tv Hispanic American Soldiers in World War II CSPAN April 25, 2021 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT
i had the pleasure of interviewing our next author dave gutierrez this past year. for a webinar on his book patriots from the barrio. interviewing dave this time is my friend and colleague dr. adam givens. adam joined us last year as the special projects historian for our partnered program with the defense pow mia accounting agency or dpaa. the dpaa is the federal
organization whose mission is to locate and identify some 81,000 americans that are still missing in action. 72,000 of whom are from world war ii. adam came to us from the university of ohio where he received his phd and is already making big impacts on both. our museum and the dpas work he's truly a great addition and it's my pleasure to pass the program to him dr. givens. thanks, jeremy and welcome everybody to another great session discussing a very important topic our speakers mr. dave gutierrez. he's joining us from what i'm sure is a very sunny and beautiful, san jose, california this morning, and since we have just the one speaker dave and i will be having a conversation for about 40 minutes and then with the remainder of our time we'll go to the public questions. so please while we're speaking feel free to post questions on our streaming platforms. we'll then try to get to those
questions and in the q&a paid at the end, but from time being i have the pleasure of talking to dave 101 just the two of us dave gutierrez is a speaker writer and author his book patriots from the barrio tells the true story of the men of company e of the 141st infantry the us army's only mexican-american all mexican-american combat unit in world war ii dave has a quick pin and apparently has a lot of energy as well. he's riding another book right now. he's also published widely in newsletters and magazines newspapers and online publications and not writing. he's staying busy as the president of the nuevo mundo historical and geneological society of silicon valley. dave. welcome welcome to the national conference. thank you. thank you. thank you for having. but i want to jump right in by discussing the theme of your talk today the title leader presentations. it's evocative breaking through the shadows of world war ii history that suggests overcoming something of a barrier maybe
even completing something that's been left unfinished. so i'm wondering what does breaking through the shadows mean to you and how have we failed adequately tell the story of hispanic americans during world war ii? well adam, thank you for the introduction. breaking through the shadows of world war ii history. yes for decades hispanic americans have been asking that one question. where are the stories of hispanic american contributions to world war ii? in 2007 ken burns produced a doc 14 hour documentary on world war ii. and during that 14 hours, not one second was dedicated to hispanic american contributions in world war ii. the hispanic americans weren't even part of world war ii and we of course know that that's not
true and our biggest fear is that educators are going to be using these types of documentaries as their bases to teach our future students on world war ii and if that happens, they're gonna say well, i guess hispanics weren't part of world war ii and we know that's not true and it takes places like the natural world war ii museum to i mean we're having a conversation about hispanic americans today and that's groundbreaking for me to be able to do that on a national platform such as this so we're looking for other organizations to follow the lead of the national world war ii museum and not only just include hispanic americans but to actually
feature hispanic americans in whatever their organizations handle. great. let's turn to your book patriots from the barrio. we often see a bit of the author and what they write and a book is something of a conversation between the author and the reader. so the more of the reader knows about how an author came to came to write a book, you know, that's that's important information. so i'm wondering what was the genesis of patriots in the barrio what drew you to the story of company e. and how did that interest evolve into a book? yeah. yeah, well the the slide here is my cousin ramon gutierrez from del rio texas now, i grew up listening to my dad tell stories of our cousin ramon and let me take let me say a quick hello to my parents who are in status, california listening today. my dad always talking about world war ii and in particular his cousin of his ramon gutierrez.
ramon had served with the 36 infantry division in world war ii and from what i heard as as a child growing up is that you know, he fought me with the us army had been awarded the silver star at salerno. and had been captured twice by the german army escaped both times to make it back across allied lines. ramon became one of only a few americans to be decorated for valor on the battlefield by the soviet union during world war ii so as i'm hearing all these stories and i started doing research. i thought that this would be an excellent topic for for a book. i always wondered why isn't history out there. so originally i was just looking to tell his story. and ramon's to just to tell his story and then i realized through research that ramon had
served in in all mexican-american us army unit. well the focus shifted from just telling one man's story to the entire unit story. if i can have the next slide, please. so through research. i found out that ramon had served again in second battalion company e 141st infantry regiment of the 36th division. it was an original, texas national guard unit at a el paso, texas. next slide please. so here's a photo of company e in brownwood, texas in early, october of 1941. the unit was again a texas national guard unit at a el paso all of the men from company e came from the barrios of el paso, texas.
