Ruben Rivers was born in Tecumseh, Oklahoma during 1921. His family was large (he had 11 siblings!) and with his parents, they lived on and worked a family farm in Hotulka, Oklahoma. He joined the United States Army with two of his brothers to serve his country during World War II, and became the only one of the three who would serve in a combat unit in the then-segregated Army.
Alfred Leonard Wilson was born in Fairchance, Pennsylvania on September 18, 1919. He lived his whole life there, and was employed as a miner when he was drafted into the United States Army on February 15, 1943 for World War II service. Wilson was trained as a combat medic and assigned to the medical detachment of the 328th Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division.