Staff Sgt. Jose Riojas was born November 5, 1920 in Pflugerville, Texas. He was the oldest child of Casimiro and Sulema Riojas. He attended school in Pflugerville. At the age of eighteen he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was assigned to the CCC camp in Pflugerville. He enlisted in the Army on December 13, 1940 and was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. After completing basic training he was assigned to the Military Police, completing his MP training on May 3, 1941.
His final assignment was to the Second Division, Company B, 23rd Infantry. In 1943 he was transferred to Camp McCoy in Sparta, Wisconsin and he stayed there until he was sent to England to prepare for the Normandy Invasion which happened on June 6, 1944. While he was in Wisconsin, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. On July 28, 1944 he was killed by a shell fragment in St. Jean das Baisants, France. Jose’s parents were presented the Bronze star and The Purple Heart in a ceremony at Pflugerville High School.
His father was a veteran of World War I where he suffered serious wounds while serving in France. His brother, Jesus, enlisted in the Navy and was serving in the Pacific at the same time Jose was in Europe. His youngest brother, Felipe, enlisted in the Air Force and served in the military for over twenty years. His great grandfather, Placido Olivarri, was a scout in Sam Houston’s army during the Texas War for independence. His nephew, Lt. Colonel Steven Ramos USMCR, recently returned from Iraq.
Jose’s body was returned to Pflugerville in 1947 and both he and his dad are buried at the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
Submitted by Sulema Riojas Ramos