As a young engineer, Victor M. Mendez wasted little time deciding what to focus on in his career. “Thinking back, I migrated to transportation very early,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post in 2012. “I remember how satisfying it was to be able to say I helped design and construct a road... Continue Reading →

Robert Files Lopez was born in the city of Davenport, Iowa, on March 31, 1857. He was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1874 and made history in 1879 as the first Hispanic American to graduate from that institution. Lopez’s subsequent naval career included serving as an ensign aboard the USS Thetis when that... Continue Reading →

Frank Sandoval, whose U.S. Army service during World War II included taking part in one of the most critical and formidable roadbuilding projects of that military conflict, grew up in a predominantly Hispanic American community on Second Street in the small town of Silvis, Illinois. That street is just a block-and-a-half long and consists of... Continue Reading →

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 →

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