Story by Master Sgt. Serbennia Davis
3d MDSC Public Affairs
ASHLEY, Pa. — Capt. Cesar Visurraga, Army registered nurse, proved that he still has what it takes when he answered another call to duty for a casting opportunity with Music Television. The competitive vignette request is to commemorate a Hispanic Heritage Month. After competing against numerous candidates for the interview, Visurraga recently shared his personal story about challenges and hardships as a Latino American.
During his exclusive interview with MTV, Visurraga shared his ultimate goal as a Latino, "I want to inspire other Latinos to overcome the adversity that comes with migrating to a new country as well as to inspire Latinos to serve as positive leaders for our fellow Americans. Life can be difficult at times, but hard work is always rewarded,” said Visurraga.
The purpose of the MTV project was to highlight and bring to life the successful and diverse careers of Army Reserve Hispanic soldiers and highlight their contributions and successes in the military and in their communities.
The Iraqi war veteran became interested in the military at the age of 14 years old when he joined Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps during high school. During this time he met Ellen Beckman, who introduced him to the traditions of the military. Beckman was part of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He eventually developed a bond with Beckman that he stated, “lasted until she later died at 93 years of age.”
Capt. Visurraga was invited by the Daughters of the American Revolution to attend many activities. It was through this organization that he was given an opportunity to serve on the color guard team at Arlington National Cemetery. The event was presided over by President Bill Clinton. Visurraga also recalled that Beckman had pointed out that JROTC, U.S. Army Reserve, Reserve Officer Training Corps and active duty Army had benefits and lifetime experiences.
“Boy was she right!” he added. “Joining the Army with an ROTC scholarship has been the best individual move I’ve ever made in my life,” Visurraga proudly boasted.
In 2005, Capt. Visurraga became a University of Scranton, Pa., graduate, registered nurse with the states of Pennsylvania and New York and a commissioned Army nurse corps officer. This all occurred within 90 days. Then, shortly after his achievements, the tragedy of 9/11 sent him off to a deployment to Iraq.
“I now serve as an Army Reserve medical-surgical nurse and soon to be nurse anesthetist,” Visurraga explained. When he returned home after five years of active duty service and a deployment to Iraq, he was accepted into the University of Scranton’s Nurse Anesthesia School. This is what led him to the Army Reserve where he would have a greater chance of being able to complete the civilian nurse anesthesia program.
“The U.S. Army Reserve gave me exactly what I was looking for; freedom to attend a civilian nurse anesthesia school as a full-time student and still remain a member of the armed forces,” said Visurraga.
"The Army opened my eyes to a horizon of different cultures that few Americans have the opportunity to experience. I have a deeper respect for other cultures and appreciation for my own country after having traveled extensively with the Army,” said Visurraga.
To help more Latinos pursue positive leadership roles and stand as role models for future generations is Capt. Visurraga’s personal dream.
“If my career could support that effort, then my personal dream and career expectations would have been met,” Visurraga concluded.