This past Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing. Assemblymember Rob Bonta chose a World War II veteran as his “2013 Veteran of the Year”.
According to an article in Global Nation — “I’m reminded of the sacrifices our active duty personnel, veterans and their families make for all of us and our country,” said Bonta, “and we owe a debt of gratitude to them,” for the challenges of deployment and returning to civilian life.
Alfonso Lamata, a resident of San Leandro, enlisted in the United States Army during WWII when he was 18 years old. He served in the Second Filipino Infantry Regiment, Company D. and later transferred to the First Filipino Regiment. Lamata was then sent to New Guinea in 1944 to train and work in intelligence and reconnaissance. He was also one of the soldiers that raised the American flag in Leyte prior to General Douglas MacArthur’s landing.
After being discharged in 1945, Lamata received an education in industrial engineering and business management; and worked in the aerospace, aviation and food and drugs industry.
When asked how it felt to receive the “Veteran of the Year” award, Lamata humbly replied “I don’t know how out of all the veterans out there, he [Bonta] chose me. But it feels really nice to be recognized.”