Latino Military Heroes

In honor of Veterans Day, we wanted to highlight Latinas who have dedicated their lives to saving ours.

Latinos have fought in every American war since the Revolution. Honor those who have given their service and their lives to help keep you free and safe.

Here are some outstanding Hispanics with exemplary military careers, putting their lives on the line every day for ordinary people.

1. Military Marisol

Aviation Material Readiness Officer Marisol Chalas

Chalas is one of a handful of Latina Black Hawk helicopter pilots and first for the National Guard. But the tough-minded dominicana, who graduated at the top of her class in aviation school, is also the commander of a fleet of Army Reserve Black Hawk helicopters. She served in the first Gulf War but counts an Army-sponsored mission to build rural schools and clinics in the Dominican Republic in 2006 as one of her biggest career highlights.


2. Military shoshana

Spc. Shoshana Johnson The Panamanian American became the first black female prisoner of war in U.S. history when she and five other members of her unit (including Jessica Lynch) were captured in 2003 after losing a gunfight in Iraq. Marines rescued them after 22 days and she received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal for her service in Iraq.

3. Military Emily

2nd Lt. Emily Perez A West Point graduate (she was the military academy’s first female minority Cadet Command Sergeant Major), she also made history as the first female black officer to die in combat after a bomb went off near her vehicle in Iraq. Perez, who was African American and Latina, received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge, among other awards. A talented track star in school, she posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor. PHOTO: Veterans salute Emily at her funeral

4. Military Patrick

Rear Admiral Patrick H. Brady

A rear admiral of the Navy, Brady, who is Irish and Hispanic, is in charge of no less than all the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the center for research, development, test, evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapons systems associated with undersea warfare. He is also a motivational speaker who addresses Latino kids and organizations.


5. Military Seb

Spc. Juan Sebastian Restrepo

The 20-year-old Colombian American Army airborne combat medic, beloved by his fellow soldiers, was on patrol in Afghanistan’s deadly Korengal Valley when he was shot twice in the neck in July 2007 and died. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. An Army outpost built in the spot were he died, named after him by his buddies, was the subject of a 2010 documentary, Restrepo.


6. Military Augustin

Sgt. First Class Augustin Ramos Calero

Nicknamed a “one-man Army” by his comrades, Ramos singlehandedly killed 11 Germans and captured another 21 in a World War II battle in France. The Boricua, one of 500,000 Hispanics to serve in WWII, was wounded five times during the war and received 22 medals, including a Siler Star and a Purple Heart. That made him the most decorated Latino in WWII.


7. Military Otto

Maj. Otto Padron He may be Univision’s Senior Vice President for Programming, but Padron is also a 21-year Army reservist. In 2006, he was called up to Iraq, where he was promoted to Major. There, the Cuban American exec survived improvised explosive device attacks and received the Army Commendation Medal with a valor device and Bronze Star for safely leading his team out an ambush at an Iraqi Police Station during heavy fire.

8. Military Marco

Cpl. Marco Martinez

The first Latino to receive a Navy Cross (the Armed Forces’ second-highest honor) since the Vietnam War, Martinez led a devastating attack against Saddam Hussein’s elite Fedayeen and Republican Guards in 2003. The Mexican American New Mexico native eventually ending the firefight by singlehandedly entering a building alone and lobbing a grenade. He wrote a memoir, Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero, about his life and military career.