WWII veteran recalls the cold days of war

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Oscar R. Ramos, was an only child who by government standards did not have to serve his country.

But Ramos chose to go into the U.S. Army as a way to better educate himself and explore the world.

"The most sad thing to me was that I was not educated, I only went up to the second grade, others would laugh at me because I couldn't pronounce some words and I had an accent," Ramos said as he was eating a veterans day dinner at his home. "I wanted to go out and see the world and learn the English language."

So Ramos set out and joined the U.S. Army and served from March 1943 to December 1946.

He served during World War II in Europe under General George Patton for the Field Auxiliary 270 Battalion A.

From a hometown boy of Ramirez, Texas, working the ranches milking dairy cows to the fields of Scotland, Germany, France and England, Ramos was dedicated to his country.

He was the only child of Eladio and Nicolasa Yzaguirre Ramos.

He said one of the challenges of the war was the frigid cold.

"We were in the worst combat war in Mattz, which we called the gates of hell because it was in the middle of the mountains," Ramos said.

"We couldn't even make a foxhole, the ground was so frozen you couldn't even break through it."

He said that during a breakfast run, he could hear the crackling of ice in his ears from the freezing cold.

Ramos celebrated Veterans Day on Sunday with about 50 family members at Ramos Headquarters. It is one of his favorite holidays to commemorate those who served as he did.

"It signifies a lot of memories when I participated during my time in the Army," he said.

Other family members, like his sons-in-law, Martin Lopez, who served in the Navy from 1967 to 1969, and Raul Garcia, who served in the Marines from 1967 to 1971, both during the Vietnam War, also were on hand to honor Veterans Day with their father-in-law.

Ramos' son and grandson, Eladio Ramos and Gabriel Ramos, have served in the Texas Army National Guard with Bravo Company.

Ramos was also celebrating 60 years of marriage to his wife, Alicia Cedillo Ramos. They have seven children, Rachel, Eladio, Noemi, Lydia, Sylvia, Nelda and Tino Ramos.

Ramos said the journey that began by him joining the U.S. Army did assist him in learning English.

"I learned English because there were other Spanish-speaking soldiers that knew English and they helped me translate. I had buddies from Duval County, the Valley and San Antonio," he said.