ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Heritage is not always about where you came from or your ethnicity. For Lt. Col. Carlos Berdecia, commander of the 58th Airlift Squadron, his heritage is linked to his family’s military service.
Berdecia lived in in Puerto Rico for most of his life before his father’s military service brought his family to North Carolina.
When Berdecia was old enough, he decided to join the Air force and continue his family’s longstanding military heritage, adding to more than a century of service.
“I attended college and ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps] to get me where I am today,” said Berdecia. “I also come from a family that has over 120 years of military service, so you can also say it runs in the blood.”
Berdecia’s heritage not only influenced his military career choice, but also impacts everything he does in his daily life.
“My heritage is important because it defines who I am,” said Berdecia. “It shows the importance of my lineage and achievements. From how I speak, to my traditions, what I eat, and how I celebrate or grieve comes from my heritage. Heritage gives people something to live by, a base to start, somewhere to begin an identity.”
Berdecia has a variety of different traditions in his home. These traditions help him honor his heritage and relate to others.
“By understanding that no one in the room got there the same way, and each person has a story, I am able to relate to the people that may have never felt like they fit in or even felt misunderstood,” said Berdecia. “It also allows me to relate to people on various levels because of my experiences in a multi-cultural and bilingual household.”
Berdecia and his family’s many years of dedicated service in the armed forces showcase the great qualities that comprises our great Air Force today. Air Force members who share these attributes are vital in developing leaders of character.