Why I wear the uniform

Airman 1st Class Rodolfo Mendoza, 50th Space Communications Squadron

Airman 1st Class Rodolfo Mendoza, 50th Space Communications Squadron


One of the reasons I am here today has to do with my parents.  Let me start by saying that my parents are from El Salvador, a country located in Central America.  My mother was from a small, poor town and my father was from the main city of San Salvador.  Between 1980 and 1992, there was a huge civil war between the people of El Salvador and its government. This war violated all human rights, from recruiting child soldiers to killing and raping innocent people, most of which was done by El Salvador’s military. At the age of 20-years old, my parents decided to make a life changing decision and flee the country to save themselves in order to create a better life. 

Not knowing anyone, they came to the United States. Even though my parents were not able to speak the language, they managed to establish themselves and start a life.

It was a rocky start for both of them, but they fought hard to become citizens of the United States.  They are the hardest working people I know to this day. My mother is a surgical technician in one of the biggest hospitals in Los Angeles. My father worked for Toyota for 20 plus years and counting. 

This country gave them a second chance at life and this is the reason I wear the uniform that defends this great nation. Furthermore, the Air Force has countless opportunities to offer. I decided to serve to thank this country, establish my career, as well as better myself.  I am grateful I made the decision to join and I will do everything in my power to be as successful as I can be. Who knows, I might not have been born if my parents had not made the choice to flee El Salvador.