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Sergeant Horacio Castilleja Albarrán, the last Mexican veteran who fought in World War II, died at the age of 98 on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Sergeant Horacio Castilleja Albarrán, the last living veteran amongst about 300 Mexican soldiers and airmen of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force of the legendary Squadron 201, died on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Squadron 201, also known as the Aztec Eagles, was sent from Mexico to help in the U.S. war effort against Japan in World War II, Mexico Daily Post reported.

The aircraft squadron fought alongside the air forces of the U.S. Army in the Philippines in 1945. Mexico was late to enter World War II. However, they declared war after German submarines sank several Mexican oil tankers.

Castilleja Albarrán joined the Mexican army in 1942 at the age of 18 and was trained as a radio operator. He completed the Radio Operator Course at the Military School of Transmissions where he was a specialist in transmissions. He was long retired from the service.

On Nov. 30, 2022, the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) confirmed the death of the gentleman. On Dec. 1, they paid tribute to him for his role as a specialist in transmissions during World War II, NBC Bay Area reported.

Squadron 201 was a select group of volunteers. It was made up of the best pilots and the best base personnel in Mexico and received training at various locations in the United States, primarily at Greenville, Texas, and Pocatello, Idaho airfields. They also conducted 96 combat missions supporting allied ground forces, and actively participated in the bombing raids of Luzon and Formosa, the island today known as Taiwan.

In total, around 2,842 hours were flown in the Pacific. Out of these 2842 hours, 1,970 hours were in combat missions; 591 in a combat zone, and 281 hours flown of previous training.

Horacio Castilleja Albarrán had reportedly received, along with the other participants of the team Squadron 201, the medal for Service in the Far East, after fighting valiantly and entering the capital of the Mexican Republic victorious on Nov. 18, 1945.

In 1954, he also obtained the Presidential Decoration that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines imposed on the members of the Expeditionary Air Force for their high levels of patriotism, heroism, and spirit of service in World War II.

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