Gilbert Paul Sanchez

By Cara Henis

Gilbert Sanchez not only survived the Pacific typhoon of 1944 that capsized three U.S. Navy destroyers and killed 790 people, he also witnessed the largest aircraft carrier skirmish in the Pacific during the Battle of the Philippines Sea that same year.

Serving as a Navy radioman aboard the USS Macdonough, Sanchez took part in nine military offensives across the Pacific. He also witnessed the sinking of a Japanese submarine near New Guinea in April 1944 and the shelling of enemy troops in January of that year on Parry Island, in the Marshall Islands.

Delfina Josepha Lujan Cuellar

By Amanda Crawford

Delfina Lujan Cuellar grew up in Albuquerque, N.M., at a time when girls were expected to become mothers and wives. Like many Mexican American girls of her generation, she wasn’t allowed to attend school after the eighth grade.

"We were very deprived of getting more education," Cuellar said. "They thought that we would be too free and have babies before marriage and things like that, and so I didn't go to high school."

Antonio Trujillo

By Elizabeth Robertson

Despite the terror surrounding him on the mountainous Japanese island of Okinawa during World War II, Marine Cpl. Antonio Trujillo always found himself volunteering for missions that no one else wanted.

He’d been told repeatedly by fellow soldiers to hold back and not volunteer for dangerous assignments. But for Trujillo, volunteering was a matter of pride.

Alfredo Cordova

By Julia Zwick

Seventy-nine-year-old Alfredo Cordova is one of the thousands of American men and women who served in the Army during World War II. His story starts in a poor town in New Mexico and takes him to California and Europe, and eventually back to his friends and family in New Mexico.

"My parents were very good people," Cordova said. "My wife and I took care of them when they were older, and we enjoyed doing it."

Robert John Chavez

By Shan Dunn

One night in December of 1941, the world changed for Robert John Chavez. He was in the 9th grade and a 15-year-old teenager, attending a dance marathon, when word came over the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Not long after, Chavez dropped out of school and went to California, where he worked in a shipyard, assisting in the construction of U.S. warships. He worked there until he was drafted on Sept. 4, 1944.

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