By Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Kimbal DoD News, Defense Media Activity
SEMBACH, Germany, October 7, 2015 — The contributions of the Hispanic community to the U.S. military are ingrained in our culture and have had significant impacts in strengthening diversity across the service branches. Many Hispanics have paid the ultimate sacrifice and more than 60 of them are Medal of Honor recipients. For one Hispanic family, the selfless act of military service continues to this day.
Richard Reed, 92, immigrated to the United States with his wife from Chihuahua, Mexico, in the 1920s.
“They all came to America for better opportunities and a better quality of life,” said his grandson, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Reed, a mass communication specialist. For many, the decision to serve can be an emotional experience; for immigrants it can also be a cultural change.
World War II Veteran Richard Reed enlisted in the United States Army, fought during World War II, and was awarded the Purple Heart. He felt his service was a way of thanking America for his citizenship.
“America stood for everything that was good and free in the world, so I was fighting to keep that a reality and to be a part of it” he said.
Three generations of the Reeds have served in the military. Richard’s eldest son Ricardo served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman; his younger son Carlos served in the U.S. Army as a logistics specialist. Both brothers served for more than twenty years and are now retired.
“Back then, the world seemed small,” Richard Reed said. “Joining the fight gave me a chance to step outside of my bubble and experience something new. I don’t regret a minute of it.”
Ruben Reed, the youngest member of the family to serve, is stationed at the American Forces Network — Europe Headquarters in Sembach, Germany. He has deployed on several ships and understands his family’s sacrifices and patriotism.
Proud of Family’s Military Service
“The history my family has of serving in the military did influence my decision to enlist. I’m very proud of them for serving and I’m proud of myself for making the commitment and continuing the family tradition,” he said.
“It’s very important to have diversity in the military. It gives us a chance to learn from each other and become better service members. Each person has a unique way of doing things and may see the solution to a problem easier than someone of a different background,” Ruben Reed explained.