A Basque in Boise

Boiseko Athletic Club Peña launch party announced for Saturday, May 30

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LogoBoiseko Athletic Club Peña will hold its official launch party on Saturday, May 30, starting at 1:30 pm MST at the Basque Center (601 W Grove St), during Copa del Rey finals. where Athletic will take on FC Barcelona.

Boiseko Athletic Club Peña is the only fan club established in Idaho, and one of only five officially recognized by Athletic Club de Bilbao in the United States. Boise and its surrounding communities is home to a large concentration of Basques, in particular Basque families from the province of Bizkaia, of which Bilbao is the capital.


Although there are a few Real Sociedad and Eibar followers, most people in Boise’s Basque community come from Bizkaia, so naturally, they root for Athletic de Bilbao. So much so, that Athletic announced they will be wearing their home jerseys during the Basque Soccer Friendly on July 29 in Boise, because this is their home away from home.

The Peña was formed last year by a group of eleven Athletic fans: Henar Chico (President), Joe Lasuen (Vice President), Annie Gavica (Secretary), Mary Lasuen (Treasurer), Argia Beristain, Josu Zubizarreta, Alaina Gavica, Teresa Franzioa, Ryan Boyd, Johnny Boyd, and Martin Bilbao.

Even though the group kicked around the idea of forming a Peña in Boise three or four years ago, it wasn’t until the Basque Soccer Friendly got closer to being a reality that they really decided to push forward and make it happen. They realized it was crucial to show Athletic how much they’re loved, even thousands of miles away.

Athletic belongs to the Basque people, and that’s what we are here in Idaho. So block your calendar and join us at the Basque Center to watch the game and sign up! Additional details can be found at http://boisekoathleticpena.weebly.com/launch-party.html.

For more information contact: boisekoathleticpena@gmail.com

Henar Chico at 208-353-8490
Website: http://boisekoathleticpena.weebly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoisekoAthleticClub

The Basque Soccer Friendly between Athletic Club Bilbao and Club Tijuana will kick off at 7:00pm MST

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Basque Soccer Friendly

The Basque Soccer Friendly featuring Athletic Club Bilbao versus Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente on July 29, 2015 in Boise, Idaho will kick off at 7:00pm MT.

Boise, Idaho- The Basque Soccer Friendly announces today that the highly anticipated matchup on Wednesday,  July 29 will kick off at 7:00pm MT in Albertsons Stadium on the campus of Boise State University. The kick off time for the Basque Soccer Friendly had not previously been announced and it has now been finalized for 7:00pm MT.  The friendly match will feature Athletic Club Bilbao from the Basque region of Spain versus Club Tijuana Xoloitzuintles from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

The Basque Soccer Friendly will be a historical game in the heart of the Basque American Diaspora of Boise, Idaho featuring Athletic Club Bilbao. Athletic Club Bilbao is one of only three clubs that have never been relegated from La Liga, the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona. In the table of Copa del Rey titles, Athletic Club is second only to FC Barcelona, having won the Cup 24 times. Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona are scheduled to face each other in the 2015 Copa del Rey on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

Club Tijuana became the fastest club to win a championship following promotion to Mexico’s top flight Liga MX in 2012. Club Tijuana has seven American players on their rosters, five of which are age 20 or younger and have played for the U.S. Youth National Teams. The most notable American is 24-year-old midfielder Joe Corona, who has two goals in 14 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Corona has spent his entire professional career with Club Tijuana.

Tickets to the Basque Soccer Friendly are on sale now via Ticketmaster.com, by calling or visiting the Boise State Athletic Ticket Office on the west side of Albertsons Stadium (208-426-4737) or by visiting select Walmart locations with Tickemaster retail outlets including the Walmarts in Boise on Cole Rd; Meridian on Fairview Ave., or in Nampa on Franklin Rd, 12th Avenue or S. Middleton Rd. More information including Ticket Prices, Parking Map and Tailgating information available at www.BasqueSoccerFriendly.com

Basque Soccer Friendly Sponsors include the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, Southern Idaho Toyota Dealers, the City of Boise, Holland & Hart, KTVB Channel 7, St. Luke’s, McAlvain Group of Companies, Albertsons, Capital City Development Corporation, Carew Co., Cinder Wines, Idaho Power Company, Payette Brewing Company, Wide Eye Productions and Double R Ranch.

