Hispanic Americans in World War II From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Major General Pedro del Valle (second from left) is greeted by Colonel "Chesty" Puller on Pavuvu in late October 1944, while Major General William H. Rupertus (far left) looks on.Hispanic Americans fought in every major battle in the European Theatre of World War II in which the armed forces of the United States were involved, from North Africa to the Battle of the Bulge, and in the Pacific Theater of Operations, from Bataan to Okinawa. According to the National World War II Museum, between 250,000 and 500,000 Hispanic Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII, out of a total of 12,000,000, constituting 2.3% to 4.7% of the U.S. Armed Forces. The exact number is unknown as, at the time, Hispanics were integrated into the general white population census count. Separate statistics were kept for African-Americans and Asian-Americans. On December 7, 1941, when the United States officially entered the war, Hispanic Americans were among the many American citizens who joined the ranks of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as volunteers or through the draft. Not only did Hispanics serve as active combatants in the European and Pacific Theatres of war, but they also served on the home front as civilians. Hundreds of Hispanic women joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), serving as nurses and in administrative positions. Many worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and material, while the men who usually performed this work were away at war. When conscription was increased some Puerto Ricans from the island were assigned as replacements to units in the Panama Canal Zone and British Caribbean islands that were made up mostly of continental (United States mainland) soldiers; however, most Puerto Ricans and Hispanics residing in Puerto Rico were assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment or to the Puerto Rico National Guard. These were the only all-Hispanic units whose statistics were kept; hence, it is known that over 53,000 Puerto Ricans and Hispanics who resided on the island served in the war. According to Senator Robert Menendez, more than 9,000 Latinos died in the defense of the United States in World War II. Owing to the lack of documentation, the exact number of Hispanics who died in the conflict is unknown. Generals Major General del Valle Lieutenant General Pedro del ValleLieutenant General Pedro Augusto del Valle (18931978), as a Colonel was the Commanding Officer of the 11th Marine Regiment (artillery). Upon the outbreak of World War II, del Valle led his regiment during the seizure and defense of Guadalcanal, providing artillery support for the 1st Marine Division. In the Battle of the Tenaru, the fire power provided by del Valle's artillery units killed many assaulting Japanese soldiersalmost to the last manbefore they reached the Marine positions. As a result of the outcome of the battle Japanese commander, Colonel Ichiki Kiyonao, committed seppuku shortly afterwards. General Alexander Vandegrift, impressed with del Valle's leadership, recommended his promotion and on October 1, 1942, del Valle became a Brigadier General. Vandegrift retained del Valle as head of the 11th Marines, the only time that the 11th Marines has ever had a general as their commanding officer. In 1943, he served as Commander of Marine Forces overseeing Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and the Russell and Florida Islands. On April 1, 1944, del Valle, as Commanding General of the Third Corps Artillery, III Marine Amphibious Corps, took part in the Battle of Guam and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. The men under his command did such a good job with their heavy artillery that no one man could be singled out for commendation. Instead each man was given a letter of commendation by del Valle, which was carried in his record books. In late October 1944, del Valle succeeded Major General William Rupertus as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, being personally greeted to his new command by Colonel Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller. At the time, the 1st Marine Division was training on the island of Pavuvu for the invasion of Okinawa. On May 29, 1945, del Valle participated in one of the most important events that led to victory in Okinawa. After five weeks of fighting, del Valle ordered Company A of the 1st Battalion 5th Marines to capture Shuri Castle, a medieval fortress of the ancient Ryukyuan kings. Seizure of Shuri Castle represented a morale blow for the Japanese and was a milestone in the Okinawa campaign. The fighting in Okinawa would continue for 24 more days. Del Valle was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership during the battle and the subsequent occupation and reorganization of Okinawa. Brigadier General Quesada Brig. Gen. Elwood R. QuesadaLieutenant General Elwood R. Pete Quesada, (19041993) was assigned as a Brigadier General in October 1940 to intelligence in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps. He became commanding general of the 9th Fighter Command where he established advanced headquarters on the Normandy beachhead on D-Day plus one, and directed his planes in aerial cover and air support for the Allied invasion of the European continent. He was the foremost proponent of "the inherent flexibility of air power", a principle he helped prove during World War II. In December 1942, Quesada took the First Air Defense Wing to North Africa. Shortly thereafter, he was given command of the XII Fighter Command and in this capacity would work out the mechanics of close air support and Army-Air Force cooperation. The successful integration of air and land forces in the Tunisia campaign forged by Quesada and the Allied leaders became a blueprint for operations incorporated into Army Air Forces field regulationsFM 100-20, "Command and Employment of Air Power," first published on July 21, 1943and provided the Allies with their first victory in the European war. Principles such as the co-equality of ground and air force commanders, centralized command of tactical aircraft to exploit "the inherent flexibility of air power," and the attainment of air superiority over the battlefield as a prerequisite for successful ground operations formed the core of tactical air doctrine. In October 1943, Quesada assumed command of the IX Fighter Command in England, and his forces provided air cover for the landings on Normandy Beach. Among Quesadas many military decorations were the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Heart and an Air Medal with two Silver Stars. Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen Brigadier General Terry de la Mesa AllenMajor General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr. (18881969) was the son of Colonel Samuel Edward Allen and Conchita Alvarez de la Mesa. During World War II he was the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division in North Africa and Sicily, and was made commander of the 104th Infantry Division. While in North Africa Allen and his deputy 1st Division Commander, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. distinguished themselves as combat leaders. Allen was re-assigned to the 104th Infantry Division. The 104th Infantry Division landed in France on September 7, 1944 and fought for 195 consecutive days during World War II. The division's nickname came from its timberwolf shoulder insignia. Some 34,000 men served with the division under Allen who came to be nicknamed "Terrible Terry". The division was particularly renowned for its night fighting prowess. Is the hispanic hating only in the general public?