originally now there were federalized in november of 1940 and moved to brownwood, texas and as more mexican americans arrived in the 36th division. they were placed into company e and they maintained a 100% all mexican-american unit all the way until they started taking casualties in world war ii next slide, please. here's a roster of of the men now. i'm not sure we can zoom in or not. but all of the officers in company e were anglo and every enlisted men was of mexican-american descent. next slide so here's here's a photo that was sent to me by ruth romero her father eduardo romo was a sergeant in in the unit and here's just a photo of them.
training it also in brownwood, texas. next slide please. the unit continued to train in in the states, they were at camp blanding florida. they were taking part in the carolina maneuvers. they went to camp edwards. they trained at camp edwards. and eventually they would make it to north africa in april of 1943. and while they were at north africa training they were placed under the fifth army command under lieutenant general mark clark. next slide after a patent had raced across the island of sicily and italy was the next target. the 36 division would go ahead and make the landing at salerno
italy. so they became one of the first units to oppose hitler's forces on the attack on the european continent when they made the landing. that's salerno, italy. if i can have the next slide. here's an actual photo of the 36 division making the allied landing on september 9th 1943. on the pastium beaches of salerno next slide so my cousin ramon was part of an advanced squad carried the browning automatic rifle. and here's a silver star citation. during that early battle they had come across they come on to onto the beachhead. and we're halted by five enemy tanks. and a machine gun nest that was behind the tanks my cousin ramon sees a few of the men of company. he killed right in front of
them. and he would later say that he didn't think it was gonna make it that day. and he charges the machine gun nest. gets his browning automatic rifle knocked out of his hands. he's shutting in one of the arms. and he continued to charge a machine gun nest with just hand grenades. he took out the head the machine gun nest with a hand grenade. and then jumps into the foxhole and kills the last german soldier and hand-to-hand combat. and for that action, he's awarded the silver star. next slide please. the 36 division would after salerno would continue to fight at mount rotundo. the village of san pedro and came within about a mile of the repeal river. where the germans had? put up a huge line of defense at monte casino using the repeater river as a main line of defense.
well in a span of 48 hours. the 36 division would lose nearly 2,000 men. in its attempt to cross the repeater river ramon taking prisoner on on the other end on the other side of the german side of the river. he managed to escape and make it back. when company e crossed the rapido river they crossed with about 137 men and when after the battle only 27 of them would come back. again, the 36 divided division would lose nearly 2,000 men in its attempt to cross the repeater river. next slide so i originally wrote patriots from the barrio in 2014 that self-published a book. and in 2017 hollywood actor
producer wilmer valderrama obtained the film rights to the book. and just recently in may of 2020 just may have last year. wilmer's production team signed he deal with cbs tv studios and part of that deal. was my book patriots from the barrio now wilmer and cbs tv studios are looking to produce a television series based on the true story of company next slide. and there's wilmer. they're holding up my original book so published book. and again, they're looking to produce a television series based on the book. exciting newsday many of you the idea of patriot's new barrio being on our screens is very exciting them. what's extends beyond company now and let's consider hispanic americans and other areas of
world war ii unfortunately to do the scale of the war and the nature of the fighting. there are countless men who sacrifice their lives during the fighting who will never know about in an attempt to try to bring some of those stories to light though. let's just discuss some representative figures who you think illustrate hispanic american service across the war, you know from the very store of the war hispanic americans were involved. so can you share an example maybe of someone who stands out to you from early in the war? sure, as you mentioned from the very beginning of world war ii hispanic americans have been involved next slide. guadalupe agustin rico of my hometown, san jose, california he was known as gus to his family and friends gus was serving on the uss, arizona. and he had written to his family
