Updated: Jun 28, 2021
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Emily was born in Romeroville, New Mexico. Just a small town outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico. She was born at home and was raised by her parents, Jose Catarino Romero and Victoria (Lobato) Romero.
I asked my cousin, Emily why she decided to join the military? She stated that she was eighteen years old, had graduated from high school and wanted to go to college. She did have a few scholarship offers; however, her parents couldn’t afford to send her to college. She understood, but she still had to figure out what she needed to do to get a job. She had a good friend from high school that had joined the Marines; so, she decided to join the Marines. It was her friend who gave her the incentive to join the Marines. The disappointing part of joining was that she did not get stationed with her friend. They had separate assignments.
She stated that she wasn’t sure what her parents would say about her joining the military. She thought her dad would be the person who would not support her decision, but it was her mom. She stated that her dad told her that she should do what she thought was best for her. She was so happy he supported her. Of course, her mom was just worried about her young daughter going off to the service and being far away from home. After all, she was a young lady (18 years old) and right out of high school.
She stated that this was one of the best decisions she ever made. She grew from being a "naive" young lady to a mature woman. Emily experienced meeting so many new people, places and cultures. She left Las Vegas, New Mexico, then off to South Carolina, then to North Carolina, and then finally Washington, D.C.
These were definitely new experiences. She was so excited about her job, making new friends, and that she was earning an income and had benefits.
Emily served in the U. S. Marine Corps from September 8, 1955 to August 16, 1957 as a Private First Class.
She entered boot training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (M.C.R.D.), Parris Island, South Carolina. She was assigned to the Woman Recruit Battalion, Platoon 12-A while stationed in Parris Island, South Carolina.
Group picture of Platoon 12-A.
After completing boot camp, she was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her position at Camp Lejeune was handling the coding for bill of lading. It was a tedious job; with lots of paperwork, but a necessary part of supporting the mission of the Marines and other military agencies.
Emily was then transferred to Washington, D.C., where she worked in the “Disbursing Office.” Her position was to handle all the paper work for new recruits and other personnel being transferred to another location.
Emily, was given a “hardship honorably discharged” from her position in Washington, D.C. on August 16, 1957.
Emily stated that she really enjoyed the military and it was a great experience.
I just want to add that I was so proud of her and what an opportunity for a young lady of her age to leave home for the first time and join the Marines! Wow! What an accomplishment for her at her young age. My mom (Della), always had her military picture hanging in our home. She too was so proud of her niece, Emily.
This picture is: starting from left to right of Emily (top left), her mother, Victoria (Lobato) Romero (top right); her Grandmother, Melquedes (Madrid) Lobato (bottom right); her Great Grandmother, Refugio (Encinias) Madrid (bottom left) and Emily's son.
I told Emily that she comes from a great line of strong and independent women.
Emily Romero Barela and I, Lynda (Sena) Kouba are first cousins.
I have five uncles who served in the military for the United States of America:
1. Leo O’Canas, served in the United States Air Force and was in the Korean War.
2. Johnny (Dan) O’Canas, served in the United States Army and was in Germany.
3. Albert O’Canas was in the United States Navy and was in Vietnam. He was responsible for patrolling rivers and canals on riverboats. Albert also was a Purple Heart recipient. He was instrumental in saving one of his buddies when they were ambushed.
4. Maximiliano (Max or Mike) O’Canas was in the United States Marines, once a Marine, always a Marine. (He taught me that!) He did two tours in Vietnam; first tour was with the 4th Marines and the second tour was with the 3rd Recon Battalion.
5. Alfred O’Canas, was in the United States Army he was stationed in Kansas.
Their parents, Epimenio and Rebecca (Madrid) O’Canas were so very proud of all five of their sons. I know that my Grandparents were so concerned when two of their sons, Albert and Max were both in Vietnam. They were so thankful that their youngest son did not have to go to Vietnam. Of course, they were also very, very thankful that all of their sons whom served the military came home safely.
Leo O'Canas, U.S. Army
Juan (Johnny) O'Canas, U. S. Army
On the left is Al O'Canas and Max O'Canas. They met up in Vietnam.
This is the type of Riverboat that Albert was on.
Max O'Canas, "Once a Marine, always a Marine!"
Alredo O'Canas, U.S. Army.
All of these men served in the military with honor and dignity.
I salute my uncles for being so brave and honorable by serving our country, “These United States of America.”