This Military Monday I would like to post about my Uncle Benny. My uncle was always a man who could command the attention of those around him whether at a family function, or on stage.
He was born in 1925 in Colorado and died in 1979 in Riverside, California. He served in the Korean War. I don’t have the details on his service yet, but I have wonderful pictures.
This portrait of my uncle in his uniform was a picture that he sent to his grandmother, my great-grandmother. The writing states: “(dated: 2-29-52) Con todo carino, dedico esta foto para mi abuelita = La Sra, Conception Lopez= Sinceramente= Benny Sanchez.” It translates as follows: “(dated 2-29-52) With all my affection, I dedicate this picture to my grandmother, Ms Conception Lopez = Sincerely = Benny Sanchez.” (As translated by Google Translate.)
Here are more military photos of my uncle:
My uncle has always been a musician. He played different guitars. I remember at his house, that the den/game room which had a pool table, had his instruments hung on the wall. Whenever there was a family function at his house, all of the men would end up in the pooltable room, drinking and playing pool. Eventually, my uncle and a few other men would take the instruments off the wall and play music. I love that my uncle loved music.
Eventhough he was in the military, it didn’t stop him musically. As you can see from these photos:
The back of this photo is transcribed as follows: “23 Oct 1953 – Mama, Dedico este retrato como un recuerdo de su hijo Benny, y los tres latinos, se le fue tomado cuando ______ el con curso de la Division 24th el viejito que este sentado es el Col. Alexander. (de derecha a ________) Julio Rivera = Puerto Rico – Benny Sanchez = California – Raul Mercado = Puerto Rico – THE THREE LATINS – Sinceramente – Benny.”
There is a word or two that I was not able to transcribe but the translation is approximately as follows: “23 Oct 1953 – Mama, I dedicate this picture as a memory of your son Benny, and the Three Latinos, when he was taken with ________ of the 24th Division that the old man is sitting Col. Alexander. (from right to _______) Julio Rivera = Puerto Rico – Benny Sanchez = California – Raul Mercado = Puerto Rico – THE THREE LATINS – Sincerely – Benny.” The translation was done on Google Translate.
He was even mentioned in the newspaper. Although I don’t have the name of the newspaper or the date it was published, I have a photo of the small mention of my uncle.
The transcription reads: “WITH THE 24TH INFANTRY DIV. IN JAPAN – Pvt. Benny G. Sanchez, whose wife, Maria, lives at 716 S. Burger Ave., Los Angeles, recently took part in a variety show put on by the 24th Infantry Division’s 21st Regiment in Japan. The production, entitled “Trip-a-let,” drew on talent from the entire regiment and included musical comedy, dancing and exhibition of professional archery. Sanchez, a rifleman in Company B of the 21st, arrived in Japan last November. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Sanchez, 4225 E. Folsom St., Los Angeles, he was a vocalist before entering the Army in January 1952.”
I am very proud of the service my uncle gave to our country and of his musical ability. My uncle Benny was not just my uncle, but also my “padrino” or godfather. I loved him and still to this day, miss him very much. I have always felt a strong bond with my uncle, but until I learned more about him, his military service, and the Three Latins, I realized that I our bond is musical. Although I am not a professional, I do sing and I know, that if my uncle were still alive he would be at every single performance I had. Its not just me who was touched by my uncles talent, my cousin, my uncle’s youngest son, sings and sounds just like his dad. I also have several other cousins who play guitars. We all have been touched by my uncles talent and carry his spirit with us everyday. I feel him closest when I am singing. RIP Uncle Benny!