Oral History Spotlight: Gilberto Mendez

Ruth Ann Hattori

What was it like to serve in the military of two different countries during WWII? This Oral History Spotlight will give you some insight. In 2011, Gilberto (Gil) Mendez sat down with an interviewer from the NMPW to record his experiences during the war. Mr. Mendez, who was born in Floresville, Texas and was living with relatives in Monterrey, Mexico when that country entered the war. Gil was drafted into the Mexican Army and served for one year. Because of a requirement to register for the U.S. draft, he returned to Texas and joined the Marines not long after. In early 1945, Mr. Mendez took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima and fought in some of the bloodiest combat on that island. To hear Gil describe these and other aspects of his service to both countries please take a listen to his account.

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