Raul Duran was born and raised in Fort Worth and grew up with movies and TV shows about World War II that his father, Julian, a WWII veteran of the 7th Infantry Division, exposed him to. Julian Duran was a fresh trainee aboard a troop ship bound for the invasion of Japan, when the war ended. Raul is named after his uncle, Raul J. Manriquez, who was a B-17 F bombardier in a plane christened the ?Patsy Ann" (Serial No. 42-29807) after his daughter. Raul Manriquez was shot down and captured by the Germans and was interned at Stalag Luft III, the same POW camp where the ?Great Escape? occurred (Uncle Raul?s diary account relates his thoughts on his barracks mates celebrating his second birthday as a POW - all while the actual escape was occurring, that same night, in the British camp). Raul J. Manriquez? name is on a ?Wall of Honor? plaque at the Vintage Flying Museum.
Raul has a B.A. in history from the University of Dallas. As a student, he first visited Normandy in 1976 and again later as a member of the MVPA for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in 1984.
Raul dedicates his involvement in commemorating WWII to all veterans; but most especially to Mexican-Americans who sacrificed at home and abroad.