San Angelo

Arnold Garcia

By Jonathan Woo

Arnold Garcia Jr. had never felt more powerful in his life.

The West Texas native sat by himself in the barracks on base in Illesheim, West Germany, when a fellow soldier named Horton -- who never hid his disdain toward Garcia -- asked him to read a letter he received from his girlfriend. Horton, an illiterate, was eager to know the contents of the letter and the barracks were empty on pay day.

Though Garcia admitted wanting to make up a story, knowing that Horton would have had little choice but to believe him, he read the letter without deceit.

Hector Sanchez

By Lindsey Craun

When 18-year-old Hector Sanchez learned he had been drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam just three months after his high school graduation, he knew that he had to face the reality, look forward to the challenge and remain optimistic.

“I believed out of the goodness of my heart, to me, this is the best country you can live in,” Sanchez recalled. “And if you want to live in this country, you've got to fight for your country."

Meregildo Carrillo

By Shamoyita DasGupta

Meregildo Carrillo harbors no regrets.

A decorated soldier, Carrillo served in World War II in France in the 79th Infantry Division, both despite and because of his own personal battles.

Born in San Angelo, Texas, on April 13, 1924, Carrillo’s mother left him in the care of his grandparents when she remarried. For several years, he said he was shuttled back and forth between families in different Texas cities.

Throughout his childhood, and even for several years after the war, Carrillo lived on meager finances.

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