to tell them that he was going to be able to send extra money to them. because he was gus had went ahead and volunteered for extra duty and part of that extra duty was working in the galley. and on december 7th 1941 on that sunday morning gus was working in the galley on board the uss, arizona. next slide and of course the us has arizona was sunk. and he was listed as one of the men killed in action. so from the very beginning of world war ii we see hispanic americans not only serving but actually making the ultimate sacrifice there. next slide but d-day one of the most infamous in allied invasions on the normandy next
slide fruit also chavez from pecos, texas. through doso had just recently been married and there's you see a photo of him with his wife maria. they had a child together in early of 1943 and he put those was already part of. of the 29th infantry division that actually made the landing at omaha beach. they were the 29th infantry division was one of the first to hit the beaches. and i was listening earlier to as the early part of the conference when they were talking about omaha beach and the artillery that was going on in there. but it also chavez became one of the casualties on omaha beach and of course his son jesse who
had left behind never really got to meet his father next slide. hewo, jima the symbol of the marines raising the flag on iwo, jima. his is really has become a symbol of american fortitude sacrifice. next slide that symbol also is a little different for other families, especially to those that had relatives who perished were killed in action on iwo, jima and one in particular that came into in my mind as the 75th anniversary of iwo. jima was coming up. i thought i started to think about all of those. soldiers that we would never hear of that were killed in action and pfc. lario garcia was from san diego
right out of the logan heights barrio of san diego. you see a photo of him in the slide and and eladio is the one carrying one of his younger brothers. i believe that's albert that he's caring. so he had a lot of brothers. they all looked up to eladio, especially when he was in the marine corps. he'd come he came home wearing his dress blues. so everyone was really excited about him being part of the united states marine corps, and of course eladio was with company f 26 infantry regiment of the fifth marine division that made the landing at iwo, jima and during the battle of iwo, jima. a pfc. lario garcia also was killed in action. next slide let us leave this into a good topic, you know when the united states joined the war
they joined a total war and that meant total mobilization as well. i mean 350,000 hispanic americans joined the us military during the war serving in the us military during the war if they're your research and writing your bringing in light some of these figures who we otherwise would not have known about but there were some hispanic americans who were recognized by the us government during the war of 472 medal of honor recipients and total during the war of that number 13 where hispanic americans. so, could you profile maybe a few of these hispanic americans who won the middle of honor and their actions that led to receiving it? sure, you mentioned that there were 13 and i believe in 2002 during george w. bush's administration that they had started to look into wanting to upgrade any of those metals and then additionally i believe was 2012 for other hispanic
americans that served in world war ii. that were awarded the medal of honor as well if we can go to the next slide. one of the one of the ones that really caught my attention from my research. is that of joseph martinez? joseph was born in 1920 in towson, new mexico and raised in colorado. he had so was serving in the seventh infantry division. and now in june of 1942 many people don't realize that the japanese had actually invaded american soil in the illusion islands, and they had landed on the little island of a two there. and in early may of 1943 the us arm was sent to seventh infantry division to get out the remains of the japanese that were held up on those islands.
