Looking Back: Shadows of war

Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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The Looking Back series
During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Andrew Aguirre, born on Jan. 4, 1925, joined the Marine Corps in 1944, delivered supplies to Marine units on Pacific islands, and helped move out the dead. He joined U.S. forces in China in November 1945, and was discharged in 1946.

Military life, he recalled, gave him a new lease on life and professional ambition.

But by 1950, he was back in uniform, this time in Korea. As he faced down battle-hardened North Korean soldiers, Aguirre had no idea what he was about to experience. Read his dramatic profile here.

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

What your hair does for you / Inside Shuttle Atlantis / Cute baby animals / A lesser navy / Intel failure

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. In Kim’s Death, an Extensive Intelligence Failure
By Mark Lander and Choe Sang-Hun | The New York Times | Dec. 19
“As the United States and its allies confront a perilous leadership transition in North Korea — a failed state with nuclear weapons — the closed nature of the country will greatly complicate their calculations.”

2. Young women’s use of reproductive health services declines
By Shari Roan | Booster Shots :: The Los Angeles Times | Dec. 19
“This includes services such as Pap tests, pregnancy tests, contraception prescriptions, tests for sexually transmitted disease and other gynecological and obstetric care.”

3. The not-so-naked ape
The Economist | Dec. 17
“Human body hair, once thought to be an evolutionary relic, has a real job to do”

4. Last look inside space shuttle Atlantis
By Dean Putney | Boing Boing | Dec. 19
“It hadn’t occurred to me until now how little of the space shuttle I’ve seen.”

5. A Two-Ocean Navy No More?
By James R. Holmes | The Diplomat | Dec. 19
“With U.S. naval leaders more choosy amid fiscal austerity, a two-ocean strategy may be a luxury the U.S. can no longer afford. What does it mean for the Pacific?”

6. The top 6 incidents of ojo
By Sara Ines Calderon and Victor Landa | NewsTaco | April 2011
“Even though we all like to pretend that we’re modern and non-superstitious, you know that sometimes when someone is complimenting you, or when you all of a sudden fall ill for no reason, there’s that creeping suspicion that … could it be … alguien me echó ojo? But you don’t really believe in it, right?”

7. World’s Cutest Baby Wild Animals
By Clara Moskowitz | LiveScience | February 2011
Don’t deny it. You love them.

8. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison decries nine ‘accounting tricks’ that hide government spending
Texas on the Potomac :: Houston Chronicle | Dec. 17
“The national debt is now more than $15 trillion. The budget deficit for this fiscal year alone will be more than $1 trillion. This mountain of debt is a growing obstacle to economic recovery. But for many in Washington, it’s business as usual.”

9. Carry-on Essentials for Air Travel
The Flying Pinto | September 2011
“The trick to stress free air travel is to be able to roll with the punches. The trick to being able to roll with the punches when flying is a well packed carry on!”

10. Victory in Europe Day
Witness :: BBC News | May 6
“On May 8 1945, Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe. It meant defeat for Germany, but great rejoicing in Britain.”