Emilio Portales

By Trent Lesikar

“All those bullets and none of them had my name on it,” Emilio Portales said with a laugh. Portales saw action on the front lines of U.S. Army campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany during World War II. He survived the 1944 invasion of Normandy, fought in much of the European campaign, and witnessed the liberation of a concentration camp in Germany.

Pablo B. Gonzales

By Christine Pev

On Dec. 7, 1941, 20-year-old Pablo Gonzales heard on the radio in his hometown of Sabinal, Texas, that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, and he immediately wanted to enlist in the military to help defend his country.

His mother, Julia Bocanegra Gonzales, wasn’t pleased. The second of 10 children and the oldest son, he was a significant contributor to the family’s income. Ever since Gonzales and his father, Rafael Gonzales, had worked together on a job mending fences and cutting cedar, they’d labored as a team.

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