down."

Robert L. Cardenas

By Rachel Platis

In 1939, National Guard Pvt. Robert Cardenas was in the final stage of obtaining a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology, having just completed two years of pre-engineering study at San Diego State College. In one hand, he held a letter regarding the scholarship; in the other, a letter from his commanding officer:

“Welcome, Private Cardenas, we are going to the Philippines,” Cardenas recalled the communiqué reading.

Belisario & Mrs. Flores

By J. Barrett Williams

Brigadier General Belisario Flores, who served his country for more than 40 years during three wars, retired from the Texas Air National Guard and the United States Air Force in the summer of 1986. Upon his retirement, then-Gov. Mark White gave him a one-rank, honorary promotion, making him a Major General in the Texas National Guard.

Moses Aleman

By Cheryl Smith Kemp

When Moses “Moe” Alemán’s parents emigrated from Mexico to Austin, Texas, as children, the horse and buggy was one of the most common modes of transportation and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was a bunch of farmland.

That’s where Arturo Alemán and Antonia Garza first met, in the community encompassing the fields in which their parents both labored.

Harold Valderas

By Courtney Mahaffey

On Dec. 7, 1941, Harold Valderas, then a senior at George Washington High School in New York City, was doing his homework while listening to the radio when he heard the report about Pearl Harbor.

"Little did I realize, before long, I'd be in the service myself," Valderas said.

In the spring of 1942, at the age of 18, Valderas dropped out of high school early to enlist in the Army Air Corp Cadet Program. (There wasn’t a draft for 18- year-olds at the time.)

Rodolfo Alaniz

By Rajesh Reddy

In the spring of 1945, 16-year-old Rodolfo “Rudy” Alaniz's older brother Ricardo, a rifleman with the 8th Infantry Division, was killed in Germany, an event that would alter young Alaniz’s life.

"I presented my brother's flag to my mother," said Alaniz, about Ricardo's burial. "That was the saddest part of my life."

George M Castañeda

By Maureen King

It had always been a fascination to him, something he’d seen in the movies.

He knew he could do it and do it better than anyone else, he says, because he was a Mexican. The fascination: jumping out of an airplane.

The challenge led George M. Castañeda to serve as an Army paratrooper in the 11th Airborne Division during the Korean War.

"I'd do it again if they asked me to," Castañeda said. "If I had to go, I'd go on to the airborne. It's in my blood. That's when you know what you're made of. Either you got it or you don't got it."

Felipe Soliz

By Susan Miller

Felipe and Mary Soliz live in a well-kept, modest house in a quiet neighborhood right at the entrance to town. Their home is filled with flags and war portraits in every corner. Mr. Soliz is a veteran of WWII and the Korean Conflict.

"We love the flag; we honor it and we protect it," he said.

Soliz, 72, was a technician for the U.S. Air Force in WWII; during the Korean Conflict, he did administrative and technical work. He retired from the Air Force in 1967.