By Gina Ross
World War II gave Xavier Pelaez many gruesome experiences -- from witnessing the horror of a concentration camp to the pain of being wounded in battle.
Pelaez was born in Los Angeles in 1925, his parents having moved from Nogales, Mexico, before he was born. His mother, Graciela Preciado, was a homemaker and his namesake father did various jobs wherever he could find work.
Pelaez graduated from Fremont High School in 1943, but knew his immediate future was with the service.