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Monday, May 29, 2006 

Memorial Day Observance

On May 15, when Dudya addressed nation about the immigration issue, he urged the Senate to pass their version of the immigration bill by Memorial Day. On my post, Decoding Dudya's Speech, I mentioned Dudya's belief regarding a relationship between citizenship and military service.
Preferential access to citizenship for those who serve in the military is not unusual. However, it is how Dudya views the relationship between citizenship and military service that makes it more sinister. There is nothing wrong linking citizenship and responsibility for military service, but, Dudya’s idea that a civil-military relationship is defined by political partisanship, moral superiority, and constitutional resistance is what makes his rhetoric sinister. One cannot place degrees of citizenship (face deportation or serve in the military) on the basis of parameters that undermine the constitutional and professional ethic of the military's political neutrality.
In that post I stated that as of April 2003, there were 68,826 foreign-born, both naturalized citizens and non-citizens. The number has increased, as of December 2004, there are approximately 69,300 foreign born serving in the US armed forces.

Memorial Day is to commemorate the US men and women who died in military service. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action.

In honor of the fallen soldiers a short history lesson about the forgotten soldiers who also died shaping US history. What is not often told in the history books their voices will finally be heard, many of them were also immigrants and they have made and continue to make significant contributions to the development of this nation.

American Revolution
After the Spanish defeat in the Seven Years War, Spain had to break up their claimed territory to the English in the Spanish Colony of Florida. Spanish Florida included modern-day Florida and parts of modern-day Alabama and Mississippi.

Bernardo de Galvez - From 1775-77, de Galvez provided rations and weapons to the Continental Army. In 1777, he arranged safe passage for James Willing, an American agent of the Continental Congress, who had led a successful campaign along the Mississippi harassing British shipping, plantation owners and military outpost.
Before Spain entered the American Revolutionary War, Gálvez did much to aid the American patriots. He corresponded directly with Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Henry Lee, personally received their emissaries, Oliver Pollock and Capt. George Gibson, and responded to their pleas by securing the port of New Orleans so that only American, Spanish, and French ships could move up and down the Mississippi River. Over the river, a veritable lifeline, great amounts of arms, ammunition, military supplies, and money were delivered to the embattled American forces under George Washington and George Rogers Clark. Spain formally declared war against Great Britain on June 21, 1779, and King Carlos III commissioned Gálvez to raise a force of men and conduct a campaign against the British along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast....After the fighting, Gálvez helped draft the terms of treaty that ended the war, and he was cited by the American Congress for his aid during the conflict.
Gálvez also organized a militia of Native- Americans, freed African-Americans and his own Spanish regular soldiers to attack British held forts at Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Natchez, Mississippi. A year later, he engaged the British at Mobile, Alabama and a year after that at Pensacola, in western Florida. In each case, de Galvez was able to force the British from their entrenchments and freed these cities. The largest bay on the Texas coast is named after him as well as an island. The bay was called Bahía de Galvezton, which was later called Galveston.

Francisco de Miranda - de Miranda fought in the siege and surrender of Pensacola, and later in the Spanish capture of the Bahamas, which he negotiated as the official representative of the governor of Cuba. While in Cuba, de Miranda played a role in obtaining supplies for the French Admiral de Grasse who then sailed to the Chesapeake Bay to assist the Americans to capture Yorktown, Virginia.

Jordi Ferragut Mesquida - a Spanish–Catalan merchant captain from Minorca, had joined the American Revolutionary and served as a cavalry officer.

War of 1812
Captain Jorge Farragut also fought in the War of 1812 as a member of the US Navy.

U.S.-Mexican War
Battle of the Alamo - Seven Mexicans died as they fought on the side of the Texans: Juan Abamillo, Juan Antonio Badillo, Carlos Espalier, Gregorio Esparza, Antonio Fuentes, Calba Fugua, and Jose Maria Guerrero.

Lieutenant Colonel Juan Nepomucene Seguin - fought in the Battles of San Antonio and San Jacinto. He later was mayor of San Antonio but fled to Mexico in 1842 due to Anglo/Texan hostilities. He later returned to Texas, but was forced to return to Mexico where he lived until his death in 1890.

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo - Born in 1808 to an upper class family in California Mexican. Vellejo helped the US win California from Mexico.
Vallejo was extremely critical of much of Mexican upper class society and government. Much to the horror of his family, at age twenty-three he had been unofficially excommunicated from the Catholic Church for his refusal to turn over banned books to a local priest. He consistently identified with Mexican liberals, who stressed the rule of law and an efficient government with constitutionally limited powers, separate from religious authority. Like many other Mexican liberals, he saw the United States as something of a model form of government. Accordingly, in 1836 he supported a short-lived rebellion led by his nephew, Juan Batista Alvarado, that led to the proclamation of California as a "free state."