during the battle of trying to expel the japanese forces from on american soil. a pfc joseph martinez was killed in action while charging machine gun nests pfc martinez was actually actually was private martinez. was was fighting with his unit and they were held up with by japanese machine gun fire. he had been taking out machine gun nests until his browning automatic rifle was emptied out. he picked up an m1 grand. rifle and continued charging another machine gun nest until he was killed in action, but he was the first hispanic american to be awarded the medal of honor during world war ii and i i find it intriguing that his story his story's a little bit more intriguing because he was
defending an actual american soil where the japanese had had actually actually made landing the next slide. sylvester herrera was also part of the 36 infantry division born in 1916 sylvester was born in chihuahua, mexico. and was serving in the us army. during the battles in france again machine gun ness had pinned down his unit and he had charged machine gun nests and was able to silence out a machine gun nest in france. and had taken german prisoners during that was early in the day and then further on during as the unit continued to move forward. they ran across other machine gun nests and sylvester was running through a minefield and when he hit a mind he survived
the battle was still firing when his his legs were pretty much blown up with by the minds. um, and he was still firing in silence of machine gun nest sylvester was awarded the medal of honor as well and he came back and i believe we lived in glendale, arizona. next slide yeah, this brings us to an interesting topic, you know so far discussions been confined to the ground war. of course hispanic americans were involved very much in the air war as well. so publishers like to advertise their products as telling an untold story when you know an actuality sometimes library shelves bow under the weight of the monographs that have been written about this topic. so i understand you've been working recently on actually some what unknown story of a b-25 crew who went down over vietnam and their crew the crew is still missing today. so you please tell us about what you've uncovered about this crew
in the mission. sure sergeant alfredo paredes from del rio, texas you see them there on the right? was again born and raised in the san felipe barrio of del rio texas where my family had had came across and i came across his story through old newspaper articles and what really intrigued me adam was you just mentioned that his plane went down. he's still missing in action. over over vietnam and you know as a big world war ii buff. i didn't even realize we were the us army was us army. air corps was bought was making bomb runs near vietnam like that but his story really intrigued me and sergeant parade is had graduated from san felipe high school in 1941.
and by july of 41 he was already in the us army air corps and was stationed nearby an eagle pass, texas. when world war ii broke out. so he's he's training as a mechanic in eagle pass and he goes ahead and applies for engineer gunner school, and he gets accepted he goes ahead and graduates from engineer gunner school and then he had to south carolina to train with a b-25 crew and the crew is the photo on the left there. the the gentleman in the middle in the back is the pilot? yeah, it's it's the pilot. and that is andrew johnson from cadillac, michigan. andrew what was again? he was the pilot of the b-25 crew.
and alfredo is sitting in in the middle there. that's the original crew that trained together and then they were assigned the 345th bomb group. i think i have a slide on that the next slide, please. yeah, there were assigned to the era patches of the 345th bomb group. and you see the the air apache symbol there that was on on the tails of their b-25s the next patch you see there on the right is the 501st bomb squadron? and they were attached to the fifth army now the error apaches had modified their b-25s and added. additional 50 cal machine guns to the nose of the aircraft and what they did is they found out that they were more effective as
strafing enemy targets in the pacific. so japanese targets in the pacific. so they're part they're in the philippines. in early of 1945 and one of the missions is to take out japanese freighters. that were sitting on the river in saigon on saying basically saigon bay. so the b-25s take off and make the bombing run. and the plane that andrew johnson that was flying alfredo paradeus was part of that crew that went on. and that plane was lost over saigon but the saigon river the 345th bomb group would lose three b-25s that day. and alfredo pair of course parishes in that and as you can
see that not only that hispanic americans were just soldiers. they were part of all facets of world war ii. this is a good opportunity. i think to discuss research methods to try to get in the nitty-gritty of being historian and functionally my work as a dpaa historian a residence here at the national world war ii museum is much like yours. um, we're both trying to piece together historical narratives and a lot of times the historical record is frustratingly spotty. you're left with many questions. you can't answer but cactus kitten was one b-25 on one mission but a war where they were many many aircraft many many missions flown, so i'm wondering how did you come across the story and also, you know is this typically how research projects for you begin and was the research that you conducted similar to the other