For more information contact: info@basquesoccerfriendly.com

Argia Beristain at 703-309-9437
Website: www.basquesoccerfriendly.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/basquesoccerfriendly
Twitter: @BasqueSoccer
Instagram: basque_soccer_friendly

Argia Beristain makes Athletic game a reality (by Jessica Murri, BW)

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It’s not everyday that you get to share an article featuring one of your friends making history after years of hard work. By now, I don’t think there is a single person in Idaho or the Basque Country who hasn’t heard about the Basque Soccer Friendly coming to Boise in July of this year, coindicing with the celebration of Jaialdi. Well, this match would have never come to fruition without Argia Beristain’s determination to make it happen. So for that, thank you!

Boise Weekly’s Jessica Murri is a great advocate for the Basque community. I had a chance to meet her last year while she was working on a beautiful article about Boise’s fronton, A Beautiful Room. This week, she brings us a very interesting interview with Argia Beristain. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Argia Beristain

Photo by Jeremy Lanningham

Photo by Jeremy Lanningham

Following Boise’s 2010 edition of Jaildi—the all-things-Basque celebration that occurs every five years—Argia Beristain and her husband made a decision: They wanted to move to Boise before the next one. Three years later, the Beristain clan relocated from the East Coast to the City of Trees. Before the movers even arrived with her furniture, Beristain got a call from a professor with Boise State University’s Basque Studies program, asking her to help put together a Basque Soccer Friendly. Beristain said she had no idea how much the preparations would take over her life—all while raising three children, ages 2, 4 and 6.

Now, two years later, the Basque Soccer Friendly is a reality, slated for Wednesday, July 29 at Albertsons Stadium. Beristain took a rare few minutes out of her soccer match-obsessed day to talk to Boise Weekly about sport, tradition, immigration and celebration.

After you secured Athletic Club Bilbao to agree to play in Boise, how did you go about finding them a team to play against?

For the longest time we were dealing with Major League Soccer here in the United States. We were speaking to the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers, the Real Salt Lake team. Then the MLS scheduled their all-stars game for July 29, which meant any team that showed up here wouldn’t have their stars. That’s like the Chicago Bulls, of back in the day, showing up without Michael Jordan.

It wasn’t until January of this year that we decided it may be better to go with a League MX team. It came down to Club Tijuana being the best fit.

It took us finding the team that got the entire vision, like Athletic Bilbao. When they found out the money was going to the Basque Studies Foundation at Boise State, they waived their appearance fees and they’re coming at no cost to us.

How do you sell this event to Boise, such a football-oriented town?

There’s quite a quantity of my soccer friends that like to call themselves the “underprivileged class,” because they think the soccer community doesn’t get a lot of respect around here in the media. There’s a lot of excitement that this game will help raise the profile of soccer.

Soccer in general is growing in the Treasure Valley. Folks in my generation say there used to be about eight teams when they were growing up and playing soccer. Now there are over 15,000 registered players in the Idaho Youth Soccer Association database.

Sure, drive past the Optimist soccer fields on any given Saturday and it’s madness. But that’s just the youth. What about adults?

There are adult soccer associations as well. One of the interesting things we’ve learned on our path is that there are over 200 Hispanic soccer teams between here and Nampa.

And that makes the team being from Baja California, Mexico even more exciting.

Exactly. And that team has a very interesting narrative. Athletic Bilbao has been in existence for 117 years. Club Tijuana has been in existence for eight, and they’re ranked 94th in the world. They were the fastest time to win a title.

It’s the older generation of football versus the new generation. They can both speak Spanish to each other. Now, it’s just about finding refs that speak Spanish.

So, you have lots of soccer enthusiasts and people who play; but is that going to be enough to fill up the Albertsons Stadium?

No. Our audience is the Basque community. With it happening during Jaialdi, we’re anticipating 30,000-40,000 Basque from all over the world to descend on the Boise area to celebrate Basque culture for the week.

Second to that is the Hispanic community. As John Bieter [professor of Basque Studies at Boise State University and brother to Mayor Dave Bieter] points out, this brings together one of the initial immigrant groups to Idaho, the Basque—and one of the current immigration groups to Idaho—the Hispanics.

We anticipate a number of non-soccer people to come, too. Even if they’re buying tickets just to see the green covering the blue, that works.

Is there any doubt in your mind that it won’t sell out?

No, the question is when.

How does one go about covering the blue turf?

We will be renting plastic event decking to cover the turf, like you would use for concerts or graduations. Second to that is the tarps, so the soil doesn’t go through the decking into the blue. On top of that is the sod, which is the most exciting.

