Skip to content
Interpreting the Evidence

World War I Service Record for Antonio Gonzales, c. 1920

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York City
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load World War I Service Record for Antonio Gonzales, c. 1920 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load World War I Service Record for Antonio Gonzales, c. 1920 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
World War I service card, Form No. 724-1½ A. G. O., listing personal information, organizations served in, ranks held, engagements, wounds, and discharge date for Antonio Gonzales, ca. 1920.
Historical Context
Service records show biographical information about each soldier, including his address, his place of birth, the unit or units he served with, and any wounds he may have received.    

Latinos have made an outstanding contribution to America by serving in the armed forces.  Today, people of Spanish descent make up 9.5% of all active duty personnel.  Hispanic Americans have been recognized for their bravery and valor, and Latinos as a group have received thirty-nine Medals of Honor in recognition of their accomplished service in the defense of our nation.

There are many stories that demonstrate the gallantry of Hispanic soldiers during the Great War.  One such story involves a young private named Marcelino Serna. Private Serna was wounded on the battlefield in France, but continued to fight, and later captured twenty-four German soldiers.  Private Serna was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in the service of his country.      

Latinos also volunteered in force during World War II.  Although records from this war are incomplete, it is estimated that over 250,000 Latinos fought in the Second World War.  Of these, 56,000 were from Puerto Rico.

Essential Question
How do immigrants become a part of a new society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information found in this document and explain how Antonio Gonzales was a important member of American society.
Historical Challenges
The U.S. drafted non-citizens during World War I. Why would the country do this? Locate draft cards of World War I veterans who were aliens.
Make a list of the countries involved in World War I on both the Allied and Central Powers sides. On which side were the Spanish-speaking countries?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a letter home as a soldier describing what you have seen overseas. Remember that your letter will be censored. Do you think censorship was necessary? Why or why not?
Science: What is the chemical makeup of mustard gas? Why is it so lethal?