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To enter the military is always a sacrifice. One gives up a lot of personal freedom and moves away from the families and friends. There is no longer freedom of choice about where to live, when to move, or just to take a few days off or take a vacation.

Families give up easy interaction and have to find ways to compensate for the prolonged absence of a loved one. And, tragically, a family must endure the ultimate sacrifice of a loved one killed far away, made still more tragic when the death results from a war highly unpopular with most of the nation.


Vietnam Veteran Larry Hurtado accepting a flag for his fallen comrades during the dedication of the Sandoval Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

“Dear God, if you have to take me before my designated time, I hereby give myself to you and my country with the honor that I intended. Please ensure that my loved ones do not suffer without pride– that my fate was for them and country equally.”

Ernest P. Garcia     US Army (Avionics Specialist 5 and Helicopter Door Gunner)        Served 5 May 1969 to 23 December 1971

“I was the second in command of a Special Forces A Team when we lost our Captain. As a 23 year old 1 LT, it was a challenge to command troopers that were my father’s age. They trusted me and I did manage to bring them all back, in a box or on litters. The three of us that are still here from that A Team still maintain constant contact. That was my first combat experience and it went on from there. Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama and others.”
> Julio Caratini, US Army


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