Army Reserve, the daughter of singer mariachi recalls her service in Afghanistan and Qatar | Item
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – A Mexican U.S. Army Reserve Soldier deployed here with the 155th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade reflected on his remarkable experiences in Afghanistan and Qatar for this year’s celebration of Hispanic heritage.
“My mother was born on a ranch on a small ranch in the middle of nowhere, Rancho Los Charcos, Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico,” Spc said. Luz Hernandez, unit supply specialist, or 92 Yankee, in southern El Monte, Calif., Based the logistics section of the 155th CSSB, or S-4.
When she thinks of her Hispanic heritage, Hernandez draws her strength from her family’s heritage rather than metaculture. “I’m sure there are Mexican heroes out there, but for me it was just hearing the stories of my mom and dad, how they came from nothing to Mexico.”
Growing up, her father worked in the fields picking cotton, and her mother got up early in the morning to milk the cows and finish her farming chores before school.
“Little things like that help me enjoy my job here,” she said.
The specialist said her mother, Maria Guadalupe Lopez-Hernandez, had not met her father, Angel Hernandez Mendoza, who also grew up on a small ranch in the same province, Rancho Viejo, Zacatecas, Mexico, until that they are both traveling artists.
Hernandez said her mother was a singer and her father performed in a mariachi band. “She didn’t sing with my dad, but she was also a performer. When they met, she was singing in the same place. I have pictures of her signing, at the time, and her publicity portrait. “
After the birth of her older brother, Hernandez’s mother decided to make her family her job. “She decided to stay home and take care of us.”
The mother-of-three said her father continued to play mariachi until his death in December 2020, just before she mobilized for this deployment.
Hernandez said she is focused on passing her Mexican culture on to her daughters who now attend a charter school where classes are taught in Spanish until grade five.
“I always give them Mexican food and I think they enjoy it,” she said.
“I speak to them a lot in Spanish and teach them my father’s music. I would play it for them and tell them, ‘It’s daddy’, ”she said. “He played a giant guitar, called an el guitarron, and he was the lead singer,” she said. “He sang with such a beautiful voice – I don’t say that just because he’s my dad – he had such a wonderful, beautiful and loud voice. He reminded me a bit of Andrea Bocelli, the Italian singer.
Hernandez said that mariachi was very popular for many years, so much so that his father recorded an album and was often hired for commercials, different shows, and he met other Mexican artists.
“Even with the death of mariachi, he pursued him until the day he died,” she said. “Just before he died he recorded other songs. It was a mix of love songs, ballads, and a bit of cumbia.
Mariachi, these are mostly love songs, she said. “Drinking songs for some, but for my father, they were love songs.”
The unit supply specialist said it was a powerful experience to listen to your father’s love songs. “I thought it was beautiful when I knew a song was about my mom or other past relationships.”
Hernandez said she continues her parents’ love for music by singing in the chapel choir wherever she has deployed for this mobilization, Camp Buehring, Kuwait; Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar; and Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan.
“I have always been a part of my church choir, and this is how I share my gift,” she said.
Usually, it starts off like when she was assigned to Camp As Sayliyah and met the chaplain at the passenger terminal. “We just met at the pax terminal, and I said, ‘Listen, sir, I’m not the best singer, but you got me. “”
When she sings in the chapel, she keeps her dream of studying the performing arts in college and signing professionally alive.
Hernandez is deploying to Afghanistan during the final months of US military operations there.
After high school, Hernandez thought about joining the military, but that changed when she became a mother at 19.
Because the father of his three daughters was on active duty with the Fort Drum-based 10th Mountain Division, there was always a chance he would be deployed. Therefore, she decided that it would be better to focus on her daughters and avoid the possibility of both of their parents being sent abroad at the same time.
Finally, she decided it was time to enlist.
“It was October 4, 2017, at age 27,” she said. “It was one of those things; I always wanted to join when I was younger. I’ve always had a passion for service, whether it’s public service or for serving my country.
“I didn’t want to wonder what it would have been like to join the military – and it was very spontaneous – oh, man, I just walked into the recruiting office and decided to enlist,” he said. she declared.
Hernandez’s unit, the 155th CSSB, is a logistics unit, and it was deployed with its headquarters and headquarters, first to Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Then some of the 155th soldiers were sent to Afghanistan.
“Some of my friends were already in Afghanistan before me, so I got there around April. “
The Idaho resident’s item was dispatched to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where she said her team was supporting military units from more than 40 different countries and working on the retrograde equipment mission.
“We were supporting, but we were also demoting, so it was a very different mission for me at HKIA.”
In addition to her duties at HKIA, Hernandez said she was part of the element sent to the nearby forward operating base of Oqab, which was handed over to Afghan security forces.
Hernandez deploys to Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar
In June, Hernandez said she was sent back to Camp Buehring, but in mid-July she and members of the 155th command team and headquarters were sent to Camp As Saliyah, in Qatar.
Camp As Saliyah was designated as a long-term theater safe haven as the situation in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate. The 155th CSSB was tasked as part of the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade to build the camp to be able to accept and temporarily house evacuees as they worked with the State Department to determine their status and locations feedback.
“It was very strange. I don’t know how to describe it, “said the specialist.” We just arrived in mid-July and the mission was completely different. Coming from Afghanistan, and we came back to build this place.
Soldiers from the 155th CSSB, along with soldiers from 3rd DSB and 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support), worked quickly to make the CAS a functional haven of peace in the few weeks leading up to reception and care. thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan, who were then transferred to the United States.
“It was an honor to be able to help these people, who have helped throughout the 20 years; it was an absolutely wonderful feeling,” she said. “I’m the type of person who just likes to help people, but it was a very special mission.”
When she saw the Afghan children, she said her heart was with them.
“It was like my own mother when she came to America and gave birth to me in the United States, so I was able to have all of these wonderful benefits in the United States.”
Hernandez said she left CAS on September 12 and returned to Camp Buehring, where the 155th continued its theater sustainment mission until scheduled to redeploy home in the next few months. month.
Now, when she looks back on her remarkable tour, the Army Reserve Soldier said she takes great pride in being a part of American history.
“I am the most patriotic Mexican-American you can meet,” she said. “I am just beyond what it means to be an American citizen.”