Categories: Health Issues
War & Locale: World War II -- European Theater
Date of Birth:
No Interviewer available for this record.
Soon after his 18th birthday, Luis A. Calderon was drafted into the Army. He fought with the 75th Infantry Division for 94 consecutive days ending on April 13, 1945. That relatively short period of time in his life would have lasting effects on him and his family.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the temperature was 10 below zero, causing Calderon to develop frostbite. The medics merely sprayed his feet and sent him back to fighting.
Often caught without rations, Calderon would eat raw potatoes, spoiled food in bombed out homes, whatever he could find. This had lifelong effects on both his feed and digestive system.
In hand-to-hand fighting, Calderon was hit with the butt of a rifle directly over his heart. It wasn’t until February of 1979, during open-heart surgery to release clogged arteries, that he learned the blow had pushed his chest bone up against his heart.
“[The surgeon] asked [D]ad how his chest bone came to be shoved onto his heart. Dad cried as the doctor described how he had to remove a bit of his heart muscle. Dad cried because he had always felt that there was something wrong with his chest[,] but he could not find a doctor who would believe or treat him. After years of being pressed up against his heart, the chest bone had rendered that part of his heart muscle useless,” writes Calderon’s son, George Calderon.
The damage triggered later heart complications, which would be the cause of his death on Nov. 22, 2002, George notes.
Calderon married Amelia Hidalgo in Juarez, Mexico, in November of 1946, and raised three sons and two daughters.
“Dad had a profound effect on all of his who knew and loved him,” George writes.
Tribute by George Calderon, Mr. Calderon’s son