We’ve hired a group out of Oregon who has done this for the World Cup qualifiers. Cloverdale Nursery is growing the grass, so the grass will come out of the ground and be installed in the stadium within 45 minutes of it actually being cut.

We’ve also hired the director of fields out of Centurylink in Seattle who does the Seattle Sounders’ and Seahawks’ fields. He will mow it, water it, grow it and make sure it’s in pristine condition. He’ll cross-hatch it to make it look fancy for TV.

Then there’s the taking it out.

Yes, immediately the next morning [after the match], the same sod company will remove it from the stadium and reinstall it in Ann Morrison Park for two soccer fields that need to be redone. Then our community will get to play on the same field that Athletic Bilbao and Club Tijuana played on.

I’ve learned a lot about sod through all this. And just for the record, it’s Kentucky bluegrass, which is one thing we love to say to the folks that aren’t happy that we’re covering the blue.

Wait, are there folks who are unhappy that you’re covering the blue?

We’ve heard from a number of them. I can’t make an argument.

It feels like with the addition of this event, Jaialdi just keeps growing.

Yes, for folks that haven’t come to Jaialdi, or weren’t going to come to Jaialdi, or have never heard of Jaialdi, this is tipping them over the edge to come. We’re excited. After we get one under our belts, we hope to bring this back with every Jaialdi. That’s the dream.

You can find the original article here.

Meet Ander Egiluz Alzola, a young Athletic player with Boise ties (an article from KTVB.com)

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Brian Holmes, KTVB  |  10:41 p.m. MDT April 28, 2015

BASQUE COUNTRY, Spain – The training facility of Athletic Bilbao is scattered with soccer fields – and on this Saturday in April the club’s Under-19 squad is taking on the U-18 version in a scrimmage.

Just like the parent club, both teams consist of only players of Basque descent and usually from the provinces of northern Spain.

But there is one player whose second home is more than 5,000 miles away from Bilbao – in Boise.

“As many times as we can we try to get over there,” Ander Egiluz says.

(Photo: Xanti Alcelay/KTVB)

(Photo: Xanti Alcelay/KTVB)

Decades ago, 17-year-old Ander’s great-grandparents moved from the Basque Country to southwestern Idaho and became sheepherders. his mom, Michelle, grew up in Mountain Home, married, then returned to Bizkaia.

Ander grew up playing soccer and a huge fan of the home team.

“Oh yeah, yeah the day I was born,” he said

He also grew up going back and forth, spending summers – and even his fifth-grade year – in the states. That season he played with the Boise Nationals soccer team.

“It was very different,” he said. “It was a great experience for me, especially in sports”

Then last May he got a call from Athletic Bilbao that changed his life.

Ander was ready to spend his junior year at Capital High School, but he couldn’t pass on a chance like this.

“I had two things on my mind,” he said. “I always love the U.S. and would really like to live there, but what I thought in my mind is that 50 years from now I’m still going to have that there – but my opportunity here to play soccer was once in a lifetime.”

He is missing today’s contest because of knee surgery three months ago, but he is working his way back and hopefully up to the first team.

“Yeah, I’m on the way there for sure,” Ander said. “That’s my goal. I’ve always loved soccer and I would like to be a professional soccer player, but even further than that I would like to be an athletic professional soccer player.

Another dream, almost as big, is to be back in southern Idaho someday, spending time on his uncle’s ranch in Grasmere.

“You know, I spent a lot of time with him down there and it’s just great, i love it,” Ander said. “It’s peaceful, there’s no one around. I really like it.”

As for the big boys coming to Boise this summer, Ander knows they will be in for a surprise.

“I think a lot of people from here know there are a lot of Basques in the U.S. and in Idaho, but I don’t think they see it as such a big thing and it really is,” Ander said. “I mean, you have a Basque block in downtown Boise.”

Find the original article by KTVB.com here.

Gure Esku Dago 2015: Jostunak

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Most of you will remember last year’s human chain for the right to decide of the Basque Country, a highly successful event organized by Gure esku dago (It’s in our hands), a citizens initiative that began on June 8, 2013. Their main goal is to achieve citizen support for the Basques’ right to decide. The movement is all-inclusive, as it extends to everybody its invitation to participate.


As the group gears up for this year’s campaign, they would like to share what they are doing in the Basque Country and would like to invite all of you to participate and organize similar activities in your area.


