Ben Rodriguez, 71, a founder and former California chairman of the Latino veterans’ group GI Forum who worked for civil and veterans’ rights. Rodriguez served as executive secretary for the national American GI Forum in the early 1970s. In 1977, he founded Veterans in Community Service Inc. and served as its executive director. The organization provides services to some 32,000 elderly, handicapped and low-income residents in the eastern cities of Los Angeles County. A migrant farm worker born in Ontario, Rodriguez served in the Army in Europe and North Africa during World War II and the Navy during the Korean War, participating in the Inchon landing. He earned a silver star, four bronze stars, a combat infantry badge, purple heart and World War II victory medal. He was educated at East Los Angeles and Woodbury colleges and at UCLA, where he studied labor relations. For the past decades, Rodriguez had served on the U.S. Senate Hispanic Advisory Task Force, which he helped to create. On Sunday in La Mirada of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.