RUBEN VALENCIA 

Meet Ruben Valencia

Ruben Valencia was born on December 12, 1944. The son of a single mother, raised in East Los Angles and graduated from Montebello High School in 1963. There, he met his wife Emely, who they have been married 54 years. Not long after his wedding he was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966-1968 and served in Vietnam 1966-1967 until he was sent stateside after he was wounded during Operation Union 2  he received the Purple Heart for his injuries.

Ruben has two children, his son Ruben Jr. who was born while he was in Vietnam, and his daughter Gena who was born after he returned home. He has four granddaughters, Raquel, Amanda, Robin and Taylor.

     In 2007 Ruben began his mission to bring home Journalist, 3rd Class Raul Guerra, who died in Vietnam on October 8th, 1967 when his plane crashed.Raul along with the other men on board were M.I.A. as a search party found no remains. 

     Ruben met Raul in the 5th grade where they both attended Eastmont Junior High as best friends they were like brothers. They went on to attend and graduate from Montebello High School. Raul was Ruben’s best man in his wedding. Not long after that Ruben was drafted and Raul enlisted in the USN reserves following his passion as a journalist. Ruben’s unit was sent to Vietnam first. Raul followed to Vietnam some months lates. Raul volunteered to join a mission that would be his last.

    Forty years after Raul’s death, his remains as well as the others on board that ill-fated flight were recovered by the DPAA, but while the other four MIA soldiers were identified and given proper burials, Raul’s stayed in Hawaii as he could not be claimed by any family members.

Ruben made it his mission to bring his best friend home and give him the burial he deserved.

It took twelve years and a lot of red tape, Through Ruben’s persistence  and never giving up March 2020 the Navy finally released Raul’s remains and sent his home to Ruben, where he and the Bring Raul Home Committee, were finally able to bury him. This is where our story begins


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