projects. yeah. so again alfredo's story really resonated with me again. he was missing in action. i came across a newspaper article from the old del rio news herald. that really caught again it caught my attention and once i started doing research i started. finding not only military records, but i went ahead and and found the 345th bomb group association who does a great job of continually? you know to make sure that their history is not forgotten so they were wonderful and another piece. well, i'm a writer and a historian today because of genealogy research. it's genealogy research played a
huge role in me being able to put together. you can find all of the military records but to get the individual stories you really need to talk to the relatives of these people and for me, i wouldn't have been able to do that without genealogy research. let's take for instance the cactus kitten group that alfredo was a part of now i found out through research that the pilot andrew johnson from cadillac, michigan had been married a very recently in in 40 19. i recently. it's 1942. so he's married in 1942. he's basically a newlywed when he's out there training. and he leaves behind a widow now because he's missing in action. she went ahead and remarried. i realized through research that she remarried and had three
daughters and one of the daughters. i was able to connect with because of genealogy research and the 345th bomb group association. and those three daughters knew all about andrew johnson their mother's first husband. and really continue to honor him to this day. so for me to be able to tell those type of stories, it's really genealogy research in this case. we have a missing aircraft. so the missing aircraft air crew reports were vital for me to be able to get all the information on but really genealogy research. i i again i'm a writer and a historian today because of genealogy research. great. let's stick with the air war theme. i understand you're writing a book on a history-making
hispanic american p-47 pilot oscar podomo. so can you tell us a bit about the book and what makes purdomo's career and is a life so remarkable. yeah, yeah, so this is another story that caught my attention and just like patriots from the body. i always i scratch my head and say how is this man story not out there oscar podomo. was born in el paso, texas and raised in east la so he's raised in the boyle heights area of east los angeles is his family didn't have a lot of money, but yet somehow oscar. overcomes all of that and becomes an officer in the united states army air corps he's he's always wanted to be a pilot and he goes through flight school and he becomes ap 47 pilot with
the 464th fighter squadron, which was attached to the 507th of fighter group. they go over into the pacific. and are flying their p-47s out of lushima the same place were ernie pyle was tragically killed. so they they take this airfield. in lashima the 464th fighter squadron is and this is almost towards the end of the war now. on august 13th the 1945 to to bombs had already been dropped on japan and the japanese had yet to surrender. so they're still flying missions. and on august 13th oscar podomo goes up on a mission near seoul korea. because they're still they're still the japanese had not surrendered. they're they're still flying
missions and their group gets attacked by a bunch of japanese fighters zeros. oscar podomo's in this mission shoots down five enemy planes in one mission he becomes an ace in a day. of world war ii he becomes the last american ace in a day of world war ii and for some who are not familiar with that term in order to be recognized as an ace you would you would have to be you would have to shoot down five enemy planes in your career and oscar does it in one day it becomes the last american to do so. i thought his his story was intriguing. and i reached out to his family and through genealogy research again. and i connected with them and they were able to help me piece together his personal story.
and uh again using genealogy research. i then connected with a lot of the families of the 464th fighter squadron to be able to tell the entire unit story because i can't just you know pinpoint and just focus on one. i needed to be able to tell the entire story of the 464th fighter squadron, so that book is coming out shortly. i'm really excited to get that that out there and introduce the world to the last american ace of the day of world war ii oscar frances perdomo. let's double back here toward the end to the middle of honor recipients issue. you mentioned that in 2014 for hispanic americans had their distinguished service crosses posthumously upgraded a medal of honors. i'm wondering what does that say to you about how america remembers and recognizes the valor and wartime contributions
of hispanic americans today as compared to how it did during the war. well, i that's a good point because i think we're making strides. we're making huge strides in in that direction. the fact that we're again with that we're here today and we're discussing hispanic american contributions and world war ii it to me. it's groundbreaking because we didn't have that a few years ago. so again if we have other organizations take the lead of the national world war ii museum or following the footsteps of the national national world war ii museum. i think we can even even get better. um, you'll work on hispanic americans and world war two is made you pretty much the authority on the subject and i'm despite your impressive research and writing record. you can always document so many stories. they're only only so many hours in a day, of course, so it's kind of a two-part question. what advice do you have for