As you already know, last year’s big activity was the human chain. This year’s is going to be a “patchwork”; a patchwork which will be sewn together by all of us on the 21st of June into a massive ballot box. This week we have begun distributing 1ft by 1ft pieces of fabric throughout EH. These individual pieces of fabric will represent your “will” (it’s tricky to translate “borondate” from Basque to English, but an easy way to think about it is “will” as in “the WILL of the people”). On your piece of fabric you’re supposed to write a message, or your “will”, and on April 25th, Joste Eguna(Sewer’s Day), we will get together with our local GED groups to sew our individual pieces of fabric into larger, communal ones. And finally, on the 21st of June, everything culminates with Ehuntze Eguna(Weaver’s Day), where we’ll go to our closest capital city to “sew our future” together. On Ehuntze Eguna, we’re going to fill up the four stadiums from the four capital cities of Bilbo, Donosti, Gasteiz and Irunea, to weave together all of our “wills”. In doing so, we will construct a massive ballot box in the middle of the stadium made from all of our fabrics. For more information: www.gureeskudago.eus.


If you look at our Facebook page(https://www.facebook.com/gureeskudago.diaspora) you’ll see that Argentina’s already started. San Francisco is going to start this Saturday. You too can get started by organizing a Sewer’s Day in your own area. If you like, you can first have a showing of our new documentary Jostunak and then afterwards pass out some fabric for everyone to write their “will” on. You can then send us your fabrics for us to use on the 21st of June. Just an idea.


The diaspora’s involvement is not welcome, it’s ESSENTIAL. We can’t emphasize enough how important your participation is. We need to do all of this TOGETHER. The diaspora is often said to be the 8th province of the Basque Country. Let’s make that clear by having a big hand in all of this. 2015 is an exciting year for the Basque community with Korrika, Amerikanuak’s 40th anniversary, Ehuntze Eguna, and Jaialdi later this summer. Let’s enjoy these activities and also have an active role in them. Let’s use the opportunities 2015 brings to show everybody, and ourselves, how big a part the diaspora plays in the Basque community.
If you’re interested in participating, send an email to Jon Camio know and he will get in contact with you individually. He prefers to explain the process over the phone and he will help you get started with organizing something in your area.

Athletic de Bilbao and Club Tijuana will face off during a soccer friendly in Boise on July 29, 2015

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Athletic vs TijuanaIt’s official! Basque Soccer Friendly will feature Athletic Club de Bilbao versus Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente on July 29, 2015 in Boise, Idaho. Mayor Dave Bieter made the announcement today at a press conference held at Boise’s Basque Center.

This is very exciting news, a great victory for the the Basque and soccer communities in Idaho. As Mayor Bieter pointed out during the announcement, most Idaho Basques come for the Bizkaia region of the Basque Country, home to Athletic de Bilbao, so this is like an early Christmas present for most of us.

Please read on for the official press release, where you will find all the information related to the game, including when the tickets will be on sale.

Scroll all the way down for a few photos and videos from the event.


Basque Soccer Friendly 2015

In their 117 years of existence, Athletic Club de Bilbao has never played a game in the United States so the Basque Soccer Friendly will be a historical game in the heart of the Basque American Diaspora of Boise, Idaho. Athletic Bilbao is one of only three clubs that have never been relegated from the Liga, the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona. In the table of Copa del Rey titles, Athletic is second only to FC Barcelona, having won the Cup 24 times. Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona will face each other in 2015 Copa del Rey on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

Club Tijuana is currently ranked first in the 2015 Clausura in Liga MX. Founded in January 2007, Club Tijuana moved into Mexico’s top division Liga MX in 2011. By winning the 2012 Apertura, Club Tijuana became the fastest club to win a championship following promotion to Mexico’s top flight. Club Tijuana has seven American players on their roster, five of which are age 20 or younger and have played for the U.S. Youth National Teams. The most notable American is 24-year-old midfielder Joe Corona, who has two goals in 14 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Corona has spent his entire professional career with Xolos.

The Basque Soccer Friendly is proud to introduce Kuadrilla, our exclusive membership club. Kuadrilla to the Basque community means a close group of friends. Members of the Kuadrilla will be the first in line and given access to purchase tickets before the general public, receive a limited edition t-shirt, a commemorative poster, and invitations to exclusive monthly events. The opportunity to join the Kuadrilla will only be available from Wednesday, April 8th until Wednesday, April 22nd. Kuadrilla membership is $45 and can be purchased onwww.basquesoccerfriendly.com

Tickets to the Basque Soccer Friendly will go on sale on to the general public on Monday, April 27th. More information at www.basquesoccerfriendly.com

Basque Soccer Friendly Sponsors include Bizkaia, City of Boise, Southern Idaho Toyota Dealers, Holland & Hart, KTVB, St. Luke’s, McAlvain Group of Companies, Capital City Development Corporation, Carew Co., Cinder Wines, Idaho Power, Payette Brewery and Wide Eye Productions.

