Gregorio D. Botello

By Patrick Lynch

The story of the Botello brothers – Crisantos, Gregorio, John, Simon and Trinidad, who all served during World War II – is one of honor and bravery. And thanks to another of the brothers, their tales of heroism won’t be lost to time.

Younger sibling Thomas D. Botello wrote a booklet called “Proud I Served” about his brothers’ service in WWII, also detailing his family’s struggles back home. The narratives included present a glimpse into history from the perspective of a Mexican American family during that era.

Manuel Perez, Jr.

Twenty-two-year-old Manuel Pérez, Jr. was killed in action on March 14, 1945, on the road to Santo Tomas in Southern Luzon in the Philippine Islands.

Private First Class Pérez served as a paratrooper in the 11th Air Borne Infantry Division and was the lead scout for Company A of the 511th Parachute Infantry. A month before he was killed by a sniper bullet, he’d qualified for the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor. On Feb. 28, 1945, he wrote the following to his uncle, Private Jesse Pérez, who was also in the South Pacific:

Ralph Antuna

By Cheyenne Cozzalio

Brothers Ralph and Philip Antuna can joke now about the food they had to eat while stationed in Europe in 1944. But underneath the laughter is a note of relief they made it out of Europe alive after fighting in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

Sitting comfortably in his cozy living room in Hegewisch, Ill., a community located on the southeast side of Chicago, Ralph Antuna, 83, recalls how he had to search through knapsacks of dead German soldiers to find cold cuts, hunks of Limburger cheese and hard bread.

Joe A. Arambula

By Michael Taylor

According to Joe Arambula, a veteran of some World War II's most intense battles in the European Theater, there is such a thing as being too careful in war. Seeing men killed for being too cautious made Arambula decide he'd rely on the powers that be.

Though he lost two brothers and his unit was hit hard during the fighting, the prospect of not returning from the war never crossed Arambula's mind.

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