Battle of the Bulge

Andrew Soria Melendrez

By Voces Oral History Project

Andrew Melendrez lost his mother at 9 and his father a few years later. By 19, he had been drafted into the Army and would see brutal combat in Europe during World War II. He fought in some of the war's most harrowing battles, including what would come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge, one of the last major German offensives.

"I grew up more," he said of his war experience. "I had more discipline, more respect for people. I was more considerate of others."

Lauro Castillo

By the Voces Staff

Lauro Castillo grew up in a poor farming family in South Texas, living in a bare-bones house with a leaky roof.

The U.S. Army provided an escape from poverty but also exposed him to the brutal reality of war. He was an infantryman in some of the toughest battles of World War II.

To Castillo, it was simply a matter of doing his duty for his country.

“I’m proud” of serving, he said. “I fulfilled my obligation to the U.S.”

Frank Aguerrebere

By Kimberly Tran, California State University, Fullerton

Although he never talked much about his wartime experiences, Frank Aguerrebere parachuted into the Normandy Invasion and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, two of the bloodiest and most decisive clashes of World War II.As an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, he he jumped over Normandy on June 6, 1944 and then over Holland in Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

Erasmo G. Lopez

By Cheryl Smith Kemp

Erasmo G. Lopez spent a good chunk of his twenties on the front lines of battle, both in World War II and the Korean War.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Lopez was drafted into the Army in 1942 at the age of 20.

“If I hadn’t of gone, they would have taken me,” he half-joked in Spanish.

In Germany, where Uncle Sam sent Lopez’s regiment, the 335th Infantry, part of the 84th Division, after maneuvers training in Lake Charles, La., Lopez was in, among other fights, the Battle of the Bulge.

Julian Medina

By Pierre Bertrand

It seems as if Army infantryman Julian Medina, who was drafted in 1943, was on the frontlines of every major World War II European campaign, from the Normandy Invasion to the Battle of the Bulge.

“I was in every fight. I was in every battle,” said Medina, who was part of the Army’s 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division in 1943.

His European service began in Scotland, where he was among thousands of American soldiers being trained for amphibious assaults.

Emilio Muñoz Membrila

By Valerie Jayne

As a young boy growing up in Clifton, Ariz., Emilio Muñoz Membrila played war games with his friends, inventing different maneuvers and strategies. Later, during World War II, he’d be engaged in historic battles in the European Theater, fighting in the frigid German forests during the Battle of the Bulge and getting taken prisoner for six months.

"It was the worst barrage U.S. troops ever encountered," said Muñoz Membrila of the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's last major offensive. "It was supposed to have been a quiet sector."

Jose R. Navarro

By Guillermo X. Garcia

José Navarro, a 20-year-old farm boy with a limited education from segregated South Texas schools, went to war in 1942 to better himself.

By the time of his discharge, due to injury as a member of the U.S. Army's 99th Infantry Division, Navarro had fought in two of the most decisive Allied victories in Europe: the Allied invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

After the successful Normandy invasion, the Allies drove through the French countryside, engaging the Germans in major battles at Lieges and St.-Lo.

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