For more information contact: info@basquesoccerfriendly.com

Argia Beristain at 703-309-9437
Website: www.basquesoccerfriendly.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/basquesoccerfriendly
Twitter: @BasqueSoccer
Instagram: basque_soccer_friendly

Photos and videos from the event

North American Basque Summer Festivals 2015

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Basque-American PinEuskal Kazeta is right! Time flies, and the 2015 Basque festival season is around the corner. It will start on May 2, with Fresno’s annual party in California. This year will also feature Jaialdi 2015 international festival in Boise, which typically attracts thousands of Basques and others from across the U.S., as well as Europe and Latin America.

If you were thinking about participating in some of the festivals or coming for Jaialdi but haven’t made any plans yet, you better get a move on. You’ll be sad if you wait too long and can’t find a place to stay. I know, it’s easy for us living in North America to urge people to visit, so here you have a few resources to make planning your trip a bit more manageable:

Jaialdi 2015 official website

A Beginner’s Guide to Jaialdi, by Hella Basque

Jaialdi 2015: Plan your visit now, by Euskal Kazeta

Jaialdi 2015: Lodging exchange forum (Foro para búsqueda de alojamiento), by A Basque in Boise

Interactive guide to Basque festivals in the U.S. and Canada, by Euskal Kazeta


If  you’d like to receive Euskal Kazeta updates, subscribe to their email list here.

If you’d like to follow Hella Basque, subscribe to her blog right from the main page.


To all Basques, home and abroad: Aberri egun zoriontsua!

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Aberri Eguna

aberri_eguna_1963Most people will go by our house today and wonder 1) what’s that flag hanging on the door, and 2) why on earth did we put it there. But on a day where people are mostly concerned with the Easter Bunny and hidden colored eggs, I want my kids to remember that, back home, there is another, very important thing to celebrate: my home, their other home, the Basque Country.

Happy Aberri Egun!

Aberri Eguna (“Fatherland Day”) is a holiday coinciding with Easter Sunday which has its roots in the Basque nationalist movement. It was first organised by the Basque Nationalist Party on 27 April 1932 in Bilbao, then consisting of a demonstration of some 65,000 participants which terminated at the Sabino Arana House. It has since become the unofficial Basque national holiday.


The first Aberri Eguna was held to celebrate the anniversary of the concept of political Basque nationalism as put forward by Sabino Arana in 1882, according to his own writings.[1] Some claims suggest that the date was established after Arana’s death.[3] However, its coinciding with Easter is deliberate as it follows the motto of the Basque Nationalist Party Jaungoiko eta Lege Zaharrak “God and the Old Laws and the symbolism of theresurrection of Christ.[1] Ideologically, it follows the examples of the older Catalan and Galician patriotic holidays, the National Day of Catalonia(from 1889 onwards) and the National Day of Galicia (from 1919 onwards). It was then celebrated in San Sebastián in 1933, in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 1934 and in Pamplona in 1935.

From 1936 onwards, the year of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, it was no longer celebrated in a single location but instead in various localities on a smaller scale and under clandestine conditions as under Franco, Aberri Eguna was forbidden from 1937 to 1975. It was only freely celebrated in the Northern Basque Country under the auspices of the Basque Government in Exile.

Current status

The Aberri Eguna is not an official holiday and main events continue to be organized by Basque nationalist parties. However, the exact format and tone depends on the organiser and thus can vary considerably from a political rally to a cultural picnic. In particular in emigrant communities, the celebration of Basque culture features much more strongly than any political overtones. The cultural element often features events such as Basque music, traditional sports, food and drink, in particular Basque cider.

See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberri_Eguna

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Media Alert: Basque Soccer Friendly press conference on April 8 at noon

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Basque-Soccer-FriendlyThe Basque Soccer Friendly has scheduled a Press Conference for Wednesday, April 8th at 12 noon outside* on the Basque Block (Grove Street between 6th and Capitol Blvd) in downtown Boise, Idaho.

The Press Conference will feature the City of Boise’s Mayor Dave Bieter, along with dignitaries from a provincial government in the Basque region of Spain, and a dignitary from the Mexican Consulate.