Given his attraction to the United States, Vallejo's treatment at the hands of American rebels in 1846 came as a rude shock. General John C. Fremont, the leader of the so-called "Bear Flag Rebellion," imprisoned Vallejo and his younger brother at Sutter's Fort for two months without filing any formal charges.
The city of Vallejo, CA, was named in his honor, a vineyard produces wines with his name, and in 1965, the U.S. Navy commissioned the nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine USS MG Vallejo, one of "the forty-one for freedom," in honor of this distinguished Hispanic.

The Civil War
Admiral James (David) Glasgow Farragut - The most famous Hispanic during the Civil War. Farragut is the son of Jordi Ferragut Mesquida became President Lincoln's Admiral during the Civil War.
David's birth name was James, but it was changed in 1812, following his adoption by future naval Captain David Porter in 1808 (which made him the foster brother of future Civil War Admiral David Dixon Porter).
At the age of 9 he was appointed as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy. At 13 he served aboard the USS Essex during the War of 1812. In 1862, he successfully commanded Union forces and captured the city of New Orleans which promoted him to the rank of rear admiral, a rank never before used in the Navy. He then orchestrated the capture of Mobile, AL. On July, 1866, he was promoted to full Admiral. He took the command of the European Squadron and while in the Mediterranean, he visited the birthplace of his father in Ciuddela, Minorca, where he received a hero's welcome.

The highest ranking Hispanic in the Union Army was General George Meade, who was born and raised in Cadiz, Spain. He won the battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

At the end of the war, over 9,900 Mexican-Americans fought on both sides of the war. Most served in the regular army or volunteer units which were integrated.

Confeferate Units - 2,550 fought in the ranks of the Confederacy
Hispanics served in Confederate units such as the Benavides Regiments (Thirty-third Texas Cavalry), led by Colonel Santos Benavides and the 10th Texas Cavalry, commanded by Major Leonides M. Martin.

According to the historian Jerry Don Thompson, significant numbers of Hispanics also served in the 55th Alabama Infantry, Manigault's Battalion of South Carolina Artillery, 6th Missouri Infantry, the Chalmetle Regiment of Louisiana Infantry, and the Second Texas Mounted Rifles. Other Confederate unites which contained large numbers of Hispanics included Vigil's Independent Companies - Cavalry, the Louisiana Zouaves 1st Florida Cavalry, the Spanish Legion of the European Brigade, the Spanish Guard (part of the Home Guard of Mobile, Alabama), and four independent New Mexico militia companies known by their commanders names (Gonzales, Martinez, Tafolla, and Perea), 1st Florida Cavalry, Confederate Army and Captain Joseph De La Garza Confederate Army from San Antonio.
Even though Santos Benavides, who rose to colonel, and thus became the highest ranking Tejano to serve the Confederacy. The Confederacy ill equipped Benavides, which also meant he was frequently without food. He was also forced to march across vast expanses of South Texas and northern Mexico. Benavides was joined with his two brothers, Refugio and Cristóbal, who both became captains in the regiment. He was one of the last to surrender.

Loretta Janet Velasquez, a Cuban-born woman, enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1860. She was the Confederate's Joan of Arc. She fought at Bull Run, Ball’s Bluff, and Fort Donelson, until she was found out in New Orleans and later discharged. She re-enlisted and fought at Shiloh. She later became a spy, working in both male and female guise.

Union units - 1,000 fought for the Union Army, which included some Mexican nationals.

Unionist Mexican-American Californians
1st California Native Cavalry - under Captain Antonio María de la Guerra.
469 Mexican-Americans served under Major Salvador Vallejo

Unionist Mexican-Texans
Juan Cortina - aided Union partisans in Texas.
Adrián J. Vidal and "Vidal's Independent Partisan Rangers," - soldier in both the Confederate and Union armies. Vidal acted as the eyes of the Union Army in the Valley.
He enlisted as a private in a Confederate company in San Antonio in October 1862, was promoted to lieutenant and eventually captain, and was placed in command of a company of militia at Boca del Río to guard the entrance to the Rio Grande. He was recognized for bravery by Confederate authorities for his capture of a federal gunboat and crew there. Unable to obtain adequate supplies and clothing while in the Confederate Army and frustrated with his inability to communicate in English with his superiors, Vidal led a mutiny in October 1863.
After switching sides, Vidal and his men were able to get through Brownsville, where he and his men plundered neighboring ranches and killing several Confederate sympathizers. Vidal enlisted in the Union Army along with many of his men who served with him in the Confederate Army. But even in the Union Army, he and his men were faced with discrimination so he and his men had fled into Mexico to help Cortina.

Texas Union Units
  • 2nd Regiment Cavalry - Organized at Brownsville, TX, Dec, 1863;
  • 2nd Battalion Cavalry - Organized at Brazos Santiago, TX, March, 1865;
  • Independent Company Partisan Rangers - Organized at Brownsville, TX, Nov, 1863.
Names of those who served in Federal Texas units.

