Category Archives: Fighting Basques

Fighting Basques: The Basques and Navarrese of the Other ‘D’ Day: Saipan and the Pacific Front

This article originally appeared in Spanish at El Diario on October 23, 2019. In contrast to the public commemorations of D-Day in Normandy, the Mariana island of Saipan attracts little or no institutional or media attention, despite its strategic importance in the Pacific Ocean theater of operations and the significance it had in the becoming […]

Fighting Basques: The other Basques of the Battle of Guadalcanal (1942): History Versus Myth

This article originally appeared in Spanish at EuskalKultura.eus on July 23, 2021. Faced with the legend and the myth of Carranza and his group of “Basque code talkers,” the real events of those Americans of Basque origin, Basque of flesh and blood, with Basque names and surnames, have to be vindicated by Basque historiography as […]

Fighting Basques: Basques in the Last Christmas of the War: The Battle of the Bulge

This article originally appeared in Spanish at El Diario on January 16, 2020. On December 14, 1944, two days before a large-scale German offensive began in the Ardennes and just four days after his 33rd birthday, the Basque-Californian soldier Alfred Starr Etcheverry wrote what would be his last letter to his wife Marion Hazard and […]

Fighting Basques: Félix and Julián Oleaga, Two Basque Brothers at the Front in Europe. From D-Day to Bastogne

This article originally appeared in Spanish at EuskalKultura.eus. Having just turned 19, the young Basque-New Yorker Julián Oleaga Garayo, slight of build, found himself with hundreds of his compatriots literally up to his neck in water – laden with equipment that almost equaled his own weight – starring in one of the most momentous episodes […]

Fighting Basques: Two German Deserters Among the Gudaris

This article originally appeared in Spanish at EuskalKultura.eus. A history of the Gernika Battalion (Pointe de Grave, 1945). When one of the authors of this blog, Guillermo Tabernilla, published the book Basque Combatants in World War II, we learned, for the first time, details of the Gernika Battalion that had not yet been treated by […]

Fighting Basques: Navarrese Marine Federico Clavería, First Correspondent in WWII

In memory of journalists David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, murdered in Burkina Faso. This article originally appeared in Spanish at EuskalKultura.com. On October 22, 1912, 25-year-old young Navarrese Saturnino Clavería Razquin, born in Altsasu in 1886, crossed the border between Mexico and the United States (USA) through the pass between Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and Laredo, […]

Fighting Basques: Relentless fighters. The Etchemendy-Trounday in World War II

Between them, these three Basque-American brothers had 27 years of military service, a third of them during World War II. This article originally appeared in its Spanish form in El Diario. In February 1952, the Reno Gazette-Journal proclaimed the Basque-American brothers John, Leon, and William Etchemendy Trounday as “the most decorated group of brothers in […]

Fighting Basques: Antonio Guezuraga Besanguiz. From the Beaches of Algeria in 1942 to Apollo 11

This native of Busturia was NASA’s chief engineer and participated in the mission that took Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon. This article originally appeared in its Spanish form in El Diario. How is it possible that a boy from a small town in Bizkaia, with just a few hundred inhabitants, managed to become one […]

Fighting Basques: “This is my war too!” Cecilia Corcuera and Carmen Arabia in the United States Army

This article originally appeared in its Spanish form in El Diario. In “Spaniards against Hitler. At the service of the United States Army,” we presented the results of a preliminary analysis on the weight of Spanish emigration in the United States Army (USA) in World War II (WWII). In that work, we identified 1,194 men and two […]

Fighting Basques: Six Basques at Pearl Harbor, The Day of Infamy

This article originally appeared in its Spanish form in El Diario. War was inevitable. The United States – despite its “neutrality” and even without considering the huge supply of raw materials and war machinery it would send to the United Kingdom in the near future – was the only country capable of standing in the way […]