Board of Directors, Officers and Honorary Members have
exhibited passion, determination and dedication in managing UMAVA for
the benefit of our Veterans and members, and in planning for our
UMAVA consists primarily of Mexican-American Combat Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq (OIF), and Afghanistan (OEF).
BOARD / OFFICER BIOS:
Francisco J. Barragan, Commander (first elected in 2009; continuously reelected through the PRESENT)
1) USMC Bootcamp picture - Graduated Aug 28, 1987 - Fox Co Platoon 2059
2) Me - Fall 2009
3) Mihail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa (not visible - RIP) and my CA Army National Guard Buddies (on right side of pic from Gorbachev) Ibrahim; Peter Shear (met in US Marines training Sept 1987 - still best friends) and then we also transferred to CA ARNG; and Me
4) My Friend Zuleika (she was an MP at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin and got a special award for helping the East Germans cross over when the wall came down; and Me in our Army Class A uniform - Picture 1995-1996 - we are still good friends.
Francisco J. Barragán Commander & Board Member Certified Public Accountant Certified Internal Auditor Passed Certified Information Systems Auditor Exam - 2008 Commander@umava.org
CLICK HERE For Summary of PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Francisco B. was born in Michoacán-Mexico, came to the US at age 9, served in the US Marines Corps (1987-1994) and graduated as the Top Honor Graduate from his MOS school; and also served in the CA Army National Guard (1994-1997). Francisco has traveled to 28 countries and 22 states and has an interest in languages. Served as Vice-Commander & UMAVA's PR Officer, successfully brought visibility to UMAVA by writing or having several articles published by the OC Register; and La Opinion (the largest Spanish newspaper in the Nation). Since coming on-board with UMAVA, Francisco has participated in various major Veteran focused activities occurring throughout Orange County, and Los Angeles County, CA.
Francisco's vision is to have UMAVA grow into a successful national organization that continues to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of the American Veteran in general and the Latino, Hispanic Mexican-American Veteran in particular, and that provides a nurturing environment for all Veterans. Francisco feels privileged in serving our Veterans, and believes that for our Veterans and families that have faced the trauma of combat, with UMAVA there is Healing through Unity!
Francisco is grateful for the efforts of our dedicated leaders and volunteers, and for the generous support of our community partners and sponsors!
Francisco also volunteers extensively to help improve our community by leading or serving in Boards of Directors of other professional, or social cause organizations.
Ralph is a Vietnam combat veteran, and served in the US Army. He earned the Purple Heart and other commendations. Ralph is one of five brothers who have served in our US military. Ralph is a member of other veterans organizations.
Isidro "Sid" Gauna Board Member Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & Sgt-at-Arms CFO@umava.org Sid served in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. Sid is UMAVA's long-term CFO. Sid has also served with the American Legion for about 25 years. Sid's dedication to service for our Veterans and Members is unsurpassed.
Antonio Méndez Board Member, and Co-Chair Events Coodinator
Antonio is a WWII combat veteran, served in the US Army, and earned the Silver Star, among other commendations. Pictured to the left in his WWII Army Uniform, and during combat operations in Belgium. He gave "permission" for the troops to drink a little confiscated beer, not realizing it was a significant quantity....He was talked into enjoying a little brew in his canteen, and is pictured holding the "evidence".
Elsie Mendez, UMAVA Board member - wife of 67 years to WWII hero (Antonio)
Elsie Méndez Board Member & Co-Chair Events Coordinator
Elsie has been married to Antonio M. WWII veteran for over 67 years. Because of Elsie's passion for service and recognition of our veterans community, UMAVA has successfully raised funds for our Ben De Leon Scholarship Fund, through casino trips and fundraising dinners, parties, tardeadas, 50-50 and other opportunity drawings.
Joe Mendoza, US Army - UMAVA Secretary & Color Guard member
Joe served served in our US military. He is a Safety/OSHA specialist.
Ed Romero, USN (Lt. Cdr. Ret.) - WWII, Korea, Vietnam
Ed Romero, Chaplain - USN (Lt Cdr. - Retired) Served WWII; Korea and Vietnam eras Chaplain@umava.org
Jose Martinez, USMC, UMAVA Color Guard Leader
Jose Martinez, UMAVA Board Member & Color Guard Leader Jose Martinez served 15 years in the US Marine Corps.
Nelida Yañez, Sgt US Army (Past UMAVA Commaner, Current Color Guard Leader)
Hon. Nelida Yañez Board Member & Public Relations Officer
Past Color Guard Leader
Rancho Santiago Community College District- Trustee
Nelida served overseas in the US Army. Nelida has a Masters in Public Administration. Nelida is long-term community leader who also serves in other national organizations with a strong local presence. Nelida Yañez was elected as a Rancho Santiago Community College Trustee in November 2012.
Fred Bella UMAVA Co-Founder along with other Veterans
Korea Combat Veterans. Co-Founded UMAVA for members to exchange war stories and record them in an oral history project. Grateful for public recognition for the military contributions of Mexican-Americans veterans. Served in the US Army for five years.
After getting out, he struggled to find work in the fields of San Joaquin Valley. He found a job in Santa Ana at Gilroy Foods, where he worked for 35 years. Fred has served as a civic leader in other capacities over the years in Orange County.
UMAVA Charter - Co-Founders:
Sid Gauna, US Marines - Vietnam veteran Sgt. Salvador Lujan, Korea combat veteran; Frank Luna; Antonio Mendez, (Silver Star recipient) - US Army - WWII combat veteran; Frank Ramirez (Silver Star recipient) - US Army - Korea combat veteran Harvey Reyes, civilian; Robert Colin (RIP) - US Army Korea veteran; Ben De León (RIP) - WWII US Army.