New Mexico units
  • 1st Cavalry - Organized 1862
  • 1st Infantry - Organized at Ft Union and Santa Fe, NM, 1861.
  • 1st Battalion Cavalry & Infantry - Organized in NM 1866.
  • 1st Militia Infantry (Romero's Independent Comp) - Organized in NM 1861.
  • 2nd Infantry (Aragon's Comp) - Organized at Santa Fe., NM, July and Aug, 1861.
  • 3rd Regiment Infantry - Organized at Ft Union and Albuquerque, NM, Aug to Oct, 1861.
  • 4th Regiment Infantry - Organized at Ft Union, NM, Sept, 1861.
  • 5th Regiment Infantry - Organized at Albuquerque, NM, Nov, 1861.
  • Mink's Independent Cavalry Company - Organized at Santa Fe, NM, July, 1861.
  • Graydon's Independent Cavalry Company - Organized at Ft Craig, NM, Feb, 1862.
  • Haspell's Independent Cavalry Company - Organized at Albuqurque, NM, July, 1861.
  • Vidal's Independent Cavalry Company - Organized at Santa Fe, NM, July, 1861.
  • Perea's Battalion Militia - Organized at large 1861
    • Montoya's Company, from Perea's Battalion
    • El Valle's Co from Perea's Battalion
    • Baca's Company from Perea's Battalion
  • Capt. Duran's Company, New Mexico Military
  • Alba Jose Clemente's Company, 1st Co New Mexico
  • Capt. Alarid's Independent Company Militia - Organized at Santa Fe, NM, Dec, 1861;
  • Capt. Gonzales' Independent Company Militia - Organized at Ft Craig, NM, Nov, 1861;
  • Capt. Sena's Co. A. 1st Militia, Infantry (2 Months, 1862)
  • Capt. Simpson's Independent Co., Mounted Spies and Guides
  • Mora Independent Company Militia - Organized at Mora, NM, Nov, 1861; and
  • Tafolla's Independent Company Militia - Organized at Ft Craig, NM, Nov, 1861;
Names of those who served in Federal New Mexico units.

Federico Fernandez Cavada - Cavada, a Cuban-born Unionist fought in in the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg and was later caught and sent Libby Prison in Richmond, VA. After the war, Cavada went back to Cuba to fight in Cuba's 10-Year War which he attained the rank of general.

Luis Fenellosa Emilio - born in Salem Massachusetts of Spanish immigrant parents, was a company commander in the famous 54th Massachusetts ("Colored") Regiment. One of the few officers that survived the charge on Fort Wagner, South Carolina he later became the Regiment's commander. His memoirs called "A Brave Black Regiment," were the basis for the Academy Award-winning film, "Glory."

The Spanish-American War
Theodore Roosevelt's "Rough Riders" - private John B. Alamia, Sergeant George W. Armijo, Private G.W. Aringo, Private Jose M. Baca, Private Frank C. Brito, Private Jose Brito, Private Abel B. Duran, Private Joseph L. Duran, and Saddler Joe T. Sandoval.

Maximiliano Luna Luna was also a Captain of the Rough Riders, US Voluntary Cavalry, and a 1st Lieutenant of the 34th US Volunteer Infantry. Captin Luna died in the Philippines in 1899 in the The Boxer Rebellion.

The Boxer Rebellion
France Silva who later was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and heroic actions.

World War I
More than 4,000 Hispanics were trained for military service, but were often relegated to menial jobs and ridicule by their English-speaking military peers.

Nicolas Lucero - received the French Croix de Guerre for his brave action in destroying two German machine gun emplacements and maintaining a constant fire against enemy positions for over three hours.

Private Marcelino Serna - shot by a German soldier and seriously wounded. Private Serna was able to continue fighting and subsequently captured 24 German soldiers protecting them from execution by other U.S. soldiers. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and later was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre, the Victory Medal with three bars, and twice with the Purple Heart.

Frederico Molina and notably, David Barkley, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The US reward for serving, an anti-immigration policy that included mass deportation, roundups and repatriation that forced many established Hispanics out of their homes and separated families.

World War II
It is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 Hispanics served in the Armed Forces during WW II.

US at Pearl Harbor - Sgt. Felipe Trejo of Santa Fe, NM and Epimenio Rubi of Winslow, AZ died that day.

The infamous "Bataan Death March" - the Hispanic soldiers that died in the march were mostly from units from New Mexico.

