LatinaLista — A lot has been written today about the American operation that was successful in killing Osama Bin Laden. Yet, out of all the content I came across, there was one story that hasn’t been regurgitated throughout mainstream media.
It identifies one of the courageous soldiers involved in the operation and he just happens to be Latino. The story, written by Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress, covers the delicate relationship Latinos have with the military and the proud service continued to this day by Latino soldiers.
Navy SEALs Squadron That Killed Bin Laden Included Rubén Mejía, The Son Of Mexican Immigrants
Last night, President Obama announced that the world’s most wanted terrorist had been captured and killed by U.S. special forces. A CIA-led Navy SEALs squadron of just a few dozen men were tapped to perform the mission. One of the soldiers selected to participate in the “counterterrorism group [that is] so specialized that no one can apply to join it” is Rubén Mejía, the son of Mexican immigrants.
Mexico’s El Universal newspaper reports that Mejía’s parents came to the U.S. from Guanajuato, a city in central Mexico. Rubén Mejía was born in the U.S. and enlisted at the Moreno Valley, California military base six years ago. After spending 7 months in Afghanistan, Mejía joined the SEALs and was able to see Osama Bin Laden’s corpse as it was carried out of the building where he was killed yesterday.
Mejía’s father, a machine operator, recalled the moment that soldiers in uniform came to his home in Los Angeles holding a folded flag. “It was one of the biggest scares,” explained Martín Mejía. “When they [the soldiers] saw us [the family] begin to cry they clarified that bringing the flag was an expression of recognition and honor because our son had carried out a great mission for our nation,” stated the SEAL’s father.
For a long time, Latinos were underrepresented in the armed forces. Yet, this started to change dramatically as the Army launched “a vast recruiting campaign targeting Latino youth, placing ads in Spanish-language media, including magazines, radio, and television.”
In fact, several military experts have come out in support of the DREAM Act which would legalize undocumented youth who go to college or serve in the military precisely because it would significantly increase the pool of qualified recruits in the Latino population — which comprises the majority of undocumented immigrants and is more likely to enlist and serve in the military than any other group.
There is a flip side to this as well.