CO

Roger Cisneros

Roger Cisneros is a former state senator and one of Colorado's most dedicated civil rights advocates.

He was born Jan. 22, 1924, in Questa, New Mexico, to Donaciano Cisneros and Todosia Martinez.

He graduated from high school and joined the Army Air Corps in March 1943. He completed basic training at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was selected to go to Chanute Field in Illinois for cryptographer training and was assigned to the 33rd Bomb Group.

After the war, he got a job as a typist at Montgomery Ward in Denver, Colorado, making 60 cents an hour.

Emiliano Espinosa Gimeno

By Brandon Fields, St. Bonaventure University

Emiliano E. Gimeno remembers that when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, he initially did not realize how the event would change his life.

Born in El Paso, Texas, on Jan. 24, 1921, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Gimeno was the eldest of 10 children. His mother, Marcelina Fuentes Espinosa de Gimeno, was the main provider for the family. His father, he said, drank and gambled.

Francisco Armando Ríos Padilla

By Bryce Spadafora, St. Bonaventure University

During the Korean War, Francisco Ríos Padilla, a high school dropout, was determined to leave Denver, Colorado. One day, he walked past a Coast Guard recruiting station on 15th Street. He went in and enlisted on March 10, 1950.

“I didn’t tell anybody,” Ríos Padilla said. “They sent me to Cape May, New Jersey. I jumped at the chance to get out of Denver.”

Louis Joseph Lopez

By the Voces Staff

Louis Lopez had a distinguished 29-year career as a police office in Denver. Long before community policing was a widely adopted practice, he focused on establishing good relationships with the minority communities where he worked, to defuse tensions with a department that was mostly Anglo and sometimes hostile.

He faced bigotry from some of his colleagues but never let it slow him down.

Frank Martinez

By Julia Bunch  


Frank Martinez, a Colorado native, was a family man and a college student in the mid-1960s. Surely, he wouldn’t be sent to Vietnam.

But then he got the letter from the Army.

“I didn’t think I would get drafted because I had a daughter,” Martinez said. “I told this other Hispanic guy I knew, Joe Castro, ‘There’s no way they’re going to draft you. You’ve got a little boy!’ But then we both got drafted.”

Martinez and Castro used their friendship to prepare for the war.

Juan Martinez

By Meredith Barnhill

Juan Martinez, Jr. is the embodiment of the patriotism Mexican Americans demonstrated during his time in the Army.

Born Nov. 20, 1922, in El Paso, Texas, to Juan Martinez, Sr. and Sebastiana Valdez Martinez, he grew up speaking both Spanish and English. Though both of his parents were from Mexico, he identifies himself as “American,” not “Mexican-American.”

Martinez was the third of five children and the only boy. The entire clan practiced Catholicism and attended church at least once a week at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in El Paso.

Jose Aragon

By Laura Lopez, California State University, Fullerton

Few people can claim to have been a veteran of three military branches.

And few can recall images of war as vividly as Jose Aragon did when, at the age of 84, he recounted his harrowing journey through World War II in the Pacific.

Three years before he was drafted, Aragon recalled when the attack on Pearl Harbor and the impact it had on his family.

"It was a terrible memory, Pearl Harbor. We would ration food, coffee meat, gas, shows... just about everything," he said.

Alfred Hurtado

By Cara Seo, California State University, Fullerton

If anyone deserves to be called an American war hero it's Alfred Hurtado.

He survived the Normandy Invasion as well as the Battle of the Bulge and received 11 medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf clusters and the Distinguished Unit Citation with three Oak Leaf clusters, just to name a few.

Bennie Trujillo

By Robert Reiss, California State University, Fullerton

"You could hear the tanks coming. You could hear the squeak, the tracks squeaking and the motors running. You could hear them coming. The Americans and the infantry were aware that they were no match for that kind of assault. So we picked up our machine guns and retreated. ... When we asked the sergeant where [his men] were, he replied, 'They are gone. They sprayed them in their dugouts. They killed them all.' "

Anthony Duane Lopez

By Anjli Mehta

Looking back on his childhood, Anthony D. Lopez chuckled to himself and said, “Yeah, I was a runaround kid.” Maybe it was all that running around that got him through years of combat leading up to the liberation of the Philippines during World War II.

In an interview in Denver, his hometown, Lopez described how his adventurous streak in his childhood became one of his strengths while he fought for his country. He re-enlisted twice while in the 82nd Airborne Division, and he later served in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1950.

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