Units with large numbers of Hispanic participants
The 158th Regimental Combat Team (a National Guard unit from AZ) was sent to Panama to guard the Panama Canal Zone. They were moved in January 1943 to Brisbane, Australia, where they were committed to combat at Milne Bay, Kiriwina Island, Port Moresby, and Arawe (all in New Guinea) in 1943. Then fought their way on to Wake and Noemfoor Islands in New Guinea during 1944 and the Lingayen Gulf, Batangas and Legaspi, Luzon, in the Philippines during 1945 and finally to Yokohama, Japan for duty. General Douglas McArthur refered to these soldiers as "the greatest fighting combat team ever deployed for battle."

511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (11thAirborne Division) - awarded the Medal of Honor for destroying 11 Japanese pillboxes on Luzon in the Philippines.

127th Infantry Regiment (32nd Infantry Division) - Staff Sergeant Ismael Villegas and Private First Class David Gonzalez of the also received Congressional Medals of Honor for their action on the Villa Verde Trail in Luzon during March and April 1945.

165th Infantry Regiment (27th Infantry Division) - Sergeant Alejandro Ruiz received the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Okinawa and a Silver Star while serving as a Japanese interpreter.

Guy "Gaby" Gabaldon - he personally captured over 1,000 Japanese civilians and soldiers and forcing them to surrender to the U.S. military. Marine Private Gaby Gabaldon was awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest Marine Service award. His two Japanese-American "brothers" joined the US armed forces in the European campaign but his foster parents and sister were sent to a US detention center.

Private Joe Martinez, the first Hispanic recipient of the Medal of Honor during World War II. After being attacked by Japanese soldiers 15 days later after Martinez's unit landed at Holz Bay. Private Martinez, led his group on the assault. When they were pushed back, Private Martinez again led the charge against the enemy forces. He was mortally wounded on his second attempt, which motivated his fellow soldiers to drive the enemy back from their position.

Korean War
9 Hispanics received the Medal of Honor

The Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Division - only all-Hispanic Division to serve during the Korean War. It earned four Distinguished Service Crosses and 124 Silver Stars.

Captain Manual J. Fernandez - USAF had 14.5 enemy kills in 125 missions. He was the third-ranked fighter pilot of the war and retired as a Colonel.

The Vietnam War
Approximately 80,000 Hispanics served in the Vietnam theater of operations and 13 won the Medal of Honor, 6 of them Marines.

Sergeant First Class Isaac Camacho - first Hispanic POW of the Vietnam era, escaped 20 months later. He was awarded the Silver and Bronze Stars.

Lieutenant Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. - first American pilot taken as a prisoner of war and remained a prisoner longer than anyone else, eight and a half years.

Master Sergeant Juan J. Valdez - presence gave credence to the America’s war: "First in...last to leave."

Post-Vietnam Era
As of 1990, six ships and three active submarines have been named for Hispanics, including the nuclear-powered 688 class fast attack submarine, USS San Juan, named after the capital city of Puerto Rico.

Admiral Horacio Rivera - In 1979, first Hispanic four-star Admiral and served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Edward Hidalgo - Secretary of the Navy

Desert Shield/Storm
20,000 Hispanic servicemen and servicewomen who participated in Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

According to Defense Manpower Data Center Statistics, Hispanics comprised 7.9 percent of the Fleet Marine Force, 6.0% of the Navy, 4.2% of the Army and 3.1% of the Air Force military personnel in the Persian Gulf military operation during the war.

26 brave Hispanic heroes are included among the 144 Americans killed in action:Andy Alaniz (Texas), Jose Arteaga (Connecticut), John A. Bolivar (Pennsylvania), Manuel Danila (Wyoming), Manuel M. Davila (Wyoming), Delwin Delgado (Florida), Luis R. Delgado (Texas), Mario Fajardo (New York), Eliseo Felix, Jr. (Arizona), Arthur Galvan
(California), Arthur O. Garza (Texas), Daniel Garza (Texas), Rosendo Herrera (Texas), Candelario Montalvo, Jr. (Texas), Garett A. Mongrella (New Jersey), Patbouvier E. Ortiz (New York), Daniel G. Perez (Texas), Kip A. Poremba (Virginia), Manuel Rivera, Jr. (Florida), Eloy A. Rodriguez, Jr. (Florida), Ronald Rondazzo (Maryland), Mario V. Velasquez (Puerto Rico), Carpio Villareal (Texas), and Carlos A. Viquez (New York).

Bosnia Peacekeeping Operations
Specialist Steven M. Gonzales - Prisoners of War (P.O.W.)
Staff Sergeant Andrew A. Ramirez - Prisoners of War (P.O.W.)

The number of Hispanic deaths in BushCo's war = 274

It is undeniable that Hispanics have a strong commitment to America's defense. Once again history has shown the commitment Hispanics put into this country from America the American Revolution to the current BushCo war. How does the government repay them them, an anti-immigration policy like the one right after WWI and WWII that will once again included mass deportation, roundups and repatriation that forced many established Hispanics out of their homes and separated families. American is doomed once again to repeat its ugly history.

Source of information: Hispanics in the Defense of America


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