Brothers in arms, blood and glory

Special to the News

Medals of Honor
Brothers Samuel (left) and Luis Flores (right) hold up their medals and awards from their service in Vietnam at a family gathering. (Photo by J. Noel Espinoza)

Although both Luis and Samuel Flores were drafted to go to Vietnam, the brothers did not mind going to war at all. They were both drafted at the age of 18.

Luis Flores, the younger of the two brothers, said he felt there was nothing in the world that could stop him. He was “young and indestructible.” Luis Flores didn’t think twice about going because he wanted to follow his older brother’s, Samuel, footsteps.

Flores, 69, had just graduated from San Benito High School, and was happy to follow his brother who was already in Vietnam before the 1968 Tet Offensive, a significant event in the Vietnam War known by the Vietnamese as the General Offensive and Uprising.

“I felt invincible because I was pretty young,” Flores said. “We didn’t know better. The training wasn’t that hard, but once you are there we didn’t know how tough it was going to be. The suffering and all that, it’s pretty hard.”

However, Luis Flores said he felt different after the war, realizing that it probably wasn’t the right thing to do. He said he had talked to other Vietnam veterans who also feel they didn’t know what they were doing at the time.

“You don’t know better when you are that young,” said Luis Flores, who retired as an E5, more or less a sergeant. “It’s not an easy thing to accept later on when you are older. It doesn’t take long to change your mind.”


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