young writers and scholars who might be interested in researching and writing about hispanic americans in the war and how do you how do we begin encouraging researchers to look into this history to bring more of these stories to the light? yeah. what took me five years to write the book patriots from the audio yeah. oscar's story is is gone a lot faster because i've now done it before. but the one thing that got me over the hump with patriots from the barrio. is that it was something i was very passionate about so for those of you who are looking to write you have to find something that you're very passionate about because i tell you you're gonna be told no so many times you're gonna have publishers tell, you know, you're gonna have marketing people tell you no i've had a world war ii
magazines. tell me no, we're not interested in that article, but it's the passion that you have for the story. that's going to make have you. overcome those obstacles i think it's very important that you write about something. you're very passionate about. um again, you're going to be able to overcome any of those obstacles that come that come that your way and and me you'll have obstacles. as we've mentioned in world war ii there were 350,000 hispanic americans to served the country today hispanic americans are the fastest growing population in the us military. what ways do you think the world war ii generation and the current generations share that same readiness to serve their nation? i think that they've always been
ready to serve their nation. i think you'll find that hispanic americans are very patriotic. americans have been serving this country even before it wasn't the united states of america. they were fighting in the american revolution. so i think hispanic americans have always had that patriotic. uh, but i as we start to record and document our history and people realize that oh, they weren't just part of the but i said, oh program during world war ii know they actually fought and as we've learned today many of them made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. and for the freedoms, we enjoy today. i just wanted to make sure that we don't forget that and that we honor these men.
that went ahead and not only served but many of them are buried still on foreign soil and made the ultimate sacrifice and and if i'll just name a few pedro t soto who was part of company. he was from kingsville, texas. he's still buried in italy juan, padilla, del, rio, texas. was killed in action at san pedro. still buried in italy and we know the story about alfredo paredes who's on the missing tablets on the monuments in in the philippines for those that are missing in action in the pacific. and i'm just hoping that we continue to record and document, uh hispanic americans that served this country. thanks very much dave.
it's been a wonderful conversation. it's been very enlightening. you're doing very important work and hopefully this discussion through some light on to the shadows. i'm going to throw it back now to my colleague and friend. apparently jeremy collins who's going to moderate the question answer period well, thank you, dave and thank you adam just because a colleague doesn't always mean a friend. so i appreciate you saying that dave. it's a pleasure to hear from you again, the i want to tell the audience about the fact that you've written a special article for us that we will be posting later next week to highlight your dpaa case your b-25 crew and the work on that and we thank you for providing the museum with that exclusive. we're honored and your statement about the the manila american cemetery leads very well into our first question from the audience and it comes from stacy.
and the question is were hispanic soldiers utilized in the pacific theater, especially in the philippines since many of the citizens were spanish speaking. yes, so i believe there's a unit from arizona that served and many of them were of hispanic descent. as we learned oscar podomo served in the pacific with the 464th fighter squadron becoming the last american ace in a day of world war ii. and we've also learned about alfredo paredes who was an engineer gunner aboard the b-25 of the 344th fifth bomb group the arapaches. so hispanic americans served in all theaters of world war ii. and pocket jump in as well. individual hispanic american
served with distinction coming to mind automatically is clayder rodriguez. it's the 37th infantry division who received the medal of honor for his actions and manila liberating the city from the japanese. so there are many many examples of hispanic americans in the pacific theater. and perhaps that's the subject of your next next book dave looking at some of these in the warmer locales of the pacific theater. so our next question comes from longtime friend and somebody that we all we all saw yesterday rich frank. dave can you speak of marine corps general pedro de valle commander of the first marine division artillery at guadalcanal and later commanded the division in combat in 1945. do you know anything about the general? well, i haven't done research on him, but he is on my list of of things to look into i mean again.