At the press conference the Basque Soccer Friendly will announce the two professional soccer teams participating, sponsors, launch their membership club called “Kuadrilla” and announce when tickets will go on sale to the general public.

*In the event of poor weather, the Press Conference will be held inside the Basque Center (601 Grove St, Boise, ID 83702).

About the Basque Soccer Friendly

The Basque Soccer Friendly LLC is a partnership between the Basque Studies Foundation and the Idaho Youth Soccer Association. Together they are working to bring this unique community event to Boise, Idaho and create greater awareness for both organizations. All proceeds from the Basque Soccer Friendly will go to the Basque Studies Foundation to support scholarships and Basque Studies programming at Boise State University and soccer scholarships for Idaho youth provided by the Idaho Youth Soccer Association.

The Basque Soccer Friendly’s Point of Contact on the day of the Press Conference is Keegan Dougherty at 703-309-9125 or keegan@basquesoccerfriendly.com.

For more information contact: info@basquesoccerfriendly.com or call Argia Beristain at 703-309-9437 or 208-343-6939

Facebook:           www.facebook.com/basquesoccerfriendly
Twitter:               @BasqueSoccer
Instagram:          basque_soccer_friendly

The Basque Soccer Friendly website is also available in Basque and Spanish.

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Posthumous presentation of military awards to Manuel Aldecoa, the son of Basque immigrants, at the Warhawk Museum

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The son of Basque immigrants Manuel Aldecoa will receive the following awards posthumously, via his surviving family, Benedicta Aldecoa Wilson and Delphine Aldecoa, presented by Senator Crapo: Purple Heart, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button.

When: Wednesday, April 8 at 2:30 pm
WhereWarhawk Museum in Nampa, Idaho


MANUEL J. ALDECOA enlisted in the Army after 2 years at the University of Idaho.

Aldecoa Manuel J Lt Photo 2Manuel was one of 5 children born to Basque immigrants in Boise. Juan Domingo Aldecoa Urrusuno (b. in Ea-Nachitua) and Maria Pagoaga Iriarte (b. Motriko). They were charter members of Euzkaldunak – the Boise Basque Center. Manuel is survived by sisters Benedicta Wilson and Delphine Aldecoa, both of whom served as air traffic controllers during WWII. Older sister Maurina Bowles worked in London, England during the war for the OSS, the precursor of the CIA,  Brother Basil and wife Dorothy Aldecoa were generous benefactors to any and all Basque causes in the Treasure Valley.

Second Lieutenant Aldecoa was part of  55th group, 343rd Fighter Squadron. Aldecoa flew a P-38 Lockhead Lightning in the first group to fly P-38s from his base in Wormingford,  England. He had already flown escort protection for heavy bombers in the Wilhelmshaven, Munster and Bremen raids.

He was a 25 year old P-38 fighter pilot when killed in Lille, France in mutual combat with a highly decorated and experienced German Ace who had already downed 56 Allied planes. Neither pilot survived. (Manuel’s opponent was Johannes Seifert who had flown 439 combat missions, and was posthumously given the high rank of  Oberstleutnant ) – Manuel fought to the death with a killing machine and apparently won – but unfortunately Manuel did not survive the parachute down to earth, either a torn chute or killed on the ground).

The accident was on Thanksgiving Day, 1943. A war department letter informed his family. “He continued firing until he had downed the enemy aircraft, and then his own ship went out of control,” the letter said. “His comrades saw him bail out and saw his parachute open.” Manuel was initially reported as MIA but months later, the Army wrote that “he died in an attempt to parachute to safety.”

For his meritorious service, Manuel will receive these awards: Purple Heart, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Honorable Service Lapel Button. Senator Mike Crapo will award the medals April 8,  2015 at the WarHawk Museum in Nampa , Idaho.

See this below link for an idea of who Manuel was up against! This guy had already done 439 combat missions and had 56 confirmed downed Allied planes.

Aces of the Luftwaffe – Johannes Seifert


Dolores Totorica is an in-law to the Aldecoa Family.

She became interested in this project while researching genealogy at the LDS Family History Center in Boise. She was encouraged by the volunteers there and the websites they make available to the general public.

In Dolores’ own words: “We are very proud of Manuel. We are also very thankful to Senator Crapo and staff for facilitating this process. If someone is really interested in attending they should email me (dolorestotorica@gmail.com) since the schedule may change due to Senator Crapo’s availability.