Medical Personnel

Rudolph Lopez

By Stephanie De Luna

Growing up in Phoenix, Rudolph “Rudy” Lopez knew that he was destined to serve in the military. Born in 1946, Lopez grew up in a close-knit family with a long line of military war heroes.

“We were very much an all-American family. The military was just something that you do. That’s all there was to it,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s father was a member of the Army military police during World War II in France.

Berta Parra

By Rachel Taliaferro

Berta Parra’s memory is slipping away from her.

People, places, names, dates – as she sat in an armchair at the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home, in her native city of El Paso, she worked through the gaps to tell her story. Despite the haze of a fading memory, a few images stood resilient in her mind – ironically, the images Parra had tried the hardest to forget.

Andrew Guzman

By David Muto

When Andrew E. Guzman tried to enlist in the Marines at 18, he was turned away and told to wait for the draft.

With remorse, Guzman said he’s fortunate he didn’t enlist on that day in 1944. Otherwise, he believed he likely would have been sent to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, the site of one of World War II’s bloodiest battles.

“I was lucky that I wasn’t accepted,” he said.

Abelardo Martinez Gonzales

By Trinidad Aguirre

A paratrooper and medical corpsman for the 507th Airborne Regiment, Abelardo M. Gonzales fought in World War II using bandages instead of bullets, tourniquets instead of bayonets.

Gonzales recalled his combat experiences while at the southside San Antonio home of his sister, Georgina.

"My first jump was at night, Normandy 1944. It was too dark, too cloudy, so we were scattered landing all over the place," he said. "In a night jump, you have to strain your eyes to see the ground coming.

Rafaela Muniz Esquivel

By Joanne R. Sanchez

San Antonio, TX - When she was seven years old, Rafaela Muñiz Esquivel - the second oldest in the family that would eventually include 15 children - began caring for her brothers and sisters. Rafaela stayed home from school when her mother needed her to run errands. By the time she was nine, there were already six children in the Muñiz household, including her brother Fernando, who was born with Down's syndrome.

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