Anzaldua, Jose USMC POW

[00:00:12.10] JOSE ANZALDUA: I come from a little town by the name of Refugio, Texas.
And it’s in Southeastern Texas. Grew up in a traditional family, two sisters and a brother. Just
had what I would consider a normal childhood. Did high school sports.
[00:00:30.98] Senior year in high school, I came to the conclusion that because of our
socioeconomic standing, that my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. And at that time,
there weren’t Pell Grants and things of that nature, so I started looking as to what I could do for
myself to try to give myself some sense of a better future and improve my life.
[00:00:55.11] And I was drawn to a Marine recruiter– not by design. It just one of those things
that happens, almost like it was predestined. And wound up joining the Marine Corps in the
Delayed Enlistment Program in March of ’68.
[00:01:19.81] And I chose the military, not that I really had any more of a desire to be a Marine
than an Army or Air Force or Navy type person. But it fit right in with what I would consider my
aspirations, whereas to what I had a debt to perform because our country was in a war, as an
individual. And I came to the conclusion that that choice was honorable and would be one that
would be wholesome in itself and its entirety, and there were some things, some benefits that if I
survived the Vietnam conflict and future conflicts, that I would have a chance at retirement and
education and things like that that I would not otherwise have.
[00:02:19.96] When I talked to the recruiter, I was what I think they call it a category one mental
group. I asked the recruiter what he could guarantee me. And the Marine recruiter looked at me
and said, the only thing I can guarantee you is boot camp and then going to war in Vietnam. He
says, and I can’t promise you anything else. And as a volunteer, I had to sign a four year contract.
But I did so willingly, and at age 17. And I had to convince my mother and father to sign for me
since I was a minor.
[00:02:56.17] My father was– I don’t want to use the word “enthusiastic” in the sense that he was
pushing me in that direction. But he did support my decision to pursue that. And with my
mother, I think that she felt that she needed to support me also. But it was real emotional for her,
and me leaving and going to where I was going.
[00:03:25.57] But nonetheless, I went to Marine Corps boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot
San Diego, California. Graduated from there and went to Infantry Training Regiment at Camp
Pendleton, California. And then was processing to go to Vietnam with my friends. And because I
was in that category one mental group, as they call it, they singled me out and sent me to an
Army school up in Monterey, California, the Defense Language Institute. And they trained me
for 12 weeks in Vietnamese, to learn to speak, read, and talk. So I spent three months

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