HOUSTON – Every day about 300 WWII veterans pass away. It is paramount we continue to tell their stories, honor their service, and document their sacrifices, which allowed us to live free today.
Texan, Joe Rodriguez was a teenager when he was drafted into World War Two. “I’m grateful to God that I was able to come back and proud to have served my country,” said Rodriguez.
Houston is now home for 95-year-old Rodriguez, but it’s not where his story began. “Okay I was born in a small town in Texas it’s called Rio Grande Valley,” said Rodriguez.
Fresh out of high school, at the age of 18, he was drafted into the Army and landed in the Philippines. “From then on it was chasing the Japanese, sometimes they ran, sometimes they would fight back,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was an infantryman, fighting on the front lines for our freedom.
“I didn’t expect to come back,” said Rodriguez.
After his stint in the Philippines, Rodriguez was sent to patrol the streets of Japan. Then he was shipped to Germany and Austria to do the same. “I feel that it was my duty and obligation to serve my country,” said Rodriguez.
Sixteen million Americans served in WWII about 250,000 are still alive, including 96-year-old Marine Veteran, Bob D. Cook who we interviewed at Rodriguez’s home.
Cook came from a military family and enlisted to fight at age of 17.
“I wanted to get out and get after those Nazis,” chuckled Cook. However, Cook was sent to the Pacific Theatre like Rodriguez, where he also served in the infantry.
They didn’t meet on the frontlines though, they met in Houston. Now they share war stories. “And sometimes we say do you remember this, or do you remember this,” exclaimed Rodriguez.
They both say their service to our country, is the greatest story of their lives. It’s a story we should continue to share as these men are heroes from the greatest generation.