BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KSLA) - Barksdale Air Force Base wrapped up National Hispanic Heritage Month with its annual luncheon.
And one of this year’s passionate speakers was none other than Maj. Frances Mercado.
As she shares the history of the Mirabal Sisters, her passion for her culture and history is something that can’t be missed.
“Being Latino is one of those identity markers that I say we were born with but we choose to embrace or not to embrace," she said.
Long before she was speaking to a room full of airmen, she was attending St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
“I had every intention of being a lawyer," she said. "I said from the get, I picked that school for that reason, everything was set and then about my sophomore year I came to this realization that maybe I don’t want to do that.”
She soon joined the school’s ROTC program, graduated, and quickly began her journey with the Air Force. On her list of jobs, intel was number one, but the Air Force had other plans.
“I started putting random things in there like OSI cool, cop.... public affairs I can do that," she said. "I started just putting other stuff because I was thinking I’ll get intel it’ll be fine — and then that didn’t happen.”
Instead, she was assigned to space and missiles.
Her 13 years of service soon had her doing everything from working as a professional military instructor to currently serving as an intercontinental ballistic missile operator with Global Strike Command.
“There are large nuclear weapons that are underground, and we are in charge whenever the time calls to actually launch them," she said.
Luckily — that time hasn’t arrived yet.
Her plans for the future are to keep sharing her heritage and culture with other airmen and continue being an inspiration to the two girls who matter the most in her life.
“What I hope that they get out of this is that their mom did something with passion and with a fire and that they constantly see that no matter what they choose in life that if you do it with passion if you do it with this desire to be better make others better around you then that is the greatest gift that you can give," she said.
Mercado will be leaving Barksdale Air Force Base in March and heading to Colorado to teach at the Air Force Academy.