This play is keeping alive the 'hidden history' and memories of Chicanos who served in Vietnam

Diana Shield is a Marine Corps veteran and actress.
Diana Shield is a Marine Corps veteran and actress.
Libby Denkmann/KPCC

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It’s hard to quantify how many Latinos served in the military during the Vietnam War, because at the time, the Pentagon didn’t officially keep track of ethnicity. All Latino troops were identified as white in official documents.

Pomona College professor Tomás Summers Sandoval calls it a "hidden history.” Often overlooked in historical accounts, Latino characters are commonly relegated to bit parts in movies and literature about the conflict.

Sandoval wanted to shine a light on the Chicano communities' Vietnam experience. He gathered more than 50 oral histories from L.A.-area Chicano veterans and their families to inform his new play: “Ring of Red: A Barrio Story," running through Sept. 30 at the Bootleg Theater in L.A.

This story first aired on The Frame on 89.3 KPCC. Click on the blue player at the top of your screen to listen.