Suggested Teaching Instructions
World War I service card, Form No. 724-1 A. G. O., listing personal information, organizations served in, ranks held, engagements, wounds, and discharge date for Carlos Fernando Rodriguez, ca. 1919.
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.
How do immigrants become a part of a new society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information found in this document and explain how Carlos Rodriguez was a important member of American society.
One of the deadliest weapons used during World War I was mustard gas. What is mustard gas and why was it such a deadly weapon? Is mustard gas still used in warfare today?
Why did the United States enter World War I? How many casualties did the U.S. suffer during the war?
Research the Jones Act. Why was this piece of legislation so important to Puerto Rican citizens?
Music: Read the lyrics of the song “The Green Fields of France” (use the website listed under Resources below). Discuss the number of casualties inflicted in World War I and how these casualties may have affected soldiers and civilians. Get a copy of the song and play it for the class.