Pedro Ramos Santana

By Gabriela Chabolla

One of 14 children born to parents who worked on a sugar plantation in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Pedro Ramos Santana built his life around hard work and accountability.

His father worked in the field, while his mother tended to the house of a woman named Nena Sabater. Ramos and his nine brothers and four sisters learned the value of hard work at an early age.

“(My parents) told me that a man’s worth is determined by two things,” said Ramos in Spanish, “his integrity and his word. I walked this world with this doctrine.”

Carmen García-Rosado

By Eduardo Miranda, California State University, Fullerton

While World War II was underway thousands of miles away, Carmen García Rosado, a young schoolteacher who lived in Caguas, Puerto Rico, saw in a local newspaper that the U.S. Army wanted to recruit Puerto Rican women to support the war effort.

Her curiosity piqued by the prospect of joining the military, García-Rosado made a decision that would change her life. She went on to be one of the 200 Puerto Rican women who traveled to the United States to serve with the Women Army Corps (WAC).

Antonia Santana

By Cindy Tapia, California State University, Fullerton

When you think about heroes, people that left everything they had to fight a war, you usually think about strong, buff men. But women also have served in the military along side of men.

One such woman was Antonia Santana.

Santana was raised in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. As a young girl she lived with her parents, five sisters, two brothers and her two grandmothers. She said 11 people living under the same roof was not as chaotic as one would think.

Ismael Nevarez

By Paul Brown

Ismael Nevarez was headed west across the Pacific Ocean aboard a troopship in early August of 1945. Countless other United States Navy vessels surrounded him as far as the eye could see, and they were all headed in the same direction.

With the Port of Seattle out of sight, this 19-year-old from a tiny village in Puerto Rico received the official word: He and his fellow soldiers were to take part in the invasion of Japan.

Arnold Feliu Garcia

Arnold Feliu Garcia was born in San German, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 19, 1911, to Andres Garcia Lopez and Celia Feliu Servera. As a boy in Puerto Rico, he met and fell in love with Tomasita “Tommi” Ribas of Ponce. They soon parted, however, as he, his mother and three brothers; Benjamin, Gilbert and Isaac; followed their father’s work to Cuba, Tampa, Fla., and, finally, New York.

Louis Angel Ramirez

By Jennifer Nalewicki

Luis Angel Ramirez has many memories of World War II.

But his strongest recollection is the camaraderie soldiers shared in his platoon, which helped Ramirez stay grounded while battling German soldiers on the front lines.

Ramirez considered the men in his platoon, the 102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, his family; especially since they were together from the time they began military training at Fort Dix in New Jersey and Fort Jackson in South Carolina in 1941 until the war's end in 1945.

José Blas García

By Doralis Perez-Soto

In December 1941, 18-year-old José Blas García traveled from his neighborhood of Trastalleres, an area among the swamps and mangrove trees near Caño de Martín Peña in Santurce, Puerto Rico, with four friends to enlist in the military at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. Of the five, only two were chosen, and young García was one of them. He says he had nothing better to do at the time.

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