Santa Fe

Arthur Tafoya

By Elizabeth James

As a medic treating the wounded and dying in World War II, Arthur Tafoya says dealing with the blood and gore of battle was in some ways the easy part. The difficult part was dodging the bullets and artillery fire.

"Artillery and bullets didn't discriminate," Tafoya recalled. "It didn't matter that we had red crosses [on our uniforms]. We were always under fire."

Herman Saiz

By Heather Cuthbertson

In 1944, Herman Saiz wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. He’d always tried to help his family, but without a father and clear path to follow, he enlisted to fight in the South Pacific during World War II.

Like many young men at the time, Saiz viewed the war effort as a duty and responsibility. It was something he had to do. The uncertainty with which he’d lived was gone. The only thing that mattered was to help win the war -- and survive.

Alfonso Rodriguez

By Alyssa Green

After dropping out of high school in 1940, Alfonso Rodriguez found himself doing what he considered menial jobs -- sweeping floors, working in a grocery store, hauling garbage and selling newspapers.

Rodriguez figured there had to be a better way to make a living, so he decided to join the Army, enlisting Dec. 31, 1940. It was peacetime then, and Rodriguez joined with the expectation he’d get to see the world.

A year later, however, Rodriguez was pulled directly into World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.

Maclovio Montoya

By Gilbert Song

Born March 15, 1926, Maclovio Montoya experienced the Great Depression and military duty in World War II. Then it was off to the Pacific for the Korean War. However, it was in his golden years when he fought his greatest struggle -- trying for decades to receive the Purple Heart for being wounded in WWII.

Montoya has a quiet and husky voice; his demeanor is gentle. He wears a purple veteran's hat covered with military pins, ribbons and badges, accompanied by a matching purple silk bomber jacket.

Juanita Tapia Montoya

By Alicia Rascón

While scores of Latinos served their country valiantly during World War II, many women did their part on the home front.

Juanita Tapia Montoya vividly remembers wartime rationing back home during these years, when the U.S. government limited the purchasing of items such as sugar, meat and other materials needed for the military. Families had ration-stamp books to use to purchase goods.

Eva Maria Rains Archuleta

By Rachel Finney

Born in her grandmother's home in 1926, in the small agricultural town of Las Tusas in northern New Mexico, Eva Maria Archuleta lived a life of modest means, like most during the World War II era.

With no electricity for refrigeration or television and no car for transportation, young Archuleta and her six brothers and sisters found an inspirational appreciation for things that today seem commonplace.

"We were so happy when we got to ride on the wagon into the town of Mora and get a piece of candy or maybe an orange. It was a good life," she said.

Benerito Seferino Archuleta

By Heather Hilliard

The six months Bennie Archuleta spent in battle in Europe during World War II changed his life forever.

As a 17-year-old teenager, he had rarely traveled outside of the American Southwest. But as a soldier in the 99th Infantry Division, he found himself marching across European countries. Up to that time, he could only dream about visiting those foreign lands.

But WWII was no dream. If anything, the horrors of war proved to be a nightmare for Archuleta, nightmares that still haunt him to this day.

Arthur Tenorio

By Melissa Watkins

Arthur "Chavalito" Tenorio spent Dec. 6, 1941, at a hotel in Honolulu playing craps with a fellow sailor. He lost the game, but a hotel employee warned the pair it didn't matter, because after tomorrow, they wouldn't be around. Tenorio awoke aboard the USS New Orleans the next morning, a day that will live in infamy.

Baptized Arturo, Tenorio was born June 5, 1924, in Las Vegas, N.M., to Merenciano Tenorio and Ophelia Lucero, who Tenorio describes as a tough street fighter and spoiled rich girl.

Tenorio was small for his age.

Luis Sena

By Jason McDaniel

Luis Sena was only 6 years old on Black Thursday, the day the stock market crashed and sent the American economy spiraling into the Great Depression. His father had died four years earlier, in 1925, leaving Luis' mother, Maria Sanchez Sena, to care for him and his seven siblings.

Those two events set the tone for what would be a difficult childhood for the Senas in Golondrinas, a small town in Mora County, New Mexico.

"There were days when I had to eat gravy, just made out of water and a little flour, with no bread, just a spoon," Sena said.

Elvira Sena

By Allison Mokry

While many Latinos served their country and fought for survival overseas, Elvira Sena had her own struggle during World War II: helping her family pull through tough economic times while trying to finish her schooling.

Sena grew up on her family farm in Las Cruces, N.M., the second oldest of seven children: four boys and three girls. Her father, Alberto Trujillo, supported the family by ranching and delivering mail, while her mother, Lucianita Trujillo, was a housewife.

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