Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos Recall the War

Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos Recall the War

Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos Recall the War

Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos Recall the War


One of the most decorated groups that served in the Vietnam War, Chicanos fought and died in numbers well out of proportion to their percentage of the United States' population. Yet despite this, their wartime experiences have never received much attention in either popular media or scholarly studies. To spotlight and preserve some of their stories, this book presents substantial interviews with Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families that explore the men's experiences in combat, the war's effects on the Chicano community, and the veterans' postwar lives.Lea Ybarra groups the interviews topically to bring out different aspects of the Chicano vets' experiences. In addition to discussing their involvement in and views on the Vietnam War, the veterans also reflect on their place in American society, American foreign policy, and the value of war. Veterans from several states and different socioeconomic classes give the book a broad-based perspective, which Ybarra frames with sociological material on the war and its impact on Chicanos.


Edward James Olmos

I was born in 1947, just after the Second World War, and my life and thoughts of patriotism were established for me long before I got here. From the time I can remember, and I am sure I mean from the time I was born, I can recall hearing about the heroic deeds of Mexican Americans, Chicanos, during our country’s wars. It was part of our culture, part of our heritage, better yet, part of life itself. As a matter of fact, it served as the cornerstone of the pride of our people. Fighting for one’s country was an integral part of living. We were bred on this. I will forever remember hearing about a father or brother, uncle or cousin, niece or nephew who was joining or returning, or who had died in the line of duty for our country.

My eternal gratitude to Dr. Lea Ybarra and all the Chicanos who participated in this book, for they have brought us closer to understanding the incredible plight not only of Mexican Americans but of the human race in general during times of war. Within the pages of this book, we truly get a candid look at war, patriotism, fear, and love.

Bless all who have helped us with this compelling assemblage of truth. What can one say other than thank you to all who have participated, to those who have lived the stories we are about to embrace. It is part of my upbringing to be proud of God and country, but with this intimate look at the people who have had family or who have themselves been in a war, I, as well as thousands of others, will understand a little more of how we as humans relate to, feel, and handle the overall impact of war.

My culture will benefit immensely from these strong and compelling stories, but my hope is that all cultures of this incredible society we call America will read the oral histories of Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families and learn. One cannot quote enough times George Santayana’s immortal statement, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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