In 2004, Joseph Michael Acabá made history as the first person of Puerto Rican descent to be named as a NASA astronaut candidate. Acabá was born in 1967 in Inglewood, California. His parents, Ralph and Elsie Acabá, are from the municipality of Hatillo in Puerto Rico and had moved to California earlier in the decade.... Continue Reading →

Joseph B. Aviles, Sr., who became the first Hispanic American chief petty officer (CPO) in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), was born near the town of Naranjito in central Puerto Rico in 1896. (Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony at the time, and became a territory of the United States a couple of years later.)... Continue Reading →

As a nurse, Maria Esperanza Garcia Roach was one of an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 Hispanic Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Her own lifesaving role in this global conflict very much depended on airborne transportation. Maria was born on July 16, 1915, in the city of Piedras Negras... Continue Reading →

Horacio Rivero, Jr., who was born in 1910 in the city of Ponce on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, earned renown as one of the U.S. Navy’s highest-ranking Hispanic American pioneers. In 1927, he received an appointment to attend the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA). Rivero graduated from the USNA in 1931, standing third in... Continue Reading →

John J. Herrera, an attorney who fought long and hard for the civil rights of Mexican Americans, was born in Cravens, Louisiana, in 1910 to Antonia Jiménez and Juan José Herrera. While best known for helping to win one landmark case that declared school segregation of Hispanics illegal and an equally ground-breaking case which ruled the... Continue Reading →

In 2018, Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor became only the second woman of Hispanic descent to fly into outer space. (Ellen Ochoa, who is of Mexican descent, made her first spaceflight in 1993.)  Auñón-Chancellor (she pronounces Auñón as ON-un) was born in Indianapolis in 1976. Her father, Dr. Jorge Auñón, is a Cuban exile who arrived in... Continue Reading →

Joseph Tezanos was born in the city of Santander in Spain in 1920. At an early age, he moved with his parents to the United States and grew up in western New York. After graduating from high school, Tezanos found work as a crane operator at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s plant in Lackawanna, New York.... Continue Reading →

In 1993, American astronaut Ellen Ochoa made history as the first Hispanic woman to travel into outer space. This pioneering flight involved a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in which she helped conduct an array of atmospheric and solar studies. Ochoa was born in Los Angeles in 1958. She earned a bachelor’s degree in... Continue Reading →

Hispanic-American surfmen Pablo Valent, Mariano Holland, and Indalecio Lopez were among those serving at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Texas-based Brazos Life-Saving Station (the present-day South Padre Island Station) who undertook a high-risk rescue operation in the Gulf of Mexico during a severe storm in September 1919. (Valent had entered the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1912... Continue Reading →

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