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Veterans Day: Daniel Salinas

November 12, 2012

This Veterans Day we’re taking the opportunity to highlight a single veteran documented in UTSA Special Collections materials – Daniel Salinas.

Daniel Salinas was one of the first Mexican-American pilots in World War II and served from 1942-1945, enlisting in the Army Air Force (AAF) at the age of 21. He began his three phase training program with phase one at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC) in San Antonio, TX. He went on to phase two of the program at Coffeyville Army Airfield in Coffeyville, Kansas where he completed nine weeks of basic pilot training. He then was sent to Aloe Army Air Field at Victoria, Texas to complete his training with advanced single-engine training for fighter pilots. He earned his silver wings on May 23, 1944 and in November of that year he was sent to Italy with his unit, the 22nd Tactical Air Command of the 12th, AAF. Salinas, who had his own plane “Taani,” flew 76 missions and 500 combat hours while stationed in Italy.

After returning, Daniel Salinas married Ana Maria Salinas. They lived in San Antonio between 1945 and 1951. While living in San Antonio he worked as a crop duster, flying out of Randolph, and at Curtis Candy Company. In 1951 Daniel and his wife returned to Laredo where he worked for his uncle at Salinas Department Store before opening his own store, Salinas Variety Store. He also worked as an accountant for three different accounting firms: Laredo Machine and Supply, Poncho Mims, and Mares. He and Ana had six children: Ana Patricia, Norma Gerardina, Leticia Irma, Daniel IV, Guillermo, and Javier.

The Salinas scrapbook has been digitized and is available in UTSA’s digital repository.

Other Manuscript collections documenting veterans:

See previous post: Telling the stories of female veterans who served during WWII

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