Voces seeks to document and create a better awareness of the contributions of Latinos and Latinas of the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War generations. The project was created in 1999 by UT journalism professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez. Here you'll find short video and photo documentaries created by former students, interns, staff and volunteers. You'll also find still photos of the men and women who have been interviewed. We hope you enjoy.
Shown left to right are brothers Rudy, Joe and Bill Acosta. Joe and Bill had been drafted in 1941. Rudy was drafted one year later and after 36 missions, he earned the right to go home. But, because the fighting had intensified in Europe, he had to wait for 30 days in Naples before a ship could bring him back home.
Ladislao "L. C." Castro, a native of Austin, Texas, during gunnery training in the United States in 1943. Months later, he would be flying combat missions in a B-24 over Germany. Castro became a staff sergeant and joined the crew of the "T-Bar," a B-24 Liberator, as an assistant engineer and aerial gunner.
During his military service, which lasted from 1943-1945, Narciso Garcia (far right) relied on his military training and his ingenuity and survival skills. He went from being called "el inventor" of his El Paso neighborhood to becoming an expert on the 50 caliber machine gun, its installation, maintenance, repair and use.
Ramón Martín Rivas and Henrietta Lopez met during the war, while he was on leave from his assignment in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. He was a native of Charlotte, a South Texas farming community. She was a native of San Antonio and worked at Kelly Field, repairing airplane instruments. The two married in 1945. Rivas served with the 3d Replacement Battalion, in Dutch Harbor, on the Aleutian Island closest to the coast of Alaska in the North Pacific.
First year student nurses at Fred Roberts Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Front Row: Left. Jean McPherson, Eleanor LaComb, Bernice Hunter, Mary Thomas, Back row: Left, Apolonia Muñoz (later Muñoz Abarca), Margaret Moore, Theresa Green, Betty Jorgenson. Photo taken June 1942 at Fred Roberts Hospital nurse's dormitory. She was from Mission, Texas.
Miguel Encinias, 20, poses at an airfield in Palermo-Sicily in September of 1943. During World War II, he started by serving with the 45th Infantry Division in North Africa and on the European front. He later transferred to the 52nd Bomb Squadron, the 29th Bomb Group and then the 20th Air Force. He spent 15 months in a German POW camp after his plane was shot down. Encinias served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Encinias grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
From left to right, Trino Soto, Nick Kavathas, Mike Armenderiz, Angelo Accurso and George Phillips pose for a studio photograph during their stop and vacation in Hawaii on their way back to the mainland United States in July 1945. The five men were crew members of the USS Haggard (DD-555), which was awarded 12 battle stars during World War II.
During a trip back to a hospital from Washington, Carmen Contreras met her future husband, Theodore J. Bozak, who was also a patient at the hospital. After dating for less than five months, the two married in Elizabeth, N.J. while he was still a patient. The couple was married for 46 years until his death in 1991. After the war, Contreras Bozak became very active in women's veterans organizations.
2nd Lt. Richard Candelaria on Dec. 5, 1944, at the Royal Air Force base in Wattisham, England. Wattisham was the home base of the 479th Fighter Group and the 435th Fighter Squadron. Candelaria earned the title of a "Fighter Ace" for shooting down six enemy planes during World War II. Candelaria grew up in Southern California.
Beatrice Amado Kissinger, bottom row, third from right, stands with her classmates in front of the St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing chapel in 1941 in Tucson, Arizona. Kissinger served as a nurse in U.S. Naval hospitals in both Long Beach, California, and San Francisco during World War II. The autograph reads "for my dear father and mother, from Beatriz."
World War II was a turning point for Virgilio G. Roel, a native of Laredo, Texas. It served as a catalyst for change in his life and ignited his lifelong dedication toward the empowerment and education of others. He served with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment and 13th Airborne Division. Roel used the GI Bill to complete his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and also law school at Georgetown University.
Carmen Garcia Rosado, a native of Humacao, Puerto Rico, served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Company 6, 2nd Battalion, 21st Regiment, during WWII. García Rosado became a mail clerk at the New York Pork of Embarkation. As part of her duties, she read letters in English and Spanish to search for any military secrets, which she would turn over to her superiors.
Presiliano Montoya was born in Dixon, New Mexico, in 1930, during the Great Depression. Ten days after he was born, Montoya’s family moved to Alamosa, Colorado. Press was one of nine children. At the age of 20, he enlisted just three months after getting married. As a medic in the training camps, Montoya helped save lives in important battles like the Battle of Triangle Hill and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, which resulted in two bronze stars for Montoya.
Montoya’s (third from left) activism began in 1970 to hold leaders in his Denver area community accountable. He served on a board of adjustments in his community to get Hispanics to “their dues.” He founded the American G.I. Forum with other local citizens, was a member of the Lions Club, was appointed chairman of community relations for 31 years, and helped the local police department recruit qualified officers. Montoya’s persistence led to the firing of the police chief as well as the firing of 26 officers.
Richard Brito, a native of Brownsville, Texas, was a member of the Artillery Officer Candidate School and joined the 8th Special Forces Group in the Panama Canal Zone. In Vietnam, he was assigned the position of chief, Military Operations Division for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) in Nha Trang.
Rita Brock-Perini was born on Oct. 17, 1938, in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1956 and at 17 entered St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Phoenix. She worked for 10 years as a nurse and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where she was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. As the Vietnam War intensified, she was assigned to the Wilford Hall Medical Center, the largest Air Force hospital in the nation at the time.
Before the end of the war, she left the Air Force and took an administrative job with the American Red Cross. She earned a nursing degree from Arizona State University and became active in veterans groups, including the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, an organization founded in 2001 that advocates for veterans.
Dodier's platoon became ensnared in a heavily mined area on May 28, 1970, leaving three men dead and him and 27 other men wounded. Dodier’s right foot was eventually amputated as a result of his injuries. Dodier was a captain at the time of his May 1970 discharge and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor, but wanted only a small private ceremony and no publicity. Pictured on the right is Dodier's first wife, Lucila Zuñiga. They had three children.
The Voces Oral History Project, (formerly the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project), has recorded video interviews with hundreds of Latinos and Latinas service members and civilians during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. We also have digitized at high resolutions thousands of archival photographs and other documentation. The repository is the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, at the University of Texas at Austin.
The project is a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism (Moody College of Communication), faculty, students, volunteers, supporters, and the men and women who we interview. The interviews have been used in books, dissertations, masters' theses and journal articles. The photographs have been used in several documentaries, photo exhibits and websites.
Voces produces an annual newsletter with summaries of longer journalistic treatments of each interview. For details, please see: vocesoralhistoryproject.org.