National Hispanic Heritage Month: SK1 Rubens Rodriguez

Petty Officer 1st Class Rubens Rodriguez is a storekeeper at Base Kodiak's C4IT detachment in Juneau, Alaska.

Petty Officer 1st Class Rubens Rodriguez is a storekeeper at Coast Guard Base Kodiak’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology detachment in Juneau, Alaska.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. 

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, five members of Coast Guard 17th District will be featured on our blog.

Petty Officer 1st Class Rubens Rodriguez, Storekeeper, Base Kodiak C4IT, Juneau detachment

Rodriguez grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Oklahoma at age 21. After seeing a recruiting advertisement for the Coast Guard, he joined the service in 2002.

He is now a storekeeper for Coast Guard Base Kodiak’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology detachment in Juneau. His previous units include CGC Manitou, Coast Guard 7th District, Integrated Support Command New Orleans, Sector San Juan and Base New Orleans.

Why do you serve in the Coast Guard?

I was reading a Hispanic newspaper and saw a Coast Guard recruiting ad in Spanish. So I went to the recruiting office in Oklahoma and the recruiter was from Puerto Rico, so we started talking. I told him I was interested, and the next thing you know I’m taking the ASVAB test then getting shipped out to boot camp.

It’s part of the legacy in my family to serve, and I think so far I’m the only one who is going to do the 20 years of service.

The Coast Guard for me represents a more humanitarian service. I was looking for a change. I wanted to serve in a service that will make changes closer to home and I saw the opportunity in the Coast Guard.

You get a sense of pride when you’re serving your country and to know you can make a difference.

 

How did your family react to your decision to serve in the Coast Guard?

I was the first person in my family to join a service other than the Army; My dad went into the Army, my uncles went into the Army. I was looking for another kind of mission.

My dad was supportive about it. He said, “As long as you’re in the service, I don’t care.” My mom, she never liked the military, so at first she wasn’t happy about it but she is now proud of my career choice and approves of it 100%.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the positive influences and traditions that Hispanic Americans have enriched our nation with. What does it mean to you to celebrate this month in the Coast Guard?

Being Hispanic, or being a minority in the military, sometimes you feel like you have to prove yourself more than others. People don’t know your background, so they want to find a reason for why you’re serving.

In Puerto Rico, we’re different than other Spanish speaking countries because we’re part of the United States and for the most part it comes natural to serve in the military because we feel the same Pride and need of defending Our way of living as those who are born in the main land. For the Coast Guard to celebrate and acknowledge our contribution, it really means a lot and encourages us to continue the legacy of serving this great country.

Tags: , , , ,