Carlos Teniente II was born November 11, 1940 to farmers Basillio and Maria Teniente in San Antonio, Texas.  Carlos was the youngest of 11 children and was named after his older brother who was killed in Europe during World War II.  Brother Carlos is buried in the military cemetery in Cambridge, England.  

Carlos attended schools in the San Antonio School District, graduating from high school in 1958. He immediately signed a three year enlistment in the U.S. Army and was shipped to Fort Carson, Colorado for eight weeks basic training.  After basic he received orders to report to Fort Leonard, Missouri for eight weeks of combat engineering training. While there, a cadre of recruiters from the 101st Airborne Division gave a presentation that encouraged the trainees to become paratroopers. Carlos was so greatly impressed he immediately volunteered.  The $55.00 dollars a month more in pay might have had something to do with this decision!

Carlos was issued orders to report to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the 101st Airborne Division for three weeks.  “Jump School” proved to be the most intense training he ever received.

It required a lot of hard discipline to convert a green trainee into a rough and ready airborne trooper.  Carlos had to endure the constant browbeating from the gorilla instructors.  He didn’t have a name; only a number duct taped onto his steel pot helmet. Trainees were not allowed to just walk around; they had to double time it every time they moved from one station to another such as the Mocks Towers, and learn how to land with their body in the right position, (That never happened!) as their normal landings were feet, ass, and head.  He began to wonder what ever made him volunteer for this elite unit.  Maybe the money, the jump wings, and the special uniform that consisted of bloused pants and jump boots???  At the end of three weeks training it was “Jump Week” time.  They had to make five jumps “Hollywood Style” (which meant not carrying any equipment) with only their main and reserve chute.  The airplane used was a C-119; better known as the Flying Boxcar, and they were trained to bail out at a height of 1200 feet.  After graduation Carlos was assigned to company B 502 Infantry Battle Group of the 101st Airborne Division. He was now a full fledged paratrooper.  The 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were trained to respond to any place in the world with a 24 hour time notice; therefore, they trained wearing full combat gear at all times.  No more Hollywood jumps; it was now for real!  They used C-119s, C-123s, C-130s, and C124 airplanes.  Carlos made 20 plus jumps without any major injuries.

Carlos was sent to train at a Radio Telephone Operator School and was assigned to be the platoon’s radio man.  In addition to all his combat gear, he was required to jump with his radio.  Carlos used what is called a GP Bag, where all his gear was packed to be attached to his body just below his parachute reserve.  The upside was that he was the first to jump, just behind the jump master. When he was approximately at tree top level, he would release the bag, which had a 20 foot lowering strap that would enable it to land before him. By the time the company had landed and was assembled, he had unpacked his radio gear and was in contact with the Company Commander.

He remained with the unit until his discharge on August 26, 1961.  

Carlos and Gloria Lazalde were married on November 26, 1961and have two daughters, Cynthia and Rebecca. In 1972 Carlos graduated from a four year apprentice program as a sheet metal mechanic. The family moved to California that same year and Carlos began working in a Civil Service position at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego.

In 1974 Carlos applied and was selected for a position at  the Naval Air  Station in  Adak, Alaska

(the Aleutian Islands). He wo rked there twenty years; retiring in Anchorage.  That same year, (1994) he couldn’t resist an offer to work for Alaska Airlines.  Ten years later Carlos retired for a second time, and in 2004 the family relocated to Fresno, California to be near their two grandchildren.  In 2008, Carlos read in the Fresno Bee that the Veterans Memorial Museum was looking for veterans to volunteer as docents.  Carlos was interviewed by Director Art. Hill, and was pleased to have been selected.  He enjoys the history of times gone by, and the camaraderie of his fellow docents.