Latinos represent about 11% of the U.S. military, and Latinos have a long history of serving in U.S. forces going back to the Revolutionary War. Most recently, hundreds of Latinos have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Below, U.S. Army Reservist Manny Gonzalez discusses the progress of Latino leadership in the Military and how his personal experience during 9/11 gave him “the need to serve” his country. via CNN.com:
What’s more, Sign On San Diego reported:
The Pew Hispanic Center reported that the Hispanic military population of more than 122,000 now represents 11 percent of the entire U.S. military.
Hispanic Americans have a proud legacy of U.S. military service, dating to the American Revolution when Gen. Bernardo de Gálvez defeated British forces in Alabama and Florida to ensure safe passage for Gen. George Washington. That legacy of service continues. The highest U.S. military decoration, the Medal of Honor, has been awarded to 43 soldiers of Hispanic heritage, including Capt. Humbert Roque Versace, who was posthumously bestowed this honor in 2002 for his courage during the Vietnam War.
In the last decade, hundreds of Latino military members have given their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. But these brave men and women are not the only ones who have borne the heavy burden of protecting our country. Their families also have sacrificed. And because the Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn, many Hispanic military families are suffering. Unfortunately, communities of color in the U.S. continue to lag in areas of education and employment, and this presents steep challenges for military members and their families as they cycle out of active duty.