we're here was a general with the united states marine corps. there's with it was of a hispanic descent. but yeah, i wish i could talk a little bit more about him. but let's let's look at that in the future. but yeah. and one of the one of the side effects of being virtual i can guarantee you that rich could probably speak at length about the question. he asked so our next question from gene. can you discuss treatment hispanic americans faced while in the service as compared to the treatment of african-american soldiers? yeah, so in my book i do i do details some of the discrimination that company eve faced. one in particular is gabriel navarrete from el paso, texas? gabriel had been serving in the texas national guard since about
1939 and a lot of the the officers in company. he said well, you know gabriel we think you should your officer material. you should go ahead and and apply to officers candidate school gabriel goes and takes the test the written test. and then takes an oral test which is part of you know be going to officers candidate school and after the oral test gave rules told i'm sorry. we're not gonna allow you to go to officers candidate school because you have too much of an accent. that was the reason why he was not allowed to go to officers candidate school. three times gabriel navarrete took that test the written test and three times after the oral. he was denied because he was told he had too much of an accent. gabriel navarrette, there was leading the advanced squad my cousin squad.
on salerno. yeah, but during the invasion at salerno and was wounded and when he came back from north africa after being wounded and brought back to the front lines, he was commissioned an officer in the united states army. but it was not until he proved his bravery on the battlefield. did did gabriel become an officer gabriel ended up becoming the commanding officer of company? e before he left? and if i can add a bit here, i've found that. perhaps because there was no classification for hispanic americans whereas there was for what was at the time negro troops. it was segregated that way the same for native americans or jewish americans those stories have often been folded into the caucasian story or completely
forgotten as you two gentleman have pointed out. whereas the african-american troops. not that they had it easier by any means but their story was segregated because they were segregated and it allows for those units to be focused on a bit more the bomber cruise a prime example. he was one hispanic american with white americans. so our next question is from tammy. why do we know so little about these men? why have they not been covered as part of the history of world war ii and i i didn't read her question before i just chimed in there but dave would you like to comment? sure. i think the biggest thing about that is. that there's very little that's been recorded and documented by historians. and one of the things that hispanics have to do instead of you know, we could put the blame on okay, so you know ken burns spent 14 hours on a documentary
and and didn't include us in there. where is ken burns and people that are making documentaries going to get? information if we don't put it out there ourselves. so for hispanic americans i say that we have to look in the mirror. and find out how can we get better at recording and documenting our own history? and one of the things that really has come to light with patriot from the barrio is that we have educators who are willing to to get into this and one in particular that i'm gonna i'm gonna highlight is scott petry who of in southern, california. scott teaches at he said dave i walked into barnes & noble and your book just jumps out at me because i teach at a high school where 85% of my students.
are of hispanic descent and i want something that's relevant to them. went ahead and made sure that they had books and he became his school john f. kennedy high school became the first high school in the nation to use patriots from the barrio as part of their world war ii lessons. so that is what we're looking at. that's what we're looking for for. for educators to start using what's out there for to teach thank you david. the the point you bring up is one that you've talked to me privately about. nobody's done it for us. we've got to do it for ourselves in a way and there's a wonderful resource with maggie rivas rodriguez. would you mind talking a little bit about her organization? sure, maggie revis rodriguez
started in oral history project at the university of texas. and when i was first a research in this i reached out to maggie and spoke to her and told her where i was going with my project of patriots from the body and it was through some of her oral histories that i was able to find some that were actually served in company e um, raphael torres had had done an oral history with maggie rivas rodriguez's group with the university of texas. so i learned a lot of a lot from from for a raphael torres who served in company? eh, you know, it was through that oral history that i found out raphael torres was one of six brothers who was serving in the us army during world war ii. and then i was able to connect with with a lot of is relatives. but yeah, maggie has you could
