CHIÈVRES, Belgium – Maj. Cesar Patino, director of Emergency Services, shared his thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month as guest speaker at an event held October 12, 2021 on Chièvres Air Base. In attendance was leadership, Soldiers, Civilians, as well as host nation employees. After remarks concluded, a light lunch was served.
During his speech, Patino highlighted two Hispanic Americans who contributed to the nation. “We have bridged the gap between Vietnam and the new generation of war fighters. MSG Jose Rodela is the last leading Medal of Honor recipient from Vietnam. Then you have MSG retired Leroy Petry a living Medal of Honor from our generation.” Patino went on to share his personal story in the Military Police Corps.
Having been born in a small town in the southeast side of Ecuador moving to the United States at a young age, Patino had always dreamed of being an American soldier. “It was a distant dream that I never thought possible; nevertheless, God has a plan for all of us. With a GED in my hand, I enlisted before 9/11” said Patino.
“I’ve met incredible people throughout my 20 plus years of service. I’ve been blessed with great opportunities and God willing, the guy that came in with a GED in 1999–2000 will leave Belgium, hopefully, with a Ph.D. in his hands.”
Patino went on to say, “you can have all the training and all the education in the world, you can have all the talent, but if you do not know how to talk to people, you do not know how to win their hearts and minds, none of that education, none of that training is worth any of it.”
“I encourage you to talk to a Hispanic this month. I encourage you to get to know him or her. See what they are like, see what they are all about. You’ll be surprised you are more likely to find common ground in them than not.”
Patino closed out his remarks with some final thoughts. “We are a collective culture that values responsibility and accountability in our world. We love community, collectivism, harmony and cooperation. For us the success of a team is greatly emphasized and much more important than individual functions. We are great team players and we love to help one another. We are loyal, respectful, and cheerful, but more than anything we are brothers and sisters and we are also Americans.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized from September 15 to October 15, gives the Army an opportunity to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the Army and our nation. The theme for the 2021 National Hispanic Heritage Month is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” Our Army embraces and celebrates diversity and we are dedicated to ensuring equality for all Soldiers, civilians and family members. Today, Hispanic American Soldiers comprise 16% of America’s Army, and we continue to leverage the strength of our diverse, volunteer force.
Read more about Hispanic/Latino Medal of Honor Recipients: https://www.cmohs.org/recipients/lists/hispanic-latino-recipients