Happy Memorial Day! 10 Latino Service Men & Women You Never Knew

Happy Memorial Day! Today, we honor and remember the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This stellar group of individuals have shown tremendous bravery and courage for our country.

In honor of this special federal holiday, below we've highlighted Latino service men and women who have each contributed their valuable time and services to the U.S.:

1. servicepeople slide 01_Anthony Acevedo

Anthony Acevedo

Californian Anthony Acevedo (who joined the U.S. Army at 18) is a World War II veteran who was honored earlier this year at the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 20th Anniversary Tribute in Washington, D.C. The 88-year-old is also a Holocaust survivor – and became the first Mexican American to be registered with the museum’s survivor database in 2010. 

2. servicepeople slide 02_Francisco Cortes

Francisco Cortes

The Boricua director of Fox News Latino is also a proud U.S. Army veteran. Cortes served in the U.S. Army from 1996-1999 before diving into journalism as a production assistant for Fox News Channel. 

3. servicepeople slide 03_Leroy Petry

Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry

Two years ago, then 31-year-old Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry made history as the second living Medal of Honor awardee since the Vietnam War. The serviceman was honored by President Barack Obama for saving the lives of two fellow Rangers despite being shot in both legs and losing a hand during a daring daytime mission in Afghanistan in 2006.

4. servicepeople slide 04_Juan Dominguez

Juan Dominguez

The Latino Marine Corporal tragically lost both his legs and right arm in 2010 from an explosive device in Afghanistan. Still, the triple amputee Marine didn’t let his injuries deter him from carrying on with his life – even from finding love. His adopted Californian hometown was so moved Dominguez’s positive spirit that they helped plan a dream wedding for both him and his love, Alexis.

5. servicepeople slide 05_Major General Angela Salinas

Major General Angela Salinas

Mexican-American Angela Salinas made history in 2006 as the first Latina to become a United States Marine Corps general officer. The native Texan is also the sixth woman in the Marine Corps to reach the rank of brigadier general – which is a senior rank in the armed forces.

6. servicepeople slide 06_Modesto Cartagena

Modesto Cartagena

Originally from Cayey, Puerto Rico, Modesto Cartagena later enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to the 65th Infantry, which was also known as “The Borinqueneers” (an all-Puerto Rican regiment). Cartagena, who was awarded a Purple Heart (among other notable military decorations) served in both World War II and the Korean War. He died in 2010 as the most decorated Puerto Rican soldier in history.

7. servicepeople slide 07_loreta valazquez

Loreta Velazquez

The daughter of a rich Cuban planter, Loreta Velazquez immigrated to New Orleans in 1849 and secretly fought in the U.S. Civil War, one of about 1,000 women who disguised themselves as men to serve the country. She was later a spy for the Union Army. 

8. servicepeople slide 08_Aldemar Burgos

Sgt. 1st Class Aldemar Burgos

Sgt. 1st Class Aldemar Burgos was one of eight Latino soldiers from the greater Washington, D.C. area who was recognized during the Latino Inaugural Gala which took place earlier this year. Burgos was born in Puerto Rico and came to the U.S. at 17. 

9. servicepeople slide 09_Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

Retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

Now retired, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch was the highest-ranking Latina in the Army's combat support field when she retired in 1996. For her tremendous service, she was also awarded the Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) – which is one of the organization’s highest honors. Castillo Kickbusch is also a celebrated author and a motivational speaker.

10. servicepeople slide 10_Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez

Master Sergeant Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez

The late Texan-born Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez enrolled in the Texas Army National Guard and later the United States Army. A son of a Mexican father and a Taqui Indian mother, he was a member of the Studies and Observations Group of the Army. He later received the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat near Loc Ninh, South Vietnam on May 2, 1968.