probably count on one hand those that are writing and documenting about hispanic americans and i would put maggie right there up front. she was one of our original presidential counselors this advisory board due to the wonderful work. she's done. that's so close to our heart in the personal accounts and oral histories of the veterans. so the next question comes from joe vargo. and his question is what happened to ramon after the war. did he have a family? did he ever talk about his experiences or suffer effects from the trauma? he endured what was his post-war career. is he still alive? lots of questions from joe, but they're all great. great. yeah. thanks joe for that for that question. ramon did survive world war ii? so i did mention briefly that he was captured at the rapido river and in escaped. he was also captured at the
battle of the lottery was held for for many days in german captivity until he was able to escape when and now i bomb hit the building that he was in. uh, he was being tortured at that time for information. he had suffered through with ptsd when he arrived back in throughout his entire life, but when ramone was serving in in the 36 division his girlfriend at the time and later became his wife connie. connie was also serving as as a us navy wave. uh during this time and and the connie says that connie used to say that the reason why she joined the us navy wave was to try to run into ramon somewhere, but they married when they both were were back. in in texas and raised a family in wichita falls, texas, and it was through their family really
ramon's children, roberta gutierrez from wichita falls. and their grandchildren that i learned a lot about ramon, but ramon lived until 1993. he died in 1993 when he suffered a heart attack, but he did suffer with ptsd his entire life. thank you. one question. i want to throw in here with the mc's prerogative one of the more famous commanders of world war ii us commanders who led one of the most famous divisions. terry allen of the first infantry division, he was terry de la mesa allen have you found in your research any any attempts to hide their heritage hide hispanic heritage that may
help them move up if they if they had a mother who was hispanic, but they didn't want to highlight that. yeah, i really didn't find that that they were trying to hide their. their heritage and interesting that you brought up terry de la mesa. he was actually serving with the 36 division. it was the assistant commander of the 36th division when they were training at camp blanding, florida. this was prior for him prior to him taking over the big red one in world war ii now terry della mesa had served with the unit and there was he was in the el paso area and you a lot of the men from company e one in particular was manuel ornelas who was not only serving in company e the texas national guard, but terri new manuel hornella's because he was the
high school quarterback at austin high in el paso everybody new who he was that manuelas was because he was the star quarterback at austin high and when a general terrydale mesa ran into manuel he goes. wait a minute. what are you doing here and manuel turned around and told him well, sir. my last names ornelas. what can i do? a terry de la mesa cut through some red tape and before manuel ornelas could blink he was at officer's candidate school manuel ornelas ended up leaving company e and going to officers candidate school and commanded a tank unit at bastone in the battle of the bulge manuel hornellas would lose an arm. during that battle and manuel was one of maybe eight. men that were still alive of
company e when the original company when i first writing the book. great. well, i'm glad i stepped in there our next question comes from ella. where hispanic service members barred from serving in any specific roles in the military? no, i i don't think that they were barred. at all and we i did talk a little bit about gabriel not bad at the not being allowed to go to officers candidate school you had like that. but i don't see that they were barred. at all. yeah, we have to remember that. hispanics were not classified as oh he's hispanic. they were classified as white and and when we look at the numbers of hispanic americans that had served in world war ii.
i wonder how many of them. we're not counted properly because they were classified as white. yeah, it's a it's something that they future historians will have to keep digging deeper and deeper on we've got a great final question here to wrap up this wonderful session as we're discussing one underrepresented unrepresented community. we are not talking about any of the hispanic women. so the question from zachary comes in were there hispanic american women that served in the wax waves wasps etc. yeah, and i just mentioned connie. ramon's wife. consuelo had served as a us navy wave so i know many of them did a lot of them of course were
nurses. i know that one of the men of company lorenzo macias. who was killed in action at the battle after the battle of san pedro his his sister was was a us army nurse. it was stationed at fort sam, houston. great great another another topic for future authors and writers to to dig into this is truly been a great and wide-ranging discussion. thank you dave for giving us three of your works in one presentation adam. thank you for doing
>> every spring, thousands of people visit washington dc to see the cherry blossoms paying the tidal basin started as an engineering project that is also served as a swimming hole and at the scene of a political scandal. mike met us on site to talk about the area's history and famous japanese cherry trees. >> we are at the edge of the tidal basin come